Netflix and breathe on Thanksgiving.
November 23, 2016 5:34 PM   Subscribe

I'm going to be alone tomorrow, Thanksgiving. I'm already dealing with enough personal and family losses that all happened right on top of each other in the last few months that it hurts to breathe some hours right now. Give me your best suggestions for compelling, bingeworthy stories on screens to push through the hours (or other suggestions for getting through a first holiday while grieving and not able to be present with family and friends who know what's up).

I've been fortunate enough to have gone this long without dealing with this situation before.

I'm in the greater NYC area right now but would prefer not to do anything holiday themed, so mostly looking to cocoon with stories. Oh, and I also have Hulu, Amazon Prime, and am willing to spend money to rent online. I like scifi (serious or moderately cheesy--have already watched The 100; saw Stranger Things and the one token happy-ish episode of Black Mirror), drama, smart humor (maybe not so much stuff about the dating scene or heavy on happy nuclear childhood family memories right now if you know what I mean, also maybe light on the funeral scenes so no Six Feet Under), long-arc detective stuff (ala Broadchurch)--anything that's basically like a book you can't down, only a screen instead of a book since my concentration is kind of shot right now.
posted by blue suede stockings to Media & Arts (40 answers total) 35 users marked this as a favorite
Brooklyn 99. Good humour and loveable characters. It's my comfort food when I'm in a depressive episode.
posted by snowysoul at 5:36 PM on November 23, 2016 [15 favorites]

I'm enjoying The White Queen on Amazon Prime. It's an adaptation of Philippa Gregory's series on the Wars of the Roses. No happy families here! Just many hours of hot people in beautiful costumes fighting it out. Plantagenets, you are so doomed and you don't even know it.

Something lighter in smaller doses? Frasier is on Netflix. Lots of entertaining stories in sitcom size chunks.
posted by fingersandtoes at 5:43 PM on November 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

The delightful Australian period drama Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries is on Netflix.
posted by JackBurden at 5:48 PM on November 23, 2016 [13 favorites]

Schitts Creek (Amazon)
Superstore (Hulu)
Archer (Amazon, other places)
The Grand Tour (Amazon)

The Night Manager (Amazon)
Fortitude (Amazon) (This was awesome)
Brotherhood (Amazon)
Mr. Robot
posted by duoshao at 5:49 PM on November 23, 2016 [3 favorites]

If you haven't seen Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp on Netflix, it's very entertaining and silly. And it has a great cast!

The Fundamentals of Caring was a good movie that dealt with loss and hope. It was warm, funny, and charming.
posted by Ostara at 5:52 PM on November 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

Lighthearted/funny continued...
Frisky Dingo
Bob's Burgers

Also, I just noticed that Amazon Prime has The West Wing, which was great binge watching when I went through a rough patch a while back. I can also recommend binge (re)watching the X-Files and Twin Peaks (though maybe Twin Peaks is a bit too dark).
posted by duoshao at 5:55 PM on November 23, 2016 [2 favorites]

Have you seen Misfits? British sci fi/superheroes-ish with a fantastic young cast, funny and weird. When I first watched it several years ago, it was definitely my "can't put this down" series.
posted by phunniemee at 5:55 PM on November 23, 2016 [6 favorites]

There's an MST3K marathon on tomorrow at noon eastern, if you want to watch with other people.
posted by hobgadling at 5:59 PM on November 23, 2016 [3 favorites]

The Crown is on Netflix and it is amazing and gorgeous and engrossing.

I'm sorry for your losses.
posted by Lycaste at 6:01 PM on November 23, 2016 [6 favorites]

I loved The Good Wife and I binge watched it nonstop. I thought it was so well done. It also has one scene that surprised me more than anything I've ever seen in any movie or tv show, ever, but it wasn't easy. Keep that in mind. I wish you much ease and peace of mind tomorrow.
posted by gt2 at 6:03 PM on November 23, 2016 [2 favorites]

Amazon Prime: Tig Notaro- One Mississippi.
She is a master of turning tragedy into comedy.
posted by allelopath at 6:03 PM on November 23, 2016 [3 favorites]

I like scifi (serious or moderately cheesy

The Expanse. Episodes are up on or on the ondemand if you have cob-lay.
posted by ROU_Xenophobe at 6:16 PM on November 23, 2016 [3 favorites]

