Although it seems like we’ve been away from university forever, we’ve still got a whole month left until term kicks off again. However, The Edge writers are on hand to keep you strong, with a long list of series to binge-watch until then. From political dramas, to Netflix original comedies, to some panel shows- these are our binge- worthy series.
How I Met Your Mother
‘Kids, I’m going to tell you an incredible story. The story of how I met your mother.’
Nearly eleven entire years ago, the acclaimed CBS sitcom How I Met Your Mother aired to a world in the midst of some painful Friends-related grief, which had finished only a year before. A new group of twenty-something New Yorkers all hanging out in one convenient location, mixing and matching their romantic lives between one another like a kid at a pick ‘n’ mix stall? A timeless, albeit familiar, premise – and one which satisfied the hunger of sitcom fanatics in their thousands, millions even, for a further nine years and nine seasons.
One of the greatest hallmarks of E4’s mile-long list of sitcoms, How I Met Your Mother, for nine years, was the voice for the successes and pitfalls of careers, dating and friendships, giving hope, depth and some pretty brutal honesty about each. Whilst some episodes, maybe even entire seasons, are a tad, shall we say… less thought out than others (‘Last Forever’? Yeah, I’m looking at you), a myriad of others prove just how many heartstrings this show can pluck, and in an immeasurable number of ways. How I Met Your Mother is one of those rare shows that can stand up to be your best friend, not just when you watch it, but again and again you’ll come back to it and think ‘oh man, they got that so right.’
words by Sophie Trenear
The West Wing
Fancy a challenge? The West Wing is a binge-watch not to be taken lightly, though if you are strong enough, you will reap the rewards. Coming from your Culture Editor, The West Wing is probably the biggest drama series I’ve ever seen. It’s also David Tennant’s favourite of all time. What further endorsement do you need?
Now The West Wing is not a binge for the fainthearted. Each episode is 40 minutes long, and you have to fully immerse yourself in it; put your phones aside, no browsing Facebook allowed! It’s extremely faced-paced, being where the famous ‘walk and talk’ directed scene originated, as various members of the White House storm from one situation to another- make notes kids! All seven seasons of the show have aired, so there’s a lot to indulge in.
The West Wing, follows the lives and work of fictional President Jed Bartlet and his close-knit staff. Martin Sheen delivers a stunning performance in his role, one which has won award on award; Bartlet is the President we all want, deeply moral and good, but with believable flaws such as hot-headedness. If you want real drama, look no further than The West Wing.
words by James Barker
Ru Paul’s Drag Race
Whilst most people will recommend dramas and comedies, the real diamond in the rough is Ru Paul’s Drag Race and there are a whole six series (yes that’s over 70 episodes) on Netflix! The premise of the show is simple: it’s basically X Factor but for drag artists. Each series, twelve competitors compete through ten grueling weeks of challenges to avoid having to ‘lip sync for their lives’ and face elimination. There are a range of fun and wacky challenges from ‘Snatch Game’ (providing your best celebrity drag impression), to challenges that have them dragging up straight jocks and challenges that see them creating front covers for big new Hollywood drag magazines, or glamorous outfits worthy of the red carpet. It’s all the positives of reality TV but at the same time with a load of sparkle, campness and bitchiness chucked in (its twelve drag queens, they’re gonna bitch!) Plus, there are some great catchphrases and theme tunes you’ll find yourself saying in everyday life. So girls start your engines, and may the best women win!
words by Bruno Russell
Suits: a high-drama yet intellectually stimulating show that you won’t even feel guilty binge-watching. Don’t let the six seasons’ worth of material put you off – you’ll get through it in no time. The series follows New York’s most notorious closer, Harvey Specter, newly crowned Senior Partner at prestigious law firm ‘Pearson Hardman’. Yet his new promotion coincidentally sees him crossing paths with Mike Ross; less likely to be caught wearing a $10,000 suit and more likely to be caught sitting the LSAT for money (if you don’t already know what the LSAT is, do not fear, you’re about to learn a whole load of legal terms). Harvey’s mix of ruthlessness and charm, combined with Mike’s sheer intelligence, make the two an unbeatable duo. Other than the strength of its characters, the intricate problem-solving nature of the series, its exploration of relationships in a high pressure establishment, and timely moments of comic relief are what makes Suits so addictive. If this show doesn’t make you want to become a badass lawyer by the end of it, then I don’t know what will.
words by Olivia Krauze
Parks and Recreation
In a similar style to The Office (US) and its contemporary, Modern Family, the excellent Parks and Recreation is a simply outstandingly hilarious mockumentary comedy, tailor made for bingeing. With the 20 minute episode style of most comedies, it makes them the easiest to binge of all shows, but Parks and Recreation is a cut above most shows with its witty and outlandish dialogue, fantastic directing style and hugely endearing characters. The performances from, mainly, Amy Poehler, Nick Offerman and Chris Pratt are stellar and had me laughing out loud multiple times, all whilst sat by myself in my room in Halls (apologies to my neighbors who probably have some weird ideas of who I might be). Plus I now have the famous Swanson Pyramid of Greatness on my wall; I am not ashamed.
