This is an archived article that was published on sltrib.com in 2016, and information in the article may be outdated. It is provided only for personal research purposes and may not be reprinted.
Lots of us have time off the week between Christmas and New Year's, and there's only so much time you can spend with your family, right?
In this age when there's so much great TV to watch, this is a chance to catch up on shows you've missed, enjoy old shows worth revisiting, and just lose yourself in binge-watching … something. And there are hundreds, even thousands, of programs you can stream.
Here are 50 TV series worth bingeing on:
(1) "Alpha House" (Amazon; 21 episodes) • Garry Trudeau ("Doonesbury") was behind this comedy/satire about four GOP senators sharing a house.
(2) "American Crime" (Netflix; 21 episodes) • Both seasons completely different stories of this uncompromising, thought-provoking and often-overlooked drama are excellent.
(3) "Atlanta" (FoxNow, 10 episodes) • Donald Glover's comedy about young, struggling African-American men is one of the year's best new shows.
(4) "Better Call Saul" (Netflix, 10 episodes Season 1 only) • This spinoff of "Breaking Bad" is the best TV prequel ever.
(5) "Better Off Ted" (Netflix, 26 episodes) • This overlooked 2009-10 comedy about the corporate culture is a gem.
(6) "Bojack Horsemen" (Netflix, 37 episodes) • After a weak start, this adult, animated comedy/satire about a has-been sitcom star who is also a horse turned out to be very smart and very funny.
(7) "BrainDead" (CBS All Access; 13 episodes) • The best part of this weird show about alien bugs invading the brains of our nation's leaders is the musical recaps at the beginning of episodes 2-13.
(8) "Breaking Bad" (Netflix, 62 episodes) • Unbelievably good show about a mild-mannered teacher whose cancer diagnosis sets him on the path to becoming a murderous drug lord.
(9) "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" (Netflix, 143 episodes) • Even without all the supernatural stuff, this is arguably the best high-school show ever. (Available for purchase on Amazon, Google Play and iTunes.)
(10) "Catastrophe" (Netflix, 12 episodes) • Really funny, adult sitcom about a Londoner who, after a weekend of wild sex, finds herself pregnant by a visiting American man. They decide to marry and try to make a go of it.
(11) "Catfish: The TV Show" (80 episodes) • You'll be surprised how you can get caught up in this reality show about people who have been "catfished" online deceived by a person who is pretending to be someone he/she is not.
(12) "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" (Netflix; 18 episodes Season 1 only) • This musical/comedy/drama is original, brave, entertaining and unlike anything else on TV.
(13) "The Crown" (Netflix; 10 episodes) • This drama about the early years of Queen Elizabeth II's reign is absolutely engrossing.
(14) "Difficult People" (Hulu, 18 episodes) • Julie Klausner and Billy Eichner star as comedians who hate pretty much everything and everybody in this darkly hilarious comedy.
(15) "The Exorcist" (FoxNow and Hulu; 10 episodes) • The first (and maybe only) season of the TV series has a beginning, a middle and an end.
(16) "Freaks and Geeks" (Netflix, 18 episodes) • Quickly canceled back in 2000, this show which starred James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, Busy Phillips and Linda Cardellini quickly became a cult classic.
(17) "Friday Night Lights" (Netflix, 76 episodes) • You don't have to like football to love this show about a high-school football coach, his family, his players and their town.
(18) "Friends" (Netflix, 236 episodes) • It's been almost 13 years since this hit comedy ended more than 22 years since it premiered and it still holds up.
(19) "Futurama" (Amazon; 124 episodes) • C'mon! This is the second-best animated series ever.
(20) "Game of Thrones" (HBO Go; 60 episodes) • If you've never seen TV's best show, you have to catch up there are only 13 more episodes coming. If you're a fan, watch it again.
(21) "Gilmore Girls" (Netflix; 157 episodes) • The four-part, six-hour reunion is worth watching, but so are all 153 episode from the original series. Even the seventh season.
