Looking for shows to binge watch? Here is a great list of 10 Shows to Binge Watch While Stuck at Home.
Many of us are spending more time at home these days, and each of these shows will keep you entertained and coming back for more. We give you the information about if this is a show for families or one for adults only.
Special thanks to Jeff Marshall, Movie Blogger who created this list for The Holy Mess.
While you’re at home, think of the silver lining: You have more time to catch up on all your shows. If the sheer amount of choices is overwhelming, we’ve put together a list of 10 shows to binge watch while stuck at home.
What To Watch in 2020 on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime
For those of you who are stuck at home practicing your social distancing during this difficult and stressful time, I wanted to share with you 10 shows to binge watch while you’re trapped behind closed doors.
My name is Jeff Marshall. I am Sara’s cousin/BFF and was at one time a regular contributor to The Holy Mess. I still come by every once in a while to help with articles about entertainment, namely film and television.
I asked my readers at JEFF MARSHALL, MOVIE BLOGGER on Facebook to help me provide some worthwhile suggestions for you to consider. Some of these are family-friendly and some are targeted for mom and dad when the kids are busy with activities during the day or tucked away for the night. Some of these will make you laugh, others will make you cry, and still, others will have you squeezing the feathers out of your pillows because of the suspense.
10 Shows to Binge Watch While Stuck at Home
So, in alphabetical order, here are 10 possible choices to help make your isolation a little more entertaining.
Shows To Binge Watch Right Now
TITLE: THE ACT
STREAMING SERVICE: Hulu
LENGTH: Eight episodes ranging from 48 to 60 minutes.
SUGGESTED AUDIENCE: Mature pre-teens and older.
PLOT: Dee Dee Blanchard is overprotective of her daughter Gypsy, who is trying to escape the toxic relationship she has with her mother. Gypsy’s quest for independence opens up a Pandora’s box of secrets, which ultimately leads to murder.
THOUGHTS: This gripping limited series is yet another textbook example of truth being stranger than fiction, and although there’s a few bumps along the way, this is overall a very successful and highly watchable program, anchored by fantastic performances by Joey King as Gypsy and Patricia Arquette as Dee Dee, who won an Emmy for her performance. I would also encourage you to check out the documentary MOTHER DEAD AND DEAREST, which serves as a great companion piece to show the similarities between the real life people involved and the cast here. A couple of the episodes are not as successful as the others, particularly one which flashes back to Dee Dee’s past in an attempt to explain her delusional behavior. A little editing overall could have brought this in at 6 episodes rather than 8. And the arc of Gypsy’s character seems erratic and jarring at times, even though King does magnificent work here.
TITLE: BASIC SKILLS CHALLENGE
STREAMING SERVICE: Hulu
LENGTH: Ten episodes ranging from 3 to 5 minutes.
SUGGESTED AUDIENCE: Anyone in the family
PLOT: What happens when 50 people are asked to perform certain rudimentary cooking skills? You get aches and pains from laughing too hard.
THOUGHTS: Perhaps you’re looking for something lighthearted with a minimum commitment level. This is the perfect show for you, and it is definitely one of the most family friendly options on this entire list. The concept sounds simple enough – watch 50 people try to perform kitchen duties like cutting pineapple rings, slicing an onion and coring an apple. Sit back and let hilarity ensue. I never imagined it would be so entertaining to watch someone try to peel a carrot. And the short 3-5 minute running time for each episode is ideal, particularly for the younger audience with limited attention spans. You’ll probably be asked by the kids to rewatch some of these episodes over and over again, so you could conceivably spend a couple hours with this show in spite of the short running time.
STREAMING SERVICE: Netflix
LENGTH: Six episodes ranging from 56 to 62 minutes.
SUGGESTED AUDIENCE: Middle school and older, particularly if you have children interested in pursuing cheerleading as a scholastic extra curricular activity.
PLOT: A nationally ranked 40-member cheerleading team from Navarro College in Corsicana, TX works together to win a coveted national title.
THOUGHTS: Full disclosure here – I only watched the first episode. It just wasn’t my thing. That being said, this has a 96% approval rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and I have heard from a lot of people who really love this show. And I can truly see why. The first episode was immediately peppered with a wide array of interesting characters, from tough head coach Monica Aldama to breakout fan favorite Jerry Harris, whose positive attitude and eccentric personality are hard to resist. Knowing absolutely nothing about cheerleading, I was surprised and impressed by the extreme amount of dedication and commitment that goes into these often dangerous routines. I’d say these kids work just as hard as the participants in the sports for which they’re cheering. I can see where this would be highly interesting and probably valuable for any young person interested in pursuing cheerleading during their school years.
TITLE: DIRTY MONEY
STREAMING SERVICE: Netflix
LENGTH: Twelve episodes ranging from 50 to 75 minutes.