Once you get pass the first season (which isn’t great) the show is consistently funny and hits virtually every episode; bingeing this show is so great because it never fails to make you laugh, never. It’s highly quotable, effortlessly re-watchable and so endearing that when you’ve finished it, you’ll want to start it up all over again… and I think I just might do that…
words by David Mitchell-Baker
Master of None
A show that I recently discovered and binged was Aziz Ansari’s Netflix original Master of None. Now I encourage you all to do the same. Only 10 half an hour episodes makes the show easy to binge, and the show’s content makes it a delight to.
Managing to be equally hilarious and silly, and tentative and thoughtful, Master of None is a necessity to the modern generation. Following aspiring actor Dev Shah (Ansari) as he lives in New York and just tries to navigate life, each episode has a different theme which the show explores in details. From kids, to immigrant parents, to old people, to feminism, to diversity in television; the show covers so much ground, and so much of what is relevant to the world today. As well as this, it manages to do so with heartwarming scenes, brilliant characters and ineffable style.
Definitely check it out, and eagerly await the shows second season!
words by Rehana Nurmahi
Much like the godfather of the genre, Arrested Development, Community takes the meta comedy and produces the goods to no end. The casting of this show is so fantastic, there’s no bad performance; Joel McHale, Yvette Nicole Brown, Danny Pudi, Donald Glover and, the scene-stealing, Chevy Chase. It’s a powerhouse ensemble of comedy that are so watchable with perfect chemistry. Much like the aforementioned Arrested Development, the show has several continuing jokes and stories that encourage you to keep watching the show to see them all link in and payoff. Three episodes back to back soon becomes twelve episodes… as I may or may not be able to attest to…
The other thing that makes Community so lovable is the endless stream of pop culture references and influences. Be it the Dollars trilogy inspired paintball episodes, “Troy and Abed in the moooorning!”, or the planned Pulp Fiction birthday party episode (I can never un-see Chevy Chase as the gimp), the show constantly draws you in and has you so on board. It’s a show by those who lived through pop culture sensations for the new pop culture inspired generation. And it’s perfect, dammit!
words by David Mitchell-Baker
Yo ho yo ho, a pirate’s life for me! The description often awarded to this show – ‘a prequel to Robert Louis Stevenson’s Treasure Island‘ – is as big an undersell as to describe Game Of Thrones as an 18 rated version of Shrek. Black Sails is set in and around the Bahamas during the golden age of piracy, where Captain Flint leads a motley crew (including perpetual thorn in his side, John Silver) to rob a treasure ship and, essentially, piss everyone off. The pirates’ story runs parallel to subterfuge and warfare, both literal and political, on nearby islands. Which are, as an aside, beautiful. Honestly, this show is about as visually stunning as you can get without watching a documentary. It’s almost sacrilegious how little attention the cast seem to pay to the beautiful beaches and tropical waters they’re standing in.
Simple plots grow and tensions deepen, and apparently one-dimensional characters deepen dramatically with wonderful twists and turns that question period and modern views of race, equality, and sexuality. I never thought I’d describe a show helmed by Michael Bay as one with excellent and innovative depictions of non-heteronormative relationships – but, that’s Black Sails. Just renewed for it’s fourth and final season, this little gem is surely going to go out with a bang. Catch up while you can.
words by Camilla Cassidy
The Office (US)
Once The US Office has you hooked, you really will be in it for the long haul. Despite your best efforts to slow down and pace yourself through the 201 episodes in nine seasons, it quickly becomes evident that this is possibly one of the most binge-able series ever.
Inspired by the original UK The Office, the show is a shot in documentary style, following the mundane routine of the office workers at Dundler Mifflin Paper Company. Although this may sound dull initially, what unfolds throughout the series is simply fantastic. It will have you in fits of laughter and in tears, while simultaneously leaving you on the edge of your seat.
The Office may not be the most plot driven show out there, but the long-term narrative and various sub-plots really will leave you desperate to start the next episode to see how things eventually pan out. The Office highlights the importance of characters in a TV show. It’s difficult to make it the whole way through and not feel some kind of attachment to the people you’ve watched who were a part of this show for 9 years of their life. With an average of 22 minutes per episode, how can you not binge your way through the entire thing?
words by Hollie Geraghty
Whenever I felt like spending the day drinking tea and staying in my pyjamas, I’d put on Breaking Bad. Initially unimpressed with the characters, I soon realised that I was as addicted to the story as Walt was to money (probably). I loved that I hated him, his stubbornness and how his actions were affecting everyone’s lives, but soon grew to love some of the characters – his brother-in-law, DEA agent Hank, dodgy lawyer Saul (with a spin-off series of his own) and Saul’s acquaitance Mike.
