The Season To Binge Is Upon Us: Seven Shows to Revisit This Autumn

Sarah Caples Noble
Posted on September 27, 2017, 6:20 pm
10 mins

Autumn and winter in Seattle: Sometimes all you want to do is curl up and binge-watch a good show. I am an advocate of TV watching in general. I was raised by my parents to see it as a way of understanding the culture. It wasn’t viewed as a mindless waste of time as long as I could articulate a well-formed critique. I even got away with watching The Love Boat and Three’s Company.

Today, we are experiencing the best writing, acting, directing and staging ever in the history of television. Among our collective creative endeavors as a species at this moment, some of our best work is being done in the TV serial genre. Am I allowed to call it “art”?

Most of us don’t have time to watch TV in real time, and even a binge-watch on a sick day or rainy weekend is a big commitment. Sometimes you have to stick with a series for a few (or more) episodes to see why it’s worth following. The writers have their reasons, as they are making a larger sociological observation or social statement and it takes time to set the stage. As a viewer, it can be hard to decide which show to allow yourself to become invested in when your time is precious and so much is vying for your attention. We feel the need to invest wisely, even if it is crap and we know it and we just want crap at that moment.

Here are seven series that I recommend for a binge-watch this autumn, listed from best to worst. Whether you are revisiting or seeing them for the first time, I’m giving you the reasons that each show makes a binge so worthwhile.


The Saga: The Leftovers

HBO. Eight Seasons, June 29, 2014, to June 4, 2017

Who does it appeal to?

Anyone interested in philosophy, sociology, shamanism, cults, Kabbalah or any other mystery school for that matter.

The Synopsis

A saga based in a world where 2% of the earth’s population has mysteriously disappeared. Its central plot line follows a chief of police (played by Justin Theroux, for some serious eye candy) and his family. The writers found a way to remind us that, as humans, we are in a perpetual, low-to-high key freak out over the situation we find ourselves in—that not a single person in the history of the human race knows how we got here, why we are here, and what could possibly be the point of our level of consciousness.


The Legal Drama: Goliath

Amazon. One Season (8 episodes), debuted October 14, 2016.

Who does it appeal to?

Anyone into a good Arkansas accent, Venice Beach, losers who pull it out to fight injustice, the need for redemption, JUSTICE.

The Synopsis

Billy Bob Thornton, a badass lawyer, is “David” in Goliath. We find him in a long-stay motel in Venice after blowing up his life in the typical ways. Having been the type to win at any price, he now can’t cope with having helped a bad guy get off on a technicality. Although, he finds himself in the thick of things when his own law firm is being hinky…this time, he’s going to be on the right side of justice.


The Thriller: West World

HBO. One Season (10 Episodes), debuted October 2, 2016. (Second season planned for 2018.)

Who does it appeal to?

Anyone into sci-fi, Anthony Hopkins, Abrahamic religions, atheism, arty direction, robots, questions of consciousness.

The Synopsis

This show is wrought with biblical symbolism, pondering the question of our own creation. Anthony Hopkins is the creator and founder of a Wild West-themed amusement park where people come to play every imaginable fantasy. The characters in the park are human-like robots with just the right amount of consciousness to keep track of their storylines, or “loops.” The loops are like our own personae as humans, but the robot’s experience deja vu and have vague memories of past roles. Not so spoilery spoiler alert: There’s a glitch in the code, and these robots start to go off-script. What could go wrong?


The Comedy-Drama: Girls

HBO. Six Seasons, April 15, 2012, to April 16, 2017

Who does it appeal to?

Anyone into awkward and ugly sex, identity politics, feminism, loving/hating millennials, loving/hating Lena Dunham.

The Synopsis

Friends meets Sex in the City, but gross. You will either find Lena Dunham and her characters to be cultural heroes or just slobs. Either way, this show will help you understand the milieu in which today’s urban 20 and 30 somethings operate, or aspire to create for themselves. (Probably to your horror.) But like any train wreck, it will suck you in. The last episode of the last season has its redemptive qualities, when the main character realizes just how much of a handful she’s been all along.


Hilarious, Dark Fantasy Horror: True Blood

HBO. Seven Seasons, September 7, 2008, to August 24, 2014

Who does it appeal to?

Anyone into Anna Paquin, soap operas, corny but stylish sex scenes, vampires, werewolves, fairies, loving/hating rednecks, social equality issues, bad but hilarious one-liners, gelatinous blood matter.

The Synopsis

Vampire Diaries meets The Dukes of Hazard with a much higher entertainment quotient and super stylized. Get into it, and you will find yourself LOLing at absurd lines, such as, “Erik! You just ate my fairy godmother!” Watch lead heroine Sookie Stackhouse and her brother Jason fulfill their southern stereotypes, while the rest of the characters do as much while also realizing that they are all some form of mystical being or another. Watch and become aware of your own predisposition towards witchiness, sex and bloodlust.


 

The Soap Opera: Big Little Lies

HBO. One Season (7 episodes), April 2, 2017.

Who does it appeal to?

Anyone into Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodleyrich, housewives, murder mysteries, scandals, Monterey, things that happen behind closed doors, stylish moms, soap operas

The Synopsis

This one is actually the lowest commitment on the list in terms of time: It’s a seven-episode miniseries based on a novel. (No season 2 to look forward to.) Rich, beautiful women and their families are living perfect lives in California, except for the ragged outsider who shows up and is taken in by the cool moms. Everyone runs around being perfect as dark things loom under the surface, as the husbands are dialed in as the quintessential middle-aged wife props. This show takes subversively competitive “mom culture” to the next, vicious level, and it’s a fun ride.


The Docu-Series: Missing Links

Gaia. One Season (20 Episodes)

Who does it appeal to?

Anyone into mind-body body connection, challenging current paradigms in science and history, Gregg Braden, cycles of time, inspiration

The Synopsis

All the big questions get asked by scientist Gregg Braden: Who are we? Where do we come from? Where are we going? Do we know anything really? How does a vision for a better world or a better community of humanity fit into the current paradigms and beliefs?

Braden somehow manages to roll hard science into a show enjoyable to science-minded people, new age people and conspiracy buffs. Since he simply stands in front of the camera in a presentation style format, you could just turn the TV up really loud and listen to it while getting all your housework and chores done. But seriously, this show will change how you are going about your life.

And if you are the hard science type, that doesn’t like anything the least bit woo, you still might enjoy hate-watching it.

 

Sarah Caples Noble
Sarah Caples has lived in Seattle since 2004 working as a fashion stylist for private clients. Sarah launched an art and society blog in 2008, along with a monthly salon at The Sorrento Hotel, which ran until June 2012. As executive editor of VanguardSeattle.com, Caples hopes to cultivate an informed dialog about regional culture and bring people of diverse backgrounds together in support of nonprofits, artists and community builders.