Countdown to ThanksGilmore: A Last-Minute Binge Watch Guide

Well folks, it’s November which means we’re officially less than a month away from the arrival of Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life (22 days to be exact thanks to this countdown I made). In celebration of the event a lot of us have been waiting for for nearly a decade, we’re bringing back some of our favorite GG-related posts we’ve written up in the past.

Today we’re bringing back a guide for newcomers who want to sneak in a quick binge-watch before November 25th. And if you finish the entire series before Black Friday I will be super impressed (and jealous of your free time).

You’ve Been Gilmored: Tips for Binge-Watching Gilmore Girls on Netflix

Some quick tips:

  • Have all the snacks
  • Don’t eat all the snacks
  • Keep an eye out for guest stars (Ron Swanson, anyone?)
  • The fast talking doesn’t slow down

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Shows You Should Be Watching If You Aren’t Already: Last-Minute Binge Edition 2016

Since it’s only the first week of September, old shows and new shows are slowly rolling out this month and next month. And you know what that means? You still have time to sneak in one last binge-watch before a new season premieres! But what is easy to catch up on and worth your time? Don’t worry, we’ve got you covered.

Traci’s Picks

For viewers who miss the camaraderie of The Office, the quirkiness of 30 Rock, and the community of Community: Superstore

Seasons to catch up on: 1

Next season begins: September 22nd at 8pm on NBC

Why you should be watching: Remember how the first seasons of The Office and Parks and Rec were a little slow moving but you knew they had so much potential? That’s what I felt about the first season of Superstore. It could also be because the executive producer used to be a writer at The Office. But like both those shows, Superstore is a workplace comedy about a rag tag bunch of folks who work at a Wal-Mart/big box type store. It stars America’s sweetheart America Ferrera and Ben Feldman, who I’ve decided I will watch anything he is in. There’s also a Filipino character that was prominently featured in the Olympics episode they aired a couple weeks ago, and that satisfies me greatly.

For people who liked American Crime Story, but also literally every human alive: American Crime

Seasons to catch up on: 2

Next season begins: 2017 (I’m cheating since this doesn’t come back until next year)

Why you should be watching: On the real, because this show is an anthology, you don’t even need to watch the two previous seasons. But you should anyways. The first season centers on a home invasion in California which leaves a war veteran dead and his wife seriously injured. The investigation and trial deals with issues of race, class and gender politics, and stars Felicity Huffman, Timothy Hutton, Lili Taylor and Regina King. All four of them return for the second season playing completely different characters. This time, the season is set in the midwest at a private and public high school, when two of the private school kids are accused of drugging and assaulting a guy from the public school. Issues of sexual orientation, class and more (which I don’t want to spoil) come into play. Both seasons are spectacular in their own ways and it’s one of those well-written, well acted, and socially important programs that I feel like everyone needs to watch.

For all Americans and Hamilton fans who are OK with modern music being used to score a show about true events in the 1800s: Underground

Seasons to catch up on: 1

Next season begins: 2017 (all the shows I want you to watch aren’t coming back until next year!)

Why you should be watching: I hate that Underground didn’t get the Emmy recognition it deserved, because it could easily have been nominated for writing, acting and directing. The story follows a group of escaped slaved called the Macon 7 as they attempt to make it to the North. With the feeling they’re going to be caught making you tense in every episode, along with the romance, unwanted romance, race relations and general drama throughout the first season, the 10-episode binge will not be hard to get through at all.

Molly’s Picks

For fans of musicals, comedy, musical comedy, and anybody who thought “that’s a sexist term” upon reading the show’s title: Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

Seasons to catch up on: 1

Next season begins: October 21

Why you should be watching: Did you watch Glee because you love people spontaneously bursting into song, but you wished it was actually funny even ONCE? Are your favorite SNL sketches the clever yet relatable songs like (Do It On My) Twin Bed or Back Home Ballers? Do movies like Ghostbusters or Sisters make you want to start a letter-writing campaign to all of the major studios asking for more of this, please? Do you like a good rom-com where the protagonist is torn between two appealing gentlemen? Are you into 90s junior high flashbacks? Hey. Come watch this show. You’re going to love it.

