Do you spend more time scrolling endlessly in search of the perfect show than actually watching it? Do the vast array of options across streaming platforms leave you overwhelmed? We’ve got you covered. Here are 8 shows that will take you the entire weekend to complete, so you know exactly how to spend the next 48 hours:
You would think a miniseries starring Emma Stone and Jonah Hill would be all anyone could talk about. But this 2018 series really flew under the radar, despite being wildly inventive, adventure-filled, heartfelt, sci-fi fun. The show’s ten episodes range from anywhere between a 26 to 47 minute runtime. You may find it a bit uneven at times, and the show really does get better as it unfolds, but it’ll be one weekend binge you won’t regret. Still need to know the pitch? Two strangers, with complicated pasts, connect over mind-bending pills in a pharmaceutical trial where all is not as it seems.
The People vs OJ Simpson
The first season of the true crime anthology series, American Crime Story, took a staple of American pop culture history – the tragic, complicated, and bizarre case of star football player, O.J. ‘The Juice’ Simpson’s murder trial, where he stood accused of the murders of his ex-wife and her friend – and dramatises it like never before. An impeccable cast brings a vast range of fully realised characters to life. It features not only a fantastic Sarah Paulson but also comeback performances, of sorts, from Cuba Gooding Jr. and John Travolta. The writing, which has the responsibility of retelling a highly controversial true story to a new generation, walks on a narrow tightrope as it explores race, law, and celebrity, through the story of the high profile trial, in ten, tight one-hour episodes.
Last Chance U
The multi-season Emmy-winning docuseries is a deep-dive into the distinctly American culture of competitive college football. The NFL is what the world sees, but Last Chance U – which examines the aspiring athletes, coaches, socioeconomic challenges and dreamers of a different college every year – is the reality that nobody (chooses to) see. It paints a hard-boiled sports-meets-life portrait out of the access granted into the system’s grassroot structures. There is arguably no series as comprehensive in its exploration of grassroots sporting structure: intimate, moving and almost heartbreaking in its brutal access to the lower-middle-class soul. A single season is designed to be binge-watched over a weekend.
The award-winning HBO limited series – a tense, incredibly sharp dramatization of the 1986 Nuclear accident – is arguably the finest prototype of modern television. Even though the USSR-based disaster is recreated in English for commercial reasons, the visual language of the show does all the talking. Every second scene is haunting, the writing lives (and dies) in the moment, and the performances – mostly by British and European actors – are second to none.
Gilmore Girls s1
Gilmore Girls ran for seven seasons from 2000 to 2007, and was followed by a Netflix revival in 2016. All the seven original seasons also stream now on Netflix, and you can watch the first season in a weekend’s time (with a sleep/eat/survive break). Consisting of 21 episodes, it introduces us to Lorelai and Rory Gilmore, mother and daughter, so close in age that they’re also best friends, and their lives in the quirky town of Stars Hollow. The Gilmore girls navigate school, work, love, parents and grandparents, crushes, friendships – just like the rest of us, except that they do it with a razor-sharp wit, lots of junk food and tonnes of pop culture references. Stars Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel are instantly magnetic, and creator Amy Sherman-Palladino, now known for the marvellous The Marvellous Mrs Maisel, found her groove with this terrific series.
Netflix’s most prestigious British production is The Crown. Currently four seasons long, it clocks in at close to forty hours, meaning if you ditch hopes of sleep and meals you can hare through it in a weekend. Created by Peter Morgan, the show traces the history of Queen Elizabeth II’s reign. In the first two seasons, Elizabeth is played by Claire Foy in a devastatingly realised and controlled performance. Olivia Colman takes over in the next two seasons. Other cast members include John Lithgow as Winston Churchill, Vanessa Kirby and Helena Bonham Carter as Princess Margaret, Gillian Anderson as Margaret Thatcher, and a wonderful Emma Corrin as Princess Diana. The Crown is lavish, beautiful and richly designed; it somehow also manages to be intimate and moving, painting the most unrelatable people on earth as just as human as any of us.
The Looming Tower
The Looming Tower is a Zero Dark Thirty-esque grim yet gripping mini-series about the events leading up to 9/11, and how key intelligence got lost amid ongoing clashes between the CIA and FBI. With a fantastic cast that includes Jeff Daniels, Michael Stuhlbarg and Tahar Rahim, the series follows the agents heading intelligence gathering and depicts how all the pieces were there, they just couldn’t come together in time to stop an atrocity. The 10-episode drama explores the messy intersection between politics, bureaucracy and the intelligence gathering community in a way that’s lively, powerful and accessible.
If you decide to binge the show (not recommended, but understandable) the 12 half-hour episodes will keep you company for a day, while the second day of your weekend will be spent weeping, thinking of old lovers. We wish we were exaggerating. Based on Sally Rooney’s book, this story of Connell (Paul Mescal) and Marianne (Daisy Edgar-Jones), from different economic backgrounds of privilege and pain, follows them from the fag end of high school through college, as they meet and disperse, each time strengthening a bond that was theirs to manifest. It’s not everyday you have Instagram pages dedicated to a fictional character’s thin gold chain or bangs. It’s also not everyday you have silence playing a central third villainous character.