Weekend Binge Guide: December 2014

Have the weekend free? Going out is overrated! Binge-watch one of these shows instead:


If you want to laugh:


It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

See all reviews for It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

I'll level with you: this is a black comedy. It is so black that, in the words of one of the members of Spinal Tap, "it's like, how much more black could it be, and the answer is none; none more black." It is also, however, a gut-bustingly funny black comedy, though not for the easily offended. Example: its pilot episode is called "The Gang Gets Racist"—and it just... devolves from there. Take the narcissism and self-absorption of Seinfeld and take it to its logical (if horrific) extreme and Sunny is what you get. Not sure where you should start? Check out the list we put together last year of the 15 Funniest Episodes of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia and get ready for its 10th(!) season premiere in January.



If you want to cry:



See all reviews for Parenthood

This heart-stoppingly good drama series is currently in its last season. That's the bad news. The good news is that if you haven't yet watched it, you're about to experience something special. Developed by Friday Night Lights'' Jason Katims, Parenthood focuses on the ups and downs of three generations of the Berkeley, California-based Braverman clan. The sibling relationships feel lived-in, the generational conflicts are (almost distressingly) relatable, and the cinematography is warm and cozy. After three episodes you'll ache to be adopted into the Braverman family, so get ready to make some space in your heart for Zeke, Camille, Adam, Sarah, Crosby, Julia, and all their myriad children.



If you want to scream:



See all reviews for Oz

For some reason, when people speak of HBO's dramatic triumphs, they never talk about Oz. Maybe it aired too early (it began in 1997), but this prison drama featured the breakout performances of several powerhouse actors, including Harold Perrineau, J.K. Simmons, Lance Reddick, and Christopher Meloni. Look, it's HBO, so it's graphic, but it's graphic even by HBO standards, and features multiple scenes of rape, degradation, and racism. That being said, it's gripping, and terrifying—and that's before even mentioning the fact it was a pioneer in the sudden killing off of main characters. Westeros ain't got nothing on Em City.



If you want to think:


Black Mirror

See all reviews for Black Mirror

This British series from media critic Charlie Brooker is getting a lot of well-deserved praise now that it's available to US audiences via Netflix. Set 20 minutes into the future, each episode of this anthology focuses on extreme takes on current issues. Reality TV, information overload, pernicious advertising: nothing is spared. Be prepared to be freaked out, and then find a fellow Mirror-fan with whom you can discuss the philosophical issues it raises.




Leah E. Friedman is the editor of SideReel.com. You can follow her musings on Twitter.



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Dec 11, 2014 12:37PM EST

Okay, I guess I should break down and watch Black Mirror.

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Dec 12, 2014 9:29PM EST



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Dec 12, 2014 9:41PM EST


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