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12 Shows Perfect for Binge-Watching Now

Looking for intelligent viewing? All of these series offer ‘TV for Grownups’

  • Courtesy Starz


    En español |

    • Watch: 8 episodes (2014) on Starz, Amazon Instant Video
    • Stars: Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, Graham McTavish
    • Come for: Panoramic Scottish Highlands, men in kilts
    • Stay for: Our time-traveling heroine has two lovers: one in 1945, a second in 1743.
    • Don’t miss: Witches dancing at dawn inside a charmed circle of stones -- mystical!
    • Binge-breaker: The overwritten Outlander novels yield overlong episodes.

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  • Courtesy Amazon Studios


    • Watch: 10 episodes (2014-2015) on Amazon Prime
    • Stars: Titus Welliver, Jamie Hector, Jason Gedrick, Veronica Cartwright, Amy Aquino
    • Come for: Gritty and romantic shots of L.A., tense precinct dynamics
    • Stay for: Longtime character actor Welliver, 53, breaks out as Detective Harry Bosch.
    • Don’t miss: Harry explaining jazz to his teen daughter, Maddie, in episode 10: "I'll get you some vinyl and a turntable — best way to listen!"
    • Binge-breaker: Your adrenal glands may tolerate only one or two episodes at a time.

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  • Courtesy BBC America

    'The Hour'

    • Watch: 12 episodes (2011-2012) on iTunes, Amazon or
    • Stars: Dominic West, Romola Garai, Ben Whishaw
    • Come for: Heady, sexy drama about the birth of TV news in 1950s Britain
    • Stay for: Period-faithful set design, Broadcast News-style tension
    • Don’t miss: Surprising subplot entwining Anna Chancellor and Peter Capaldi (Dr. Who)
    • Binge-breaker: You may smash your TV in anger because this U.K. answer to Mad Men only aired for two seasons.

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  • Courtesy of Showtime

    'The Tudors'

    • Watch: 38 episodes (2007-2010) on Showtime
    • Stars: Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Natalie Dormer, Peter O’Toole, Sam Neill, Henry Cavill
    • Come for: Jousting, pageantry, rutting and scheming in the court of Henry VIII
    • Stay for: The ripping of bodices, the chewing of scenery
    • Don’t miss: Sam Neill’s nuanced performance as Cardinal Thomas Wolsey
    • Binge-breaker: Rhys Meyers can’t decide whether to channel Sir Laurence Olivier or Tony Soprano.

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  • Courtesy HBO

    'Getting On' (American version)

    • Watch: 18 episodes (2013-2015) on HBO, Amazon Instant Video
    • Stars: Laurie Metcalf, Alex Borstein, Niecy Nash, Mel Rodriguez
    • Come for: Absurdly real but funny look at life in a hospital’s extended-care unit
    • Stay for: The magnificent cast; haven’t we met them all somewhere?
    • Don’t miss: Metcalf as puffed-up Dr. Jenna James: “My job is infinitely more important than yours.”
    • Binge-breaker: Caregivers, binge in small doses only!

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  • Courtesy NBC

    'Parks and Recreation'

    • Watch: 125 episodes (2009-2015) on NBC, Amazon, Netflix
    • Stars: Retta, Adam Scott, Amy Poehler, Aubrey Plaza, Chris Pratt, Nick Offerman, Rob Lowe
    • Come for: “Treat yo’self,” as Retta would say, to TV’s top comedy writing.
    • Stay for: Seeing the ensemble cast bloom as individuals
    • Don’t miss: Leslie Knope (Poehler) and Ron Swanson (Offerman) get locked in the office overnight to settle their differences.
    • Binge-breaker: Season 1 clumsily portrayed Knope as a dope, but stick with it.

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  • Courtesy Netflix


    • Watch: 14 episodes on Netflix (2012-2014)
    • Stars: Ricky Gervais, Kerry Godliman, Brett Goldstein
    • Come for: Acting mastery of Gervais as a mentally challenged nursing-home staffer
    • Stay for: Touching, tender moments hidden in a mockumentary
    • Don’t miss: While clipping a resident’s toenails, Derek proclaims: “I like old people; they’re kind.”
    • Binge-breaker: Must every actor break the fourth wall? (We blame The Office.)

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  • Courtesy FX

    'The Americans'

    • Watch: 36 episodes (2013-2015) on FX
    • Stars: Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, Richard Thomas, Noah Emmerich
    • Come for: Russian spies living next door in Reagan-era suburbia
    • Stay for: To decide which is twistier: family dynamics or international espionage?
    • Don’t miss: Period props (slide carousel projectors, metal ice-cube trays) and multiple costume changes per show
    • Binge-breaker: It’s easy to OD on noir!

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  • Courtesy Nick Briggs/Carnival Films 2014 for MASTERPIECE

    'Downton Abbey'

    • Watch: 51 episodes (2010-2015) on PBS, Amazon, Netflix
    • Stars: Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Maggie Smith
    • Come for: To learn what life’s like in an English castle. (Answer: cold.)
    • Stay for: The conniving and striving, both upstairs and down
    • Don’t miss: Lord Grantham’s emergence as a human being. Took him only five seasons!
    • Binge-breaker: Once the cast feels like family, you may long to ditch them!

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  • Courtesy Australian Broadcasting Corporation

    'Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries'

    • Watch: 34 episodes (2012-2015) on, PBS, Netflix
    • Stars: Essie Davis, Nathan Page, Miriam Margolyes
    • Come for: Glam, sexually liberated P.I. solving murders in 1920s Melbourne, Australia
    • Stay for: Miss Fisher’s slowly building romance with Detective Inspector Jack Robinson
    • Don’t miss: Flapper fashion-palooza! (Chokers, tiaras, pearl-handled pistol)
    • Binge-breaker: Sorry, can’t think of one. But like Phryne (pronounced FRY-knee) Fisher, we’ll keep noodling it!

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  • Courtesy of Starz

    'Dancing on the Edge'

    • Watch: 6 episodes (2013) on Starz or DVD
    • Stars: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Jacqueline Bisset, John Goodman, Matthew Goode, Anthony Head, Angel Coulby
    • Come for: Swinging jazz in 1930s London (original numbers), spiffy period dress and sets
    • Stay for: A murder whodunit that deals with overnight stardom, media scrutiny, class and race relations
    • Don’t miss: The Prince of Wales, a Louis Lester Band groupie, getting jiggy with it
    • Binge-breaker: Less talking, more music and singing!

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