Austin's Guide to Binge Watching: The Sequel

Even though quarantine has ended for some, staying indoors is still a reality for a lot of people. So, like I did in this post last month, I thought that I'd make make some suggestions for what people can binge watch to help fill some of those hours. Unlike that previous entry, however, this one is longer and contains some shows that you might already be aware of and others that you may not have heard of just yet. Rest assured, though: they're all definitely worth watching -- or at least they are to me. Read below and judge for yourselves!


1) Friday Night Lights

As you may or not know, I've discussed this show SEVERAL times before on our various podcasts here at Pwns Media. I love Friday Night Lights, possibly because I played football for ten years and loved every second of it (okay, that's a lie, I definitely hated some parts). But looking back on it now, I certainly do miss playing. But anyway, I digress. Friday Night Lights, in case you're somehow unaware, is about a Texas-based high school football team and the obstacles that its players, coaches and their respective families have to overcome. There are more simple themes, such as teenage romance, along with more serious themes like the team losing its starting QB to paralysis in its very first game. We follow the team as it's forced to start the unproven Matt Saracen behind center, alongside star RB Smash Williams. The team goes on to find success and even makes the state playoffs, but there are hurdles that must be cleared along the way; to find out what they are, you'll just have to watch the series.


Now, the reason why I'm recommending this show is not only because I think it's got a great story, but also because it's just one of those shows that can always elevate your mood. If you're not having the greatest day, you can always turn on Friday Night Lights and it'll turn your day around without fail -- or at least it does for me. I know during these unprecedented times we're facing, I've watched this series to completion twice and, if I'm being quite honest, I might restart it soon because...why not? We do finally have sports back, but when those aren't on, you can probably hear me talking about how Julie didn't deserve Matt, along with how Coach Taylor and his wife Tami are absolute couple goals.


Where to Watch: Hulu


2) Smallville

Next up is Smallville -- I'm assuming you've heard of it, right? If not, you must not be a nerd like me and all my friends over at NerdPod; and if you've listened to that pod, then you know exactly how much I love this show. Now, I was extremely late to the party on Smallville, especially considering the show aired from 2001-2011 and I hadn't really discovered any other channels outside of Nickelodeon, Disney or Cartoon Network at that point. My life suddenly changed, though, when I discovered an app on my Nook tablet that allowed you watch all 6 Star Wars movies (this was pre-Sequel Trilogy) for free. As a huge Star Wars fan, I jumped at this opportunity and downloaded the app immediately. Over in the Play Store's "recommended" tab, there were other apps listed by the same developer, one of them being the Smallville app. Intrigued, I downloaded it, started watching and the rest was history.


I made it to Season 3 Episode 16 when the app started glitching on me; this had happened to me before on the Nook, so I deleted the app and tried to re-download it, only to find it was no longer there. I was extremely saddened by this, as I could no longer watch what had become my favorite show at the time. A few more months went by with seemingly no options for me until I happened to see while I was scrolling on my TV that, low and behold, TNT was airing Smallville! As I went to set up a series recording, wouldn't ya know it, TNT was airing the middle of the third season. Overjoyed, I continued to watch the series through to its completion, after which I cancelled the series recording on my TV. I figured that, if I wanted to re-live some of my favorite show moments, I could just find some clips over on YouTube.


I proceeded this way for a number of years until, at long last, Smallville arrived on Hulu. Now, at least twice a year I make a point to re-watch the show that truly helped me become a full fledged nerd. Now if you've gotten this far into the blog and are still unfamiliar with the show, you might be wondering whats it's actually...about. Sorry about that. Basically, the show is about Clark Kent (ya know, Superman) before he was the man in the red and blue spandex suit. The series starts out with Clark as a freshman in high school and follows him to his first job at The Daily Planet. Of course, we also see Clark finally realize that his destiny is to help save the world and become the caped hero we all know and love. Smallville also has the best iteration of Lex Luthor that we've seen on the screen, portrayed by Michael Rosenbaum. The chemistry between Tom Welling (Clark Kent) and Rosenbaum is just magnificent; in fact, the chemistry between the entire cast is just...*chef kiss.* I wish I had been born earlier so I could've seen this show live, like I have with the Arrowverse shows; it's just that good.


If you listened to one of our latest episodes of NerdPod, we discussed some of our favorite shows and, of course, this show was indeed brought up. Believe it or not, though, it actually wasn't me who referenced it, but rather my fellow Smallville stan Mich. She told our panel that the show was one of her favorites and I can absolutely see why. If you want to hear what both Mich and I had to say about Smallville, go listen to that episode (our pods can be found on Apple, Spotify, Stitcher, etc.). So yeah, I think you should definitely go watch this show, even if you're not that big of a nerd. Who knows, maybe it can help you release your inner nerd!


Where to Watch: Hulu


3) Daybreak

The next show that I wanted to touch on is Daybreak; now, out of all the shows I've talked about already and will cover below, this one is probably the least popular. However, I can tell you that it's still very good. Daybreak can be found on Netflix and was possibly one of the programs highlighted at the top of your homepage at some point. Netflix is always trying to push their new original content that way -- it's not that bad of a strategy, it certainly helps them catch more eyes! Anyway, after about 3 weeks of seeing Daybreak there on my screen, I decided to pull the trigger and watch it around 1 am one night and I'm glad that I did.