(22) "Goliath" (Amazon) • Billy Bob Thornton stars as a has-been lawyer fighting his former firm in this self-contained, eight-episode narrative.
(23) "The Good Wife" (CBS All Access, Hulu; 156 episodes) • One of TV's all-time great dramas, mixed with a lot of humor, even though the finale was rather disappointing.
(24) "Grace & Frankie" (Netflix, 26 episodes) • Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin shine in this comedy about two women whose husbands (Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston) leave them for each other.
(25) "House of Cards" (Netflix, 52 episodes) • You've never checked this series out? OK, Seasons 1-2 are better than Seasons 3-4, but it's still worth watching. And Season 5 will be released in 2017.
(26) "Jessica Jones" (Netflix, 13 episodes) • Very dark, very adult Marvel superhero series about a tough-but-troubled female heroine.
(27) "Luke Cage" (Netflix, 13 episodes) • This superhero series is about an African-American ex-con who now fights crimes.
(28) "The Man in the High Castle" (Amazon, 20 episodes) • Drama about an alternate reality in which Germany and Japan won WWII; Season 2 was just released.
(29) "Master of None" (Netflix, 10 episodes) • Aziz Ansari's semi-autobiographical comedy is not just funny, it's smart and topical.
(30) "Mozart in the Jungle" (Amazon, 30 episodes) • Engaging comedy/drama set inside the (fictional) New York Symphony.
(31) "Narcos" (Netflix, 20 episodes) • It's a (relatively) modern-day gangster saga about drug kingpin Pablo Escobar.
(32) "Olive Kitteridge" (HBO Go, four episodes) • This four-hour miniseries, based on the novel by Elizabeth Strout, won a whopping eight Emmys.
(33) "Outlander" (Starz Play; 29 episodes) • Fans of Diana Gabaldon's characters and their time-traveling romance are legion.
(34) "Peaky Blinders" (Netflix; 18 episodes) • Surprisingly good gangster family epic set in 1919 England.
(35) "Red Oaks" (Amazon) • Season 1 is better than Season 2, but this coming-of-age comedy/drama set in the 1980s is very good.
(36) "The Simpsons" (SimpsonsWorld.com; 606 episodes) • C'mon, this is the best animated series in the history of television.
(37) "Six Feet Under" (HBO Go; 63 episodes) • Great first season; a dip in quality midrun; and one of the great series finales ever.
(38, 39, 40, 41, 42, 43) "Star Trek" (CBS All Access; 725 episodes) • Which "Star Trek"? All the "Star Treks"! CBS' online streaming service has every episode of The Original Series, "The Animated Series," "Next Generation," "Deep Space Nine," "Voyager" and "Enterprise."
(44) "Superstore" (NBC.com and Hulu; 21 episodes) • Think of this as sort of "The Office" set inside a big-box store.
(45) "Transparent" (Amazon, 30 episodes) • There's humor here, but this series about an older man who tells his family that he's transgender is much more of a drama.
(46) "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt" (Netflix, 20 episodes) • Hilarious sitcom about a woman who is kept underground (literally) by a cult and then experiences the world as something completely new.
(47) "Veronica Mars" (Amazon, 64 episodes) • Kristen Bell shines as a teenage detective. (Available for purchase on Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, YouTube and Vudu.)
(48) "The West Wing" (Netflix; 154 episodes) • Ah, for the good ol' days when President Bartlet and not some reality-show guy was in the White House.
(49) "WestWorld" (HBO Go, 10 episodes) • See accompanying story.
(50) "The Wire" (HBO Go, Amazon; 50 episodes) • Stunningly good series about drug dealers, union leaders, politicians, teachers and reporters in Baltimore.
Bingeing and streaming
There are subscription fees for Amazon, CBS All Access, Hulu and Netflix. And some of the "free" streaming sites require a subscription to and a sign-in for your cable or satellite system.
You can also buy episodes of many of these series on Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, Vudu and/or YouTube.