Saturday, December 20, 2014

11 Binge-Worthy Shows to Watch This Winter

It seems like more and more shows are having Fall Finales and breaking for the winter. What can you do when all your favorite shows aren't coming back for months? Find some new favorites to binge on! Netflix, Amazon Instant Video and Hulu all have some amazing series on offer, so here's a list of 11 binge-worthy shows to check out over your holiday break.

I've spoken about Outlander several times but for those of you who haven't heard about it (where have you been?!), it's a fantastic romance/sci-fi/period drama based on the Outlander series of novels by Diana Gabaldon. The show follows a married military nurse Claire Beauchamp, who during a second honeymoon in Scotland in 1945 is hurdled back through time to 1743. While facing unforeseen dangers in a world in which she is a constant outsider, Claire is forced into the arms of Jamie Fraser, a chivalrous and romantic Scotsman who she finds herself falling for. Claire's heart is torn between two very different men in two completely different times. 

This series has it all time travel, suspense, intrigue, romance, passion, witty banter and a smart and sassy heroine. Oh, and best of all, Scotsmen! The acting is fantastic, the sets are breathtaking, the action is intense. There's just the right balance of sex and violence to keep things exciting. This series is a must watch and my absolute favorite new show of 2014.

Where to Watch: Starz on Demand

The Fall
If you're a fan of police procedurals and psychological thrillers this will be right up your street. On the show, Gillian Anderson (The X-Files) plays a detective in Belfast hunting for a serial killer, played by Jamie Dornan (Fifty Shades of Grey). The story is incredibly gripping and exciting. Anderson and Dornan deliver acting that feels so authentic and honest. You feel as if these are real people, not actors dramatizing a fictional scenario. Jamie Dornan is the sexiest, creepiest serial killer on TV and inspires all kinds of unrealistic hopes of somehow saving him. Sadly, the first season is only 5 episodes so it's really more of a quick snack than a true binge but it'll definitely leave you satisfied. 

Where to Watch: Netflix

Downton Abbey
Oh, Downton, I'm not going to give you a whole synopsis because it's such a well known series but if you haven't watched it yet, now is the time. It's dramatic and stirring and will yank you around by your heartstrings. You really feel for both the masters and the servants in different ways. It has those fantastic moments of back-stabbing and manipulation that make you want to start punching people. And Maggie Smith is the bad-ass bitty of every one of my dreams, sassing and setting people straight. Even if you're not a fan of period dramas, it's just a fantastic show with great acting and writing (that you don't have to be a woman to enjoy). You'll get hooked!

Where to Watch: Amazon Instant Video

Pretty Little Liars
This show gets a bad rap for being a show for teen girls but honestly, it's a seriously thrilling drama that always keeps you guessing. The story revolves around a group of teen girls who are being taunted and stalked by the mysterious person who murdered their friend. There's plenty of teen angst and family drama but it's the whodunit elements that really drive the show and make it the edge-of-your-seat thriller that it is. You'll be shocked by how engrossed you'll become in the lives of these girls and their struggle to discover what happened to their friend.

Where to Watch: Netflix

If you like political shows, law shows or just good dramas, this show is worth a gander. It's fantastically written and it always keeps you guessing. This is the perfect binge show because it's so incredibly addictive. The political intrigue and manipulation, and the firm's cases themselves really pull you in. Plus, Olivia Pope is a strong, confident, powerful woman and that's always something worth seeing on TV.

Where to Watch: Netflix

Sons of Anarchy
Sons has just completed its final season and what a ride it's been. I just finished the 6th season - which is the most recent one available on Netflix- and it was insane. The show follows a tight-knit motorcycle club in a small town in California and their less-than-legal side operations. There's a definite hierarchy in the group and the manipulation and betrayals are almost akin to the political dealings on a show like The Tudors. As a bonus, this show also has some phenomenal acting. You really feel that sense of brotherhood in the group and it makes you fall in love with the individual members.

When I started watching the first season, I kind of liked it but wasn't sure it was really worth my time. But that said, you kind of need to stick with it. When the first episode of the second season rolls around they really get into the swing of things and step up the violence. Violence really seems to work when it comes to this show for some reason.

Where to Watch: Netflix

American Horror Story
You don't have to love scary movies to love American Horror Story. I mean, I'm sure it helps, because there are definitely some gory, horrifying moments. But the acting and writing are amazing and the stories always keep you guessing. Each season uses the same actors to tell a different story so you don't necessarily have to watch the seasons in order - though I would recommend it. My favorite of the four seasons so far was Asylum, though the first season was probably the most traditionally horror. If you're looking for something a little different, catch a few episodes on Netflix and see how you like it.

Where to Watch: Netflix

It's hard to believe that this show has already been on for 10 seasons, with over 200 episodes under its belt. The show follows brothers Sam and Dean Winchester as they hunt all the things that go bump in the night. It's a great fantasy show with some killer seasonal story arcs. Some of my favorite parts of the show come from the subversive and often meta humor and the interactions between the characters. You can see that the actors have really grown into their roles and the bonds that bind the characters. These people actually feel like they joke together off camera. Plus, the fact that the leads are very easy on the eyes doesn't hurt. Seriously, Jensen Ackles as Dean is 75% of why I started to watch this show. If you love you some sci-fi, but want a drama that has some kicks of comedy, this is the show for you.

Where to Watch: Netflix

It seems like I'm choosing a lot of thrilling, suspenseful shows on this list but I guess that's just what I like. I think suspenseful shows make for great binges because you can't help but want to keep watching episode after episode. Broadchurch is a perfect example. Solving the mystery of who, in this sleepy little town, killed Danny keeps you on the edge of your seat. Like so many of my choices it has incredibly acting, beautiful locations and great writing. But this show is also visually stunning. The cinematography is something you could expect from a box office hit. And you get to watch David Tennant do his thing. Always a good idea.

Where to Watch: Netflix

Being Human (UK)
This is an old favorite that I started watching back in 2009. What would happen if a ghost, a werewolf and a vampire shared an apartment? That's the basic premise of the show. It's a drama with a vein of comedy that comes from the unusual friendship between the roommates. Now, I specifically recommend the British version of Being Human as I actually don't like the American remake. All five seasons are available on Netflix but since it's a British series the seasons are fairly short.

Where to Watch: Netflix

Bitten is the story of a female werewolf who is trying to live a normal life in Toronto but keeps being pulled into Pack drama back in Upstate New York. There's a fantastic love triangle and lots of twists and turns that keep you interested. By the time the 9th episode rolls around you'll be shocked by how insane the fight scenes and action have gotten. For some reason I didn't like the show when I watched the first episode but I stuck with it and it just got better and better. Plus, since the show is all about werewolves who need to strip before they shift there's lots and lots of eye candy! Yum.

Where to Watch: Netflix

Even though I've already seen all of these shows I'm thinking I might binge re-watch them. How about you? Have you seen any of these? Any new ones that tickle your fancy? What will you be watching now that all your favorite shows are on hiatus?

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