Binge Watching Suggestions

We interrupt the regularly scheduled programming to bring you great binge watching suggestions. Dave, staff member at Topsham Public Library, wrote a post suggesting binge watching ideas in case you find some extra time on your hands this holiday season. Enjoy!

binge watch·ing
The practice of watching multiple episodes of a television program in rapid succession, typically by means of DVDs or digital streaming.

Who hasn’t yet been party to binge watching? The pleasure that is derived from staying in one’s pajamas, eating food one probably shouldn’t (my personal favorite), postponing important chores while being engrossed in watching episodes of a series all in one sitting. I have to say it is one of the activities I look forward to, especially during the winter season. I find myself hoping for snow days where the dog, cat and I can curl up on the couch and ignore the world around us.

There is something different about the experience of binge watching from the usual weekly episodic fare that we grew up with. Today I am going to tell you about my favorite binge watching experiences this year, most from the BBC.

The Crown, Season 1—This has to be my favorite television programming in years! This series written by Peter Morgan (The Queen) is a lavishly produced look at the early reign of Queen Elizabeth II starring Claire Foy, looking strikingly like the young Queen, and Matt Smith (Dr. Who).

Happy Valley, Seasons 1 & 2—In a role written specifically for her, Sarah Lancashire (Last Tango in Halifax, Mr. Selfridge) shines as Catherine Cawood, a hard-working police sergeant who works her patch of Yorkshire using her many skills to guide her. Catherine’s work and personal life are already complicated in crime-riddled Happy Valley when Tommy Lee Royce (played by James Norton of Grantchester fame) wanders into town, freshly released from prison. Was he responsible for Catherine’s daughter’s death, as she believes? And will her suspicion cloud her judgment when another young girl goes missing? Also starring the great Siobhan Finneran (Downton Abbey) in a completely different role proving she cannot be typecast.

Waking the Dead, Seasons 1 thru 9—Another British import about a Cold Case Unit, led by quick-tempered, no-nonsense copper DS Boyd (Trevor Eve-Heat of the Sun), have assembled to re-examine “unsolvable” crimes with cutting-edge detection techniques. But the pressure is on for this mix of forensics, psychology and detective investigation to yield results. It also stars Sue Johnston, another Downton Abbey alum.

Vera, Seasons 1-6—Based on the popular Vera Stanhope mysteries by Ann Cleeves, this series stars the amazing, twice Oscar nominated actress, Brenda Belthyn (Little Voice, Saving Grace) who portrays the title character with such verve, the author commented that she only hears Brenda Blethyn’s voice as Vera when she is writing new books in the series. If you finish this, catch Cleeves’ Shetland series of DVDs bases on her detective inspector Jimmy Perez, played by Douglas Henshell, also a worthy series.

Line of Duty, Series 1-3–Detective Chief Inspector Tony Gates (Lennie James, The Walking Dead) is an exemplary cop. He’s got the best crime stats on the force and a loyal team working under him. But the head of the police anti-corruption unit, Superintendent Ted Hastings (Adrian Dunbar, Ashes to Ashes), has his doubts about Gates. Is he really that good? And more importantly, is he really that clean? Hastings decides to find out and calls on a new arrival to his department, Detective Sergeant Steve Arnott (Martin Compston, Monarch of the Glen), to help him do it. As the net tightens around Gates, reputations are on the line—and lives are at risk.

Critically acclaimed for its taut plotting and remarkable performances, this high-stakes thriller also stars Vicky McClure (Broadchurch), Gina McKee (The Forsyte Saga), Kate Ashfield (Shaun of the Dead), Craig Parkinson (Misfits), and Neil Morrissey (Waterloo Road). Series 2 & 3 stars the great Keeley Hawes (Durrells of Corfu).

Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life (Netflix). Anyone who misses the rapid fire dialogue from the late, great Gilmore Girls and all the crazy, eccentric people that make up the fictional (Although I choose to believe it actually exists!) Stars Hollow—you have to see this quite wonderful four-episode addition. All of the episodes are 90 minutes and each one takes place in another season. The ending leaves one hanging, so I hope more are planned. It stars almost all of the original cast including Lauren Graham (Parenthood) and Alexis Bledel (Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants) and much centers around the real-life loss of Richard Herrmann who portrayed Richard Gilmore.

And there are all kinds of other series or multiple-part movie/TV events, from Doc Martin, Downton Abbey, Bletchley Circle, The Closer, Foyle’s War, Prime Suspect

…do I have to come to work?