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12 binge-worthy shows: The unconventional list



12 binge-worthy shows The unconventional list

If you haven’t seen The Wire, Breaking Bad, and Game of Thrones, this list isn’t for you. We’re not highlighting the most obvious shows that you should have binge-watched already if you’re a real binge-watcher like us. This is a list of shows that you’ve probably considered at one point or another but weren’t absolutely certain.

This list should make you absolutely certain.

As usual, no spoilers.

We’ve seen all of these and have reviewed some of them, so this isn’t a list of shows pulled from other lists. In fact, there are shows we’ve seen that are regulars on other lists that we didn’t include because, despite critical acclaim or being fan favorites, they simply aren’t as good as these.

12. The Night Of

It was supposed to be a limited series, but buzz started surrounding The Night Of as soon as it was released on HBO. Now, they’re working on a follow up to the unique show. In it, character development in extreme situations over time is the prominent theme. It revolves around an innocent man (or is he?) charged with a heinous crime, his street-smart lawyer, and some incredible supporting characters who bring both of the leads to life.

Binge-worthy show: The Night Of beginning to end, the theme of this 8-episode limited series is discomfort. You are supposed to feel uncomfortable within the first few minutes of the first episode and at no point until the credits roll in the final episode are you supposed to feel okay. The catch is, if you want shows to make you feel happy, hopeful, or redeemed, you won’t find it here. Nobody grows in a positive manner. Nobody is better off in the end than they were in the beginning.

11. Stranger Things

A handful of shows on this list have received a ton of buzz, and few have received as much as Stranger Things. The tale of 80s kids, supernatural events, a powerful young girl, and a demogorgon keeps viewers on the edge of their seats throughout. We know you’ve probably already binged this one, but if you haven’t, do so now.

Stranger Things 2 avoided sophomore season pitfalls to make it better than the first, it can’t be understated that the biggest strength of the series came from the very beginning when they picked the cast. Their choices were incredible across the board and they continued this trend with the new characters in 2. Sean Astin was particularly perfect.

The real challenge will come with trying to top their first two outings with a third installment. Two-in-a-row is tough when trying to achieve greatness with any television series, but they have the core necessary to make it happen. Can’t wait to binge again next year.

10. Bosch

I’m not a fan of overused tropes, including the brilliant cop who bends the rules to put justice over protocol. Bosch is a walking embodiment of that trope, but it’s able to overcome it by embracing it and mixing in incredible acting across the board. The stories are realistic enough that we don’t get caught into false magnitudes of importance surrounding the main character. He’s just a great cop with a perfect partner and a stellar boss. None of them are perfect without each other, but combined they do what they can to keep the streets of Hollywood safe.

Bosch may be the best crime drama you’re not watching off the bat, this feels like The Wire. While not possessing the same grit or ensemble cast of characters, it’s clear this is going to be a straight-forward police procedural without the glamour associated with so many cop shows over the last decade. Detective work isn’t glamorous. It’s tedious and we get to feel that very quickly. Of course, the presence of two very notable actors from The Wire helped make the connection.

9. Sherlock

Another popular show, this one made the list because rumors are circulating that it’s coming back for a 5th season. If we are willing to forgive the abysmal 4th season, the rest of the seasons are immaculate. Not much needs to be said other than Sherlock; if you’re a fan of the drug-using, narcissistic high-functioning sociopath, then you’ll probably enjoy this modern interpretation.

Is Sherlock coming back? New hints at series 5 from filming location owner’s fair to say that even after leaving Sherlock behind, co-creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gatiss are pretty busy at the moment, whether they’re working together on new supernatural drama Dracula or separately on other projects (like Moffat’s newly-announced Time Traveller’s Wife TV series).

However, that doesn’t mean that their most famous collaboration is being left behind forever – because some new information has arisen suggesting that the Benedict Cumberbatch-starring BBC detective drama might just be returning to screens sooner than expected.

