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Weekend Binge Guide: December 2016

Have the weekend free? Going out is overrated! Binge-­watch one of these shows instead:   If you want to laugh:   Search Party See all reviews for Search Party A SideReeler described this satirical mystery series as "the millennial version of Veronica Mars ," which is pretty accurate. " Girls meets Columbo " also works. On the surface, it's about a woman in her late 20s (and her self-obsessed but somehow still lovable friends) searching for a missing college acquaintance. But on a deeper level, it's a quest for self-discovery. Fortunately, both levels are funny. Alia Shawkat leads a talented cast that includes John Reynolds, John Early, and Meredith Hagner. And the roster of guest stars is no joke: Parker Posey, Rosie Perez, Ron Livingston, and Christine Taylor, among others, show up to help and hinder the investigation. TBS made the entire 10-episode first season available the day of the November premiere, and it's a perfectly constructed binge-watch.   If you want to cry:   Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life See all reviews for Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life Amy Sherman-Palladino had a difficult task: to reclaim her show after its controversial seventh season and reroute her beloved characters in a way that led them toward her famous final four words, but many years after she intended to. All the while she had to appease fans by weaving in as many callbacks as possible, but not lock out new viewers. It was tough, but she (mostly) did it. This revival isn't perfect — it suffers from schlocky, melodramatic moments, just as the original series did. But it also hits dramatic notes that the WB/CW version didn't. Kelly Bishop shows off her underrated skills thanks to a sad but rich storyline, Alexis Bledel is a much better actress than she was, and Lauren Graham is as charming as ever. For a real tear-wringing moment, bear with the questionable musical tangent until its final, touching moment.   If you want to scream:   3% See all reviews for  3% An uneven but compelling thriller set in near-future Brazil, Netflix's second original series from Latin America (after Mexico's Club de Cuervos ) focuses on The Process, a series of psychologically and physically intense tests taken by 20-year-olds fighting for a place in a privileged society (the Offshore) that is home to just 3 percent of society. Despite lacking the budget of the typical post-apocalyptic show, the eight episodes are well crafted and intriguing. Each installment brings one participant's backstory to light while pushing the overall story along at a fairly quick pace. Every episode has something worth shouting about, but the darkest is "Gateway," which sees a previously likable character descend into madness as the stress of one of the tests increases.   If you want to think:   The Crown See all reviews for  The Crown Elizabeth was never supposed to be queen. It's something we non-Brits often forget. This ambitious Netflix series drives home the idea that this young monarch was always being pulled in multiple directions, facing impossible decisions, in her effort to carry the crown. The 10-part production chronicles the lives of the Windsors from Elizabeth's marriage in 1947 to her sister's 1956 battle to wed a divorced man. Creator Peter Morgan, writer of 2006's The Queen , and Oscar-nominated director Stephen Daldry deliver a gorgeous final product. The entire cast is superlative, particularly Matt Smith, whose Philip is deeply sympathetic, and Vanessa Kirby as Princess Margaret. As Elizabeth, Claire Foy has far fewer opportunities to be flamboyant, but she manages to shine in a role that just may cause you to reconsider your opinion of her majesty.   div.post p { text­align: justify; }