Stuck at home for a weekend? It’s a perfect time to binge some great TV, thanks to streaming services like Netflix, HBO Go, Hulu and Amazon Prime. But sometimes you want something short, rather than to get sucked into a seasons-long TV show. Here’s a list of binge-worthy shows you can finish in just a couple days.
“Ozark” follows a financial planner who launders money for a drug cartel. To avoid getting himself and his whole family murdered, he concocts a scheme to head to Missouri to launder a huge amount of money as fast as he can. If you’re craving the sort of dark, crime-ridden drama you need to check out Netflix’s “Ozark” — it’s like “Breaking Bad” if the whole family was involved.
Jump back to the 1980s to follow the creation of the “Gorgeous Women of Wrestling” in Netflix’s latest comedy. Alison Brie of “Mad Men” and Betty Gilpin of “Nurse Jackie” lead a hilarious cast of inexperienced women trying to figure how to wrestle, under the leadership of an extremely unrefined Marc Maron. It’s a quick and funny run at 10 episodes.
“Stranger Things” (Netflix)
Season 2 of Netflix’s 1980s-inspired horror series isn’t due till October, which means you’ve got plenty of time to burn through the first eight episodes. The series takes a page from ’80s movies like “The Goonies” and “ET,” and its great cast plays well with the show’s many takes on supernatural horror.
“Westworld” (HBO Go, HBO Now)
HBO kicked off its robots coming to life series last year with a bang. With mind-bending plots focused on artificial intelligence, sentience, and morality — plus lots of confusing timelines to work through — “Westworld” offers a lot to dig into. If you haven’t started the show yet, you can still get lost in its mysteries on HBO Go and HBO Now.
“Luke Cage” (Netflix)
Spinning off from “Jessica Jones,” Luke Cage takes superheroes to Harlem with a different tone from Netflix’s other Marvel series. There will eventually be more of Luke Cage, but for now the complete first season is a contained story that expands the Marvel universe with perspective that’s especially poignant in the current American political climate.
Time travelers are popping up in 2017, hoping to stop an apocalyptic future. Netflix grounds the show in the personal struggles of a dedicated team of temporally displaced scientists who are completely out of their elements. “Travelers” also does a great job of giving just enough information to build a fascinating world that leaves a lot of mysteries to solve later on.
“The Night Of” (HBO Go, HBO Now)
HBO’s short miniseries starts with an accusation and a murder, and spirals from there. Naz is a Muslim kid arrested for a murder he can’t remember if he committed, and even before his trial, the situation ripples out to affect everyone even remotely related to him or the crime. It’s a dark and dramatic look into the criminal justice system that goes beyond the usual police procedural.
“The People vs. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story” (Netflix)
Looking back into the American zeitgeist of 1994, FX’s drama adaptation of the trial of the century is an enthralling 10 episodes. It’s brilliantly cast and captures the moment, with all its bizarre and upsetting ins and outs, extremely well.
“Lemony Snicket’s A Series of Unfortunate Events” (Netflix)
The book series of the same name contains 13 volumes, but for the moment it’s possible to get through the first four in one binge sitting. Netflix’s adaptation has an amazing cast and is funny throughout for kids and adults. Even though the story isn’t finished by the end of Season 1, it’s worth digging into the plight of the Baudelaire children in one go.
“Shut Eye” (Hulu)
An organized crime drama that’s kinda funny and a bit supernatural. “Shut Eye” is about grifters posing as psychics in Los Angeles, until Jeffrey Donovan (FX’s “Fargo”) hits his head and starts to see the future. Family drama gets out of control, as do murderous crime bosses.
The first Brazilian Netflix original imagines a post-apocalyptic world where people compete for a chance to go somewhere better. Only 3 percent of candidates make the cut, and they often have to do so by screwing each other over. The possibility of entering utopia pushes the characters to their brinks and beyond, especially as they decide what they’re willing to do to get there.
“The OA” (Netflix)
Diving deep into the “strange and mysterious serialized show” category is “The OA,” about a kidnapped blind woman who returns to her hometown with the ability to see. The series gets even weirder after that, constantly posing mysterious questions about the woman’s powers and her kidnapping. The strangeness only escalates, so binge now for a mystery to solve ahead of the show’s second season.
“Black Mirror” (Netflix)
There are actually four seasons’ worth of episodes of “Black Mirror” available on Netflix, but at only six episodes each, the series is just contained enough that you can get through the whole thing in a long weekend without much to do. It’s addictive enough to happen, as “Black Mirror” puts a “Twilight Zone” twist on modern technology and human relationships.
“Fleabag” (Amazon Prime)
British comedy “Fleabag” is only six episodes long, which makes it a perfect binge for a snowy Saturday or a lazy Sunday. Following Fleabag, a cynical, apathetic, perverted woman fighting to deal with modern life in London, the show gives a different take on modern comedies and dealing with issues like depression.
“The Jinx” (HBO Go and HBO Now)
The story of Robert Durst is a strange one, filled with disappearances, murder, dismemberment, and bad disguises. The six-episode documentary miniseries goes through the story of Durst’s early life and the disappearance of his wife, through two other deaths, and ends with a possible bombshell break in the case. It’s the kind of binge watch material that’s hard to pull away from.
