It’s no secret that I prefer TV over films, but it’s only because I like to get VERY invested in the characters. Some might say obsessed. You see, I can go full “Nurse Betty” about TV shows. If you don’t know that reference, it’s a movie about a woman who was obsessed with a soap opera, fell down hit her head and when she woke up she thought it was real – that the characters were her actual friends and the hospital was an actual place (she left her life to move to LA to find the hospital, get back to her friends and her lover, etc). That’s how I am. I don’t just watch shows, I go deep and practically lose myself. And that’s how it should be. But not every show wins my obsessive affection. I need the following words/descriptors in order to surrender my time (they don’t have to be ALL of these, but certainly need to be some). Ahem: Teen, drama, coming of age, thriller, romance, epic, love, mystery – with the ONLY exception being family drama (but only some – I’m talking to you Parenthood, This is Us and Brothers and Sisters). Sure, I loved 30 Rock but can you watch 16 episodes in a row and then have dreams that you work at Rockefeller Center? Not me. So here are my all-time bingeable, addictive, can’t stop thinking about TV shows I’ve ever watched and loved (along with the rest of the EHD teams recommendations, just in case you aren’t as crazy as I am about the teen/love genre).
Teen Romance/ Coming of Age
From Emily: Veronica Mars – I avoided this for the first few years because, as Brian so aptly put it, “why would I watch a show about a detective teenager in the OC?” But stop avoiding it, you will be so grateful to me. Enough friends told me to watch it so we caved, and then Brian and I found ourselves watching 16 episodes in a row (season 2). Here’s what you need to know: It’s set in the aughts in the OC, with the “haves” versus the “have nots” (I will always love this dichotomy), it has probably the best father/daughter relationship on television ever, with weekly crimes to solve but more importantly an overall extremely compelling mystery that is GRIPPING. Super talented acting, hilarious writing, and don’t worry – there is love, folks. There is love. It’s also very fun to know that Kristen and Ryan Hansen are still practically best friends even though they hate each other in the series. I loved it so much that I gave far too much money to get the movie made, getting a minor producer credit.
From Sara: Skins – If you’re a fan of Riverdale or Gossip Girl (like Emily and I are), but you haven’t ever watched SKINS, then buckle up. This show is so nostalgic to me that the opening song can bring a tear to my eye. It’s filled with extremely extra drama, a good dash of comedy, copious amounts of teens almost kissing (and actually kissing), and witty dialogue. The first two seasons feel a little dated at this point, and they definitely have some moments we’d consider “tone deaf” to our modern sensibilities, but for the most part the characters at their core still feel totally relatable to my teen self. Plus you’ll get to see some current favorite celebrities in their early days (Nicholas Holt, Dev Patel, and Kaya Scodelario, along with two GOT staples, Joe Dempsie and Hannah Murray #Cassie4Ever). But seasons 3 & 4 are my personal favorites. By the way, this isn’t a PG show (we’re talking drinking, sex, copious drug use, violence, topics of ED, rape, teen pregnancy, etc.), but it’s one for the books, AND ALL 7 SEASONS ARE ON NETFLIX. Make sure you’re watching the original British show, not the American remake.
From Julie: Degrassi: The Next Generation – It’s the Canadian teen equivalent TV show of Parenthood where they address literally ever issue that could happen to someone between the ages of 12 to 21. Super relatable and highly addictive. And if you were a tween/teenager in the early 2000s like I was then you’re probably also well aware of the fact that Jimmy Brooks is now DRAKE.
From Ryann: Dawson’s Creek – It’s possible everyone and their mother has seen this already and I was just super late to the game when I binged it last year. But if you haven’t watched it and you love teen/coming of age story with (PG) romance, you’re going to devour it. You also will probably love rewatching if it’s been 20 years since you first saw Katie Holmes and James Van Der Beek fall in love.
From Emily: Felicity – Oh if I could go back and watch it for the first time. What a gift you can give yourself if you haven’t seen it. Here’s what you need to know: Coming of age, romance, a love triangle, and New York pre-2001, with J.J. Abrams as the producer. If you missed my favorite show the first time around, the good news is that it doesn’t date. A good friend of mine (38 years old) FINALLY listened to me and started it this year, then couldn’t stop, making all her plans around watching 3-4 episodes a night. A direct quote from her: “I think no matter what happens in my life now there is a Felicity episode that can comfort me.” It’s incredibly relatable and so well written and acted.
