And it’s not just drama that’s worth a binge.
Ever since Cheers brought us comedy with a gripping storyline over an entire season (remember the on again/off again relationship of Sam and Diane?), sitcoms with ongoing story threads like Friends and Seinfeld are good for a binge watch.
So get the wine and cheese ready - here are ten of the best shows to spend a weekend with.
10. The Handmaid's Tale
It’s one of the most bleakest, horrifying and despairing shows in TV history, but it’s also one of the most compelling and addictive. Based on the Margaret Atwood novel, The Handmaid's Tale follows a group of enslaved women in a terrifying rebooted version of America in the aftermath of a civil war. In this new world of "Gilead", fertility is rare, and those that can still produce offspring are forced into sexual servitude by the ruthless hyper-biblical ruling class. These “handmaids” are sent to live with a family and periodically raped by the patriarch until they become pregnant. Our heroine is June (Elisabeth Moss), who has a child she is desperate to find and a husband she is hoping to return to in Canada. Three seasons have been made so far with a fourth scheduled for release in 2020. It’s a Hulu show, but in Australia you can binge it on SBS On Demand.
9. Stranger Things
Brace yourself for the trippiest ride of your life - to eighties' tunes. From the beginning, Netflix’s Stranger Things tugs the heartstrings with the disappearance of 12-year-old Will Byers from a small Indiana town. As his three devoted buddies search for him, we meet Eleven (Millie Bobbie Brown), a mysterious girl with telekinetic powers and an accompanying nose bleed. To say much more would ruin the surprises in this gripping, spooky, topsy-turvy sci-fi drama. It’s a Steven Spielberg-like adventure full of eighties nostalgia. Stream its three seasons (so far) on Netflix.
8. The Office (US)
It might not be the taut comedy masterpiece of Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant's UK original, but the US version of The Office is perhaps a little more binge-worthy for its warmer characters and multiple storylines. Follow the adventures of the staff of the Dunder-Mifflin Paper Company Inc., in Scranton, Pennsylvania. Will salesman Jim (John Krasinski) and receptionist Pam (Jenna Fischer) hook up? Will boss Michael (Steve Carell) find love (and a family and friends)? Will part-time beet farmer Dwight (Rainn Wilson) ever learn not to fall for one of Jim’s pranks? And of course there’s the smart comedy writing from the minds of Greg Daniels, Mindy Kaling, B.J. Novak and more. Stream its nine seasons on Stan.
7. Big Little Lies
Based on the bestseller by Australian author Liane Moriarty, Big Little Lies is a dark comedy that centres on the relationships of five women in the idyllic seaside town of Monterey, California. Starring Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern and Zoe Kravitz, it’s perfect to binge on because of its twists, high-drama, mystery and secrets. A thrilling, highly addictive ride. Stream the HBO series on Foxtel.
It’s long been touted as a show about nothing, but every moment of the sitcom Seinfeld was about something, whether it be clothing, social etiquette, films, books, jobs, sex, nudity, sleep, or bushy eyebrows. Created by genius comedian buddies Larry David and Jerry Seinfeld, the groundbreaking series follows the lives of comedian Jerry (Seinfeld), neurotic George (Jason Alexander), nutty Elaine (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and zany neighbour Kramer (Michael Richards) as they battle life’s problems. Stream its nine seasons on Stan.
5. Orange Is The New Black
Who doesn’t love a good women’s prison drama? Shows like Australian classic Prisoner (aka Cell Block H) or Wentworth have proven that jails are perfect melting pots for high stakes drama. And Netflix’s Orange is the New Black is a gem. Piper Chapman is a PR exec whose past comes back to haunt her. With historical links to a drug runner, she’s sentenced to a term in a minimum-security women's prison in Connecticut. Stream it on Netflix and get locked in for hours. Seven seasons.
They'll be there for you - for ten whole seasons. From the start it becomes clear Friends is the perfect sitcom to binge, because it’s not only smart and funny, but it's touching that someone as dorky and nice as Ross (David Schwimmer) falls hard for a stunner like Rachel (Jennifer Aniston) and has desperate hopes they’ll hook up. And then there’s all the romantic surprises and laughs along the way. Stream it on Stan.
3. The Walking Dead
Of all the zombie material to sink your teeth into, this one is choice. Sheriff Deputy Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) wakes up from a coma to find out the world has undergone an apocalyptic holocaust, and leads a gaggle of survivors who seek a safe haven while being followed by flesh-eating zombies (known as "Walkers"). An intense, heart-stopping drama that will captivate you for its 10 seasons. Based on the comic book series of the same name, the show was kick-started by Frank Darabont (director of The Shawshank Redemption). Stream it on Foxtel.
2. Game of Thrones
Winter is coming, get in the game. This brilliant multi-layered HBO series is set in a mythical world where four rival dynasties vie for control over the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros. Based on George R. R. Martin's epic saga, this one is strictly for adults, with much blood and salaciousness. It's complex, bold and exquisitely crafted, and the production is stunning and lavish. The grand finale in its final eighth season was met with much controversy, but don’t let that put you off. Binge it now on Foxtel.
1. Breaking Bad
One of the greatest TV dramas ever produced, Breaking Bad centres on the life of high school chemistry teacher Walter White (Bryan Cranston), who learns he has cancer, and can only think of how his death will affect his family, including his disabled teenage son. He wants to set them up for life but how will a teacher, earning what teachers earn in America, do that? He breaks bad. Using his expert knowledge of chemistry, White reaches out to his former student Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) to produce the in-demand recreational drug methamphetamine (crystal meth). What follows is a gripping tale of survival in a perilous underground world. It builds over five seasons to a shocking and brilliant climax, all of which can be streamed on Stan. Binge it. Binge it now. (Then stream its follow-up movie El Camino on Netflix.)
Other series that could have just as easily made this list: Supernatural, American Horror Story, Dead To Me, The Good Doctor, Parks and Recreation, The Good Wife, The Sopranos, The Good Place, Line of Duty, Good Girls, Unbelievable, Outlander, Grey's Anatomy.