What to Binge Watch 2017

A list of shows we’re watching while waiting for the return of Game of Thrones and Westworld

Genre: The Sure Thing

It’s hard to find a show that most people agree on but the following three are at the top of every trusted TV-watcher’s list:

  1. Halt & Catch Fire is in its fourth season and yet we know so few people who have watched this excellent series. Set in the 80s, this show depicts a fictionalized insider view of the up-and-coming personal computer industry that’s about to catch fire.

2. The Night Manager is based on a John le Carré novel. It’s directed by the stellar Suzanne Bier and stars Tom Hiddleston and Hugh Laurie. Mystery and intrigue in gorgeous jet-setting locales. It had me at Hiddleston.

3. Season 2 of Master of None was even better than the first, which is saying a lot since Master has been a stupendous success since the get-go. We have our fingers crossed for timely delivery of Season 3 as Aziz announced he was going analog back in August.

Genre: Crime drama

David Fincher’s Mindhunter on Netflix stars Jonathan Groff as a straight-laced, fledgling FBI agent in the 70s when law enforcement agencies were discovering a new kind of criminal, the serial killer. Chilling, grisly, addictive. 95% Audience Score on Rotten Tomatoes

Ozark gets very mixed reviews but we binge watched it in a few days. If you love Jason Bateman and Laura Linney you’ll likely be hooked (unless you don’t have the stomach for barbaric violence). It’s the story of a robotic, clean cut, financial whiz and the wretchedness that ensues when he decides to launder millions for a ruthless drug cartel.

The Deuce was described in a recent article on Vulture as “hard to watch but hard to turn away,” which is a fair assessment. Set in gritty 1970s New York, this semi-fictional series tells the story of the sex trade going mainstream into the porn industry. It’s not for everyone but we’ll watch anything and everything from creator David Simon (The Wire).

Queen of the South gets mixed reviews but the formidable female leads kept our attention. Teresa Mendoza, the show’s protagonist, is played by Alicia Braga (niece of legendary Brazilian actress Sonia Braga) who finds herself caught between an estranged, drug trafficking husband and wife. It’s like a telenovela version of Scarface and Narcos that transpires between Sinaloa, Mexico and Dallas, Texas. We watched the first four episodes on a 6 hour Virgin America flight, which might explain why we gave this show a chance.

Genre: Comedy

Crashing is an English show starring, and created by, Phoebe Waller-Bridge, the star and creator of Fleabag (another outrageous, watch-worthy comedy in its second season). Crashing is what happens when an eclectic handful of 30-somethings move into a disused hospital. It’s an edgy, current day version of Friends with awkward romantic tension between two best friends reminiscent of Jim and Pam from The Office. Fun, bawdy, and ludicrous in the best possible way.

Dear White People is a provocative satire that explores racial tensions, political correctness, and cultural and gender bias in a fictional predominantly white Ivy league school. We’re usually annoyed by shows that rely on voice-over narration but have patience and finish the first episode. What we assumed was a glib, Heathers-style, predictable pastiche ended up surprising us. It’s an hilarious, thought-provoking, biting comedy based on the movie of the same name.

Bonus Family is a smash-hit Swedish comedy picked up by Netflix this year. The series centers on a newly in love couple and their difficult exes as they all try to figure out how to parent, co-parent, and get along for the kids sake. Great characters. Ridiculous situations. If you’re a fan of Scandinavian TV and cinema as much as we are, this is your next favorite show.

If you loved Will & Grace the first time around, you’re going to fall even harder. Consistently superb comedy writing, a rarity on network television, and renowned cast chemistry. Proof that second acts can be as good as, if not better than, the first.

Genre: Drama

The Durrells In Corfu follows a dauntless widow with four recalcitrant children, ages 11 through 21, as she transports them from colorless England in the 1930s to exotic, sun-drenched Corfu. Based on Gerard Durrell’s three autobiographical books on his families years on the island (1935–1939). Utterly charming and relaxing to watch.

Riviera may never win an Emmy but if you like Julia Stiles, Lena Olin, the underbelly of the art world, the Cote d’Azur, and beautiful clothes … this is your next show. It’s a guilty pleasure for people who appreciate unrealistic dramas like Dynasty and dream of being chased through the streets of Monaco in a Maserati.

Gina Pell is the Content Chief and resident binge watcher at The What, a clever list for curious people. If you like our picks, you’ll love The What List. Get The What in your inbox.

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