2017’s Most Bingeworthy TV Shows

Get your binge on before the purge starts.

No major feature films are being released this weekend, probably because the studios figure anyone who catches a matinee during 2018’s first Walk of Shame will just see The Last Jedi. (Flash mob! Let’s all meet at the Monday 9 a.m. IMAX 3D screening in smeared makeup, tousled hair, and crumpled dresses. I’ll be the one arguing that Finn and Rose are best.) But if you’re in a bingeing mood, there were plenty of great new streamables in 2017 in addition to The Handmaid’s Talewhich you should still watch if you haven’t yet.

Dear White People
Justin Siemen’s series adaptation of his terrific 2014 film about life on a not-quite-desegregated Ivy League campus was met with howls of “That’s racist against us!” by white supremacists, while many liberals who totally aren’t racist refused to watch because they didn’t want to feel guilty. Both sides are missing out. Standout Episode: “Chapter V.”

Friends from College
Nicholas Stoller and Francesca Delbano’s series about a group of emotionally damaged college compatriots staring down the barrel of their 40s is a terrific showcase for lead Keegan-Michael Key, while showcasing the diversity of New York in the way that a certain other Manhattan-based show with the word “Friends” never even attempted. Of the six main cast members, only one is a straight white man, there are two people of color, and a gay character played by Fred Savage who isn’t defined by his queerness, though he does get all the funniest lines. Standout Episode: “Party Bus.”

Future Man, aka “How to Do 1980s Nostalgia Without Being as Stupid as Ready Player One”
This story of a janitor recruited by time-traveling warriors after defeating a video game name-checks The Last Starfighter in the first episode, and also calls out its Back to the Future and Fatal Attraction homages in later episodes. But it never winks at its own cleverness or relies on the audience’s familiarity with pop culture to stand in for actual ideas. The emotional core is how the future warriors learn to adapt to a world in which they aren’t constantly struggling to survive, and Derek Wilson as a fighter-turned-chef gives one of the most unexpectedly nuanced performances of the year. Standout Episode: “Beyond the Truffledome.”

Sarah & Duck
Sure, it’s in its third season and only the first two are available to stream in the U.S., but Sarah & Duck is one of the best children’s animated series currently in production. Delivered in seven-minute chunks — though Netflix groups them in threes — the gentle, low-stakes adventures of a young British girl and her mallard housemate are as soothing as a bedtime story, perfect viewing for late at night when you’re starting to drift but aren’t quite ready to go to sleep yet. Standout Episodes: “Coloured Light,” “Sound Jumble,” “Duck Flies.”

Star Trek: Discovery
CBS All Access
The first two episodes of the first nine-episode half-season were presented in a hyperkinetic, headache-inducing style reminiscent of the first two Abrams films. By the third episode, it started to settle down and find a quieter voice. By episodes seven through nine, it actually began to feel like Star Trek. Those Klingon scenes are still interminable, though. Standout Episode: “Magic to Make the Sanest Man Go Mad.” 

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