Seconding Misfits and The Crown. I'm right now watching the latest season of Doctor Who on Amazon Prime and it's very compelling. And there are six seasons of Community on Hulu, which is both hilarious and heartwarming.
posted by ejs at 6:19 PM on November 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

Luther, Jessica Jones and The Fall are long arc detective shows on Netflix I found really engrossing. Not sure of your gender but The Fall is about a serial killer who murders women living alone which made it a poor choice to watch one weekend while my husband was away but I just couldn't stop.
posted by carolr at 6:28 PM on November 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

May I suggest dramafever of Hulu - esp Korean dramas.
posted by Sassyfras at 6:29 PM on November 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

Check out the Channels on Amazon Prime Video: I liked Starz and Acorn. You can just buy a month subscription for some good stuff, and cancel after you've seen everything you like. I'm sorry for your losses too; holidays can really suck.
posted by soakimbo at 6:56 PM on November 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

I've been binge watching The Killing on Netflix this week -- long-arc detective drama, great camaraderie between the two main detectives, and a funny combination of grim but warm. Highly recommend it.
posted by sondern at 7:40 PM on November 23, 2016 [1 favorite]


You can get HBO Go for $15 and stream through Firestck, Apple TV or the app. Sooo worth it and there are lots of other good shows on the app as well.
posted by tatiana wishbone at 8:06 PM on November 23, 2016 [5 favorites]

I'm currently binge watching Veronica Mars, and I think it might be just what you need. (You can watch all 3 seasons free with Amazon Prime.) So far, I've finished the first two seasons in a very short amount of time.

Great writing, great characters, engaging story lines especially if you like mysteries. They have a mix of case of the weeks plus a season long mystery. It's very binge watchable.

It's got some drama, but it also can be quite funny. It's "lighter" than some mystery type shows (like Broadchurch, which i also enjoy), and it's a genuinely really well done show. It's not a pollyanna type thing, quite the opposite, but it's not super bleak.

The only caveat I should mention is that there are some references to sexual assault. There's nothing graphic, but it does come up a few times during investigations, so I just wanted to mention it.

I'll also second Westworld and another Jonathan Nolan show, Person of Interest. Both are in the scifi genre, and they are great shows. You can watch all 5 seasons of Person of Interest on Netflix.
posted by litera scripta manet at 8:58 PM on November 23, 2016 [5 favorites]

It seemed counter-intuitive, but on November 9th we binge watched American Horror Story. From 9:00 a.m. It was wonderfully distracting and absolutely took me away from the reality that was. (All seasons were better than the last, but it still was a distraction that was strong enough to keep me from reality.)
posted by Vaike at 9:06 PM on November 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

I have to recommend the most bingeworthy show I've ever watched, the wonderful and terrible LOST. The acting, writing, sets, and most importantly the characters are great; the plot, however, doesn't end up making much sense. Pity.

Nthing Westworld, but LOST has 15x as many episodes, so it depends how many hours you want to spend on the couch.
posted by actionstations at 9:07 PM on November 23, 2016 [2 favorites]

I like scifi (serious or moderately cheesy)

In that case, I will definitely second hobgadling's recommendation of the MST3K marathon. Three years ago when I was alone on Thanksgiving, I watched this and ate some sweet potato pie from the local supermarket. I was alone together, as my (American) friend who was in Mexico by herself on a research trip was watching it too and we chatted about it via Facebook while watching!
posted by dhens at 9:14 PM on November 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries!!! Helped me a lot during a major depressive episode last year. It's on Netflix.

If you can do anime, Haikyu!! is so wonderful. I didn't watch it for a long time despite it being recommended by tons of friends because I was like, eh, it's about volleyball, whatevs, but it is so, so good! It will make you feel great about life. Streaming on Hulu or on Crunchyroll.
posted by raw sugar at 9:14 PM on November 23, 2016 [2 favorites]

Sherlock!! All that Benedict Cumberbatch goodness. It's wonderful.
posted by I_Love_Bananas at 9:41 PM on November 23, 2016 [5 favorites]

Amazon Prime also has Orphan Black, a sci-fi show in which the end of every episode makes it impossible not to begin the next episode immediately.
posted by ejs at 9:43 PM on November 23, 2016 [6 favorites]

Brooklyn 99 is one of those rare comedies that fires on (almost) all cylinders right out of the gate. I came late to it but it is hugely enjoyable.
The Crown is also great.

