What are the best Binge Worthy Shows on Netflix? My rule of thumb on lists is this: “If it’s not YOUR list, it’s wrong.” To each his own. I’ll share with you some of my favorite shows, but as always your mileage may vary depending on your taste.
During this Kung Flu Pandemic, we find ourselves searching through Netflix for good shows. If you’re like me, when you find a good one, you binge watch the entire thing in a few days. This list is not complete, there are a lot of shows that I’ve been intending to watch, based on the recommendation of friends, and I just haven’t gotten around to checking them out. Please feel free to comment below on what you like, or what you’d recommend. We all know about Breaking Bad, and Outlander. This article is about some shows that you may have missed.
In no particular Order:
The Walking Dead
I didn’t start out watching TWD in its first season in 2010. All my friends kept telling me how good it was, and how much I’d probably enjoy it. My son actually got me hooked on it. I watched a couple of episodes at his house, came home and binge watched the entire first season in one night.
First of all, the writing was top notch. The writers gave us just enough of the story to make you want to watch the next episode. The acting was some of the best I’d seen since HBO’s ‘The Sopranos’. Within a few episodes, you felt as if you knew each character. The special effects though… were creepy enough to be disturbing, and actually gave me some zombie dreams.
Netflix currently offers episodes of TWD thru season 9. To be totally honest however, the show changed at some point, probably around the sixth season. Several major characters had been killed off and left the show, and it seems like the writing changed. Or maybe a lot of us just began to lose interest. In my ever so humble opinion, the show jumped the shark and I stopped watching. Who were your favorite characters in the show? (Comment below)
Hell On Wheels
I loved this show so much, I started over, and I’m watching the entire 5 seasons again. If you love Westerns, or if you love gritty historical dramas with truly evil antagonists, then this is for you. This is one of the few Westerns that is truly a Binge Worthy Shows on Netflix. This is the story of a man and a railroad. Cullen Bohannon is a bitter man who came home from the civil war only to find that some Union soldiers murdered his wife and child. He gets a job as a worker on the Union Pacific railroad in Nebraska. He soon finds one of the men who took part in killing his wife.
Anson Mount is phenomenal as Bohannon. The entire cast is believable, and full of interesting characters. One of the most interesting is Elam Ferguson, played by a former rap singer known as Common. He’s one of the ‘Freed Men’ former slaves who work in the trenches laying track for the railroad. Since I’m a history nut, I loved all the historical touches in this series. You’ll see General Grant who becomes President of the US, Brigham Young a leader of the Morman church, and Mary Fields a woman who became notoriously known as ‘Stagecoach Mary’ the first black female postal carrier and stagecoach driver in the old west.
“Dexter” is one of those oddball stories that only a handful of people seem to appreciate. The character Dexter Morgan is somewhat of an oddball too. He works as a blood spatter analyst for the Miami Dade Metro Police Department. At night, he’s a serial killer… but he only kills bad guys. This show is not everyone’s cup of tea. You could say that Dexter is an acquired taste. There’s quite a bit of humor in the show, mostly when we hear Dexter’s thoughts.
I’ll warn you though, once you get hooked on this show, there is no turning back. The writers take you through a roller coaster of emotions and difficult situations. The first three seasons are great, but in the fourth season, Dexter meets a serial killer, Trinity. This is a cat and mouse game of predator vs. predator. You’ll laugh, you’ll cry, you’ll be creeped out, but this is truly a unique binge worthy shows on Netflix.
Making a Murderer
I recently retired from 25+ years of police work, with the last five as a detective. I had several friends ask me if I’d been watching the Netflix documentary “Making a Murderer” and what I thought of it. Sure, the producers of this documentary are slanted, but facts are facts. The more you watch this documentary, the more mad and enraged you will become.
The subject of the show, Steven Avery, by all accounts, is not a nice, respectable guy. Avery is a Wisconsin redneck, who has been in trouble most of his life. Drugs, petty theft, alcoholism, etc. In 1985, Steven Avery was convicted of rape and attempted murder. The victim described her attacker, and Avery fit the description. He was given a sentence of 32 years. After serving 18 years in prison, while always proclaiming his innocence, a DNA test proved that Avery did not commit the crime. He was released from prison, and the Manitowoc County Sheriff Department said to him, “Sorry”.