From Caitlin: Dave – This is my new favorite show AND it just aired it’s season finale so you have A WHOLE TEN EPISODES TO WATCH, you guys!!! That’s the perfect amount – it’s binge-able in like 4.5 hours, which is scientifically the perfect amount of binge-watching time (according to me, because you can finish a show AND still get some stuff done afterward). ANYWAY, it’s based on the life of real-life rapper Lil Dicky (aka Dave) and it was SO MUCH better than I anticipated. It’s SO earnest, way more so than you’d expect from a guy who’s made a living rapping about his junk, which he does address in the show. And it is so well-cast with characters who will remind you of regular people in your life. Like, I can’t find enough ways to stress how genuine and sweet this show is. I really, really love it. (Also, my first job out in LA was in a recording studio, and this gets it SO RIGHT.)
From Ryann: Veep – Julia Louis-Dreyfus is a national treasure and her performance in Veep is incredible. I don’t think I have ever laughed harder from a show. It’s also SO smart and well written.
From Ryann: Crashing – Fans of Flea Bag and queen Phoebe Waller-Bridge, this is for you. PWB actually created and wrote this series so it has that same dry, raunchy British humor that Flea Bag does and it’s hilarious. I think I got through the whole series in a day and was so sad to discover it only ran for one season. But don’t let that discourage you! It’s worth the binge.
From Sara: Psych – If you loved Scrubs, or are a fan of Brooklyn Nine-Nine then give Psych a try. This is a classic buddy cop/bromance comedy, with the twist being one of buddies isn’t actually a cop at all. He’s just a highly perceptive dude who’s trained himself to put together clues like a puzzle (or a detective??) all under the guise of being a psychic. And while he may be wildly perceptive, he’s not the easiest pill to swallow. HILARITY ENSUES. This is just a really fun, feel-good show.
From Jess: Weeds – Talk about a show that takes A LOT of twists and turns. I mean what else does a mother/widow do when her husband suddenly dies… sell weed of course. It’s funny, sexy, touching with a ton of action. Also, it was created by the same women as Orange is the New Black so you know it’s good. I also never held my iced coffee the same way after watching this show…
From Jess: Sisters – I stumbled upon this little one season Australian show on Netflix and I was immediately taken in. The main character Julia, has just lost her Nobel prize-winning father who unbeknownst to anyone was secretly/illegally using his own sperm in a ton of his In Vitro patients. So after years of thinking she was an only child, she actually isn’t and may have to share her father’s fortune. It’s sweet, funny, sad and at moments enjoyably cringe-y.
From Julie: Grace & Frankie – Lily Tomlin (Frankie) & Jane Fonda (Grace) are friendship goals (are we still saying this?) starting off as rivals the two commiserate together in a beach house after some shocking news. Six seasons later Jess and I are still so excited to binge-watch it all in one night!
From Sara: Derry Girls – This is an early morning addition, because I saw it in the comments and thought “OMG HOW COULD I HAVE FORGOTTEN TO ADD THIS SHOW?!” This is one of the best, most hilarious, most heart warming, most enjoyable shows I’ve seen all year and I hope it keeps getting made.
From Emily: Parenthood – If you like This is Us, then you’ll love Parenthood even more. This show made me rethink keeping our family small, because everyone wants to be a Braverman. I don’t think I would have watched this seemingly commercial network family drama if a million people had not told me to. So I started it and the first episode I was sucked in, cried, and the marathon began. It’s the most incredible ensemble cast, with every situation in life being played out in such relatable ways.
From Sara: Unreal – If you love The Bachelor this show is for you. If you HATE The Bachelor (or just can’t take a single episode seriously, like me), this show is for you. So really, this show is for everyone. It’s a fictional drama based on the production side of a “Bachelor” type show, and it’s RIVETING. It’s got just as much drama and high flying emotions as any episode of The Bachelor that I’ve seen, but with strong female leads and a great script.
From Caitlin: Manifest – I’m not actually 100% sure who the target demo is for this show, but I’m pretty sure I’m not it. I love it anyway. Manifest is about the passengers of Flight 828, who get on a turbulent flight, land, and learn that 5 years have passed and that all of their family and friends have basically moved on without them. The premise is very cool, some of the storylines get a little bizarre, and a few of the graphics are kind of funny in that they really take you out of the show (like, really, you’re sailing on an ancient boat in a storm now?) — but those are all things that I really enjoy. It’s escapist, easy to get into, and pretty family-friendly. RECOMMEND.
