Finding the right show to binge

On a positive note...

Remember back to the old days … when we would actually have to wait a whole week before seeing the next episode of our favorite television program? We’d wait with eager anticipation, watch the promo at the end of the previous week and then patiently count down the days.

Well, I guess that still happens but more and more, it seems people are turning to on-demand streaming services that allow whole seasons of programs to be available all at once. While it does kind kill the anticipation, there is a certain thrill to being able to continue on with the story uninterrupted.

I’ve discovered several unexpected little nuggets that have been tremendously enjoyable to binge watch. “The Handmaids Tale” was riveting. The story of Offred and society’s attempt to create a Utopian world was kind of scary and quite thought-provoking.

Last weekend, I took ‘Ozark’ for a spin. It is set around the Lake of Ozarks and shows a side of the rural midwest that is surprising and disturbing. The show is brutal, but has compelling characters. It looks at the lengths people will go to when stuck between a rock and hard place. The central character, Marty, puts himself and his family in the untenable position of laundering a drug cartel’s money. I finished the whole season in just one day.

Some of the others that I’ve found enjoyable for various reasons — either compelling characters and story or plot twists that draw the viewer in – include “The Americans,”“Hand of God (on Amazon), “Justified.“ and “Man in the High Castle“ (Amazon).”

To be honest, my absolute favorites are British shows. I don’t know what it is about them. The deep character development, the solid plot lines, the picturesque countryside …. or maybe all of the above. I think it all started with “Downton Abbey,” which was followed by the awesome “Doc Martin.” There’s a streaming service called Acorn TV that keeps a full menu of British, Canadian and Australian programming running each month. From Australia, there’s a cute little show called “800 Words” about a magazine columnist who moves his son and daughter to the coast of New Zealand. And the crazy quirky characters kind of remind of the folks from “Northern Exposure.”

There’s an Australian series called “A Place to Call Home” that is a sweeping drama that takes place in the late 40s and early 50s. It takes on class issues, anti-semitism and other modern-day social issues. I’m patiently waiting for season four to be released.

From Canada, “Murdoch Mysteries” features a turn of the 20th century detective and inventor who solves crimes using science.

With so many options, it’s not difficult to find something fun to watch. The problem is choosing what to watch next. Any suggestions?

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