 Rebecca Bunch is a New York lawyer who moves to West Covina, California after a chance run-in with her camp sweetheart, Josh. There’s a lot of Rebecca trying to act chill and normal so Josh doesn’t think she’s, well, a crazy ex-girlfriend, often with the help of her buddy Paula, the coworker we all wish we had. Oh, and Josh is engaged to Valencia, a yoga-teaching Pinterest goal board come to life. But then there’s Greg, Josh’s friend who Rebecca should definitely end up with … or I mean, you should watch and form your own opinions.

For viewers who love psychological thrillers like Orphan Black, tech conspiracies, or handsome men who hate themselves: Mr. Robot

Seasons to catch up on: 2

Next season begins: 2017 (season 2 is in progress and ends later this month)

Why you should be watching: Like Orphan Black, I feel like you should watch the pilot and second episode then just TRY to stop watching. There are a few plot twists and it is best to watch unspoiled, which is why you should begin the show now instead of waiting until Season 3. Besides, then you won’t need to wonder how there are so many nominations for a USA show come Emmy night.

Largely spoiler free summary: Rami Malek plays Elliot, a lonely hacker with some degree of mental illness, an omnipresent black hoodie, a mild but appealing lateral lisp, and a vendetta against E Corp (a global conglomorate responsible for his father’s death from cancer when Elliot was a child). Elliot joins fsociety, a Coney Island-based hacker group that’s working to bring down E Corp. Standout characters : fsociety leader Mr. Robot, acerbic hacker Darlene, and Elliot’s childhood friend Angela (who, along with Rebecca Bunch, is one of the only lady lawyers on television who seems like a human).

For people who didn’t listen to us last year: Jane The Virgin

Seasons to catch up on: 2

Next Season Begins: October 2016

Why you should be watching: Last year, JTV was on our last-minute binge watching list with a caveat: we should have been watching it too, but we had to wait for season 1 to get to Netflix. Between then and now both of us have emerged from heavy JTV binges and are obsessed.

Jane The Virgin, like real telenovelas before it, rides the line between comedy and melodrama. The writing is sharp and the show is brilliantly styled, but the whole thing rests on the endearing and spirited performance of Gina Rodriguez. Her Jane is nothing like the character I imagined when I heard the “virginal pregnant 20-something” descriptor. If the concept sounded a little iffy to you, give it 2 episodes and prepare for your mind to change.

As an aside, I “watched” the first 15 episodes while I was painting the downstairs of my house, so I actually listened like it was a radio play. This show works perfectly for that viewing style if you have any big projects to tackle this fall (as long as you’re fluent in Spanish for the occasional captioned scene). Only downside: realizing half the characters look NOTHING like you imagined when you start watching for real.

When Binge-Watching Isn’t a Choice

The third season of House of Cards was plopped into millions of Netflix accounts on Friday, and many people began a weekend of binge-watching the Underwoods as they

*SPOILER ALERT FOR SEASON 2 FINALE*

…prepared to become the President and First Lady of the United States.

As I begun my travels to this messed up version of DC, I could only remember two things about what happened last season – that Frank became President, and Stamper got beat up. You can attribute this lack of memory to the fact that I can barely remember what I did yesterday or that sometimes I tend to not pay attention to what’s happening, but mostly, I think you can blame it on the fact that I wanted to watch the second season as fast as possible as to not get any spoilers.

I hate spoilers. Spoilers are the worst. I’ve had arguments IRL about this, and while I understand why people who like to get spoiled (e.g. will this person get killed? I need to mentally prepare), I am 100 percent on the side of not getting spoiled at all. For me, television is an escape. Escape from my daily, boring life, into places like corrupt D.C., or Pawnee or Scranton or 1960s New York City, or Stars Hollow. I treat the characters in the shows as if they’re real, and like real life, I don’t want to know what’s going to happen next. That’s the half the excitement. If I know I’m going to get fired on Friday, I will be worried every single second waiting for that moment where my boss takes me into his office and gives me the bad news. If someone is going to be unexpectedly proposed to at the end of a Halloween episode, I would much rather be surprised than anticipate the moment where he gets down on one knee, because, romance.