8. Daredevil

The show has been canceled. That alone should be enough to keep it off any binge-watching list, but Daredevil is special. The self-contained nature of the seasons means they come to proper conclusions, including the final season. There are a handful of unanswered questions that are annoyingly left, but it’s no more than most completed series. Of the various superhero shows, this is by far the best. There’s also a chance it could be resurrected by Disney+, the upcoming streaming service that notably has a cozy relationship with Marvel.

Review: Daredevil season 3 proves Netflix finally perfected the small screen superhero show has proven to be everything fans of vulnerable superheroes could be. I’m not a fan of titan versus titan; the superheroes in Marvel and DC movies don’t impress me because they’re too strong. When the only challenge has to come in the form of demigods or advanced alien invasions, it’s no longer intriguing. It’s just explosions and noise.

This is why I was a huge fan of the Dark Knight trilogy. Batman and the villains he faced were exceptional humans, but humans nonetheless. He had to worry about attack dogs and women with knives, a far cry from the immense powers of Superman or the Hulk, Wonder Woman or Thor.

7. Longmire

Shows that go episode-to-episode rarely interest me, but this one was different. First, the setting was unique; a small county in Wyoming isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when people think of murder mysteries, but Longmire pulls it off remarkably. Unlike other shows on the list, the characters in this particular show aren’t outstanding other than the titular lead character himself. Thankfully, he’s able to carry the show the first couple of seasons before it switches gears and formulates a long-spanning cohesive storyline.

The End of a Longmire Journey – Cowboys and Indians Magazine, this particular 10-episode run will likely be a profoundly mixed blessing, no matter how excellent those episodes might be, since it will be the final season for the series that Netflix picked up in 2014 when it was canceled by A&E (reportedly because it appealed to an older demographic that was unappealing to advertisers, despite it scoring respectable ratings over three seasons on the cable network). But first things first. Before we can even think of what awaits us at the end of the trail, we want to see how Longmire walks us back from the cliffhangers that were set up in the Season 5 finale.

6. Bodyguard

This is the second of four BBC shows to make this list, and one can easily argue it deserves to be closer to the top. It’s the most watch BBC drama in decades and for good reason. Though only six episodes long, it makes the most of it and introduces us to the person we think is most likely to be the next James Bond once Daniel Craig finishes his run. Of all the shows on here, this has arguably the best overall acting.

Binge-worthy: Bodyguard is everything we love about British storytelling six hour-long episodes, this first series is a self-contained story that leaves the possibilities for the second series wide open. But don’t wait until the next series to launch before diving into the first. It’s fully resolved by the end in an almost too-neat ending. Intended to be a standalone mini-series, its popularity has sparked calls for expanding it. At this point, that seems like a foregone conclusion. Madden is set to meet with show creator and writer Jed Mercurio later this month.

5. Mr. Robot

Few who have seen Mr. Robot argue that the biggest appeal is a tight race between the astounding storytelling that dives into the deep hacker world or the amazing character built by Rami Malek. After three seasons, we’re ready to wrap it all up in 2019 for the final season, but not without a sense of a void that no show will ever be able to fill. Like Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead, this is a show that will own its genre for a long time. Anyone who tries to take on hacking as a topic will be compared to Mr Robot and will fall short.

‘Mr. Robot’ to End With Season 4 on USA Network (Exclusive) end of the road for USA Network’s critical hit Mr. Robot is in sight, as the previously announced fourth season of the Sam Esmail-created drama starring Rami Malek will be its last. The network-defining series will begin production in the winter in New York for a premiere in 2019, meaning the show will have been off the air for more than a year when the final season debuts.

4. Homecoming

It’s no coincidence this show made it to #4 on our list. It was hard to know which of Sam Esmail’s creations would rank higher, but since this show seems to have a longer future than Mr. Robot, we went with Homecoming. It’s a smaller drama (at least for now) that doesn’t deal with the shift of civilization like Esmail’s previous show did. But being smaller by no means it’s any less entertaining.

Amazon’s Homecoming shows Sam Esmail may be the best writer-director on television Homecoming, there aren’t insanely talented hackers taking on the biggest corporation in the world with vast criminal organizations intermingled into the plot. Instead, we have a waitress, a low-level government pencil pusher, a creepy mid-level executive, and a soldier. Esmail takes this humble premise and somehow keeps us immersed in intrigue. I can’t say much more without spoiling it, so I won’t.