“The Fall” (Netflix)
This British police procedural about a detective hunting a serial killer stars Gillian Anderson of “X-Files” fame and Jamie Dornan of “Fifty Shades of Grey.” Though it covers three total seasons, the shorter series of BBC shows means the grand total is just 17 episodes.
“Band of Brothers” (HBO Go and HBO Now)
Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks produced this drama that follows the 101st Airborne through the European Theater in World War II. Intense, personal and powerful, the 10-part series tells the story of the war in a way that few other movies or series have captured.
“The Crown” (Netflix)
Delving into the story of the English royal family, “The Crown” finds all sorts of drama as Queen Elizabeth II struggles to bear the weight of royal succession. Despite covering the queen’s life over more than 60 years, you’ll still be able to make it through its 10 episodes in a couple days.
“Making a Murderer” (Netflix)
This intensive documentary series covers the story of Steven Avery, who was exonerated of a rape accusation before being arrested for murder. The documentary covers the sorted story of the crime, the investigation, and the prosecution over 10 episodes, raising plenty of questions about whether Avery is guilty along the way.
“Lady Dynamite” (Netflix)
“Lady Dynamite” teams comedian Maria Bamford and “Arrested Development” creator Mitchell Hurwitz to bring a version of Bamford’s comedy to Netflix. The surreal series follows a version of Bamford after she tries to rebuild her life and comedy career after getting treated for bipolar disorder, and with more episodes on the way, it’s a good one to spend a weekend on.
“Crazy Head” (Netflix)
British horror-comedy “Crazy Head” is about two women who can see demons. At first they think they’re crazy — but then they realize the demons are real. Over six episodes, Amy and Raquel battle the forces of evil, making it a funny experience that’s easy to knock out in a hurry.
Adapting Stephen King’s novel of the same name, “11.22.63” sends James Franco back in time from 2016 to the 1960s. The plan: stop the assassination of John F. Kennedy and rewrite the entire future of America for the better. The entire story is perfect weekend material, covered in just eight episodes.
“Iron Fist” (Netflix)
The fourth of Netflix’s Marvel superhero shows is out now, and it’s the last story before the streaming service’s three heroes come together for “The Defenders.” That makes it essential backstory for fans of “Daredevil,” “Luke Cage” and “Jessica Jones,” and binge watch all 13 kung-fu-filled episodes pretty quickly.
“Top of the Lake” (Netflix)
Mix up your police procedurals with a New Zealand perspective with “Top of the Lake.” Its two seasons star Elizabeth Moss of “Mad Men,” with some heavy hitters including Holly Hunter and Nicole Kidman. The two seasons are relatively short, with the whole series totaling 13 episodes.
“Santa Clarita Diet” (Netflix)
Drew Barrymore finds herself sliding toward being an undead cannibal in this Netflix comedy. Killing and eating people shouldn’t be so funny, but her uptight but supportive suburban family make the enterprise of trying to live as a zombie a pretty good time.
“13 Reasons Why” (Netflix)
High school drama “13 Reasons Why” tells the story of a girl who commits suicide, and the tapes she leaves behind for the various people in her life that drove her to that decision. Delivered like a mystery, the show is great weekend binge watch material as it drags you from episode to episode to find out what happened to Hannah Baker.
“Big Little Lies” (HBO Go, HBO Now)
HBO’s scandal- and rumor-fueled dark comedy “Big Little Lies” also became a whodunit as its drama unfolded. With a star-studded cast that includes Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Alexander Skarsgard and Laura Dern, and clocking in at only seven episodes, “Big Little Lies” is a quick, high-quality watch.
“The Young Pope” (HBO Go, HBO Now)
Jude Law is the first American pope in a dark comedy about religion, authority, politics and backstabbing. “The Young Pope” has its surreal moments as Law’s Pius XIII tries to deflect the machinations of the cardinals around him and figure out what to handle being His Holiness.
“Designated Survivor” (Hulu)
Kiefer Sutherland’s spin as a cabinet member who rises to the presidency after a terrorist bombing wipes out the government mixes a lot of conspiracy theory action with some political drama. The result is a mix of “24” and “The West Wing” that’s exciting and optimistic, especially when scandals swirl in the real-life government.
“Dear White People” (Netflix)
Exploring the realities of navigating race and being Black in America, “Dear White People” delves into the lives of student activists at an Ivy League college that thinks it’s successfully become post-racial. In addition to digging into some tough subjects, the show is also constantly hilarious as each episode focuses on specific characters’ lives and relationships to race.
NBC’s history-rewriting time travel show adventure show has been rescued from cancellation, securing a second season thanks to fan demand. That means it’s a great time to catch up on “Timeless” while there’s still one season, which is available on Hulu.
“The Handmaid’s Tale” (Hulu)
Set in a dystopian future in which women are subjugated in America and treated as breeding stock, Hulu’s powerful series can be hard to watch. With an incredible cast that includes Elisabeth Moss, Yvonne Strahovski and Joseph Fiennes, “The Handmaid’s Tale” provides a glimpse into a near-future that sometimes feels a little too possible.
“The Keepers” (Netflix)
Netflix’s latest lengthy true crime documentary sets out to try to find the killer of Sister Cathy Cesnick, a Catholic nun and teacher who died in 1969. The show quickly uncovers a sprawling, horrific tale of sexual abuse at a Baltimore Catholic school that might have led to Sister Cathy’s murder, and possibly a cover up.