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10 Great TV Series to Binge Watch

Got some time? It’s worth watching as many episodes in a row of these shows as you can

Mad Men (Frank Ockenfels/AMC)

Jon Hamm (as Don Draper). — AMC

Mad Men

The seventh and final season of AMC's award-winning period drama airs next year, so get going on the first six seasons now. Set mainly in the world of New York advertising, it focuses on the troubled Don Draper (Jon Hamm), a man who assumes the identity of a dead G.I. and then insinuates his way into the advertising business.

Bingeworthy because: Hamm gives a knockout performance and the sets are so pitch-perfect you'll feel you're reliving your life in '60s and '70s America.

Robert F. Colesberry, Darryl Massey, Wendell Pierce, and Amy Ryan in The Wire. (HBO/Everett Collection)

Robert F. Colesberry, Darryl Massey, Wendell Pierce and Amy Ryan. — HBO/Everett Collection

The Wire

This five-season HBO crime drama — and we do mean drama — that ran from 2004 to 2008 (60 episodes) is considered by many industry critics to be the best TV series ever created. It's not always easy to follow, but writer David Simon, who also penned the NBC series Homicide: Life on the Street, worked for years as a Baltimore Sun reporter, and his insider knowledge gives the show uncanny realism.

Bingeworthy because: It offers a mesmerizingly graphic portrayal of urban life from the viewpoints of the city's police, politicians, journalists, poor families and criminal element.

George Clooney in ER. (Sven Arnstein/NBC/Getty Images)

George Clooney (as Dr. Doug Ross). — Sven Arnstein/NBC/Getty Images

ER

It's the longest-running medical prime-time drama in TV history (1994 to 2009 on NBC) and the drama that made George Clooney a household name. Set in a fictional Chicago hospital, it's a timeless inside look into what makes such a place tick, and that's largely the people who work there. Yes, there are more than 300 episodes to savor, but you can't overdose on nostalgia, can you?

Bingeworthy because: There's Clooney and Julianna Margulies before she was The Good Wife, and Noah Wyle before Falling Skies, and a hit parade of guest stars including a touching appearance by the late Rosemary Clooney, George's aunt.

Claire Danes in Homeland. (Courtesy Kent Smith/Showtime)

Claire Danes (as Carrie Mathison). — Showtime

Homeland

Season 3 of Showtime's Emmy-winning drama kicked off in September and stars Brit actor Damian Lewis as Marine Sgt. Nicholas Brody, a war hero/potential terrorist, and Claire Danes as bipolar CIA officer Carrie Mathison, who is both chasing him down and in love with him. It's complicated.

Bingeworthy because: It feels relevant in post-9/11 America. If you like edge-of-your-seat thrillers, this series has enough dramatic urgency to keep you right there for hours at a time.

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