Olympics TV Alternatives: What to Catch Up on When You Get Winter Games Fatigue

The Olympics are kicking off, but when your curiosity for curling wanes and the luge elevates your anxiety levels to dangerous heights — and it will — there won't be much else to watch on TV.

Knowing that they can't compete with the grace of figure skating and the intensity of the biathlon, most shows are on hiatus for the next two weeks, which means it's the perfect time to play catch-up.

Here are 14 shows we recommend watching between the main events over the next 17 days — from foreign imports to shows that just deserve more love and even a web series — including links for where to watch and what kind of game plan you'll need to knock them all out before your regularly scheduled programming returns.

Editor's note: Schedule accordingly! The TV binge game plans are based on the 17-day Olympics schedule, from Opening Ceremonies on Friday to Closing Ceremonies on Feb. 23. If you start a bit late, speed up your viewing accordingly.

1. "The Returned" (Sundance)


It's a French zombie drama — don't give up just yet! — and it's one of the most uniquely compelling and gorgeously shot shows in recent memory. What would you do if your deceased loved ones suddenly came back to life? ABC's upcoming "Resurrection" has a similar premise, and A&E is adapting the show for U.S. audiences, but the original deserves all the praise it's received (including an International Emmy for Best Drama Series) and is getting a second season later this year on Sundance.
How many seasons, episodes: 1 season, 8 episodes
Where to watch:iTunes and Amazon Prime
The game plan: 8 hours total. You can watch a one-hour episode every other day and finish by closing ceremonies.
"The Returned" Season 2 premieres fall 2014 on Sundance Channel.

[Related: 'The Returned': A Quiet Zombie Drama from Sundance]

2. "Orphan Black" (BBC America)


Star Tatiana Maslany was nominated for a Golden Globe for this truly multi-faceted performance — and she was robbed. She plays seven (SEVEN!) different roles in this drama, about a woman who finds out she was part of a genetic cloning experiment. And that's not even counting the times she's playing one clone disguising herself as another clone. The layers will make your head spin, and we can't wait to see what they do in Season 2.
How many seasons, episodes: 1 season, 10 episodes
Where to watch: BBC America OnDemand, Amazon Prime, or iTunes; buy it on Blu-ray.
The game plan: 10 hours total. You can watch this one at a nice, leisurely pace, but fair warning: that's pretty impossible. Watch, become addicted, and knock it out in a few days and then tackle something else on this list.
"Orphan Black" Season 2 premieres April 19 at 9 p.m. on BBC America.

[Related: 14 Things We Can't Wait to See on TV in 2014]

3. "Hannibal" (NBC)


A prequel of sorts to the Hannibal stories we all know and are terrified of, Bryan Fuller's visually stunning version transforms everyone's favorite cannibal into the most dashing sociopath you could ever imagine. Mads Mikkelsen is so good at being bad, and Hugh Dancy, Caroline Dhavernas, and Laurence Fishburne are just as compelling as the FBI team who works with — and sometimes dines with — the infamous killer they're tracking.
How many seasons, episodes: 1 season, 13 episodes
Where to watch:Amazon Prime or buy the DVD set
The game plan: 13 hours total. One hour-long episode a day will still give you two weekends off to catch up on other things.
"Hannibal" Season 2 premieres Feb. 28 at 10 p.m. on NBC.

[Related: Sneak Peek at 'Hannibal' Season 2]

4. "The Goldbergs" (ABC)


This totally '80s sitcom is like a really pop-culture-obsessed time machine, and it's all but guaranteed to get a second season. You can't watch all of Season 1 (legally) yet, which is a shame, but some of the best episodes are free right now and will give you a nice introduction to the family.
How many seasons, episodes: 1 season, 15 episodes so far (with 7 more to come)
Where to watch: This gets a little tricky since it's still in the middle of Season 1. There are 5 episodes available on ABC.com and HuluPlus right now, but ABC will be re-airing three other episodes back-to-back-to-back on Feb. 11 and another episode the following Tuesday. That's 9 episodes that you can watch for free, out of the 15 that've aired — not bad.
The game plan: It's an easy, breezy 30-minute sitcom — get nostalgic for 4.5 hours and you'll be ready for more when the show returns for its last seven episodes of Season 1.
"The Goldbergs" Season 1 resumes March 4 at 9 p.m. on ABC.

