BINGE WORTHY ENTERTAINMENT
by chuck fresh
There are four major networks. Plus Amazon, Netflix, Apple, Disney, and countless cable networks providing a crazy amount of content. It's hard to decide what to watch, and even more difficult to determine what's worthwhile. And even more difficult to find something to watch as an F.U.
So we asked ourselves - what would we recommend to our own F.U. and friends if they asked us what to watch as a group? We finally complied the list of all lists - that end-all be-all top-ten list of worthwhile family-friendly television shows and movies.
We can't guarantee you'll love each and every one of these, but it's a sure bet you'll chuckle or cry at least once during most of them. Gather up the fam, grab some healthy snacks, kick your feet up and enjoy. We've included Amazon Prime links, but you can find many of these on other streaming services too.
Fast and witty comments, several quirky personalities, a little romance, and a community to die for! Mom Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and daughter Rory (Alexis Bledel) make it on their own in a charming small town. Rory was born when Lorelai was 16, and they exist almost as best friends. Rory gets accepted to a prestigious school and Lorelai is forced to painfully turn to her estranged parents for assistance. The townsfolk provide comic relief and include the neurotic Sookie, played by a pre-A-list actress Melissa McCarthy, and Luke, a former minor-league baseball player Scott Patterson, the heartthrob that provides romantic tension and comic relief for seven seasons.
You'd think this series was solely for women, but we know many guys who laughed at the humor and cried at the drama. The dialogue is often fast. Very fast. Sometimes a bit too fast! Be prepared to pause and rewind, but it's worth it. It's laced with countless cute pop-culture references you may or may not recognize. The series holds up well throughout its seven year run, and probably could have gone longer. It's cute, wholesome, fun, and addictive entertainment perfect for teens, tweens, and the grown-ups too. It's one of our favorite shows ever.
Seven 20+ episode seasons, plus a special 4-episode prologue on Netflix.
Sarah Braverman is played by Lauren Graham, fresh off her Gilmore Girls gig, and once again a financially strapped single mother who uproots her two teens, Amber (Mae Whitman) and Drew (Miles Heizer) to move back home. Sarah is greeted by her father, Zeek (Craig T. Nelson) and mother, Camille (Bonnie Bedelia) who are dealing with their own marital issues. Sister Julia (Erika Christensen) is a successful corporate attorney trying to juggle work and motherhood, alongside her stay-at-home husband, Joel (Sam Jaeger). Younger brother Crosby (Dax Shepard) must suddenly contend with accepting responsibility when an old flame Jasmine (Joy Bryant) shows up. And eldest brother Adam (Peter Krause), must relinquish his preconceived expectations about what constitutes a "normal" family when he and wife Kristina (Monica Potter) and teen daughter Haddie (Sarah Ramos) learn that their eccentric son Max (Max Burkholder) is diagnosed with Asperger's Syndrome.
Six super positive yet interesting and enthralling real-life family-friendly 13+ episode seasons can create a terrific F.U. get together.
A David Shore show (House, MD) featuring Shaun Murphy played by Freddie Highmore - Charlie from Willie Wonka. Shaun is a young surgeon with autism and savant syndrome who relocates from a quiet country life to join a prestigious hospital's surgical unit with the help of his pseudo-foster father Dr. Aaron Glassman (Richard Schiff).
Alone in the world and unable to personally connect with those around him, Shaun uses his extraordinary medical gifts to save lives and challenge the skepticism of his colleagues. Shaun has a difficult relationship with roommate Lea Dilallo (Paige Spara), a woman who could have been (or still may be) Shaun's love interest.
Viewers are taken through several medical situations and presented with alternative diagnoses and treatments. Could prove helpful if medicine is up your alley. Three seasons, still running. Binge watch worthy - catch up!
Even viewers who consider themselves beyond their teen-angst years might find Dawson's Creek compelling - and educational. Honestly, some of the dialogue is ridiculously advanced. Since childhood, Dawson (James Van Der Beek) and Joey (pre-superstar Katie Holmes) have slept in the same bed, but they find that as they enter high school their relationship gets a little weird. Dawson becomes attracted to Capeside's new arrival, Jen (Academy-Award nominee Michelle Williams). Dawson's best friend Pacey (Joshua Jackson) is seduced by his teacher. The show can get edgy, but it always comes home.
Creator Kevin Williamson based Dawson's Creek on his own youth. The characters may not look or sound 15, but the clever interplay gives the show heart. Dawson's Creek has an almost fourth-window self-awareness, for example when Dawson explains that they use big words because they watch too many movies. Highlights of the first season include Dawson's discovery that his perfect home life may not be so perfect, an unwelcome reminder of Jen's past, Breakfast Club takeoff "Detention," Scream takeoff "The Scare," a beauty contest in which two unlikely competitors square off, and a heart-rending finale. It's homey enough to be almost wholesome, yet edgy enough to keep even later teens engaged.
I'm a sucker for the truth. We're smart people - don't insult our intelligence with stupid lies! Adam dissects society and tells the truth about lies we've been taught to accept at face value.
Warning - Adam may make you feel foolish. In the first season alone, he'll tell you why engagement rings are a ripoff, airport security is useless, why there's no legitimate way to purchase a new car, what CSI has all wrong, most seafood is mislabeled, even experts can't really tell the difference between a $6 and $600 bottle of wine, and so on. Think vitamin supplements, summer slides, Santa Claus, Puritans, and even death. It's all done tongue-in-cheek with sarcastic humor.
Oh, but what an education! It teaches people to question everything and think critically. An excellent watch for teenagers who are highly impressionable, Adam cites real world evidence and consults experts. There are some adult topics covered including sex and masturbation, but it's all covered tastefully and professionally. Probably nothing your little sunshines haven't already seen on network television, but that's your call, Mom and Dad.
We need some Sci-Fi up in here! It goes something like this. In the years since World War II, the U.S. government has been relocating the world's geniuses (and their families) to the Pacific Northwest town of Eureka. Daily life there shifts between amazing innovation and total chaos. U.S. Marshal Jack Carter learns this when his car breaks down in Eureka, stranding him among the town's eccentric citizens.
Most residents of Eureka are scientific geniuses who work for Global Dynamics – an advanced research facility responsible for the development of nearly all major technological breakthroughs since WW2. Each episode features a mysterious accidental or intentional misuse of technology, which the town sheriff, former Marshal Jack Carter (Colin Ferguson), solves with the help of town scientists. Each season also features a larger story arc that concerned a particular major event or item. It's both interesting and fun to watch.
Also features some family angst between Sheriff Carter's daughter Zoe (Jordan Hinson) and a delicious cast of zany geniuses.