From Ryann: The Sopranos – This show is amazing. It’s suspenseful and addicting and if you’ve been putting off watching, nows the time to change that. It’s not just an Italian mob show. There is so much social commentary going on about masculinity, mental illness, family, identity and it has surprisingly aged well considering when it was created and the plotline. It’s also so well-acted and written. Oh, it’s also a great show to watch if you are quarantining with your husband or boyfriend and you’ve run out of things you both want to watch.
From Sara: The Newsroom – For fans of sharp wit, fast-flying dialogue, and politics (think Succession or House of Cards), give The Newsroom a try. It’s Aaron Sorkin, so this show moves FAST. But the characters are compelling, the topics feel relevant, and the acting is really top-notch. I was hooked after the first 15 minutes.
From Jess: The Get Down – One of my absolute favorites. It’s a two-season series (the first season is better IMHO) that is set in the late 1970s in New York. It was the demise of Disco, the rise of Hip hop and not the New York we know today (duh). I love that while most of the characters are fictional, there are a lot of characters that actually existed during that time so it feels historical in that way. But ultimately it’s full of beautiful love stories. The end first episode still makes cry, like hold your heart and remember your first true love cry.
From Sara: Nashville – This one clings right to my Grey’s Anatomy loving heart (and yes, I’m still up to date on Grey’s). I’m a little biased, because I really enjoy country music, but this show really sucked me in. I didn’t get into it until right before the final season was released, and I feel in love hard and fast. And this show has something just really soulful and heartfelt with the added music element.
From Mallory: Madmen – This is all I’m watching right now. For some reason, it took being locked in a house for 2 months for me to get into this show, but holy hell am I in. The 1960s world is SO fun to watch, the story is steamy and compelling, and WHY IS EVERYONE SO INSANELY ATTRACTIVE. I’m weak. Watch it if you haven’t yet.
From Julie: Sex Education – This British show is not your average teen drama, it’s a refreshing real take on sex and the insecurities that surround the subject. The main character, Otis, who is the least experienced in this department finds himself offering advice to his peers solely based on the knowledge he has acquired from his sex therapist mother. The show plays upon the growing trend of being set in an unknown decade making it relatable for a wide age group and a tad nostalgic.
From Julie: Misfits – This show is definitely a bit on the cheesy side but the first 3 seasons had me hooked. As I am not usually one for stories about superheroes my skepticism was high. But I will always give it a few episodes when it comes to British TV like I have in the past with Skins and the IT Crowd.
From Jess: Ally McBeal – This show was above my age group when it was on TV but after years of hearing references and not knowing what that dancing baby was about, I decided to end my curiosity and just watch. It was weird but I was IMMEDIATELY hooked and binged it hard.
From Sara: Queer As Folk (the American version) – This show has one of my all time favorite romances ever, and for me, it just doesn’t get better than Brian Kinney. He will forever be the king of lust worthy bad boys. I would binge this in college on DVDs rented from the school library. It paired endearing characters, with witty humor, hard hitting important topics, and lots of sex. It definitely has it’s dated moments (like a white character dressed as a Geisha complete with a wildly offensive accent), but it also has a lot of merits. And again, a romance thru line that still makes my heart JUMP. And while I’m here, even though it doesn’t fit the bill of the post since it’s current, I’ll throw a recommendation out for everyone to watch POSE.
From Jess: Lovesick – I don’t know why more of my friends didn’t see this?! It’s a classic “will they or won’t they” and SO endearing. Plus it’s a British dramedy, so the humor is dry and wonderful.
From Jess: She’s Gotta Have It – Ok so I still haven’t seen the original movie but I LOVED the series so much (sadly only two seasons). I’m sure I don’t need to tell the plotline to most of you, but Nola Darling (the main character) is on an unapologetic mission to be true to herself and her art while bouncing between three VERY different men. It deals with love, art, friendly, race, and so many other social issues. You need to watch this show to get the Puerto Rico episode. It’s complete magic.
From Jess: Drop Dead Diva – This show is REAL corny but also really endearing and SO addicting. I mean who doesn’t love a body switch, romance-filled, law dramedy?? Give it a chance and you will be hooked.
From Emily: The Tudors – This might deserve a rewatch. It’s dramatic and sexy and transports you instantly.
From Emily: Downton Abbey – Remember when the entire world watched an extremely slow show about a buttoned-up British family? We were obsessed with it and while it is slow, its really beautiful if you have the patience together into it. If not now, when?