Season two is already green-lit. We don’t know how well the first season did since Amazon doesn’t report viewing numbers, but the critical response has been strong, scoring a 99% on Rotten Tomatoes. Reports indicate we can expect the next installment in fall, 2019.

3. Peaky Blinders

The top three could really go in any order. We’re starting off with Peaky Blinders because it’s the one that has the most flaws. As the ever-expanding power of Thomas Shelby starts to weigh down the show’s gritty and more humble beginnings, we’re start to see challenges in keeping up the tension without artificially creating it. Season one was better than two, which was better than three. But season four came along and blew us out of the water, so all is forgiven. It’s also worth noting that season 3, the worst of the bunch, was still great. It just wasn’t quite as great as the rest.

Peaky Blinders season 4 is the best yet, but it should have been much better of Peaky Blinders are unique. The vibrant world revealed to us through the show is so enthralling and different from our own that it can have a direct effect on our worldview in the same way Game of Thrones does now and Boardwalk Empire did in the past. Television shows set in times and places unfamiliar to us can only accomplish this when they have characters who truly draw us in. That’s what makes us unique. A part of us is left on the streets of early 20th century Birmingham even when the final credits roll.

2. The Expanse

Of all the shows on this list, The Expanse is the most underappreciated. It already suffered through cancellation by SyFy to be picked up by Amazon, promising a long run ahead. The thing that makes this show so great is the part that’s hidden from most who haven’t seen it yet. They look at the premise or watch a trailer and think it’s just another sci-fi drama. It is, but behind the science fiction is a rich story that works as both a political thriller and a stunning mystery. Sorry Star Trek or Battlestar Galactica fans (of which I am one). This is the best sci-fi show on television.

Binge-worthy show: The Expanse is the best sci-fi show on television now… and maybe ever biggest challenge with The Expanse is getting past its complicated premise. In the first two or three episodes, it’s hard to follow who’s on which side, how everything ties together between multiple storylines, and how the complex political structure plays out. There are three government entities: Earth, Mars, and the Belt. Earth is the biggest of the three. Mars is smaller but technologically more advanced as a colony from Earth that broke away to become a standalone entity. The Belt, as in those living and working in or beyond the asteroid belt, is made up of various factions and is still beholden to both Earth and Mars as the primary source for resources in the solar system.

1. Luther

If you’re not watching Luther, then shame on you. This isn’t just the best cop drama on television. It’s the most binge-worthy show right now, period. That’s not to say it’s the best overall show on television, but one of the attributes necessary to make a show binge-worthy is its ability to make you want to keep watching even after you’ve been sitting around for a three or four hour binge session. Season five is coming soon. If you haven’t watched Luther yet, now’s the perfect time to start.

Luther trailer drops, and three reasons you need to binge the show now are three reasons everyone who likes a good cop show should binge the first four seasons now. When you’re done, you’ll be ready to wait like the rest of us for the highly anticipated new installment.

Watch the trailer. Catch up on the show if you haven’t yet. Watch it again if you need to refresh your memory. One thing spoiled in the trailer is another reason to watch this show: Alice is back.

What do you think? Did we miss a show? Are there any on the list you think don’t belong here? Let us (and everyone else) know.



  1. Paul Holloway

    December 2, 2018 at 10:32 pm

    I would add “Chance” with the former Dr House and “Goliath” with billy Bob Thornton

    • JD Rucker

      December 2, 2018 at 11:15 pm

      I haven’t seen either but I’ll pass it on to the writer to see if he’s seen them yet.

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Entertainment and Sports

As Jussie Smollett story evolves, let’s not give it the Covington Catholic School treatment



As Jussie Smollett story evolves lets not give it the Covington Catholic School treatment

When a juicy story hits social media, the instant reaction is to run with it and all the implications. That’s the nature of our on-demand, always-on, real-time media world. The only thing faster than hot takes from the first hint of a story are the assumptions made by both sides regardless of the details.

