Over the last decade, there has been a fundamental paradigm shift in the way we consume media. It happened in small steps: from TiVo and VOD to the rise of streaming networks; these are all critical advances in reshaping how we approach sequential storytelling genres.
Also, there was the rise of smartphone and tablet technology and the opportunity that comes with having a screen in your face for most of your waking hours. Naturally, binge-watching exploded shortly after.
Binge-watching has recently become not merely a habit that many do but a driving factor determining how some content is made on a fundamental level. If you’re looking for a new show to watch, here’s a list of the top five tv shows to binge-watch.
Binge-watching Peter Gould and Vince Gilligan’s seminal Golden Age series Breaking Bad might feel like that of an emotional marathon. Still, the conclusion is well worth the turbulence of the journey. Breaking Bad is a masterwork of long-form narrative, veering left each time you think you have a handle on it and never hesitant to swing for the fences with disgusting human conduct and the far-reaching consequences of horrible deeds.
Bryan Cranston is a revelation as Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher turned drug lord, and he’s avidly supported by a cast of extraordinarily talented peers. Breaking Bad is a superbly designed show, with each season seeming both like a self-contained bit of storytelling and a component of tremendous potential. The show will keep your nerves on edge and a hole in your stomach as it takes you on an intense rollercoaster of human drama through crime and retribution.
There is no program like Hannibal, and if you prefer artistically crafted serial killer thrillers with high sexual tension, you’ll love it. Based on Thomas Harris’s novel of the same name, the show began as a Hannibal Lecter series—Mads Mikkelsen acts as forensic psychiatrist Dr. Hannibal Lecter. The psychiatrist is summoned by brilliant criminal profiler Will Graham (Hugh Dancy) and the FBI’s Behavioral Sciences Unit to assist in the hunt for a serial killer.
Hannibal and Will create an inappropriate, highly attached relationship, which only complicates things when Will suspects Hannibal is involved in the murders. For Harris lovers, the show revisits several classic storylines from his Lecter novels (like Red Dragon).
Hannibal is a truly unique series that gets crazier and stranger as it goes on yet keeps you fascinated the entire time. It’s one part twist-filled psychological thriller romance, full-on horror narrative, and crime procedural mystery. You’ll quickly marvel how a show this poetic, gory, and bizarre could have broadcast on NBC for three seasons.
Game of Thrones
When you’re ripping your hair out, awaiting new episodes week after week, and new seasons year after year, you know a program is going to be an excellent binge watch. Building on the structure of George R. R. Martin’s best-selling book series’ shock drama and high fantasy, D.B. Weiss and David Benioff’s adaptation Game of Thrones converts all the apocalyptic fantasy foundations, royal intrigue, and political maneuvering into TV gold.
Thanks to HBO’s game-changing budget, Game of Thrones may be the most spectacular show ever to hit the airwaves. That lavish attention creates a fully immersive universe where anything can happen, and anyone can die. Each new period of violent punctuation twisted cliffhanger leaves you begging to see what’s next.
Parks and Recreation
Parks and Recreation is a terrific program to binge-watch because it grew so much throughout its existence. Mike Schur, the showrunner, was never satisfied with the status quo. So this tribute to public service delights in reshaping its characters and their life situations in engaging and exciting ways.
Furthermore, Amy Poehler’s Leslie Knope’s incredible trajectory as the department’s deputy director to future President of the United States is flawlessly accomplished. Apart from a rough first season, there isn’t a faulty note in this show, and its sympathy for its characters and ever-changing situations make it a fantastic binge-watch at any time.
The Witcher is an incredible joy to watch. The series is indeed a very fantasy one, but it doesn’t take itself too seriously. It embraces all aspects of fantasy gaming and storytelling, including POV battles, fun side-quests, and even a bard who follows Henry Cavill’s human/creature hybrid heroine around singing songs about his glories.
The first season of the show tells of three stories that are destined to intersect: Cavill’s Witcher, a monster hunter for hire who begins to wonder why so many princesses have turned into creatures, Princess Ciri (Freya Allan), who has been on the run after her city is sacked, but she harbors secrets of her own, and Yennefer of Vengerberg (Anya Chalotra), a powerful sorceress in training struggling to keep her emotions in check.
The Witcher is an incredible kind of binge-watching show, steeped in world-building and narrative but always fascinating.