25th Mar2020

Ten Best: Binge-worthy TV shows that have ended!

by Chris Cummings

In a time where many of us are staying indoors if we can, keeping away from people and isolating, there’s a lot of good that can come from letting your mind drift into a film or a television show. There are some great shows out there and I thought it might be cool to highlight ten of the best shows that are no longer airing that you can go and binge-watch. I thought, also, I’d mix things up here, and make sure the list had a diverse range of genres, so there’s something for everyone. I… I love all of these tv shows. Stay safe, out there.

binge-watching-tv

10. Orange is the New Black

One of the best Netflix shows yet, OITNB is a gritty, hilarious, dramatic and energetic drama set inside the iron bars and walls of a women’s prison. We follow the story of inmate, Piper Chapman, a fish WAY out of water, as she acclimates to life “in the clink”. The array of characters are rich and wonderfully written, as is the dialogue, and the stories we get are brilliant. This is a pure dark character study, and discusses important issues, from social class, sexual abuse, racism, the US prison system and anything else you can think of. If you want something unique and damn gripping, look no further.

9. Gilmore Girls

Say what you will, but Gilmore Girls is one of those utterly charming and delightful shows that is packed with whimsy and romance. Set in the fictional yet beautiful American idillic town of Stars Hollow, we spend out time with the residents, with the mother and daughter duo of Lorelai and Rory Gilmore. It’s part love story, part tale of family, part take of growing up and part tale of reaching for your dreams and seeing them through. It might be a little sugary and not for everyone (especially the cynical lot) but it’s a welcome gentle breeze, and an easy and lovely show to fall into.

8. Friends

I mean, who hasn’t seen at least a dozen episodes of Friends? A show that lasted ten straight seasons and did enormous ratings, it lasts to this day, reaching new audiences who weren’t even born when it first began airing in 1994. A cast of loveable, silly characters welcome us in to a half-hour episode that helps to pass your time with ease. It’s funny, daft and full of heart, and though some of the jokes may have dated quite poorly now, it’s still one that is fun to revisit from time to time. If you’re one of the few yet to discover Friends, then I imagine you’d get as hooked on it as the rest of us did back in the 90s and early 00s. At the very lease, when you’re bored or need a warm distraction, you can bet that these friends will be there for you (sorry about that. I couldn’t resist).

7. Bones

Bones is, for my money, one of the very best crime procedurals ever. A great cast, led by David Boreanaz and Emily Deschanel, as Booth and the titular Bones, who work as an unlikely team in order to solve cases by looking at the remains of victims. It’s funny, at times, sad at other times, and always entertaining. The cast of characters really take it to the next level, all offering something unique to the proceedings. A slight step above the also-great Criminal Minds, Bones is 12 seasons of fun, blood, guts and entertainment.

6. Breaking Bad

Gritty, dark, gripping and intense, Breaking Bad blew people’s minds when it first aired, and continues to do so today. The tale of chemistry teacher Walter White, a man who finds out he has cancer and so decided to make and sell meth in order to pay his medical bills and leave money for his family when he passes away. It’s about as dramatic and bold as you can get, and Bryan Cranston’s performance as White is nothing short of extraordinary. It has burst of humour in there, but for the most-part this is a bad-ass drama series with a lot to say. Unreal.

5. Parks & Recreation

Parks and Rec is one of those comedy shows that you cannot just watch one episode of per sitting. Following the Pawnee, Indiana parks department, it delves into politics and life in the silliness and funniest of ways with an array of bright and crazy characters. Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler) and Ron Swanson, her boss, played by Nick Offerman, are the seasons’ highlights. If you like the US Office, then I’d imagine you’d dig this too. It’s not the same, but it has that similar humour going for it, and is a wonderful comedy show.

4. Game of Thrones

Say what you will about how this show ended (and I wasn’t so much a fan of the final couple of seasons, truth be told) but the first few seasons of Game of Thrones were awesome. Dragons, swords, zombie creatures, political intrigue, sex, blood and backstabbing, Game of Thrones was the talk of the world for a while. I can’t leave it off the list based on how things went later on, because of just how good those first seasons were. Hell, some people liked how it ended, so that’s cool too. Some great performances from the mass of actors who appeared, it kept twisting and turning into a real beast, and it did so with a budget that made ever episode feel like a movie. A definite binge-watch option.

3. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

Oh, Buffy… you never get boring. I’ve revisited Buffy and the Scooby Gang dozens of times since the series stopped airing back in 2002. The tale of an… erm… vampire slayer, who moves to Sunnydale, where there is a Hellmouth, and thus… lots and lots of demons and monsters to slay. The characters are great, there’s enough humour and horror to appeal to a wide range of tastes, and you really care about what happens. Sarah Michelle Gellar is great as Buffy, but it’s perhaps other characters like Willow (Alison Hannigan), Zander (Nicholas Brendan), Spike (James Marsters) and Angel (David Boreanaz) who truly breathe life into the show. Endlessly entertaining and masterfully written, I watch this over again annually. You should too. Grr, argh.

2. Mad Men

I’m not sure enough people have jumped into Mad Man. I mean, it was popular, sure… but I think more people should give it a shot, because it’s absolutely incredible. The story of an ad agency in New York, we go back to the 60s and 70s and join the men and women in the agency as they land deals with different companies. Oh, and then there’s the booze, sex, betrayal and a bit of violence thrown in for good measure. With a cast featuring Elizabeth Moss and Jon Hamm as Don Draper, it’s high-quality and high-entertainment from beginning to end. Can’t recommend it enough.

1. The Office (US)

For my money, this is the most re-watchable and hilarious show of all time. I mean… it’s my favourite TV show ever, but… if you haven’t watched it yet, or it’s been a while, then I can’t recommend this enough. Nine seasons of a show that builds so many wonderful characters with some absolutely brilliant comedy episodes throughout, it’s one of those “let me just start over again” shows. If there’s one program that will help you to pass the time with a smile, and feel like comfort-tv, then The (US) Office is it. Lots of episodes means it’s really long too! (That’s what she said!).
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So, there we have it. Ten binge-worthy TV shows to watch. There’s a whole lot more too. Thanks for reading!

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