I watched Guardians of the Galaxy for the first time on Saturday (I know), and I had seen the GIFs of dancing baby Groot on Tumblr, and was expecting him to show up at any minute. So when the thing happens towards the end and then later dancing Groot appears, it didn’t have the same impact on me as I imagine it did for a lot of people. This is why I hate spoilers.

But with a Netflix show like House of Cards, everyone is watching it at a different pace. There’s no one episode a week, like traditional television. It’s 13 episodes put at your fingertips and watch at your own will.

Last year, I went to the ATX Festival in Austin, which is a weekend-long event for TV fans (we’re going together this June, so look out for that!). I went to a panel called #SpoilerAlert, and among the panelists were executive producer Beau Willimon from House of Cards and Netflix social media rep Eric Pallotta.

*ANOTHER SPOILER ALERT FOR EPISODE 1 OF SEASON 2 OF HOC**

Eric talked about how when season 2 dropped at 12am, they were tracking what was happening on social media in regards to the show – what topics fans were talking about, and what they were responding to. He said that around the 12:10am/10 minute mark (or whatever time The Train Incident happened), they noticed a huge spike in viewers’ tweets, reacting to Zoe’s sudden demise. However, most of the tweets didn’t read, “Z0MG FRANK JUST PUSHED ZOE IN FRONT OF A MOVING TRAIN AND THEN WALK AWAY RULLL CASUAL”, it was more like, “OMG” or “DID THAT JUST HAPPEN” or “emoji of a train #HouseOfCards”. There’s an unspoken language amongst binge-watchers, especially among the Netflix community, that lets other people know something big just happened, but also to show you’re in the know and hip because you’re watching HOC.

So, here we are. It’s been a few days since season three was available to view, and there are some who finished on Saturday, some who are close to finishing, and some who probably won’t get to it until the next free weekend they’re not doing brunch. According to Variety, two percent of all Netflix subscribers binge-watched House of Cards in the first weekend season two was released. That doesn’t seem like a big number, but that’s still a lot of folks who did nothing but watch HoC all weekend.

At what point is it socially acceptable to start talking about the monsters and aliens that take over Frank’s body and the White House (JK that doesn’t happen. OR DOES IT). Is two weeks enough time to even start talking about the first half? I’m always in awe of the folks who manage to avoid spoilers. I mean, it’s nearly impossible to not get spoiled these days. Merely watching other programs leads to getting spoiled on other shows (see: SNL sketch from Saturday about being Brave and the Breaking Bad finale). For me, with the nature of my job, I have to be on top of everything that happens in entertainment the minute it occurs, so usually, waiting to see a movie or watch a series finale months later is not an option. Bless the people who can live their lives without even the threat of being spoiled. But also, I am torn with the option of making season three last as long as possible. If I timed it as if I was watching a regular TV show, this experience could last me the next four-ish months! Maybe I’ll actually remember more details of what happens come season four when I can’t decide to binge or not to binge.

But right now, I am already more than halfway through this season of HOC, so I’m clearly opting to go the binge route and not be spoiled. I’ve backed myself into a corner of fitting as many HOC episodes I can in a day in order to beat the clock of spoils. Mr. Underwood has given me no choice BUT to binge – I guess television is like real life, isn’t it Frank?

Shows You Should Be Watching If You Aren’t Already: Last-Minute Binge Watching Edition

The long, lazy days of summer are winding down, and we couldn’t be more thrilled about it – because it means TV season is upon us! However, there’s enough summer left before premiere week to squeeze in a couple kayaking trips, or finally go on that weekend-long hike, or throw a big outdoor barbeque for all of your friends. Or – better idea! – you can binge watch all of these great shows and be caught up by the time the next season begins. With 1-3 seasons under their belt, these are shows you should be watching – and with a proper binge watching technique, we think they’re shows you can be watching. Let’s make those last weeks of summer count, kids.

