10 shows to get high and binge-watch this holiday season

‘Tis the season to catch up on all the TV shows you missed this year.

238

The holiday season is supposed to be a holiday, not an endless slog through malls, airports and snowy highway traffic to visit 9,000 family members and friends.

The office is closed, so take some time for yourself, put your feet up, enjoy the latest cannabis strain and dive into some great TV shows you can binge during your time off.

Don’t go back to Friends or The Office. There were plenty of great shows this year you may have missed out on — all prime material to make you laugh, get the feels or just blissfully get lost in. 

Castle Rock

Where: Amazon Prime

Why: This show is what happens when you apply the Fargo method to the Stephen King universe. It takes both the literal characters and locations from multiple Stephen King books, as well as the essence, lore and various other reference points from King’s work to create brand new, seasonally serialized stories.

In true King fashion, the show is full of mystery, suspense, horror and high character-driven stakes.

Season one is primarily a mashup of The Shawshank Redemption, The Dead Zone, The Shining and IT

Season two drops Annie Wilkes of Misery fame into a remix of Pet Sematary, Salem’s Lot and The Body (Stand By Me). 

Watchmen

Where: Crave or HBO

Why: Watchmen just wrapped its first (and potentially only) season. So, if you’ve been dragging your feet, now is the perfect time to jump into Damon Lindelof’s ambitious sequel to Alan Moore’s 1985 masterpiece graphic novel.

Like the original graphic novel, the Watchmen series takes a critical look at the very notion of superheroes, power, control, morality and justice. Also like the original, it dives head first into addressing social and political issues — only this time they’re the issues facing Americans in 2019, not 1985.

The show is a masterclass in the art of the “reveal.” It spoon-feeds viewers nothing and has little concern for their immediate, nagging questions. Instead, it takes its time and deals out explanations only at the moment when it is most satisfying and offers the greatest contextual relevance to the overall story.

The show is unapologetically based on the original graphic novel, so having seen Zac Snyder’s 2009 film adaptation will do little to help you.

Mrs. Fletcher

Where: Crave or HBO

Why: Kathryn Hahn stars as a newly minted empty-nester who embarks on a journey of sexual awakening when she discovers a keen attraction to hardcore porn.

Based on a book of the same name, this limited series sounds like its’s going to be a female-helmed version of Californication or Hung.

While it does have its sincere moments of comedy, Mrs. Fletcher is fairly unlike the aforementioned boner shows.

Instead, the show is much more of a grounded and thoughtful contemplation on loneliness, self-worth and sexual interaction. 

It’s one of those “happy-sad” shows.

Silicon Valley

Where: Crave or HBO

Why: Mike Judge’s hilarious, unrelenting satire (and frankly, skewering take) on tech start-up work culture recently aired its final episode, concluding the saga of fictitious tech company, Pied Piper

Silicon Valley is a really special kind of sitcom. Beyond its unique, and at times all too accurate, view into the world of tech startups, it manages to make you constantly root for its cast of relatively vapid and self-aggrandizing characters. 

For the entire run of the series, the show manages to put our characters up against obstacles that truly feel insurmountable. And thus, it’s all the more satisfying when they eventually invent their way out of a problem. 

It’s the perfect show to remember the 2010s.

The Loudest Voice

Where: Crave or HBO

Why: Like the new film, Bombshell, The Loudest Voice focuses on just what a horrible person Roger Ailes was, the mastermind behind Fox News. It’s also based on reports from the same New York Times reporter.

Unlike Bombshell, however, this limited series goes into much more detail surrounding Ailes’ flat-out evil genius in creating Fox News and shameless manipulation of the media and the minds of the American public.

It’s deeply troublesome, appalling, depressing… and engaging. 

Your mind will also be blown when you realize that it’s Russell Crowe in a fat suit playing Roger Ailes.

Star Wars: The Mandalorian 

Where: Disney+

Why: Just do it.

It really is as good as all your annoying friends on Facebook say it is — you know, the ones posting all the Baby Yoda memes. 

Explained 

Where: Netflix

Why: Vox has translated its popular YouTube series into two seasons worth of standard episode-length documentaries on Netflix. 

From cults to diamonds, to the history of tattoos, to the female orgasm, these deep dives are perfect escapism, however they also manage to answer nagging and compelling questions (whether you know you had them or not).

It’s basically a show which exists to give you some fun facts to bust out at your next watercooler chat.

Dollface

Where: Amazon Prime

Why: Kat Dennings stars in this surrealist sitcom about the lasting connections found in female friendships.

The whole “girl who doesn’t quite fit in gets dumped and reaches out to her neglected friends for comfort” premise is pretty straightforward on its surface.

However, Dollface punches up its simple premise with fantastical cutaway gags; fever dream fantasies born out of the minds of our characters.

Charming characters, running gags and even a few strong plot reveals keep the show engaging and like the surrealist elements, help differentiate from your average sitcom.

The show pulls off the trick of feeling both fresh and familiar. So it’s excellent binge-watching.

Big Little Lies

Where: Crave or HBO

Why: Once again, based on a book of the same name, Big Little Lies follows five mothers whose children attend a prestigious pre-school. We later learn all five women are somehow connected to a murder.

Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Zoe Kravitz, Laura Dern and Shailene Woodley headline this star-studded cast.

While the show starts as a murder mystery, and maintains its structure as such, it also dives into the idea of “a perfect life”; the lengths we’ll go maintain it and if such a thing even exists.

The show also addresses themes of abuse, trauma, infidelity, aristocracy, legacy and of course, motherhood. 

Big Mouth 

Where: Netflix

Why: Do you remember when you were 13 years old and horny and emotional all the time? But you had no idea how to really deal with it outside of masturbation?

Nick Kroll made a cartoon about that. And there are three seasons worth of it on Netflix.

Big Mouth focuses on a group of middle school friends learning to live with their literal Hormone Monsters as they navigate their fledgling sexuality.

While the show pulls few punches in its comedy – from the bluest of humour to the raunchiest of gross-out gags, it’s also deeply empathetic, inclusive and enormously relatable.

It’ll make you nostalgic for a simpler time when a make-out was gossip-worthy and a good dry humping was as satisfying as it was awkward. It’ll also make you thankful you don’t ever have to go through middle school ever again.