Weekend Binge Guide: November 2016

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

 

If you want to laugh:

 

High Maintenance

See all reviews for High Maintenance

One of my low-key faves of the fall, this show came out of nowhere to earn my love. Much more fully formed than the typical first-season TV show (thanks to three years as a popular web series), High Maintenance's six half-hour episodes are clever, funny, and stimulating. Created by the married duo of Ben Sinclair and Katja Blichfeld (an Emmy-winning casting director for 30 Rock), who wrote, directed, and appear in these new episodes, the show follows a nameless pot dealer as he makes his deliveries. The premise is tight, allowing viewers to get to know "The Guy" while also opening up a diverse mix of storylines by segueing into the lives of his customers. Among the standouts are Oscar nominee Amy Ryan, Inside Amy Schumer scene-stealer Greta Lee, and Orange is the New Black's Yael Stone. If you don't find yourself completely smitten with the show by the time you finish her episode, there's no hope for you.

 

If you want to cry:

 

My So-Called Life

See all reviews for My So-Called Life

"Go now. Go." Those three words from the first few seconds of My So-Called Life's (excellent) theme song instantly give me goosebumps. Just a couple of years younger than the characters, I was right in the short-lived ABC drama's target demo, living for each update on the impossibly tortured life of Angela Chase. Revisiting the series as an adult is bizarre. Like any 22-year-old TV show, it is dated. (The vests!) But the emotions and issues faced by teens then and now are essentially the same. For those who missed it, My So-Called Life follows teens navigating friendship, romance, and family life. It was heralded for its realism, for creating TV's first openly gay teen character, and for drawing a multidimensional portrait of parents. Perhaps most importantly, the series introduced the world to Claire Danes and Jared Leto. If you admire (or mock) Danes' Homeland crying face, this is where it all began.

 

If you want to scream:

 

Freakish

See all reviews for Freakish

In a small town with a large chemical plant, containment drills are no big deal. But when a motley crew of athletes, do-gooders, and students stuck in Saturday detention try to leave their school's fallout shelter, they learn that this was no drill. Some insist on leaving anyway, only to return with a newfound taste for human flesh. That's right, y'all. It's Degrassi: Zombie Class. Obviously, this show is not going to help Hulu win any awards, but it's a fun and fresh take on the zombie genre, mixing legitimately creepy supernatural elements with the "it goes there" style the Canadian teen drama is known for. Each episode includes at least one revelation that deepens the story. Interestingly, the cast includes both traditional actors — like Tyler Chase (The Walking Dead) and Mary Mouser (Scandal) — and "digital influencers," including Vine (RIP) "superstar" Hayes Grier. Yup, you just may get to see a social media star ripped to pieces!

 

If you want to think:

 

Black Mirror, Season 3

See all reviews for Black Mirror

A Twilight Zone for the tech-obsessed, this acclaimed sci-fi anthology is sometimes hide-under-the-blanket creepy, sometimes too-real scary, and sometimes mind-bendingly thought-provoking. And this third season is its best yet. Directed by Joe Wright (Atonement) and co-written by Rashida Jones, the first episode takes on our smartphone obsession and ratings culture. Imagine a world where every interaction you have with someone, from a barista to your annoying brother, is rateable, and where earning five stars is your chief driver. Not that far-fetched, right? That's what makes the episode truly frightening. Bryce Dallas Howard nails her role as the needy Lacie. Also beautifully cast is Episode 4, about a fun-loving beach town and a lovely relationship between Mackenzie Davis (Halt and Catch Fire) and Gugu Mbatha-Raw (Belle). It's surprisingly uplifting for Black Mirror, but as gripping as any of the series' best episodes.

 

Comments

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marknharris
Nov 18, 2016 12:56PM EST

I clicked on a link for new shows in trouble. This looks nothing like that. Please fix the link on the front page.

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Nov 18, 2016 1:05PM EST

Good catch. Here's what you want:
http://www.sidereel.com/posts/407050-news-update-these-new-shows-are-in-trouble

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TelevisionFanboyContributor
Nov 24, 2016 3:23PM EST

Omg Freakish looks amazing, as soon as Thanksgiving is over I am getting my Horror on!

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