SUGGESTED AUDIENCE: Most likely mom and dad, possibly older teenagers interested in the subject matter.
PLOT: From crippling pay day loans to cars that cheat emission tests, this investigative series exposes brazen acts of corporate greed and corruption.
THOUGHTS: I have not seen this show, but it was recommended by JEFF MARSHALL, MOVIE BLOGGER reader Meg Montag from Berea, OH. She writes, “(DIRTY MONEY) deals with how man exploits earth and its resources. I will never look at avocados, bottled water, cocoa beans and sugar the same way again.” Meg certainly piqued my interest with her recommendation, and I immediately put it in my queue. I am planning to give it a look during my current work furlough. It currently sits on Rotten Tomatoes with a perfect 100% approval rating and has a remarkable 4.6 out of 5 from Google reviews. Among the topics covered are Wells Fargo, Jared Kushner, Volkswagen and, of course, Donald Trump. I’m really looking forward to this one.
TITLE: A LITTLE HELP WITH CAROL BURNETT
STREAMING SERVICE: Netflix
LENGTH: Twelve episodes ranging from 21 to 29 minutes.
SUGGESTED AUDIENCE: Anyone in the family.
PLOT: Carol Burnett and co-host Russell Peters are joined by kids between the ages of 5 and 9, who assist adults who face dilemmas that they need help in resolving. The opinionated “experts” weigh in with their thoughts on the grown ups’ problems. Each episode features a celebrity guest who bravely brings their quandary in front of the kids to get their thoughts.
THOUGHTS: Comedy icon Carol Burnett returns to series television as the star of her own show for the first time in decades on this series that sees her working with pint-sized co-stars. Reminiscent of shows such as KIDS SAY THE DARNDEST THINGS, this is an undeniably cute and often clever show that pretty much defines family friendly entertainment. And anything that features the indefatigable and iconic Burnett automatically becomes must-see television. Celebrity guest stars include Lisa Kudrow, Derek Hough, Billy Eichner, Tony Hale and many more. If uncensored and ridiculously clever children are your cup of tea, you’ll undoubtedly find a lot to enjoy here.
TITLE: MAKING THE CUT
STREAMING SERVICE: Amazon Prime
LENGTH: Ten episodes approximately 60 minutes each.
SUGGESTED AUDIENCE: This is pretty much family friendly, particularly if you’re interested in design.
PLOT: Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn host 12 designers who face challenges and assignments that will test their design skills and their abilities to run all aspects of a business.
THOUGHTS: I am not a fan of reality television in general, but I do love most of the competition shows based around talent and creativity, whether it be the singers from THE VOICE or the culinary experts from TOP CHEF or the amateur celebrity hoofers from DANCING WITH THE STARS. If you enjoy PROJECT RUNWAY, you’ll most likely enjoy this show as well, which takes basically the same concept but gives it a more international flair. The original host and mentor of PROJECT RUNWAY, Heidi Klum and Tim Gunn respectively, have jumped on board to this new endeavor as executive producers, and the blood, sweat, tears and passion that comprise the creative process are illustrated among the batch of international contestants vying for the win. My only negative are the sporadic lighthearted moments that show Klum and Gunn cavorting throughout the cities in which the show is taking place during specific episodes. They comes across as distractions, and I would prefer the spotlight remain on the designers and their processes. (P.S. If you are REALLY into this type of show, Netflix has a very similar offering called NEXT IN FASHION.)
TITLE: THE POLITICIAN
STREAMING SERVICE: Netflix
LENGTH: Eight episodes ranging from 28 to 62 minutes.
SUGGESTED AUDIENCE: Teens and older.
PLOT: Payton Hobart, a wealthy student from Santa Barbara, has known since age 7 that he’s going to be president of the United States, but first he has to navigate the most treacherous political landscape of all, Saint Sebastian High School.
THOUGHTS: This show quite easily passes my simple two-prong test – it interested me enough to watch the whole thing in a day, and I would definitely watch a second season. This is a fun watch as long as you don’t take it too seriously, and it has Ryan Murphy’s fingerprints all over it – from the repertoire of actors who appear in many of his other programs to the mix of outrageous comedy and serious drama. The first couple episodes have some tonal issues and the last couple feel a bit disjointed and less inspired, but, barring one particular episode, this has a great middle section. Ben Platt, who garnered out of this world notices and a Tony Award for DEAR EVAN HANSEN, is the glue that holds everything together, and he does a great job of remaining likable and charismatic even when his character does questionable and often times borderline reprehensible thing. In other words, he succeeds as a true politician. And this is the best representation I’ve seen of high school politics since the brilliant 1999 movie ELECTION with Matthew Broderick and a sensational Reese Witherspoon.
TITLE: THE TIGER KING
STREAMING SERVICE: Netflix
LENGTH: Seven episodes ranging from 41 to 48 minutes; an eighth episode aftershow lasting 40 minutes was recently added.
