As much as I love reading, there is some great storytelling that happens in film and television too. When I’m feeling a little too fried to tackle a new book, I sometimes take a break and binge watch some TV instead. Much like books, everyone has their own preferences for genre and these are just a few shows that I have loved watching.
This series is an institution. Seriously. It is on its 13th season and has legions if loyal fans. For the few of you out there who have not heard of the series, it follows two brothers Sam and Dean Winchester who take up the family business of saving people and hunting things, in particular supernatural things. While not a traditional procedural, most of the episodes do follow a procedural format of investigation. That said, the show is very much focused on the relationship between Sam and Dean and their transient life on the road. Though the show is about monster hunting, it is also about family and the lengths to which we will go for the people we care about. Currently, Netflix has 12 full seasons with the current season slated to be uploaded shortly after the season finishes airing.
2. Criminal Minds
If you are looking for another major binge, I'd recommend Criminal Minds. This show is a twist on the police procedural format, focusing on the FBI's Behavioral Analysis Unit (BAU), a unit that uses psychological profiling to catch serial killers and other criminals. The psychological profiling is what makes the show unique and puts a new twist on the old procedural formula. The show is on season 13, with the first 12 seasons available to binge on Netflix. I've watched a ton of procedural shows and this one is far and away one of my favorites. Be forewarned, the show does involve catching serial killers, so the episodes can be kind of disturbing, but only insofar as a network show allows.
3. Stranger Things
I know, I know. Everyone out there has already watched Stranger Things. But, for the 3 of you out there who haven't watched it yet, I highly recommend it. This Netflix original brings together all the best of 80's pop culture with some serious Steven King vibes. Without giving too much away, the series centers on the disappearance of 12-year-old Will Byers from the small town of Hawkins, Indiana under mysterious circumstances that bring his friends face-to-face with a horror not of this world. There are not words to describe how much I love this series. Both of its 2 seasons are available to stream.
4. Altered Carbon
Based on the novel by Richard K. Morgan, Altered Carbon centers on a rebel and soldier turned PI, Takeshi Kovacs. In this dystopian future, death is avoidable. People can jump into new bodies by swapping their consciousness in and out of human "sleeves." Equal parts gritty sci-fi and neo-noir mystery, this series blew my mind. I truly binged it, watching the entire series in one day. The acting is great, especially Joel Kinnaman, and the world of the story is rich and immersive. As much as I love this series, I will disclaim that it is probably not for everyone. There is graphic violence, nudity, and explicit sexual content. If this is a deal-breaker for you, you may want to give this series a pass, but I do think you will be seriously missing out. There is only 1 season so far, but it is a great one.
5. Penny Dreadful
I love gothic fiction a lot. In fact, I wrote a post recently about why I love it so much. For anyone who appreciates gothic fiction, this show is one you need to check out. Penny Dreadful brings together characters from Dracula, Frankenstein, and The Picture of Dorian Gray in 1890s London. The series is dark, creepy, and absolutely riveting. The same warning I gave Altered Carbon applies here: the series contains graphic violence, nudity, and explicit sexual content. You have been forewarned. That said, can something be truly gothic if it doesn't push the bounds of decency? If you are into horror and period dramas, then you need to give this one a look. It is gorgeously filmed and Eva Green's acting is absolutely out of this world. All 3 seasons are available to binge.
These recommendations definitely aren't for everyone, but they are shows I have absolutely loved. If you find yourself in need of something new to watch, give one of these a try!