12 shows perfect for binge-watching


Watch: 8 episodes on Starz, Amazon Instant Video

Stars: Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, Graham McTavish

Come for: Panoramic Scottish Highlands, men in kilts

Stay for: Our reluctant time-traveling heroine has two lovers: one in 1945, a second in 1743

Don’t miss: Witches dancing at dawn inside a charmed circle of stones - mystical!

Binge-breaker: Diana Gabaldon’s overwritten “Outlander” novels can make for overlong episodes.


Watch: 10 episodes on Amazon Prime

Stars: Titus Welliver, Jamie Hector, Jason Gedrick, Veronica Cartwright, Amy Aquino

Come for: Gritty and romantic shots of L.A.; tense precinct dynamics

Stay for: Lifelong character actor Welliver, 53, breaks out as Harry Bosch

Don’t miss: Bosch, trying to explain what jazz is all about to his teen daughter, Maddie, in Episode 10: “I’ll get you some vinyl and a turntable - best way to listen!”

Binge-breaker: Your adrenal glands may tolerate only one or two episodes at a time.

‘The Hour’

Watch: 6 episodes on BBC America

Stars: Dominic West, Romola Garai, Ben Whishaw

Come for: Heady, sexy drama about birth of TV news in 1950s Britain

Stay for: Period-faithful set design, Broadcast News-style tension, languid plumes of rising cigarette smoke

Don’t miss: Surprising subplot entwining Anna Chancellor and Peter Capaldi (“Dr. Who”)

Binge-breaker: Smashing your TV in anger this UK answer to “Mad Men” was allowed to air for only two seasons.


‘The Tudors’

Watch: 38 episodes (2007-2010) on Showtime

Stars: Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Natalie Dormer, Peter O’Toole, Sam Neill, Henry Cavill

Come for: Jousting, pageantry, rutting and scheming in the court of Henry VIII

Stay for: The ripping of bodices, the chewing of scenery

Don’t miss: Sam Neill’s nuanced performance as Cardinal Thomas Wolsey

Binge-breaker: Meyers can’t decide whether to channel Sir Laurence Olivier or Tony Soprano

‘Getting On’ (American version)

Watch: 18 episodes (2013-2015) on HBO, Amazon Instant Video

Stars: Laurie Metcalf, Alex Borstein, Niecy Nash, Mel Rodriguez

Come for: Absurdly real but funny look at life in extended-care unit

Stay for: The magnificent cast; haven’t we met them all somewhere?

Don’t miss: Puffed-up Dr. Jenna James, “My job is infinitely more important than yours.”

Binge-breaker: Caregivers, binge in small doses only!

‘Foyle’s War’

Watch: 28 feature-length episodes (2002-2015) on Acorn TV

Stars: Michael Kitchen, Honeysuckle Weeks, Anthony Howell

Come for: Murder mysteries on England’s home front in WWII.

Stay for: One wry grin from Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle tells you when a suspect is lying.

Don’t miss: Foyle’s reveal to his female chauffeur that he knew how to drive all along.

Binge-breaker: Fans reversed two cancellations, but we’re glad the war is finally over.

‘Parks and Recreation’

Watch: 125 episodes (2009-2015) on NBC, Amazon, Netflix

Stars: Amy Poehler, Nick Offerman, Rob Lowe, Aubrey Plaza

Come for: “Treat yo’self,” as Retta would say, to TV’s top comedy writing

Stay for: The ensemble cast blooming as individuals

Don’t miss: Leslie Knope and Ron Swanson getting locked in the office overnight to settle their differences

Binge-breaker: Season 1 clumsily portrayed Knope as a dope, but stick with it.


Watch: 14 episodes on Netflix (2012-2014)

Stars: Ricky Gervais, Kerry Godliman, Brett Goldstein

Come for: Acting mastery of Gervais as mentally challenged nursing-home staffer

Stay for: Touching, tender moments hidden in a mockumentary

Don’t miss: Derek, clipping a resident’s toenails: “I like old people; they’re kind.”

Binge-breaker: Must every actor break the fourth wall? (We blame The Office.)

‘The Americans’

Watch: 36 episodes (2013-2015) on F/X

Stars: Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, Richard Thomas, Noah Emmerich

Come for: Russian spies living next door in Reagan-era suburbia

Stay for: To decide which is twistier: family dynamics or international espionage?

Don’t miss: period props (slide carousels, metal ice-cube trays) and multiple costume changes

Binge-breaker: It’s easy to overdose on noir!

‘Downton Abbey’

Watch: 51 episodes (2010-2015) on PBS, Amazon, Netflix

Stars: Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Maggie Smith

Come for: To learn what life’s like in an English castle. (Answer: cold.)

Stay for: The conniving and striving, both upstairs and down

Don’t miss: Lord Grantham’s emergence as a human being. Took him only five seasons!

Binge-breaker: Once the cast feels like family, you may long to ditch them!

‘Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries’

Watch: 34 episodes (2012-2015) on Acorn.tv, PBS, Netflix

Stars: Essie Davis, Nathan Page, Miriam Margolyes

Come for: Glam, sexually liberated P.I. solving murders in 1920s Melbourne

Stay for: Miss Fisher’s slowly building romance with Detective Inspector Jack Robinson

Don’t miss: Flapper fashion-palooza! (Chokers, tiaras, pearl-handled pistol)

Binge-breaker: Sorry, can’t think of one. But like Phryne Fisher, we’ll keep noodling it!

‘Dancing on the Edge’

Watch: 6 episodes (2013) on Starz or DVD

Stars: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jacqueline Bisset, John Goodman, Matthew Goode, Anthony Head, Angel Coulby

Come for: Swinging jazz in 1930s London (original numbers), spiffy period dress and sets

Stay for: A murder whodunit that deals with overnight stardom, media scrutiny, class and race relations

Don’t miss: The Prince of Wales, a Louis Lester Band groupie, getting jiggy with it