SUGGESTED AUDIENCE: Older teenagers as well as mom and dad.
PLOT: Joe Exotic is a mulleted, gun-toting polygamist and country western singer who presides over an Oklahoma roadside zoo. Charismatic but misguided, Joe and a cast of characters including drug kingpins, conmen and cult leaders all share a passion for big cats. But things take a dark turn when Carole Baskin, an animal activist and owner of a big cat sanctuary, threatens to put them out of business, stoking a rivalry that eventually leads to Joe’s arrest for a murder-for-hire plot, and reveals a twisted tale where the only thing more dangerous than a big cat is its owner.
THOUGHTS: You’d pretty much have to be living under a rock not to have at least heard about this recent phenomenon, arguably the most talked about documentary in recent years. While compulsively watchable and ceaselessly entertaining, I felt it lacked the jawdropping shocks, riveting unpredictability and emotional connection of other recent binge-worthy shows. That being said, there’s no doubt that Joseph Maldonado-Passage is an utterly fascinating character who almost feels like he walked in from a Christopher Guest mockumentary. When the focus is on the war between him and arch nemesis Carole Baskin, the show is virtually perfect. A failed run for governor is hysterical and speaks volumes about current politics and the minds of many voters. And the parade of supporting characters is fascinating – particularly his three husbands (one of whom provides the biggest shock in the series) and the co-workers at his zoo. However, the time devoted to Joe’s takedown and the zoo’s takeover by a Vegas crook and a couple other cronies feels less inspired and a bit predictable. By the time of the climactic court case, it feels to be running out of steam a bit. But Exotic and Baskin are two characters I’ll never forget.
TITLE: THE TRIALS OF GABRIEL FERNANDEZ
STREAMING SERVICE: Netflix
LENGTH: Six episodes ranging from 47 to 63 minutes.
SUGGESTED AUDIENCE: Definitely mom and dad; if the teenagers in your family express interest, I’d watch it first due to the disturbing subject matter.
PLOT: A boy’s brutal murder and the public trials of his guardians and social workers prompt questions about the system’s protection of vulnerable children.
THOUGHTS: Quite frankly, this will likely be too shattering and upsetting for many people to watch, but for those who choose to go on the journey, you will be outraged, saddened and perplexed in equal doses. I can tell you one thing for certain – I will never forget the name of Gabriel Hernandez. The torture this young child went through is unfathomable and unacceptable – and this unforgettable series goes into painstaking detail describing not only the horrific details that led to his unfortunate death but the many ways it could have – and should have – been avoided. This is yet another example of truth being stranger than fiction, and yet another example of the brilliant documentaries that Netflix has been bringing into the homes of its subscribers. The image of this young boy will be etched on my memory forever, and I only pray that his untimely demise will help lead to the necessary change and reform so desperately needed.
STREAMING SERVICE: Netflix
LENGTH: Eight episodes ranging from 45 to 58 minutes each.
SUGGESTED AUDIENCE: Definitely mom and dad only.
CAST: Merritt Wever, Toni Collette and Kaitlyn Dever
PLOT: When a teen reports being raped, then recants her story, two female detectives follow evidence that could reveal the truth; based on a true story.
THOUGHTS: This is gripping, suspenseful and timely. I was planning to watch one episode just to get a feel for it and found myself up at 2:30AM as the credits of the eighth and final episode rolled. If you love crimes shows like CSI and movies like ZODIAC or COPYCAT, this is right up your alley. And I must say, considering the grisly subject matter involved, it is remarkably tasteful and light on the blood and guts. Collette is reliably great as always, but let me say something here about Wever, an actress about whom I know very little. I believe her Detective Karen Duvall deserves to rank among the great movie/television female law enforcers. I could tell immediately that this was going to be a unique and original variation on the tough as nails detective. She was mesmerizing! When all is said and done, it probably could have been edited down to six or seven episodes, although I love that this format gives filmmakers the opportunity to move slowly and let us linger in the minutiae and details a 2 hour movie can’t. And if I’m nitpicking, although Dever is outstanding, her section of the miniseries doesn’t feel quite as compelling as the rest, and a couple of the supporting performances didn’t ring true. Still, for crime buffs, you’re probably not going to find anything much better than this right now.
Binge Worthy Shows
Digital Trends says, Netflix has a treasure trove of terrific movies that you can stream right now, but if you’re looking for more than just a two-hour commitment, it’s also got a boatload of great TV shows you can delve into to keep yourself occupied for days — or even weeks — on end. If you just finished a good series and need a new one to fill the void, Netflix is the place to go, given the service’s phenomenal mix of classic, current, and original programming.
What Have You Binge Watched in 2020?
What do you think of our list of best shows to binge watch while stuck at home? Have you seen these? What would you add to our list? Share about it in the comments below.
Don’t forget to grab some healthy snacks while you binge watch your favorite shows.
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