 Traci’s Suggestions

For beginner binge-watchers looking for a laughcry: About a Boy

Seasons to catch up on: 1

Next season begins: Tuesday, October 14th on NBC

Why you should be watching:

This NBC sitcom was a mid-season replacement earlier this year (and we also talked about it then too) and only has 13 episodes that are 22 minutes long! About a Boy is based off the 2002 movie starring Hugh Grant, which was based on the 1998 novel by Nick Hornby, but the pilot is the only episode that is like the movie. After that, it’s about the boy, brilliantly played by Benjamin Stockham,, his mom, brilliantly played by Minnie Driver, and the bachelor neighbor who turns out to be the best father figure in the boy’s life, brilliantly played by David Walton. If you like your comedies with a side of crying and a handful of heart, this show’s for you. This show’s also for you if you are a fan of Parenthood or Friday Night Lights, as it has the same tone as those shows, except with a few more jokes. Also it’s by creator/executive producer Jason Katims, who helmed said shows. He really can do nothing wrong.

For the rom-com loving semi-professional TV watchers: The Mindy Project

Seasons to catch up on: 2

Next season begins: Tuesday, September 16th on FOX

Why you should be watching:

Just like a fine wine or Mindy’s alma mater, The Office, this show only gets better with time. With every episode, the writers and actors found their true voice, and by the end of season two, it became not only one of my favorite shows, but it was hard to believe that such a strong series was only in its second season. As the creator, executive producer and star of the show, there’s no doubt that Mindy Kaling’s own voice is all over the series, which is a good thing. To be clear, Mindy doesn’t play herself, she plays a woman named Mindy who is a gynecologist with her own practice. I can’t think of a female in television who is like her – there’s Tina Fey, but she and Mindy have such different comedic styles which are both great in their own ways. While Tina used 30 Rock as an offbeat showcase for her humor, Mindy takes the nuances of her friendships and romances and amplifies them to create a fairly accurate portrait of life as a working single woman in 2014. And for gals like me, I greatly appreciate that there is a minority woman representin’ in a sea of (for lack of a better term) white men in comedy. There are 46 half hour (22 minute) episodes to catch up on before September 16th, but I promise they will go faster than you can say Beyonce Pad Thai (you’ll eventually get that reference).

For the dramatically inclined hardcore TV addicts: Scandal

Seasons to catch up on: 3

Next season begins: Thursday, September 25th on ABC

Why you should be watching:

My friends know I’m insane about television, so when they ask me for suggestions as for what to watch next, I always say Scandal. Always. This is mainly for selfish reasons so I can have other people to freak out with when shit goes down on the show. But really, the show itself is really good you guys. If for some reason you don’t know what Scandal’s about (where have you been), the basic plot centers around Olivia Pope (played by the gorgeous and talented Kerry Washington), who is a Washington D.C. fixer. She makes bad situations better, or even makes them go away completely. Oh, small side note is that she’s having an affair with the President. Who’s married. With kids. AND YOU STILL FIND YOURSELF ROOTING FOR THE PEOPLE HAVING THE AFFAIR. But that’s one of the best aspects of the show – the line of right and wrong is always blurred and you don’t know whose side to be on.

Plus the show moves QUICKLY. There are 47 hour-long episodes but they go by super fast (if you binge-watched Grey’s Anatomy like me, I’m convinced Shonda Rhimes puts crack in her eps to make you want to watch one right after the other). Not only time wise, but plot wise too – I have never seen so many things happen in an hour than in Scandal. People die, people lie, people have family members you never knew existed – it’s a lot to take in, but it’s so worth it. Also, you want to catch up (all three seasons are on Netflix instant!) so you can watch live come September. Another great part about watching the show live is live tweeting. Most of the cast tweets live from both coasts every Thursday, which is takes the viewing experience to a whole new level. And if you’re concerned about watching 47 episodes in a month – just know that I watched seasons 1 and 2 of Scandal in 8 days. What’s even more impressive is that that’s not even my best record for binge-watching a series. Side note: I just remembered there’s a site where you can calculate how many hours of your life you’ve spent watching TV, and it’s scary. Unrelatedly, I’m gonna go play outside for the next year.