[Related: 'The Goldbergs' Star Wendi McLendon-Covey on How to be a Master Smother]

5. "The Americans" (FX)


For '80s flashbacks of a different kind, FX's "The Americans" follows undercover KGB officers living in D.C. (Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys) and includes some epic disguises, intense chases, and lots of sexpionage. Season 2 promises to be even steamier.
How many seasons, episodes: 1 season, 13 episodes
Where to watch:Amazon Prime or FX VOD
The game plan: 13 one-hour episodes over 17 days will give you a pretty intense marathon, but once you've been initiated, you can just enjoy the ride, and then you'll be rewarded with more shortly after closing ceremonies.
"The Americans" Season 2 premieres Feb. 26 at 10 p.m. on FX.

[Related: 'The Americans' Loves Margo Martindale]

6. "The Fall" (Netflix)


"X-Files" favorite Gillian Anderson and "Fifty Shades" star Jamie Dornan star as a detective and the serial killer she's tracking. It's five episodes, it's completely creepy, and it also happens to be some of Anderson's best dramatic work. Fans of "The Good Wife" will also be happy to see Archie Panjabi.
How many seasons, episodes: 1 season, 5 episodes
Where to watch:Netflix Instant streaming
The game plan: Again, it's only five one-hour episodes! You could spend more time than that listening to reporters in Sochi talk about the terrible hotel accommodations.
"The Fall" Season 2 goes into production this month, likely to premiere late 2014.

[Related: Gillian Anderson on 'The Fall']

7. "Orange Is the New Black" (Netflix)
It's been almost seven months since this Netflix original dark comedy series premiered. Aren't you just a little bit curious what the buzz is all about? Bonus: Chicken chasing is almost like an Olympic sport. (You'll see.)
How many seasons, episodes: 1 season, 13 episodes
Where to watch:Netflix Instant streaming
The game plan: This show was designed to be binge-watched — go to town!
"Orange Is the New Black" Season 2 premieres spring 2014.

[Related: Behind-the-Scenes With the 'Orange is the New Black' Cast]

8. "Scandal" (ABC)   


You really haven’t watched this show? Is it because it's almost too hyped now? Maybe it'd help if we told you that it deserves all the Twitter trending, exclamation punctuation, and Gladiator allegiance for life. It's that addictive. 
How many seasons, episodes: 3 seasons, 39 episodes so far
Where to watch:Seasons 1 and 2 are streaming on Netflix; sadly, only the last five episodes from Season 3 are up on ABC.com and Hulu, but once you get that deep into things, we're sure you can figure out a way to see more. Gladiators are resourceful.
The game plan: If you watch two episodes a day, Monday through Friday, and three episodes a day on Saturdays and Sundays (consider it a weekend treat), you'll be completely caught up by the time the show returns.
"Scandal" Season 3 resumes Feb. 27 at 10 p.m. on ABC.

[Related: 'Scandal' Stars Tease What's Next in Season 3]

9. "Bates Motel" (A&E)


Vera Farmiga and Freddie Highmore bring a new layer of creepy to this classic "Psycho" tale. Season 1 had a lot of big surprises, which made up for most of the small missteps, and Season 2 will have Michael Vartan, more drug drama, and a deeper look at all the characters and relationships.
How many seasons, episodes: 1 season, 10 episodes
Where to watch:Netflix Instant streaming or buy the DVD set
The game plan: 10 hours total, however you slice it, is a pretty low commitment binge. Why not?
"Bates Motel" Season 2 premieres March 3 at 10 p.m. on A&E.

