Weekend Binge Guide: February 2018

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

 

If you want to laugh:

 

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel

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You might have been bummed that we only got 4 new episodes of Gilmore Girls on Netflix in 2016, but then one year later, Amy Sherman Palladino (and her husband Daniel Palladino) brought us something arguably better: 8 episodes of brand new series The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon Prime. Maisel is instantly identifiable as a Palladino show. Lead character Midge Maisel (played perfectly by Rachel Brosnahan) even shares some similarities with Lorelai Gilmore in that she has wealthy, overbearing parents (although they are now very Jewish instead of very WASPy) and is forced to find her own way after an unexpected series of events - primarily, her husband dumps her. It's also full of snappy dialogue and lots of humor. Humor is actually the main focus of the series as it finds Midge exploring her recently realized talent at stand-up comedy. This is especially unique in that the show takes place in the late 1950s, where female comedians (especially ones who curse like Sarah Silverman) are few and far between. Winning 2 Golden Globe Awards and already renewed for a second season, these first 8 episodes are a delightful binge that will satisfy you, but leave you excited for what's to come.

 

If you want to scream:

 

The Night Of

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America became obsessed with true-crime everything in late 2014 when the podcast Serial came out (and went viral). Then, in 2015, there were 2 more true-crime slam dunks: The Jinx and Making a Murderer. The Night Of was released in the summer of 2016, and while this miniseries was *not* a true story - it still likely owes a lot of its success to those other programs. Based on a British show - Criminal Justice - The Night Of looks at the case of Nasir "Naz" Khan, played by Riz Ahmed, a Pakistani-American student accused of murdering a young woman in New York. John Turturro co-stars as the lawyer convinced of his innocence who is trying to exonerate him. Similar to those other programs, The Night Of is very much a look at the criminal justice system in America, and how being the wrong race and having some bad luck (know that Naz does make an infuriating number of bad decisions) can destroy a whole lot of lives. The show debuted to pretty much universal acclaim and received multiple awards. While as of now it remains a one season wonder, there's rumored interest in bringing the series back for another season with the right story.

 

If you want to cry:

 

Brothers & Sisters

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Before everyone got in their weekly cry watching This Is Us, there was Parenthood. Before Parenthood, there was Brothers and Sisters. Brothers and Sisters is an ensemble drama that ran on ABC from 2006-2010 for over 100 episodes that like its two successors, focused both on a group of siblings and their parents (or, parent, as the show kicks off with patriarch William Walker passing away). The show contained a large cast of talented actors and actresses including Calista Flockhart, Rachel Griffiths, Balthazar Getty, Matthew Rhys, and Dave Annable as the siblings, and the flawless Sally Field as their mother. Like any good family drama, the family faced all sorts of issues with their finances and relationships, and as the show progressed, the family expanded in multiple ways. One of these ways is that - and this isn't a spoiler, as it's revealed in the pilot - William had a twenty year affair (and also embezzled the family company's money) which resulted in an additional half-sibling that the family never knew about previously. Similarly to why This Is Us shines now, Brothers and Sisters was a rare family drama with compelling characters in a sea of procedurals and reality shows.

 

If you want to think:

 

UnREAL

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We haven't had any new UnREAL since August 2016, but at long last the show is returning for a third season at the end of the month. That means that if the show is new to you, it is the perfect time to catch up on seasons one and two! UnREAL is a dark satire of the reality TV world - specifically one that looks a whole lot like ABC's The Bachelor. The series focuses on the producers of reality series Everlasting, and everything they do behind the scenes to psychologically manipulate the contestants to create an entertaining show; there's pretty much no boundaries, to the point of straight-up evil. Constance Zimmer and Shiri Appleby star as the master puppeteers and central relationship of the show (Appleby is the protégée, Rachel), and both are excellent. UnREAL is easily the best series that Lifetime has ever aired (although Season 2 was decidedly weaker than Season 1, even with the brilliant move of casting a black suitor, beating ABC to the punch), and with such a lengthy hiatus, it will be interesting to see what they come up with for the next installment. Make sure you're caught up by then!

 

Comments

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TelevisionFanboyContributor
Feb 7, 2018 12:47AM EST

UnReal is a scintillating psychological thriller. Reality show spoof or not, the magnetism of Constance Zimmer and Shiri Appleby is undeniable. Can’t wait to binge it all again before season 3.

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Audrey BenedettoContributor
Feb 12, 2018 5:35PM EST

Great picks!!

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Feb 13, 2018 1:40AM EST

Unreal had a great first season. While I liked the second season almost as much as the first season I can see why many felt that there was a drop off.

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel was a surprisingly well made, entertaining show.

The Night Of sucked long and hard.

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