When he was released, Avery found out that the Sheriff department had information about the guy who really did commit the rape (that guy’s DNA matched the evidence), but the investigators, and the Sheriff had made up their minds that Avery was the one who did the crime. Avery filed a 36 Million dollar lawsuit against the county and the Sheriff for the 18 years he wrongfully spent in prison.
Shortly after the lawsuit was filed, Avery was arrested again, for a different murder that occurred just after his release from prison. With the new charge, some of the evidence the Manitowoc Sheriff Department found, looks very suspicious. Then, the same investigators interrogate Brendan Dassey, Avery’s 16 year old nephew. (in Texas where I live, the law is very different about criminal interrogation of minors) Brendan Dassey is somewhat mentally challenged.
The documentary shows quite a bit of the interrogation where the detectives asked Dassey leading questions such as “so that’s when you saw your uncle kill her, right?”. They kept telling Dassey that if he’ll just answer their questions they’ll let him go home so he can play video games. Dassey’s so-called confession is laughable. The whole story smacks of police corruption, evidence planting, sloppy investigation, and an over zealous prosecutor who loves being in front of TV cameras.
Orange is the New Black
OITNB is one of the more unusual binge worthy shows on Netflix. It is based on a book by Piper Kerman who spent time in a New York federal prison for women after she was convicted on drug charges. The highlights of the series deal with the struggle for Piper to keep her sanity, and developing friendships with other inmates.
The series is brilliantly written and cast with a talented ensemble that includes Kate Mulgrew (of Star Trek fame), and Laura Prepon (That 70’s Show). My favorite character has to be Nicky, played by Natasha Lyonne. Who is your favorite character? Leave a comment below!
If you’ve ever felt bad about your life, your career, or family, this show will make you feel like a winner by comparison. Marty Byrde is a financial advisor. He launders money for a Mexican drug cartel, and moves his family to the Missouri Ozarks. He not only has to successfully launder millions of dollars for the cartel, but he has to avoid getting killed by the rednecks in the Ozarks, and try to stay one step ahead of the FBI.
There are several standout performances in this series. Jason Bateman is Marty. I’ve seen Bateman in several movies but this is his crowning achievement in acting. Laura Linney has been cast in several large roles since 1995, but nothing as juicy as Wendy Byrde. The fun one to watch for me has been Julia Garner who plays Ruth Langmore.
Just when you think that Marty and his family have dodged a bullet, that light at the end of the tunnel is actually three trains coming right at them. Binge worthy indeed.
This is a show I stumbled on while surfing the Netflix offerings. I’d never heard of it, but the trailer looked interesting. 1880’s La Belle, New Mexico. A freak mining accident kills nearly every adult male in the town. Now the town is inhabited almost entirely by women. “ripe fruit for the wicked” as one of the town ladies described it. That’s my kind of binge worthy shows on Netflix.
Into this little western community comes Frank Griffin, played by Jeff Daniels. He’s on the hunt for Roy Goode (Jack O’Connell) a notoriously fast gunslinger who took something from Griffin. Jeff Daniels seems to have fun playing an violent and sadistic character. He won an Emmy for this performance.
I didn’t expect much from this show when I first started watching, but was quickly impressed with the acting and writing. I’m a huge fan of Westerns, and also of history, so it bothers me if I’m watching a western and they use weapons, saddles or clothing that is not correct for the time period. This production did their homework, and everything is meticulously correct.
Unlike most western movies, the writers have enough time to really get into the depth of each character. It’s a large cast of mostly unknowns and British actors. The female lead is one in particular that I enjoy watching, the widow Fletcher played wonderfully by Michelle Dockery. You may remember her from a short lived series called “Good Behavior”. Fans of “Sons of Anarchy” will also recognize Kim Coates who played Tig on SOA.