Molly’s Suggestions

For displaced comedy nerds: Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Seasons to catch up on: 1

Next season begins: Sunday, September 28 on FOX

Why you should be watching:

The Golden Globes got this one right – Brooklyn Nine-Nine is an ensemble workplace comedy with clever writing and a hilarious cast. Despite TV’s love affair with police procedurals and sitcoms about coworkers, it’s also the only combination of the two currently on the small screen. With comedy vets  Andy Samberg, Chelsea Peretti and Joe Lo Truglio, cop show vet Andre Braugher, talented (relative) newcomers Stephanie Beatriz and Melissa Fumero, and a former football player just because (Terry Crews), this is a cast with a rapport like people you’d find at an actual workplace. Except, you know, funnier.

If you are a sitcom lover still reeling over the loss of The Office and 30 Rock, and bracing for the end of Parks And Recreation, and kind of confused about what’s going on with Community, this show will fill the hole in your heart and also the one in your TV schedule.

For insomniacs and horror fans who aren’t afraid of the dark: American Horror Story

 Seasons to catch up on: 3 – or zero. We’ll explain.

Next season begins: Wednesday, October 8th on FX

Why you should be watching:

Look. I’m not a horror movie person, really, but this is just good television. Let’s talk about the cast: Jessica Lange, Kathy Bates, Sarah Paulson, Zachary Quinto, Angela Bassett, Dylan McDermott, Connie Britton, Gabourey Sidibe – although not all of them appear in all seasons, some of the best actors of today are on AHS. The whole thing is headed up by Ryan Murphy after he jumped ship from Glee (can you blame him?). And the format – AHS functions like a reperatory company, with actors taking different roles in the different seasons. That means each season tells an entirely different story. They can all be watched independently of each other, so you only have to catch up on as much as you want to.

The seasons are themed. In the past we’ve had Murder House (ghosts!), Asylum (psychological torture!), and Coven (witches!), but the upcoming season will be scariest of all: Freak Show (clowns!). Such is my fear of the circus that I was terrified of my sister’s clown doll for my whole childhood, and one of my brothers would swing open my bedroom door and smile a giant, frozen clown smile while singing that awful circus calliope song. This is going to be full-on spooky.

For escapists with time to spare: Once Upon A Time

Seasons to catch up on: 3

Next season begins: Sunday, September 28 on ABC

Why you should be watching:

I think we all have those people who we trust implicitly when it comes to TV recommendations. Traci is one of mine, by the way, so you should probably watch what she tells you to watch because she always nails it. Another is my sister-in-law. A couple years ago she told me about Once Upon A Time, and I was like “girl … fairy tales? Not sure.”

I started watching a few weeks ago and I am sold. Once Upon A Time is set in Storybrooke, Maine, a town populated by fairy tale characters. The evil queen levied a curse (do you levy curses or did law school just ruin me as a person?) and everybody forgot about their fairy tale past and lived as normal people – until Snow White’s daughter shows up on her 28th birthday and sets the wheels a-turning. Each episode contains a plot line in the present day as the townspeople try to figure out what’s up, and a fairy tale backstory of one of the characters in their former life.

Remember in the TGIF days when each of the ABC shows had an episode set at Disney every year? Once Upon A Time is like the ultimate ABC-Disney tie-in. I mean, don’t worry, Anna and Elsa have already been cast. But it’s not all fluff. Once Upon A Time is the brainchild of the creators of Lost, so there’s a lot of crazy theories you can keep track of, plus a bunch of Lost references.

I just finished season one and I’m not sure if I’ll get through two more in the next month. It’s certainly doable. But if you don’t mind spoiling yourself, you could probably watch season one, select random episodes of the other season to watch, and use Wikipedia for the rest.