Such is the case with Jussie Smollett, the actor who was allegedly attacked by MAGA-loving bigots. Smollett, a gay man of color, was allegedly targeted on the streets of Chicago, but now reports are coming in that it may have been an elaborate hoax designed to help him save his job on the cast of Empire.

But so far, police have only confirmed that Smollett is still being treated as a victim. Yes, there were two persons of interest questioned by police. Yes, Smollett skipped a voluntary interview with police this morning. Yes, the story was strange from the start and this new narrative seems to match much better regardless of which side of the political or cultural aisle you’re on.

And yet, nothing has been confirmed.

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It’s incumbent on us, whether journalists or simply social media users, to wait for the facts before jumping to conclusions. It works in both directions.

Was it all a hoax? Possibly. Some who are looking at he evidence today and the report released by local Chicago news may come to the conclusion that a hoax was likely. But let’s not assume until the truth is revealed by officials.


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Entertainment and Sports

AAF debuts: everything the NFL should be but isn’t



AAF debuts everything the NFL should be but isnt

Eagerly I’ve been awaiting the premier of the Alliance of American Football. The Spring football league debuted Saturday night with two games, one between the Orlando Apollos vs Atlanta Legends and the other between the San Diego Fleet vs the San Antonio Commanders. The former was a onesided affair with the Orlando Apollos dominating 40-6. The latter was a defensive struggle where the San Antonio Commanders came out on top 15-6.

App Review

One of the major emphasis of the AAF is their tech component. As mentioned in previous coverage, this is a venture backed league with the genius of Peter Thiel and multiple football legends. The AAF released their app earlier in the week to much anticipation. On gameday, the app delivered. This is a huge feat for software development. In comparison, the Obamacare website had a deadline set by Congress, and but when the fatal date came, the site wasn’t ready. Therefore the incomplete version was released to comply with the law, and so the exchange got off to a terrible start. A more related example would be ESPN fantasy failing on week one of the NFL a few years ago. The Alliance released their app which allowed users to stream any game without regional broadcast restrictions, an outdated barrier for sportsfans everywhere. The stream was a high quality one, almost ad-free. There were some sound issues for the game in San Antonio, but I think that fault lies more with CBS. The only issue with the stream was that my phone didn’t recognize that a video was playing, therefore the screen would go to sleep becoming inactive. Otherwise, the app was high quality and was hardly a drain on the battery life of my device. My phone only lost about thirty-forty percent streaming a football game and didn’t heat up noticeably. This is an underrated bonus.

Real Football

Part of why I disbelieve that the Vince McMahon’s XFL will work out is that the game will be too gimmicky. Even Canadian football doesn’t feel the same. Rouges don’t belong in football. College is decent, but the difference between the fastest player and the slowest is vast. Being honest, college football is really only great when two major teams play each other like Alabama and Georgia or Clemson. The NFL has great talent but the rules have become a great barrier to the enjoyment of the game. One does not simply tackle Tom Brady without being penalized, so it seems. The NFL officiating brought on great controversy prior to the Superbowl with the blatant no-call in the NFC Championship. Such instances call into question the integrity of the league. And while that particular game looked to have had incompetent officiating, there are multiple Superbowls that undermine the integrity of the league. Lets not pretend 18 point favorites featuring Johnny Unitas somehow lose to the New York Jets or the use of the Tuck Rule to save Tom Brady was the right call. Even more subtle examples like a partial power outage during a Superbowl just when the game was getting out of hand undermine the integrity of the NFL. The AAF delivers transparency where the NFL does not. On a replay of a deep pass caught, the AAF broadcasted the deliberation of the officials. The fans could listen to the refs reason as to why the call was not a catch. It was a beatiful advancement in pro-football history.

The game was not without penalties but false starts and delay of games must be enforced. Furthermore, the AAF refs place greater emphasis on illegal contacts as opposed to PI calls. Overall, the refs let the players play.

The most notable hit of the night came on the opening drive of the San Diego Fleet. There is no way the NFL would not have penalized that perfect sack. Instead it’s called a hit stick tackle and celebrated.