What is this show about, you ask? Well, it's set in a world where all adults have become zombies, so all of the world's kids are just kind of running around trying to get by. The series follows Josh Wheeler, a young man trying to find his girlfriend Samaira Dean, as well as the friends he makes during his journey. While searching for Samaira, he meets Angelica Green, a 10 year old absolute bad ass who you don't want to mess with. We also meet Mrs. Crumble, a zombie/human hybrid who didn't fully transform like other adults, as well as Wesley, who just happens to be your local samurai. Of course, you have your classic TV series conflict in Daybreak with Turbo and his crew; these guys are jocks who have become the rulers of this new post-apocalyptic world. Unfortunately, I don’t know if we'll be getting a second season of this show, but I do know that Netflix is at least considering it at the moment. Check it out!


Where to Watch: Netflix


4) Outer Banks

Now this is a show that I'm sure many people have heard of, since it was one of the biggest streaming shows for like a good two months during a time when people were all stuck in their homes. It seems like forever at this point that my TikTok was full of clips from Outer Banks and you know what? I wasn't complaining, especially since I really enjoyed this show and have already re-watched it since quarantine started. If you somehow haven't heard about this show, I'll give you an idea of what it's about. As the title suggests, the story follows a group of teenagers who live on the outer banks of North Carolina.


The main characters are: John B, who just lost his father, Kiara, a rich kid who hangs out with the poor kids, J.J., a very misunderstood kid with an abusive father who just wants love, Pope, the brains of the group who's goal is a college scholarship and, finally, we have Sarah Cameron. Sarah starts the show off as a bit of a bad seed, but ends up joining the crew of "good guys" in the end. The plot surrounds a treasure that's been lost for over 200 years and the determination on the part of John B to find it, as his father had lost his life looking for it. John desperately wants to finish his father's life work, so he and the gang go hunting for the gold. To find out what happens to them, you're just going to sit down and watch!


So, why should you watch this show and why exactly would I recommend it? Because it's a refreshing change of pace from some of the others that are streaming right now. Outer Banks is more of a fun, straightforward, fast paced series, while the others I've recommended have multiple story lines going on at the same time. It's easy to follow and I absolutely think you'd enjoy it. I highly recommend checking it out, it's quite binge-able.


Where to Watch: Netflix


5) NCIS

And now, for our final show, we have the extremely well-known NCIS. This show has been on the air since I was 3, so it's obviously been around for a while -- staying on a major network for 17 years isn't an easy thing to do. The reason why I recommend NCIS is because it's somehow just as good as when it first started. I originally started watching this show on CBS while eating dinner with the family on Tuesday nights, but I decided recently to re-watch it all the way from the beginning. I was able to watch the first 15 seasons on Netflix before catching seasons 16 and 17 on CBS All Access, as Netflix doesn't yet have them.


While I'm sure that everyone is at least aware of NCIS' existence, it's possible that you just never decided to take the plunge and actually watch it. Well, it's actually a spin-off of a very popular CBS program from the 90's called JAG, which was about a group of Navy lawyers; this particular program, meanwhile, is about the Naval Police. The series' main character is Leroy Gibbs, a very much by-the-book ex-Marine sniper. Basically, he's one of those guys that you just don't want to mess with. We also have Timothy McGee, who's pretty much the show's prototypical tech guy, but also someone who shows he can roll his sleeves up when needed in order to get the job done. Many NCIS fans can't get enough of Tony DiNozzo, the lovable goofball of the team, as well as Ziva David, an ex-Mossad Operative who serves as both a Liaison Officer and Tony's love interest. Other show staples are Abby, the goth forensic scientist and Ducky, the team's medical examiner who can tell you a story about pretty much everything. There are many other great characters that make this show excellent as well, but I don't want to spoil anything for you. The plot of each show is pretty much your typical "solve the case, that's an episode" type of deal, but the way the team goes about it is fascinating.


I absolutely think you should watch this show, as like I've been saying, I've been watching it for years and actually enjoyed it more upon re-watch. It was a lot of fun to re-live some of the iconic moments I only vaguely recalled from watching the series' original run.


Where to Watch: Netflix, CBS All Access


Honorable Mentions

Since this is a binge watch blog, I am legally obligated to mention The Office (U.S.) and Parks and Recreation. If you haven't seen either of these NBC classic "mockumentaries" (doubtful) or simply haven't re-watched in a while, it might be time to do so. Also, since I just told how how awesome NCIS is, you'd be well served to check out its two direct spin-offs: NCIS: Los Angeles and NCIS: New Orleans. Both of these shows are absolutely fantastic, similar to the original. Finally, I'd also recommend Shameless (U.S.), which originally aired on Showtime. I could go on for hours about this show, but it's easier if you just dive right in and watch it. It's an incredible show and Season 10 just dropped on Netflix, so feel free to check it out.


- Austin

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