From Emily: Outlander – Well I think you all know how I feel about this one – once I started I bingeing this hard it became a bit of an obsession – like speaking in a Scottish accent, wearing ren-faire inspired clothing. Perfectly normal life changes due to a 17th-century epic romance sci-fi show. By watching this you are totally transported into the Scottish highlands, with time travel, love, romance, wars, betrayal, and likely the most attractive human being on the planet, aside from Brian, obviously. While Brian didn’t watch it, he sure did LOVE that I watched it if you know what I mean. Fine, it’s basically love porn, ok?
From Sara: The Borgias – I love, love, LOVE a period piece. Downton Abbey, The Tudors, Outlander – these are my JAM. The Borgias is one you might have missed. Set in Rome, it’s just three seasons of beautiful people doing very naughty things. The costumes are drop dead gorgeous, and the sets are *chefs kiss*. I will say that there is one major plot twist that is, uh . . . less than ideal. But both actors are wildly hot and have SIZZLING chemistry, so it’s confusing. . . Anyways, it’s totally bingeable (and there was a finale screenplay released after the end of the 3rd season to help wrap things up for the fans).
From Sara: Wow, honestly this is my favorite category so I’m just gonna throw a BUNCH out there for you all, because this would turn into it’s own post if I had to write about each one: Vikings, The Last Kingdom, The Spanish Princess, Poldark, War & Peace, Taboo, Black Sails . . .
From Emily: You, Bloodline, and The Affair – Three gripping thrillers that you will get extremely addicted to. They all have well-done production, acting, and writing along the way. Bloodline became an obsession for me, it’s set in Florida, and is about a dysfunctional family (with lots of money) with a super compelling mystery and incredible acting/writing. Also, Outer Banks just came out and I binged it in ONE DAY – it’s what would happen if Bloodline and Veronica Mars had a baby.
From Emily: Lost – I was so disturbed to know that half our team hadn’t seen this – LUCKY YOU, likely because they were in high school when it came out. If you like plane crash thrillers, set on a beautiful deserted island, with beautiful people falling in love and lots of sweaty body parts, betrayal, action and so much mystery and drama – how can you not love this show? It really was the perfect blockbuster TV show and if you missed it the first time around consider yourself lucky.
From Sara: I second Lost. Listen, this a classic for a reason, and if you’ve never watched it now is the perfect time to binge it. And you will want to BINGE. This show has it all – hot people, serious mystery, good laughs, high key drama. The last two seasons get a little woo woo, and the ending was a little “lost” on me. But the first three seasons are AMAZING. Julie thirds the Lost recommendation and she’s watched 3 full times.
From Mallory: Here’s another vote for You. This is the kind of show that you watch and then can’t stop watching, and then you finally accept the fact that sleeping was for the pre-You, you. Both seasons 1 and 2 are incredibly bingeable and will lead a desire – nay – LIFE-DEPENDING NEED to know what happens next. Guys, I haven’t loved a show like this since I watched Gossip Girl for the first time, so if that doesn’t give you a clue to what kind of show this is, let me break it down further. It’s basically is Gossip Girl but instead of Penn Badgely playing Dan Humphrey, Penn Badgely plays creepy Dan Humphrey. I don’t know what else I can say because I don’t want to give it all away, but just do yourself a favor, watch this show.
From Julie: Killing Eve – I am a huge fan of Sandra Oh (Grey’s Anatomy) so I was thrilled to hear she was the lead when Velinda recommended this show to me two years ago. It’s the classic good guy tracking down the villain but the leads are all women. Get ready for a lot of smart witty humor and some equally terrifying shocking scenes. (Ryann seconds this).
From Julie: Dexter – Dexter is the serial killer that everyone loves and no one suspects since he works as a blood splatter analyst (fitting) for the Miami-Metro PD. Each season’s storyline centralizes around a different theme which grows darker by the season. But do yourself a favor and skip season 8, trust me you’re not missing out on anything. This show was my stepping stone into watching thriller tv shows like The Sinner & Criminal Minds – which if you haven’t seen this but love a CSI type show then WATCH IT.
Alright, that’s all from us. Now we want to hear about your favorite shows that didn’t get the hype they deserve. Meet us in the comments and let’s chat. xx
Opener Image Credit: Photo by Sara Ligporria-Tramp | From: Emily Bowser’s “Refreshed For Function” Small Living Room Makeover