Media Review

4 Shows to Binge Watch (i.e. Procrastination 101)

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Since it’s that time of year again — i.e. when I pretend to write papers while instead binge watching Grey’s Anatomy for the 5th time — here are my top four shows to watch continuously until Netflix has to check if I’m still alive.

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The West Wing

I used to work in student politics and therefore spent an inordinate amount of time around people who loved politics. Those with political aspirations would wax on about this show. A year after leaving I decided that I should probably give it a try — by this point I was also massively missing politics and avidly following the Presidential election: damn you student politics for sucking me in. And boy am I glad that I did. This show is amazing: it’s funny, charming, witty, helps you understand the complexity of the issues brought up, and has a fantastic cast. I wasn’t expecting to become totally invested in these characters. Considering the insane and tumultuous election going on in the States right now (#FeeltheBern) it was also weirdly comforting. Be warned though: you will find yourself judging the current campaigns through the eyes of this show. Also it has a young Rob Lowe, and really what more could you ask for?

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Ripper Street

I think Netflix has been trying to make me watch this show for a while now; Netflix knows me too well. This show is gritty and charming, an extremely human combination that only the British can achieve, and really forces one to face the complexity of being human and living in a world where such horrors can occur. Set in Whitechapel, London, right after the Ripper Street murders, the show follows Inspector Reid and his associates in catching criminals. The story lines are both intriguing and relevant to the era. It also challenges the viewer; I found it difficult to guess whodunit on multiple occasions. The cast is also mesmerizing: Matthew Macfadyen is haunting as Inspector Reid, and Jerome Flynn (Bronn from Game of Thrones) brings so much complexity to a character who would normally just be portrayed as the brainless muscle figure. Even though I started this on a whim it has become one of my favorite TV shows.

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Shadowhunters: The Mortal Instruments

I read the original book series by Cassandra Clare and was hugely excited for the Lily Collins film, so I started watching this show with a rather large amount of trepidation since, well, Collins was so good as Clary that I was worried they would mess it up. I was both right and wrong. Let me explain: the actress that plays Clary in this version, Katherine McNamara, is a mess. Her acting is decidedly mediocre and all she really excels at is being incredibly whiny and incredibly comfortable in 5 inch stilettos despite her character never having worn them before — and I can attest to how difficult it is to run around in 5 inch stilettos without practice: it is very difficult, even with practice. Now I know the show sounds bad, but after you get over McNamara’s overacting you realize that everyone else in this show is kind of awesome! I especially love that they chose a Mexican-Lebanese actress, Emeraude Toubia, to play Isabelle. I love seeing a brown actress play one of my favorite characters, especially an actress who is able to add complexity to a character who could have been stereotyped so easily. I find myself going back again and again to this show and enjoying it each time.

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Marvel’s Daredevil

Season 2 of this show just came out and if you haven’t had a chance to watch it yet you are missing out. I know everyone loves Jessica Jones but I personally find Daredevil a far more interesting and enjoyable show. It manages to capture that gritty yet charming/funny quality that British shows manage to capture so well: highlighting the very human aspect of having the world falling down around but still having time to make a funny comment and laugh at something (a quality which made Broadchurch season 1 absolutely fantastic, especially when compared to the travesty that was Gracepoint). Charlie Cox is broken and charming and absolutely compelling as the eponymous hero, and you can’t take your eyes off the screen when he’s there especially with the haunting Elektra (played by Élodie Yung). I kept regretting not re-watching the previous season in order to get the full experience of becoming immersed first in Daredevil’s Hell’s Kitchen and then immersed in Daredevil the man. While Season 1 was a fantastic performance, an orchestra is the only image that comes to mind, Season 2 is a little more intimate, a little bit of the everyday but extraordinary.

Now that we’ve established that I spend an unhealthy amount of time on Netflix/Shomi you should grab some pizza, a comfy blanket, and #besexy this month and check out these shows and let me know what you think of them!

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