[Related: Guess Which Creepy New Room is Coming to 'Bates Motel']

10. "Veep" (HBO)


This is the show that catapulted "Seinfeld" alum Julia Louis-Dreyfus to legendary status, helping her dethrone Lucille Ball as the most Emmy-nominated actress ever. Now with two Emmy wins under her belt for this series, along with a win for her co-star Tony Hale this year, isn't it time to see what all the fuss is about?
How many seasons, episodes: 2 seasons, 18 episodes total
Where to watch:HBO Go
The game plan: Watch two 30-minute episodes on night one, just to get into the rhythms and ridiculousness of Selina Meyer's office of the vice president, then one a day after that.
"Veep" Season 3 premieres April 6 at 10 p.m. on HBO.

[Related: Video Interview with 'Veep' Star Julia Louis-Dreyfus]

11. "Louie" (FX)


If you haven't yet watched this unique and wonderful comedy gem, we feel sorry for you… but we also envy you a bit. Hardcore Louis C.K. fans have been waiting for more episodes since 2012, and you can easily catch up now before the new season premieres in May.
How many seasons, episodes: 3 seasons, 40 episodes
Where to watch:Netflix instant streaming
The game plan: 40 episodes seems daunting, but they're only 30 minutes long, and thanks to Louis C.K.'s storytelling style, they fly by. Knock out three episodes a day and you'll be done in two weeks, with a weekend to spare.
"Louie" Season 4 premieres May 2014 on FX.

[Related: Louis C.K. Signs New FX Production Deal]

12. "Broadchurch" (BBC America)


Another import that made a nice splash stateside, starring David Tennant and Olivia Colman as British detectives investigating a young boy's murder. Fox is already remaking this show for the U.S. (called "Gracepoint," also starring Tennant along with Anna Gunn), but it's good to remember that they're already speaking English in this one — you can sample the original without subtitle headaches.
How many seasons, episodes: 1 season, 8 episodes
Where to watch:Amazon Prime, iTunes, and more
The game plan: This is why we love the Brits! You can watch one episode a day and still have time to knock out something else. Pair this with another foreign show (or two or three — see "The Fall," "The Returned," and "Orphan Black") for even more short-season goodness.
"Broadchurch" Season 2 premiere date is still TBD on BBC America.

[Related: Fox on 'Broadchurch' Remake 'Gracepoint': 'We Have a Different Ending']

13. "Luther" (BBC America)


Idris Elba's title role is Emmy-nominated and Golden Globe-winning for a reason: He's one of the most complicated TV cops, an antihero that'll make you question your stance on many moral gray areas. 
How many seasons, episodes: 3 seasons, 14 episodes
Where to watch: The first two seasons (10 episodes total) are available on Netflix Instant streaming, Hulu, and Amazon Prime; Season 3's four episodes are available for purchase on iTunes
The game plan: This one will suck you in big time, but each episode packs a punch that makes it better for slow binges. Fourteen episodes over 17 days shouldn't emotionally wreck you… too much.
"Luther" Season 3 was its last season; the teased "Luther" prequel movie is still TBD.

[Related: Idris Elba Talks 'Luther' Prequel]

14. "Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee" (Crackle.com)


You only need access to the Internet to watch this entire Jerry Seinfeld series. You might've seen the show's big Super Bowl "Seinfeld reunion," but the three seasons of this hit web series are filled with even better gems from the likes of Larry David, Sarah Silverman, David Letterman, Ricky Gervais, and Mel Brooks and Carl Reiner.
How many seasons, episodes: 3 seasons, 23 episodes
Where to watch: Every episode is available on Crackle
The game plan: The episodes range in length from 8 to 22 minutes, so you could feasibly crank one out during each Olympic commercial break and be caught up in one day.

[Related: 7 Reasons to Watch Jerry Seinfeld's 'Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee]

What other shows are you hoping to catch up on soon?