I think it’s also interesting that the writers touched on something that you don’t see in traditional western stories. Merrit Wever plays Mary Agnes who is a gay woman.
I was familiar with the Longmire series of books before the Netflix series came out. For those who don’t know, Walt Longmire is an old fashioned Sheriff in the fictional county of Absaroka in Wyoming. The Sheriff is played expertly by Robert Taylor who you may remember as one of the agents in “The Matrix”.
The cast is rounded out by Lou Diamond Phillips as Henry, and Katee Sackhoff as the tough deputy Moretti. Sheriff Longmire doesn’t care much for technology and still refuses to carry a cell phone. His only tools are his Winchester 30-30, and his Colt 1911.
Someone much smarter than I once compared Longmire to the Columbo detective show. The Sheriff tactfully walks a suspect into exposing themselves as the person who committed the crime. His friend Henry offers sage advice and has a witty dry sense of humor. Of all the binge worthy shows on Netflix, this is one series I can watch over and over.
The writers tackle all sorts of issues that realistically plague small rural departments like this. There are drugs and rampant alcoholism along with sexual predators. As a law enforcement officer I was truly entertained by the complex story arcs.
And then there are some shows that I will binge watch just because it’s silly fun. “The Ranch” is one of the few shows that really makes me laugh. The show follows father and son who operate a cattle ranch in Colorado played by Sam Elliott and Ashton Kutcher.
I’ve always had the utmost respect for Sam Elliott as an actor, but to be honest, I’ve never been overly impressed with Kutcher, although he did give a great performance playing Steve Jobs. In this series, Kutcher is mostly the clown, a ditzy former football player who is more concerned about his hair and his skin cream than using his head. But it’s not all fun and games, Kutcher gets to show us some very dramatic and tense moments in dealing with his brother and his wife.
One of my favorite actresses, Debra Winger is cast as Kutcher’s mother. I would have liked to have seen more with her, but the show is primarily about the father and son.
Kutcher’s brother Rooster is played by Danny Masterson. In 2017, executives at Netflix decided to fire Masterson due to his behavior on and off the set. Several women accused Masterson of sexual assault. As of this writing, he has not been charged or arrested. The staff writers on “The Ranch” killed off his character in a motorcycle accident.
Person of Interest
The phrase ‘far fetched’ comes to mind. Imagine if you will, a super computer that attempts to detect and predict terrorist and violent acts before it happens by monitoring phone calls, closed circuit security systems, email, conversations, etc. Imagine that this super computer is owned by a billionaire programmer / hacker who teams up with a former CIA spy who is talented at kicking people’s ass, and together they save people’s lives by beating up people who intend to do them harm.
Reading the plot summary of the series makes me question my sanity for even watching the pilot episode. But it works. I don’t know how, but this series just fascinated me, both as a cop and a technical computer guy. It’s entertaining… far fetched, but still a binge worthy show on Netflix. The charisma of the lead actors, Jim Caviezel portrays the buff tough guy John Reese. Michael Emerson plays Harold Finch, the nerd genius.
A small warning for anyone who is the slightest bit crazy about government conspiracy and privacy worries, because this show will give you so much heartburn you won’t be able to sleep at night. What’s really crazy is that there really is a computer program that is used by the NSA (some people call it ‘No Such Agency) that monitors all phone conversations and emails looking for key words that could relate to terrorism. If you use the word “bomb” in phone conversations or emails in any of 50 different languages, you can expect to catch the attention of the aforementioned NSA.
I’m very impressed with the witty dialogue the writers have given this show. Whoever does the fight choreography for the show is impressive too because the fight scenes are just spectacular. (Krav Maga based on my observation)
The writers introduce a villian known only as Root who is a very brainy female hacker. She is played by Amy Acker and is just fascinating to watch. The audience loved root so much, the writers brought her back into the series as one of the good guys. Again, it sounds far fetched, but just watch the series and you’ll see what I mean.
What are your favorite binge worthy shows on Netflix? Comment below and give me some new shows to watch!