Breaking Bad soon developed so much plot that I literally had to drag myself away from Netflix to do real-life things – if I could have watched this all at once then I would have. All I wanted to see was how the plot would thicken and things would deteriorate, with twists and writing so clever that I wished I’d thought of them myself. I’m just glad I started this series after exams… I think it took my boyfriend and I a fortnight and approx. forty cups of tea to finish this and I don’t regret anything about it.
words by Carly-May Kavanagh
One of the easiest and best shows to binge-watch, which I know because I’ve done so multiple times, is Fox’s police precinct sitcom, Brooklyn Nine-Nine. As most American comedies do, each episode clocks in at just over 20 minutes to watch, so it’s super easy to get through episodes quickly; and soon enough one episode becomes a whole series…
A show filled with heart, charm, hilarity and fun; it is one that should definitely be on radar this summer and forever. The show hosts a cast of wonderfully written characters, and plots from the ridiculous to the brilliant that all make you laugh out loud. You find that the squad become like a family to you; “A family with two black dads, two Latina daughters, two white sons and a Gina.” Also- Jake Peralta is bae. Just saying. If that doesn’t convince you, read my recent article about why it’s my happy place.
words by Rehana Nurmahi
Whose Line Is It Anyway?
With each episode coming in at a bite-size 20 minutes; side-splitting classic improvisational series Whose Line Is It Anyway is ideal for binge-watching. The series was relaunched in 2010 with new host Aisha Tyler and long-time performers Ryan Stiles, Colin Mochrie and Wayne Brady, and now features a variety of games involving a star guest each week (so far we have seen everyone from Michael Weatherly to Chris Jericho) and centering around a variety of themes. For me, it is the perfect source of light relief or a short break between deadlines and it is really surprising how much entertainment can be made from a suggestion which is only a few words long! It can easily be watched online for free via the CW website, and with the entire classic US season also accessible, watching an entire season in one sitting is far too easy.
words by Cameron Ridgeway
Friday Night Lights
The perfect binge-watch this summer (and I can vouch for this because I am currently partaking in it) is Friday Night Lights. It’s a great piece of drama with instantly compelling characters, and the added excitement of the eponymous football games on Friday nights. The show has a way of indulging American football fans without alienating the humble novice, and relies on much more than the four quarters of the game to provide powerful scenes and performances. The series follows long-suffering coach Eric Taylor (Kyle Chandler) as he negotiates the stifling politics of Texas football at Dillon High School with wife Tami (Connie Britton). Their relationship is something everyone should aspire to have and all the characters, those both on and off the field, have a way of surprising you. You have a vested interest in every one of them, and despite their obvious differences, and the issues surrounding such sports, you see the honest and heart-warming familial effect these teams have on the diverse community they represent; even if those damn boosters are anything but.
words by Tash Williamson
Person Of Interest
There are a number of things which make this neat little show the perfect binging material. It’s recently concluded, so no burning through episodes only to stall waiting for the next. It reached five seasons, so a wonderful compromise between ‘tight, well contained story’ and ‘plenty of marathon fodder’. It’s got a fun cast of characters with diverse casting and distinct personalities, which grow into themselves and each other across the series. Characters who you might at first assume to be minor supports or one-off appearances develop organically, weaving in and out of the narrative like, you know. Actual people in your life, until you begin to forget they weren’t there to begin with.
Its biggest selling point? It’s mindbreaking genre jump. Person Of Interst was initially framed as a crime drama, with a ‘villain of the week’ format with a twist – villains were selected by a supercomputer which analysed for patterns in security cameras and social media. Cool. But much like the characters, the plot builds subtly, until you’re three series in and realise you’re watching a deep and involved sci fi drama featuring warring AIs, shady agencies and government conspiracies. You’re hooked before you even realise what’s happening.
words by Camilla Cassidy
This is England
Gritty, British, and full of 80s haircuts – the This is England mini series are an excellent choice for binge-watching. Continuing on from Shane Meadow’s 2006 film of the same title, each series is roughly four episodes long; and expands on the initial story lines set up in 1983. Moving from ’86, to ’88, and finishing on ’90, each one explores the dark reality of the gang’s lives since their original debut. Shaun (Thomas Turgoose) is older, Woody (Joe Gilgun) and Lol (Vicky McClure) have their own growing up to do, and mods have a bone to pick with the skinhead crowd.
Meadows perfectly tightropes the line between humour and darkness, breaking down the truth of relationships and families with abashedly real characters. As time progresses between each installment, we get to see the repercussions of every person’s actions as the years go on – leaving you hooked from the get-go. Whilst the amount of episodes might not be ideal for bingeing, it’s quality over quantity with this one, with heartbreaking and heartwarming moments delivered in equal measure. A collection that will leave you glued to your seat for the day.
words by Ash Millman
Watch celebrities discuss the dos and don’ts of binge-watching below: