Top 18 Shows To Binge-Watch During #StayTheFuckHome Time

Since we’re all Self-quarantining, why not seize the opportunity and discover awesome shows that went under the radar over the last couple of years.

We’re sailing on the same boat.

Staying home, working from home. You probably know every inch of your walls by now, and managed to do all the cleaning & tidying up you didn’t even plan before the epidemic. But here we are.

Quarantine can be, however, a chance to do plenty of self-development. You can learn new things, read the books you always wanted, and – you guessed it – watch films and series.

In this collection, I have listed a bunch of awesome shows, which you can binge watch during the self-isolation. I tried to include a wide array of genres too – from horror and mystery to comedy. Some are well-known, however most will probably come as a surprise. One thing is certain – all are Culturally Loved!

Top shows to binge watch on HBO - the leftovers

#1 The Leftovers (2014-2017) – Three seasons

Plot: After millions of people vanish in a split of a second, the rest of the population needs to cope with the tragic event.

Damon Lindeloff’s The Leftovers (2014-2017) inherited the crown after The Wire. It’s everything one could expect from television, and more.

Imagine that without any ongoing crisis, your close ones just vanish one day, along with millions of other people across the planet. The premise itself is enough food for thought, nonetheless, Damon Lindelof devises a far more intricate story to chew on. As Lindelof inspects how several people cope with the rapture, his emotional powerhouse is fueled by deep-thought pontifications about our existence (in a more grounded manner than Terrence Malick would do so). The Leftovers (2014-2017) is story about grief, but also about making peace with our mistakes, and finding the courage to face the reality.

Setting aside the themes that echo within the series, The Leftovers (2014-2017) is a filmmaking gem too. From its marvelous cast, including Justin Theroux superb dramatic turn, to the heart-wrenching score by Max Richter, this is truly the most criminally underrated show in existence.

Where to watch: HBO Go

Keywords: claustrophoby, horror, supernatural, creepy, mood-driven scary

Starring: Justin Theroux, Carrie Coon, Ann Dowd, Liv Tyler, Christopher Eccleston

Hate Grade: No hate, just pure excitement!

utopia best shows to binge watch during #staythefuckhome

#2 Utopia (2013-2014) – Two seasons

Plot: A group of individuals connects online to discover a mysterious novel, which holds answers to an upcoming global crisis, staged by a dangerous organization knows as The Network.

I realize that -given the circumstances – watching a show about lethal viruses might seem like a kind of masochism. Yet Utopia (2013-2014) unravels an intrigue, where the virus itself is merely a piece of the puzzle.

I can’t praise enough the show runner Dennis Kelly for the way Utopia (2013-2014) plays with conspiracy theories and James Bond-like spy themes. While the show is constantly on the verge of going overboard, Kelly’s storytelling keeps the show afloat. The writing is extremely sharp too, and Kelly gracefully moves between often contradicting moods, however it’s still within one aesthetic.

From its wacky, unbelievable characters to its offbeat style of editing and the grand schemes of espionage, Utopia (2013-2014) never gets boring. I only wish the show was given more seasons to flourish, but let’s cheer for the two awesome seasons, shall we?

Where to watch: maybe Amazon prime, DVD, and – the least recommended choice – search for it online

Keywords: espionage, thriller, offbeat, British

Starring:

Hate Grade: 3/10

Swamp thing best shows to binge-watch while quarantine

#3 Swamp Thing (2019) – One season

Plot: CDC discovers a new, dangerous disease in Louisiana swamps. The collateral damage for one of the scientist is a strange mutation that turns him into a monster.

Way before Swamp Thing (2019) was even available to stream, there’s already been news concerning the show’s immediate shutdown after just one season. Despite the “canceled” news, I gave it a shot.

I’ll cut straight to the chase – Swamp Thing (2019) is on one hand a cheesy, often a low-budget-vibe kind of entertainment. The design of the titular monster is all about keeping the Wes Craven’s aesthetic from 1982’s adaptation, and the special effects land far from what blockbusters have to offer. The writing isn’t also top-notch, with strong soap opera vibes present here and there.

However, with James Wan and Gary Dauberman (guy behind Annabelle Comes Home) producing, fans of horror will find plenty to cheer for. Swamp Thing (2019) makes the most out of its unique Louisiana setting, as it imbues the bogs with a southern gothic look and feel. Add zombies and voodoo witchcraft to the mix, and you’ll get yourself a wonderfully atmospheric television that takes True Detective landmarks on a fable-like, cartoonish ride. I also loved the over-the-top performance of Kevin Durand, as well as the leading role of Crystal Reed, who fiercely carries even the most ridiculous moments of the show.

Where to watch: HBO Go

Keywords: horror, comic book, southern gothic

Starring: Crystal Reed, Will Patton,

Hate Grade: 3/10

The Night of - best shows to binge-watch while quarantine

#4 The Night Of (2016) – One season

Plot: A crime series in which an innocent man is accused of a homicide.

It’s been four years since The Night Of (2016) aired, however its message feels largely on par with the present discussions about racism and prejudices.

The Night Of (2016) follows Riz Ahmed’s character Nasir, who one day “borrows” his father’s taxi to drive around at night. By mistake he finds a customer – a girl, whom she spends a night with. However, the night ends tragically – the girl’s murdered and, quite obviously, he’s the only suspect in the case.

This is a sublime example of a show, where a solid cast draws you into the story. Riz Ahmed and John Turturro play the two main roles, and while Ahmed turns his finest performance yet, it’s Turturro who truly steals the show. Turturro, who picked the role of Nazir’s lawyer after the sudden death of James Gandolfini, brings a much-needed human factor to the story. It’s a great court drama too, and one which avoids pompous monologues, but leans towards the truth about the whole judicial system as a concept of right and wrong.

Where to watch: HBO

Keywords: crime, court drama, character-driven

Starring: Riz Ahmed, John Turturro

Hate Grade: 2/10

Southcliffe British series - best shows to binge-watch while quarantine

#5 Southcliffe (2013) – One season

Plot: A man commits a mass shooting, then kills himself. What caused his sudden outburst?

This British series takes a look at a tragic event where a man named Stephen Morton takes his rifle and commits a series of shootings in a small town in England. The core of Southcliffe (2013) relies on the way that this event is seen through the eyes of various stakeholders. Within the four episodes, the show runner Sean Durkin reflects on the killing spree by looking at the families of those murdered, as well as journalists who report the horrendous story.

The show’s gloomy, gallows mood guarantees a heavy punch in the guts, and its short runtime helps to keep the narrative very to-the-point and effective. As is usually the case with British crime dramas, the cast deserves applause too, with Sean Harris’ role as the silent killing machine leaving just another reason to give some love to this ridiculously underrated actor.

Where to watch: Netflix

Keywords: crime, British

Starring: Sean Harris

Hate Grade: 3.5/10

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt - best shows to binge-watch while quarantine

#6 Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (2015-2019) – Four seasons

Plot: A woman is rescued from a doomsday cult. Now, she moves to New York City and has to start over. While her new life is no bed of roses, she can always count on her friends – a self-indulging gay artist Titus and an all-posh boss Jacqueline.

Whenever I need to dig myself up from all the pessimism, horror and thriller, (meaning my usual recommendations), I play one or two episodes of one of my favorite comedy shows.

One of them is Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (2015-2019). In its center position stars Ellie Kemper, best known from The Office (2005-2013). Here, Kemper uses the canvas she created for Erin, and buckles up for even more naivety and cuteness than before. Kimmy Schmidt is everything but reasonable, but let that one slide – at the end of the day, she was taken and spent years in a doomsday cult.

Kimmy’s trials and tribulations are colorful, and that’s also thanks to her co-stars – Jane Krakowski and Tituss Burgess, two scene-stealers who play Kimmy’s boss and flatmate, respectively. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (2015-2019) mocks many modern stereotypes and taboos, but the lightness and grace with which the humor is served, justify most unbelievable events in the show. If you quote The Office (2005-2013) on a daily basis, and can’t get enough of Brooklyn 99 (2013-), Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (2015-2019) should be your next pick.

Where to watch: Netflix

Keywords: comedy, like The Office, over-the-top

Starring: Ellie Kemper, Jane Krakowski, Tituss Burgess

Hate Grade: 2/10

The Dark Crystal Age of Resistance best shows to binge-watch while quarantine

#7 The Dark Crystal: The Age of Resistance (2019-) – One season

Plot: A fantasy in which corrupted creatures called Skeksis take over Thra, a land inhabited by peace-loving Gelfling.

I’ll be honest.

The first episode of The Dark Crystal: The Age of Resistance (2019-) didn’t leave me speechless, and more worryingly – in the state of “I want more“. Nonetheless, after consuming the whole season in a blink of an eye, I understand the issue now. The entry barrier for a stranger to Thra and Jim Henson’s puppetry is high.

But the more you give into this incredibly beautiful showcase of all-in practical effects and creativity, The Dark Crystal: The Age of Resistance (2019-) grows on you and charms more efficiently with every episode passing by.

The show follows a few representatives of a species called Gelfling – a peaceful type of creatures, soul-bound to their land. Their world is, however, ruled by the malefic Skeksis, who usurped the reign over Thra and now drain its energy for their own benefit. While the story is a classic fable, in which the clash of good and evil takes a Manichean form, it is the sheer brilliance of world-building that’s most admirable in the show. Thanks to the creative freedom that Netflix has provided, The Dark Crystal: The Age of Resistance (2019-) really feels like a journey into a new, strange world. And I really can’t wait for the next season to air.

Where to watch: Netflix

Keywords: puppets, fantasy, good vs. evil,

Starring: Anya Taylor-Joy, Taron Egerton, Jason Isaacs, Simon Pegg

Hate Grade: 1/10

Servant by Apple TV best shows to binge-watch while quarantine

#8 Servant (2019-) – One season

Plot: A couple, which recently lost their child, hires a nanny. In what starts as a method of therapy, the couple’s soon trapped in a situation that brings evil forces to the table.

Some time ago, I wrote a long, in-depth analysis of Servant (2019-). The show, produced by Apple, had been stuck in my mind for quite some time, and its intriguing premise – though never fully explored – gave me the creeps.

From executive producer M. Night Shyamalan, Servant (2019-) vivisects a couple’s demise after losing a child. Pathos of this situation clings to every episode, but the true tour de force lies in the way Shyamalan uses horror to deepen the emotional impact of the story. Once we enter the house of the Turners, the couple I mentioned, we’re not obliged to leave. Shut inside, with a creepy nanny and people on the verge of madness – that’s what Servant (2019-) has to offer. And believe me when I say it can get pretty intense.

Where to watch: Apple TV

Keywords: claustrophoby, horror, supernatural, creepy, mood-driven scary

Starring: Lauren Ambrose, Toby Kebbell, Rupert Grint

Hate Grade: 3/10

With Bob and David Netflix comedy show - best shows to binge-watch while quarantine

#9 W/Bob and David (2015) – One season

If you’re familiar with Better Call Saul (2015-), then the talent of Bob Odenkirk is no stranger to you. But before Mr. Odenkirk climbed the top, he co-ran a 90s comedy show called Mr. Show with Bob and David (1995-1998). And thanks to Netflix, the two creators – Odenkirk along with his collaborator David Cross – reunited for a renewed stunt.

The series of comedy bits is a delightful package full of intelligent satire. Odenkirk and Cross are fixated on making everyday situations blow out of proportions – like the one in a laundry where a guy wants to file a complaint regarding a faulty service. Some of these target current trends too, such as a cooking show Kitchen Sharks, which goes off the rails. At the same time, W/Bob and David (2015) feels very authentic too, as its two creators, along with the cast, perform in front of a live audience. If you’re not fully into stand-up, and don’t want to rewatch the same comedy shows over and over, these four episodes might come in handy.

Where to watch: Netflix

Keywords: comedy, stand-up, sketch, Bob Odenkirk

Starring: Bob Odenkirk, David Cross

Hate Grade: 4/10

The Outsider by HBO best shows to binge-watch while quarantine

#10 The Outsider (2020-) – One season

Plot: When a child’s body is found in the woods, the police investigation soon finds various leads, which aren’t necessarily from this world.

I haven’t read the story by Stephen King, which HBO’s The Outsider (2020-) is based on, however the series has definitely got me interested in the novel.

What begins as a crime drama, with Ben Mendelsohn starring as the main investigator, slowly evolves into a mystery/horror involving a mysterious demon-like doppelg√§nger on a killing spree. Its atmosphere often borders with the under-your-skin creepiness of True Detective (2014) – the graphic imagery is there, as well as worn-out cops and all-along depressing mood expressed by the ominous score and bleak cinematography. Its every bit of King too, with its atmosphere-over-gore approach. And if you’re still (unbelievable) not quite convinced, Ben Mendelsohn and Cynthia Erivo put on entertaining performances that go beyond your average cop drama.

The show received great reviews earlier this year, and its final episode aired a few weeks ago. It’s as fresh as it can get, and while The Outsider (2020-) may have moments of a slowdown, the fantastic cast and an intriguing story will keep you invested.

Where to watch: HBO

Keywords: crime, based on Stephen King, horror, mystery

Starring: Ben Mendelsohn, Bill Camp, Cynthia Erivo

Hate Grade: 4/10

The Righteous Gemstones on HBO best shows to binge-watch while quarantine

#11 The Righteous Gemstones (2019-) – One season

Plot: Gemstones – a family of scammers, who claim to be God’s humble servants – finds itself entangled in a situation that can jeopardize their shady business model.

The show, steered by Danny McBride (who also plays one of the leading roles), is an ingenious example of social satire done right. The Righteous Gemstones (2019-) paints a caricatured image of the self-appointed reverends, who appear in the television and blind thousands of narrow-minded, and prone to be manipulated viewers. The secret sauce of the show is the colorful rainbow that the Gemstones are.

The family’s head, played by John Goodman, takes under his wings a bunch of his sons and daughters – all fake underachievers, all fighting for their father’s affection. It’s the friction between them that constitutes the show’s axis, however it’s also the show’s music and dialogues that make these characters resonate as they do.

The Righteous Gemstones (2019-) has no mercy for the scammers that it calls out. Observing the saint empire of the Gemstones is not only witty jokes-wise, but it also makes a fair point about the easiness of being manipulated these days. Because despite all the technology, also on the investigative side, the bad guys come up with truly incredible ways to make money.

Where to watch: HBO

Keywords: scams, Christianity, comedy, social satire

Starring: John Goodman, Danny McBride,

Hate Grade: 2.5/10

I think you should leave by Netflix best shows to binge-watch while quarantine

#12 I Think You Should Leave (2019-) – One (very short) season

Tim Robinson isn’t the most renown comedian out there, however after watching Detroiters (2017-), I immediately fell in love in Robinson’s award type of humor.

Netflix invited Robinson to make his own sketch, and I Think You Should Leave (2019-) is – for the most part – comedy gold. A majority of the bits rely on the mechanism of their characters being exposed to extremely weird situation, and the comedy is hidden in the way these characters cope with all that awkwardness. As an example, one sketch takes place at a funeral, during which the regular organist is replaced by a 90-years old, goofy entertainer. He also has his own set of instruments, which bring out the cheesiness of his performance. As you can imagine, the contrast is ridiculously huge here, but that’s what makes it hysterical too.

I whole-heartedly recommend I Think You Should Leave (2019-) for one of those remote crisis days.

Where to watch: Netflix

Keywords: comedy, absurd, sketches, weird

Starring: Tim Robinson

Hate Grade: 3/10

The Naked Director best shows to binge-watch while quarantine

#13 The Naked Director (2019-) – One season

Plot: The real story of a local director, who specialized in making adult movies in conservative Japan.

Only recently, Netflix branched out its original productions to various countries in the world. The Naked Director (2019-) is a Japanese show, designed to conquer the rest of the streaming world thanks to the blend of universalism and Japanese oddity. While it didn’t fully succeed, mainly due to a poor internal marketing on Netflix platform, this is one gem not to be missed.

The Naked Director (2019-) draws its highly entertaining story from the real story of Toru Muranishi. Muranishi started out as a man with big ambitions and a dream of making the adult movies industry in Japan more kinky and spicy. Over the course of its first season, the show manages to canvas the rise-and-fall pattern, but not without a range of unexpected setbacks and plot twists. At the same time, The Naked Director (2019-) is also an interesting look into the Japanese culture. The for-adults-only industry goes big, and a long way in Japan, and Muranishi has been an influential figure.

Where to watch: Netflix

Keywords: real story, Japanese, adult movies industry, funny

Starring: Takayuki Yamada, Shinnosuke Mitsushima

Hate Grade: 3/10

Mindhunter by David Fincher best shows to binge-watch while quarantine

#14 Mindhunter (2017-) – Two seasons

Plot: Mindhunter (2017-) covers the beginnings of investigative profiling, where two FBI agents drive around the U.S., interviewing most notorious criminals held in prisons.

If you haven’t heard about this show, then the chances of you living under a rock are high. Created by David Fincher, Mindhunter (2017-) is crime drama in its prime.

The plot follows two FBI agents – Holden Ford and Bill Tench – who embark on a journey into the worst America had to offer. While meeting with likes of Charles Manson, Edmund Kemper and Jerry Brudos, the two men establish the basics of profiling. Thanks to the meticulous art direction of David Fincher, Mindhunter (2017-) has all the characteristics of the director’s best movies, such as Seven (1995) and Zodiac (2007). Its slow-burn narrative meets with washed-off colors and brooding crimes that feel more horrendous when told from the perspective of those committing them.

Where to watch: Netflix

Keywords: comedy, absurd, sketches, weird

Starring: Jonathan Groff, Holt McCallany, Anna Torv

Hate Grade: 1/10

The Deep Jungle best shows to binge-watch while quarantine

#15 The Deep Jungle (2019) – One season

Plot: In Colombia, a detective from Bogota is dispatched to the wilderness in the Jungle to solve a crime. However, she encounters much more than than that.

Ciro Guerra is one of the most influential voices in the Latin America filmmaking scene – his Embrace of The Serpent (2015) brought the director an Oscar nomination, while 2018’s Birds of Passage had quite a successful festival run. Hence it’s no surprise that Netflix, as part of their global content strategy, offered Guerra his own production.

The Deep Jungle (2019) is one hell of a trip. Those, who watched Narcos (2015-2017), will feel at home in the streets of Bogota, however the story quickly moves onto Guerra’s most favorite areas. The director is an ardent, passionate explorer of Colombian descents, as well as the tribal way of life in the wilderness. In his own series, Guerra observes a young “city woman” as she is sent to the world she doesn’t understand. What she soon discovers is beyond her earthly perception.

Anchored by the solid leading role of Juana del Rio, The Deep Jungle (2019) offers a beautifully rich look at the forgotten, mysterious realm that hides in the shadows of globalization and technology.

Where to watch: Netflix

Keywords: Ciro Guerra, Colombia, in the jungle, mystery, supernatural

Starring: Juana del Rio

Hate Grade: 2.5/10

The Lies Within Korean series best shows to binge-watch while quarantine

#16 The Lies Within (2019-) – One season

Plot: A woman whose husband disappears, teams up with a detective to find what happened to her family’s missing members.

After the success of Parasite (2019), I can’t be the only cinema-goer who plans to explore the Korean filmmaking industry soon. The beginning of my journey is not a film, but a show – Netflix’s The Lies Within (2019-).

The show finds an unlikely duo – a determined young woman and a detective seeking quiet life – as they dive into a web of lies that protects high-situated people in the country.

The show’s power lies in the way it progressively throws its characters deeper into the dangerous waters. Yoon-jeong Lee, the show’s creator, comes up with ways to muddle the story over the course of the first season, enough to keep The Lies Within (2019-) partially a crime series, and partly a take on some local Korean conspiracy theories.

Where to watch: Netflix

Keywords: Korean, conspiracy theories, murder, investigation

Hate Grade: 3.5/10

Trapped Icelandic show best shows to binge-watch while quarantine

#17 Trapped (2015) – One season

Plot: A depressed investigator Sofia Karppi is given a tough case of a murder of a woman who has ties with a Finnish giant in the construction industry.

Baltasar Kormakur is a name known to fans of European cinema. This Icelandic director has been one of the most profound filmmakers from this small island of just 400,000 inhabitants. And Trapped (2015-) was Kormakur’s best production so far.

This Scandinavian crime series follows a police officer who is dispatched to a small Icelandic village to investigate a murder case there. However, the town is soon closed off because of a storm, and the officer needs to work on his own.

The show’s nuance stems from the element of confinement, and the way nature plays by its own rules, in disregard to people’s ways. By applying the harsh weather conditions, which cut off the main character from his office, Kormakur adds another layer of tension to the story. Moreover, the show stars two fantastic actors in the leading roles – Olafur Darri Olafsson and Ingvar Eggert Sigurdsson – both silverback performers in the European stage.

Where to watch: Netflix

Keywords: Icelandic, crime, hermetic, cut off from the world

Starring: Olafur Darri Olafsson and Ingvar Eggert Sigurdsson

Hate Grade: 3/10

The Act show Hulu best shows to binge-watch while quarantine

#18 The Act (2019-) – One season

Plot: The true story of an over-protective mother who intentionally poisons her daughter in order to benefit financially from donations.

The Act (2019-) didn’t embrace its initial buzz, and while the series was praised by critics, this Hulu original has drowned in the second part of 2019 after its early premiere. Despite that, it is one hell of a disturbing viewing.

A few years ago, Gypsy Blanchard, a girl tied to a wheelchair, was found guilty of murdering her mother, Dee Dee. The story went viral in the whole U.S., right when the truth about their scheme saw the light of the day. A diabolical scheme, conceived by Dee Dee, was to deliberately deter her daughter from outside world, which was a way to keep money flowing from merciful viewers who felt sorry for Gypsy.

The show, developed by Nick Antosca & Michelle Dean, dives deep into the story of Gypsy and Dee Dee. The creators managed to conjure a highly unnerving, uneasy vibe over the whole season, which happens mostly thanks to the very graphic portrayal of domestic abuse and Gypsy’s deteriorating health. The Act (2019-) is all about no-holds-barred approach, and there’s plenty of disturbing themes and scenes that really stay with you after the show ends. On top of it comes the towering duo King & Arquette, who both steal the show as Gypsy and Dee Dee.

Where to watch: HBO

Keywords: true story, family drama, disease

Starring: Patricia Arquette, Joey King

Hate Grade: 2/10

Which shows would you add to the list? Share in the comments!

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