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TV series' to binge on during the holidays


By Jennifer - Posted on 23 December 2015

There are plenty of narrative films, documentaries and theatrical (OMG STAR WARZZZ) films to see over the holidays, but make sure not to leave out serials - the art of the binge-watch will be practiced by many. Here are just a few of the best I've seen this year:

Doc Series

A Season with Notre Dame (SHO) - I love the game of football, and this series was immensely enjoyable behind the scenes of this year's amazing Notre Dame football season. The young men featured are the real role models - intelligent, kind, who love their families and believe in their education, as well as their team. Good luck in the Fiesta Bowl!

Making a Murderer (Netflix) - I've made it through 5/10 episodes as of this writing and I can't stop - this doc series (mostly made by one woman) is incredibly compelling, and as someone who knows nothing of this case, it's hard to believe that it's a true story. Another story of our incredibly flawed legal system. It's long, and slow at times, but always intense and well-told.

The Jinx: The Life and Deaths of Robert Durst (HBO)- very well-done series, though over-produced and overly long, it showed how a film/journalism can really make a difference in bringing justice.

Comedies

Transparent S2 (Amazon) - If you haven't seen season 1, do a 2-season binge. There's a reason this series won awards for Amazon, it's fantastic. I really thought I'd hate it at first, I was so wrong. The writing tells the deep internals of this family so completely, that by the end of season 2 I'm emotionally depleted and devastated. Superb acting, writing, and everything.

Master of None (Netflix) - Aziz Ansari's new comedy is an absolute delight. It tells the story of a young guy navigating life in the big city. It's impressive how they explore such deep, meaningful subjects with a light comic dressing - relationships, family, jobs - he touches on it all, and in a refreshing, sweet way. 

Grace and Frankie (Netflix) - this is a weird show, as of this writing I'm not sure it's being renewed, but still a delight to watch the stars play with such odd characters. The whiny, wealthy thing is a bit overplayed, but the actors still make it watchable.

Lilyhammer S3 (Netflix) - if you haven't seen Lilyhammer, I'd suggest binging on S1-S3 straight. Little Steven is adorable in this wacky tale of a NY gangster hiding out in Norway, and establishing roots there. 

Sci-Fi

Jessica Jones (Netflix) - If you like dark superheroes, superheroes, detective shows, noir - it's got it all. It's also nice to see a female as the dark hero, because those are roles that usually go to male leads. It works OH so well, and I can't wait for it to continue. 

The Man in the High Castle (Amazon) - I have not read the book by Phillip K Dick that tells the story of an alternate outcome to WWII (Axis powers win), but I do know some of the slight variations from the novel in this show. They seem to be creative, and not cause any issue in this compelling series. It's hard to know what's going on yet, and has had a slow start, but I'm willing to stick with it to find out who this Man is!

Daredevil (Netflix) - See the comments on Jessica Jones above (replace the female part with disabled/blind person). Fantastic series.

Gotham (FOX) - If you haven't seen this and like comics and superheroes, this is a really fantastic show. It's hard to binge through a 1/2 season (we're at 2.5 right now), but catch up before it returns in 2016.

Drama

Show Me a Hero (HBO) - Great investigative drama by David Simon (of "The Wire" and "Treme") about a fairly obscure piece of history that relates to just about anyone in the US - the fight for honesty and the right thing is never an easy task in politics. This is a tragic, important story to learn from. 

Sense 8 (Netflix) - I love JMS and the Wachowskis, and this very elaborate series is more drama than sci-fi (even though there is a definite sci-fi premise of people being psychically connected). Complex and deep, I'm looking forward to more.

Better Call Saul (AMC) - Best show of the year in my book. Brilliant prequel to Breaking Bad about one of the most interesting characters ever created for television.  If you haven't seen it, binge!!

Wolf Hall (Netflix/BBC) - Mark Rylance has been brilliant his whole career, and has only recently been noticed on TV/film by a broader audience. Slow, quiet, and well-crafted, I'd suggest watching the episodes continuously to grasp all the details.

Empire (ABC) - My guilty pleasure. My parents loved Dallas and Dynasty, I love Empire. It's campy, silly, melodramatic and flashy, and that's FANTASTIC.