British legal drama "Kingdom" (Stephen Fry) is quite engrossing and gentle, and appears to be on Hulu
Doc Martin was my follow-up to Kingdom, similar sort of idea, not sure if it's streaming anywhere right now
The Good Place, favorite of the new season, also on Hulu

Have you seen Warehouse 13? Because Warehouse 13.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 9:45 PM on November 23, 2016 [4 favorites]

The Venture Brothers?
Every single episode of Space Ghost Coast to Coast?
posted by Vervain at 10:13 PM on November 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

I've been loving good girls revolt on Amazon.
posted by dpx.mfx at 10:25 PM on November 23, 2016 [3 favorites]

When I was in dire straits a few years ago I watched Community on repeat. So warm and fuzzy and smart and funny.
posted by citands at 10:33 PM on November 23, 2016 [3 favorites]

Have you tried Orange Is The New Black? Took me a couple episodes to get into it, but it's a compelling mix of drama and comedy, and there really is nothing else like it in terms of the diversity of the stories. The latest season (4) gets pretty dark, but the first three seasons would be a good choice. The show (mainly the first season) focuses on the main character being in jail and having to adjust to being away from everything that made her life good - may interest you or make you wary, depending.
posted by AppleTurnover at 11:39 PM on November 23, 2016 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: Thank you everyone for these great recommendations for getting through a long day--and to pursue during happier downtimes in the days ahead I'm sure. (And thanks to those who said "sorry for your loss"--it's actually made a big difference this morning, even from internet strangers.) Everyone gets favorites today.
posted by blue suede stockings at 5:47 AM on November 24, 2016 [3 favorites]

I'm sorry for your loss, and I hope the day passes as well as it can for you.

I see no one has suggested Buffy, which is on Netflix and delightful. Star Trek also.
posted by bunderful at 6:35 AM on November 24, 2016 [3 favorites]

Another vote for Orphan Black which is really awesome!
posted by Mouse Army at 8:05 AM on November 24, 2016 [2 favorites]

Galavant is a cheesy medieval musical comedy, and its brilliant. You cannot take anything seriously, there isn't even a sliver of 'accuracy' in anything, it lives to skewer tropes (like rescuing the fair maiden), but it has a heart and its *fun*. I think the second season is better than the first, but doesn't make sense on its own. It has some fun guest stars, and Timothy Omundson is wonderful as the Evil King Richard.
Its on Canadian Netflix, not sure about the US version.
posted by sandraregina at 9:18 AM on November 24, 2016 [2 favorites]

The seven-episode dramatization of Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell is delightful and quite binge-worthy.

Sympathy. May your Thanksgiving be cozy, rejuvenating, and everything else good.
posted by Lexica at 12:23 PM on November 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

So many great recommendations in this thread! My contribution: River, on Netflix, with Stellan Skarsgard and Nicola Walker. It's a detective drama, and it just blew me away. You can find the last 15 (stunningly beautiful) minutes on youtube (but wait until you've watched the entire season!), and I have watched and re-watched that ending so many times. I can't recommend this (little known?) show enough. (Fyi, as far as I know there is only one six-episode season.)
posted by merejane at 2:14 PM on November 24, 2016 [5 favorites]

Also: Firefly, a one-season sci-fi show. So great! I think you would need to pay for it on Amazon, but the entire season in HD is only $9.99, and so worth it.

Another terrific sci-fi series: Farscape. Unfortunately, I'm not sure where to find this now. Maybe on youtube, although not for free.
posted by merejane at 2:38 PM on November 24, 2016 [2 favorites]

Being Human (U.K. version), on Netflix. Make sure you watch the UK version, not the US one. Excellent supernatural drama, with some great humor, about a ghost, werewolf, and vampire who share a house. Sounds weird, maybe, but I loved it. (Especially the first three seasons, but I enjoyed the last two as well.)
posted by merejane at 3:09 PM on November 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

Last Tango in Halifax!
posted by mudpuppie at 5:19 PM on November 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

In a similar situation right now and I have been binge watching 30 for 30 documentaries on Netflix. Even though I'm not super into sports all of the stories are really compelling. Many involve people doing great things in the face of adversity and that's been the tone I'm most able to handle right now. Each blurb will let you know if that particular one has a topic you want to avoid such as loss.

I hope you can find some calm soon.
posted by good lorneing at 8:19 PM on November 24, 2016 [1 favorite]

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