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Weekend Binge Guide: June 2016

Have the weekend free? Going out is overrated! Binge-­watch one of these shows instead:   If you want to laugh:       Please Like Me See all reviews for Please Like Me Some have described Please Like Me as Australia's answer to Girls . That makes sense. Now 29, Josh Thomas launched the show when he was 25, leading to comparisons to Lena Dunham (who's a fan, BTW, NBD). The show looks at young people and their relationships — with friends, partners, and parents. It tackles serious topics like mental illness and sexuality with warmth and wit. It can be honest and awkward, just like Dunham's show. But its characters are much more likable (sorry, Hannah). And the tone is far more playful and heartwarming. Thomas is not an extraordinary actor, but his work on the show is natural and winning. And while parents on these kinds of shows can come off as cartoonish, Debra Lawrance and David Roberts are superb in complicated roles. This is the perfect choice for anyone who appreciates a well-balanced mix of humor, drama, and heart.     If you want to cry:       Torchwood: Children of Earth See all reviews for Torchwood Torchwood started as a more mature companion to Doctor Who , providing a space for the "pansexual" Captain Jack to be charming and heroic in a world where sex and swearing exist. After two seasons heavy on procedural elements, the third outing took a turn. Torchwood: Children of Earth starts with a plot that could appear on Doctor Who , but veers into far bleaker territory. The problem: in a matter of days, every child in the world freezes and starts saying, "We are coming." CREEPY. As expected, the Torchwood team and their allies race to figure out what's happening. But instead of an upbeat resolution, the heroes face impossible choices that leave no one's hands clean. Unlike a lot of sci-fi that relies on special effects, this five-hour miniseries' strengths are incredible acting, direction, and writing. Even without knowledge of earlier Torchwood episodes, this is remarkably bingeable TV.     If you want to scream:       Orphan Black See all reviews for  Orphan Black Powered by a prodigious performance by Tatiana Maslany, Orphan Black is one of the best dramas on TV today. And, at times, the scariest. But first: Maslany's challenge cannot be overstated. She plays a horde of clones, all with distinct looks, mannerisms, and accents. She has shared the screen with three other versions of herself. And she regularly plays clones pretending to be other clones. But Maslany operates at such a consistently high level that I regularly forget that these characters are played by the same woman. There are occasional light moments, but this conspiracy thriller is mostly dark. Like Mr. Robot , it raises ethical questions about real-world topics viewers could easily imagine spinning out of control — in this case: cloning, genetics, and overreaching corporations. And everything appears to be rooted in real science, which makes the consequences even more terrifying.     If you want to think:       States of Undress See all reviews for  States of Undress Viceland produces shows with strong points of view that not everyone will like. But I've found a couple of really thoughtful and intriguing series, including States of Undress. Actress, model, and journalist Hailey Gates digs deep to explain what people around the world wear and why, touching upon deep societal issues along the way. In the globe-trotting series' first season, Gates talked to men and women in Venezuela desperate to perfect their bodies as a way to escape, interviewed a Pakistani man who had thrown acid on his wife for wearing the "latest fashions," and spoke to women in the Democratic Republic of Congo going to dangerous lengths to avoid becoming the "skinny friend." Similar to how Anthony Bourdain uses food as a way to explore other cultures, States of Undress is an exploration of the culture, the people, and the history of these different regions, using clothing as the conduit.       div.post p { text­align: justify; }