By HAYLEY HOFFMAN – MANAGING EDITOR
Looking for a way to fill your new-found free time (or avoid your family) over break? The Cento has compiled a list of must-see TV shows for any dedicated viewer to binge-watch this winter.
1. How to Get Away with Murder
ABC’s newest drama How to Get Away with Murder (HTGAWM) is so good it should be a crime. The critically acclaimed series, starring Golden Globe nominee Viola Davis, follows the personal and professional life of lawyer/professor Annalise Keating, who selects the top students in her class to intern at her law firm. Each of the season’s eight episodes features the team of students working with Keating on a variety of cases, from insider trading to the murder of an abusive husband.
The twist? HTGAWM features a series of scream-inducing flash-forwards to the night the students cover up a murder that took place in their teacher’s home. We don’t find out who the victim is until the end of the first episode, and eight episodes in, we still don’t know who committed the crime (though my bets are on chronic do-gooder Michaela Pratt, played by Aja Naomi King).
All episodes are currently available for streaming on Hulu and ABC’s website.
For Best Results: If possible, watch the season through all at once, and avoid reading spoilers from this week’s winter finale.
2. The Mindy Project
Get your comedy fix this break with FOX’s The Mindy Project. Starring former The Office cast member Mindy Kaling, this series follows Kaling’s alter-ego Dr. Mindy Lahiri and her mishaps as an OB/GYN at a small clinic in New York City.
The more interesting moments are found in Mindy’s office interactions with her co-worker Dr. Danny Castellano (played by Chris Messina). The two certainly have unspoken feelings for each other and produce one of TV’s more interesting “will they/won’t they” relationships in the earlier seasons.
The Mindy Project is currently airing on Tuesdays at 9:30 p.m., and all episodes are available for streaming on Hulu.
For Best Results: Pay close attention to Chris Messina’s impressive and irresitible dance moves.
3. Gilmore Girls
Good news: Netflix made all seven seasons of the Bechdel test-passing dramedy Gilmore Girls available for streaming last month.
Bad news: productivity across the nation (or at least, in my dorm room) reached an all-time low.
The show, which Entertainment Weekly named as a “new TV classic,” follows the life of single mother Lorelai as she raises her Ivy League-bound daughter, Rory. You’ll see both Gilmore girls fall in and out of love, all while finding themselves along the way. You’re sure to fall head-over-heels for Stars Hollow, the show’s picturesque small town, and the quirky yet endearing characters that inhabit it.
Just don’t blame me when you find that you want to start taking late-night trips to Luke’s Diner.
For Best Results: Suffer through the Dean and Christopher phases, and know that it gets better.
4. The West Wing
If you’re looking to exercise your brain over break, be sure to check out NBC’s former hit The West Wing. Dubbed the best political drama of the past decade by multiple major media sources, the show follows the White House staffers powering the fictional Bartlet administration. There’s rapid-fire dialogue, highly stylized walk-and-talk scenes, and of course, plenty of political dilemmas for the characters to grapple with.
You’ll immediately love the show’s all-star ensemble cast, featuring the talents of Rob Lowe and six-time Emmy winner Allison Janney. This motley crew has palpable chemistry from day one, bouncing writer Aaron Sorkin’s witty zingers off one another at the speed of light.
At this time of year, it also doesn’t hurt that the show has some of the best holiday-themed episodes in the history of television.
All seven seasons are currently available for streaming on Netflix.
For Best Results: Watch the first five episodes, skip to “What Kind of Day Has It Been,” and continue watching from there. Fair warning: crucial cast members bow out following the powerful season four finale, so view the final three seasons at your own risk.
Many Americans have already heard about (and become dedicated viewers of) this acclaimed BBC series. If you aren’t among this bunch, hunker down this winter with Sherlock’s nine movie-length episodes.
Featuring Benedict Cumberbatch as the famous detective, each episode serves as a modern adaptation of a particular story by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Sherlock and Dr. Watson (played by Martin Freeman) work alongside the London Metropolitan Police Service as “consulting detectives” to solve various crimes. Many characters from Doyle’s stories, including villian Jim Moriarty, appear in the series.
All three of the show’s series (seasons for those of us across the pond) are available to stream on Netflix.
For Best Results: Take breaks between each emotionally-draining episode. Otherwise, you may find yourself over-analzying everyday situations (and turning into a real-life Sherlock Holmes).