11 shows to binge-watch over winter break


By Maddie Lamonica, Business Manager 

As a much needed winter break comes nearer it’s a great time to start making holiday plans: hanging out with friends, spending time with family, and of course – catching up on some much needed Netflix. With countless options it can be daunting to choose which show to watch. Here are 11 TV shows worthy of binge-watching this holiday season.

Stranger Things
One of the most critically acclaimed Netflix Original series, “Stranger Things” follows a group of teenage boys and the supernatural occurrences the surround them after their friend, Will Byers, goes missing. Taking inspiration from science fiction classics such as E.T and Jaws, this series is chock-full of 80s nostalgia. But more than that, the show delivers a powerful message and has received a cult following ever since the first season was released in 2015. Even if you are not a fan of science fiction (like myself), Stranger Things is sure to impress with its intricate plot and depth of characters, not to mention the array of talented young actors.

Gilmore Girls
First airing in 2000, Gilmore Girls was an instant success due to its down to earth storytelling and relatable characters. It follows the life of single mother Lorelai Gilmore and her daughter Rory in a small town in Connecticut. More recently, Netflix reunited the cast for a reunion season entitled “Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life.” Similar to its parent show, “A Year in the Life” received rave reviews from fans and critics alike. It answered many of the questions posed at the end of series but also left a cliffhanger so surprising it had watches spitting out their Luke’s coffee. Currently, there are rumors surfacing about a second season to “A Year in the Life” which makes it the perfect time to start this feel good classic.

Black Mirror
This anthology and Netflix original series takes a look at a numerous amount of possible futures and examines many issues in today’s society, most notably the abuse of technology. Taking inspiration from “The Twilight Zone” each episode of “Black Mirror” has a unique plot and set of characters, making it different than any other show on Netflix right now. Additionally, the anthological aspect means it is less of a time commitment, as you can pick and choose which episodes to watch without fear of spoilers. No matter which episode you do choose by the end you will find yourself astonished by the depth of plot and world-building that can be reached in just fifty minutes.

New Girl
This light-hearted series is the story of Jess Day, a quirky and well-intentioned elementary school teacher who, through coincidence, ends up moving in with four male strangers following a breakup (and that’s just where we start). What ensues is a lot of the typical sitcom tropes but is somehow set apart from its competitors with its unique plot and distinctive sense of humor. Recently, Netflix issued a statement saying that “New Girl” is going to be removed from the website in early 2018 (R.I.P), which makes winter break the best time to binge all five seasons before it leaves.

This drama takes a new look at the life of a lower class family in the Chicago area. The show follows the Gallagher family: Mom left long ago, Dad spends his days sleeping and nights fueling his alcoholism, and oldest daughter, Fiona, is forced to handle many of the child-rearing responsibilities of her five younger siblings. Depressing in theory, “Shameless” is surprising hilarious but also has its real moments that make you remember why it is labeled as a drama. One of the more authentic portrayals of poverty in America, Shameless has garnered high praise since it first aired in 2011.

American Horror Story
This anthology-like horror series has captured audiences ever since they were first introduced to the Los Angeles murder house in 2011. Similar to “Black Mirror,” “American Horror Story” features a completely different plot with each of its six seasons. Topics range from a portrayal of an insane asylum to a coven of witches. However, what makes this show different than other anthologies is that each season is somehow interconnected which adds a whole other dimension when watching. Those who enjoy science fiction and horror genres will surely appreciate the jump scares and suspense in this show.

This brand new Netflix original series follows two FBI agents, Holden Ford and Bill Tench whose job is to study the psyches of convicted criminals in order to get a better understanding of how they think. Along the way the two agents help to pioneer modern serial killing profiling. Yes, it is nearly a Criminal Minds prequel. Based on the book of the same name, “Mindhunter” take place in the 1970s and lacks much of the forensic technology that is often taken for granted. The show was met with instant success due to its incredible array of Oscar winning actors including Charlize Theron and its unique time frame.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt
This Netflix Original comedy has a plot so radically different than anything on TV and streaming services. “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” follows the story of Kimmy, who moves to New York City after being rescued from a cult, in which she spent over 15 years living in. Having no formal education past elementary school, Kimmy’s evident naiveté gets her into trouble with every turn. This Emmy-nominated comedy was met with success upon release due to its theme of optimism and painfully unique characters. Season four is set to be released in early 2018 making this a great show to binge this holiday season.

A truly timeless classic that redefined what a sitcom could be, “Friends” has inspired numerous imitators but none can live up the original. Following a group of six friends through their mid 20s and early 30s the show now represents a generation of 90s kids who grew up on Rachel and Ross. The New York City setting only adds to this, as it serves as time capsule of life before cell phones. The show continues to be quoted and beloved by people of all ages, especially in recent months as rumors of a possible reunion season have surfaced. Which makes now a better time than ever to catch up.

13 Reasons Why
One of the most highly contentious Netflix original series, “13 Reasons Why” addresses the serious topics of teen depression and suicide. Based on the book of the same name, the show takes place in two time periods, before and after the suicide of high school student, Hannah Baker. Through the series, Hannah discloses 13 people whose actions ultimately caused her to take her own life, in the form of cassette tapes. While the show has sparked outrage from adults claiming it displays suicide as a revenge fantasy, its profound message is undeniably relevant today which makes this show a must-watch.

This drama is loosely based on the Archie Comics series, but besides the character names, the two have very little in common. “Riverdale” takes place in a quiet town where nothing seems to happen. This changes however, when the community is rocked following the murder of golden boy, Jason Blossom. A guilty pleasure type series, Riverdale is not the show you watch for amazing acting. However, the plot itself in intriguing and with season two currently airing on the CW network it is the perfect show to add to your Netflix queue.  

Maddie can be reached [email protected]