Weekend Binge Guide: August 2017

Have the weekend free? Going out is overrated! Binge-­watch one of these shows instead:


If you want to laugh:


Playing House

See all reviews for Playing House

Playing House is the second comedy created by and starring Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair, whose Best Friends Forever also was a bingeworthy pick — and for good reason. This duo knows how to sell a joke! And more importantly, how to marry wacky comedy with heartfelt emotion. In this USA Network series, which recently concluded its third season, the women play childhood friends who come to each other's aid and create their own quirky, loving family. It's a series that started strong and has gotten even better as it's progressed, culminating in a particularly touching Season 3 storyline. In addition to Upright Citizens Brigade vets Parham and St. Clair, the cast includes Keegan-Michael Key, serving goofball sex appeal; Lindsay Sloane, whose Bird Bones is a delight; and Zach Woods, who is on all the shows.


If you want to cry:



See all reviews for Broadchurch

With Doctor Who recently announcing that its next Time Lord will be played by Jodie Whittaker, it's the perfect time to binge one of her best series. (Incidentally, the show has several other major Who connections, including David Tennant as the lead investigator and Arthur Darvill as the town priest.) Broadchurch is about a small community that is ripped apart when a local boy's dead body is discovered on the beach. It's the kind of town where everyone knows everyone, so the reality of a killer living among them leads to some dark moments. Tennant and Olivia Colman play the detectives in charge of the investigation, which twists through the town, making residents — and viewers — scrutinize many suspects. When the killer is revealed, the reactions from the key players are absolutely gut-wrenching.


If you want to scream:


The Strain

See all reviews for The Strain

This fun, slightly campy, over-the-top vampire thriller was brought to the small screen by a trio of creative heavyweights. Carlton Cuse, who won a couple of Emmys for his work on Lost, runs the show alongside co-executive producers Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan, who co-wrote the best-selling trilogy on which this creepy series is based. The action begins with the delightfully named Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll) and his Centers for Disease Control team called in to investigate a mysterious viral outbreak that began on a plane that landed in New York under very mysterious circumstances. The strain, it turns out, is an ancient form of vampirism. But it's easy to guess how well that theory goes over. Stoll is excellent, but David Bradley is the real scene-stealer as TV's most badass pawnbroker.


If you want to think:


The Handmaid's Tale

See all reviews for The Handmaid's Tale

There's a lot of "important TV" right now, but Hulu's chilling adaptation of Margaret Atwood's dystopian novel hits like a punch in the gut. The series begins in the present in the new theocratic republic of Gilead, where Offred (of Fred), one of the world's few remaining fertile women, must suppress her inner rebel to survive as a handmaid (basically a "two-legged womb") to an influential commander. As the season progresses, there are powerful flashbacks detailing how women's rights slowly were stripped away in the leadup to the full coup by the Gilead administration. The show recently was nominated for 13 Emmys, including acting nods for Elisabeth Moss, Ann Dowd, Samira Wiley, and Alexis Bledel. From the performances to the soundtrack to the direction, everything about this series works. It's must-see TV.



1 comment

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Aug 27, 2017 5:43PM EDT

Strain will make you scream alright. You will scream out in frustration about how boring and god awful it is and how truly terrible Zach is in every possible way.

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