Level of Talent/ Rate of Play

The disparity between the fastest players and the slowest players is, seemingly, reduced from the extremities of college football. Is the game as fast as the NFL? No, but its close. And the fact that the play clock is reduced to speed of the game makes a lot of quality differences less noticeable. One disparity that stood out was the level of quarterbacks. Between the San Antonio Commanders and the San Diego Fleet, there were five interceptions and the completion percentages were below average. However, five interceptions is more exciting then five (short) punts. The game was low scoring falling well below its 50 point over under, but the credit is due to the solid defenses. To me, it’s too soon to judge the league based on talent. It’s game one. With that said, these quarterbacks should improve as the season progresses. But the defenses, particularly San Antonio Commanders’ defense was the kind of football I enjoy.

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Fortnite: A mirror for our current political atmosphere



Fortnite A mirror for our current political atmosphere

We’re living in strange days. Most Americans seem oblivious, content to rant occasionally on social media but mostly going about their business as if there isn’t much to see here. Many Americans are stuck in a tribal, dysfunctional, inexplicable political world that seems to be breaking apart the fabric of American governance. Meanwhile, a good chunk of Americans are waiting for the next battle bus to launch.

I’ve lived through most of the evolution of video games. I played Pong as a young child, enjoyed Super Mario Bros. and their ilk before graduating to Doom in my late teens. Between Madden  and Call of Duty, I didn’t get to see much in gaming innovation other than the incremental improvements in these two classic series for nearly two decades. By that time, I was an adult. Gaming was an occasional distraction to play with my kids.

Today, there are”battle royal” games dominating the screen-time for millions of Americans ranging from 5th graders to adult celebrities. Fortnite and PlayerUnknown’s Battlegrounds (PUBG) are the leaders in this genre that has taken over the collective gaming experiences of the masses. Both have become cultural phenomenons of sorts with PUBG being the original, but Fortnite has stolen much of its predecessor’s thunder.

The basic concept of battle royale games is that you’re dropped on an island and must collect resources, weapons, and equipment while trying to survive. The battle arena shrinks over time, bringing surviving players closer and closer until one remains alive and is declared the winner. There are other variations that include duos, squads, and large team battles. Sometimes there are goals that aren’t purely surrounding survival.

Each player has different ways of decorating themselves with clothes, special gear, and “emotes” that have become cultural phenomenons of their own.

As a metaphor, Fortnite fits nicely with our current political atmosphere. There are large groups that work together in certain situations much like the political parties. There are smaller groups that can work together as well, like the various camps and caucuses that drive decision-making on Capitol Hill. But at the end of the day, you have a bunch of players doing what’s best for them so they can survive longer.

They decorate themselves in Fortnite just as modern politicians build their public personas through social media.

Fortnite is Washington DC.

This should be alarming whether you buy into this clunky analogy or not. The reality of our political situation is we have a bunch of people doing what’s best for their own political survival. They sometimes work as teams but for the most part they’re taking whatever resources are best for them to move up the leaderboard and make it alive to the next shrinking of the map.

All of this has caused a very strange shift in the sentiment of the nation. I’m not referring to polls or predictions about the general consensus. Contrary to popular belief, the “average people” who drive real sentiment in our nation are the ones who generate a following on social media, through their websites, or out in the streets rallying the people. These are the Ben Shapiros, Louis Farrakhans, and Jim Acostas of the world. They’re the influencers who have gone beyond the good ol’ days of popular journalists and community leaders. Today, their followers are almost as cult-like as the followers of politicians like President Trump or Representative Ocasio-Cortez.

Just as a gaming streamer known as Ninja broke Twitch records by playing with Drake, Travis Scott, Kim DotCom, and JuJu Smith-Schuster, so too can the political tastemakers make as much of a stir as actual politicians. This should be a good thing, but unfortunately for every Shapiro there are a dozen Acostas. The tastemakers are taking the important aspects of the nation’s collective consciousness in the wrong direction.

We can learn a lot about the idiocy in DC by looking at the way Fortnite has captivated the masses. It’s every person for themselves in both worlds, and only the one left standing at the end gets anything other than pride for lasting through it all.


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