Tis the season to be lazy, fa la la la la, binge binge binge! The holiday season is upon us and the majority of us will find ourselves with some free time to fill. If you’re anything like me you’ll ditch the crowded malls, bars and hoards of people (practically everywhere you go) for a comfy, cozy and snuggly spot on the couch (or bed, you do you). And since you’ll need something (besides those countless videos of cats being scared by cucumbers) to occupy all of this extra time you’ve got, I present to you an offering if you will, of my top recommendations of shows you need to binge before 2016 rolls around.
It just so happens that my Top 5 picks feature shows chock full of empowering women and an abundance of storylines that are female driven. Coincidence? Uhh yes! This year has been great for shows surrounding some badass, heartfelt, and hilarious ladies. So let’s get to it!
The 100, THE CW
Possibly one of the most underrated series on TV right now, The 100 takes place in a post apocalyptic world where we find our characters 97 years after a nuclear Armageddon wipes out nearly all of humanity. The only known survivors are faced with a pretty big predicament: their trusty spaceship, known as the Ark, is slowly dying and soon all of its inhabitants will die as well. In hopes of survival, the Ark’s leaders send one hundred of the space stations juvenile delinquents down to Earth in a somewhat cruel experiment to see if they’ll be able to survive the radiation levels post apocalypse. Clarke Griffin (Eliza Taylor), the shows leading lady, quickly becomes the moral compass of the group as the journey to the ground becomes all too real. But not so fast, trouble is near and not only those on the Ark but on Earth are in serious danger!
Since I don’t want to give away all the juicy bits, I’ll skip to the part where I tell you to watch the show. Often compared to Lord of the Flies, The Hunger Games or Lost, this series is in a league of its own and is sure to keep you at the edge of your seat and begging for more. Or mercy. Maybe a little bit of both. From the talented cast to the diligent writers, they’ve created the perfect world for you to escape to during your down time. There are currently two seasons streaming on Netflix and I would advise you to get on them. The show returns for its third season on January 21, 2016 at 9|8c on The CW and you’re going to want to get all caught up before the story continues.
This Australian prison drama has often been compared to Orange is the New Black, but don’t get it twisted– this isn’t your run of the mill prison show. And you won’t be laughing your ass off at these ladies in jumpers, well more like track suits– teal track suits. Though Wentworth does possess comedic elements, this show is straight up drama. The nitty, the gritty and the downright dirty.
The series follows Bea Smith (Danielle Cormack), first-time offender and the newest member of Wentworth Prison. She’s sent to prison for the attempted murder of her completely vile and abusive husband. Immediately, Bea finds herself in the middle of a struggle for power between Jacs Holt (Kris McQuade), and Franky Doyle (Nicole da Silva). Jacs, an older more experienced inmate isn’t too keen on lesbian alpha Franky trying to steal her top dog status, and both inmates try to manipulate Bea to their side of things. There’s a murder, a mystery, and down right debauchery!
The show, which is based on the 1980s Australian show Prisoner, explores what it’s truly like to be in prison. There’s no sugar-coating, just in your face storylines that catapults this show to the forefront of its genre and in my opinion is better than any of the big-name cable dramas here in America. The show has two seasons currently on Netflix, the third will hopefully be released to America soon (it’s already aired in Australia) so make sure to watch the drama unfold as quickly as you can.
Jessica Jones, NETFLIX
I’m sure you’ve heard of this one… and if you haven’t, good God, have you been living under a rock? Superheroes are extremely in right now– actually they’ve been in all along, it’s just taken the rest of the world a long time to catch up with what us quick-witted nerds knew this whole time. Now, Jessica Jones, which stars Krysten Ritter, is an antihero if you will. Jessica tried the whole superhero thing out but it didn’t quite work for her, so now she’s a private investigator.
The series has a noir tone and stars the likes of Mike Colter, Rachael Taylor, Wil Traval, Erin Moriarty, Eka Darville, Carrie-Anne Moss, and David Tennant. Tennant, who plays the super villain known as Kilgrave, had Jessica under his influence (he can make you do anything he wants basically) and made her do some awful things in the past. She thought she shook him, but is he back? I’ll leave you to the binge-watching, as to not spoil anything pivotal– but man, the darkness in this series is oddly refreshing. It doesn’t pretend to be some happy hero show, but stands alone with its one-of-a-kind structure.
Season one has been streaming on Netflix since November 20 and believe me, it’s an easy show to sit down and watch in one take. You know, if you’re hardcore like that. Jessica Jones is enthralling, exciting, devious and all around amazing from start to finish. Ritter instantly made me a fan (and her bitch), and has been held to the highest esteem for her portrayal of one of Marvel’s well-known characters.
Faking It, MTV
Alright, so hear me out. This show follows best friends Karma Ashcroft (Katie Stevens) and Amy Raudenfeld (Rita Volk) in their quest to becoming popular. When a fellow student mistakes the two girls for lesbians, an intricate charade begins between the two leading ladies. I know what you’re thinking… fake lesbians? Come on! But despite the immediate hesitation to give this show a shot, I can promise you will not be disappointed. Though the show starts out slightly offensive to those in the community watching it, it quickly becomes less of a ruse and more of a quest navigating a very real, and heartbreaking journey between these two besties.
Amy starts to have real feelings for Karma, and Karma has the hots for high-school hottie Liam Booker (Gregg Sulkin) and boom, the most complicated love triangle is born (in the best way possible). Faking It has a bright-eyed cast who will make you laugh, make you cry and make you look forward to every new 22 minute episode each week on MTV. Seriously, it has so much heart and pep in its step it’s hard to stop watching once you get started. The series is currently filming its third season, so it’s a good time to catch up on the first two season (on Hulu) of this teen comedy!
Jane the Virgin, THE CW
Watch Jane the Virgin and try to tell me you don’t love it to pieces. The comedy follows Jane Villanueva (Gina Rodriguez) who is accidentally artificially inseminated while at the gynecologist for a routine exam. After much deliberation, Jane decides to keep the baby, but her decision quickly doesn’t bode well for fiancé Michael Cordero (Brett Dier) who is just a little bit freaked out at the idea that his virgin girlfriend is going to have another man’s baby. And rightfully so.
Rafael Solano (Justin Baldoni), an old flame from Jane’s past (whom she shared a kiss and a few great weeks with) turns out to be her baby daddy… and boss at the hotel she works at. Awkward. Moving on, Rafael had cancer and froze his sperm before undergoing treatment so that one day he could have children. Smart, but when slightly crazed wife Petra (Yael Grobglas) goes to get inseminated with said sperm… things go horribly wrong and Jane ends up with the goods instead. Oh and did we mention the person who inseminated her was Rafael’s sister Dr. Luisa Alver (Yara Martinez)? Yeah, try and keep up.
The show is whimsical and completely compelling. It’s one of those shows you can sit and watch and just enjoy the great acting (Gina Rodriguez is a powerhouse) as well as the over the top telenovela vibe. It’s lighthearted (while having it’s more dramatic moments) and should definitely be on your radar. Jane the Virgin is currently on its second season and you can watch the series from the beginning on Netflix and Hulu.
Now that you have a list of captivating series to haul you through the holidays, plop yourself in bed with some donuts, chips and perhaps a pillow or two and get binge-watching! Comment below if you plan on hunkering down with any other shows before 2016.