The Peacock Press

Stories produced by St. Peter's Journalism Students

The Top 6 (American and British) Television Shows to Binge Watch

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Arriving home after a long day, you slump onto the sofa and let out a yawn. Well, you certainly deserve a break (what, with all the hard work you do)! And what better to unwind than with some good old-fashioned television?

Picking up the remote, you begin to flick through the channels before settling on something that looks interesting. Maybe it’s another “Law and Order”that’s completely different from all the other ones. Maybe it’s about attractive vampires with relationship problems. Maybe it stars that one actress you’re pretty sure used to do movies.

Either way, the credits begin to roll, and you’re left with one single, nagging thought: you wish you didn’t have to wait to find out what happens next. And with the advent of streaming services like Netflix and Amazon Instant Video, you don’t!

Today, Caroline and Matt are bringing you the 6 best TV shows to binge watch—that is all at once, in rapid succession. And with Caroline giving you the scoop on popular hits from our own shores and Matt heading across the Atlantic to see what our friends in the United Kingdom are up to, you’re sure to find something to suit your fancy.

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Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) from AMC's hit show "The Walking Dead."

Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and Daryl Dixon (Norman Reedus) from AMC’s hit show “The Walking Dead” in a promotional photo from the show’s official website. Frank Ockenfels 3/AMC

The Walking Dead: AMC’s “The Walking Dead,” now in its fifth season, is the network’s highest rated series. The show is about a ragtag team of survivors trying to make it through a zombie apocalypse in one piece. Throughout each season, viewers will notice that zombies aren’t the only things after Sheriff Deputy Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) and his crew. As human tensions mount, their only mission is to get from Georgia to Washington D.C. without being bitten so they can find a cure for all the undead madness. If you like horror films, awesome make-up effects, and a good dose of gore, this show is for you.

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English television presenter Davina McCall plays herself in “Dead Set,” a 2008 mini-series by Charlie Brooker. Pictured is a promotional still from Channel 4.

Dead Set: Although this British series ran only five episodes, a binge viewing will still take you around three hours to complete. On “Eviction Night” at the popular reality series “Big Brother,” an infected security guard begins turning the cast, crew, and audience into flesh-eating zombies. Meanwhile, the contestants still locked inside the house remain completely unaware of what’s happening right outside their doors. This satire from across the Atlantic combines bloody scares and shameless camp to give viewers a memorable horror experience while simultaneously offering a peek at the production side of reality TV. Interspersed throughout it are contestant “confessionals” and voice-overs that emulate the very show “Dead Set” is spoofing.

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The cast of "Orange is the New Black" in an official promotional shot from Lionsgate Television.

The cast of “Orange is the New Black” in an official promotional shot from Lionsgate Television.

Orange is the New Black: “Orange is the New Black” is a Netflix comedy/drama series that revolves around the life of Piper Chapmen (Taylor Schilling), a bisexual drug smuggler. She was sentenced to 15 months in a women’s federal prison after being snitched on by her then girlfriend, Alex. If you ever wanted to catch a glimpse of what prison is like for women, here is your chance. Between girl fights and drug smuggling, this show is filled with drama. Along with going to prison 10 years after her incident, Piper is also confined with her ex-girlfriend, a situation that tests her faithfulness to her current fiancé.

The cast of "Misfits" in a promotional still from Channel 4.

The cast of “Misfits” in a promotional still from Channel 4.

Misfits: This British sci-fi dramedy tells the story of a group of young criminal offenders who are sentenced to a community service program. A freak electrical storm gifts them with various supernatural powers, but it turns out they’re not the only ones. Completing their sentence, facing off against villains, and dealing with everything from friendship to romance, the young band of misfits work their way through each season with a series of quips and action shots. With everything from a mysterious hooded figure to a lovable goofball (Robert Sheehan) on a quest to discover what his abilities actually are, the show is sure to hold viewers’ attentions through long binge watching sessions. However, frequent cast and character changes may mean your favorite antiheroes aren’t onscreen for long.

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The cast of "Shameless" in a publicity shot from the official website of Showtime.

The cast of “Shameless” in a publicity shot from the official website of Showtime.

Shameless: “Shameless” is a Showtime comedy/drama series. If you, for a second, think your family is weird, here we welcome a dysfunctional family on the brink of going flat broke. It follows a father named Frank Gallagher (William H. Macy) trying to raise his six children; however, he is an extreme alcoholic. His eldest daughter, Fiona (Emmy Rossum), takes over but probably isn’t the best role model, given her “loose” ways and dumb decisions. The show is appealing because it breaks away from the images we would normally see of a working class family. It’s also filled with alcohol, drugs, and bad parenting and will appeal to a more mature audience.

The cast of the U.K. version of "Shameless" in an official promo shot from the first season, produced by Company Pictures for Channel 4.

The cast of the U.K. version of “Shameless” in an official promo shot from the first season, produced by Company Pictures for Channel 4.

Shameless: This British series has been running since 2004 and was the basis for the American remake. Given its long history, it provides hours of binge watching potential. David Threlfall stars as Frank Gallagher, an alcoholic father of six. The plot follows a rather similar direction as the American series, but later series provide countless misadventures with which viewers in the United States will be unfamiliar. Moreover, the series is very much a product of British working class culture and may alienate unfamiliar audiences. Nevertheless, fans of “Shameless” may find it worthwhile to see where it all began. James McAvoy of “X-Men” fame also makes an appearance.

Vector images courtesy of freevector/Vecteezy.com 

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About Matthew H.

My name is Matthew Holowienka, and I am 22-years-old. I do PR work for the non-profit sector. I first became interested in horror as a child, listening to my family's stories of the ghosts that lived in my grandmother's house. And now I can't get enough.

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This entry was posted on November 13, 2014 by in Arts and Entertainment, Television and tagged , , , , , , , , , .
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