28 TV Dramas Definitely Worth Binge-Watching Tonight

Perrie Samotin
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Best TV Dramas to Binge-Watch
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You know that feeling you get when you finish a book? You just want more, but it’s over. It’s done. It’s time to move on to the next.

Yeah, that’s exactly what it feels like when you come up from air from your recent TV binge-watch. What do you watch now? Is it worth committing? Should you even bother starting?!

The answer is 100 percent “yes” for the following 25 TV dramas.

The shows we’ve rounded up here aren’t all new, either—many aren’t even on the air anymore. But they are all compelling, entertaining, and totally worth watching. From pop culture stalwarts like “Twin Peaks and “The Shield, thought-provoking series like “Westworld” and teen dramas “Riverdale” and “13 Reasons Why” to water-cooler programming like “Homeland” and “Game of Thrones,” here are 28 excellent TV dramas to binge-watch right now.

MORE: ’13 Reasons Why’ Season Two Star Anne Winters on Almost Playing Hannah

 28 TV Dramas Definitely Worth Binge Watching Tonight

“13 Reasons Why” (Photo: Beth Dubber/Netflix)

“13 Reasons Why”

Network: Netflix
Seasons: 1 (2 starts May 18)
First aired: 2017

Hannah’s dead, and Clay Jensen is on a quest to figure out why she took her own life. As the title suggests, she has 13 tapes Clay listens to through the course of the first season. By the end of Season 1, your mind will have been officially blown. This show was so popular when it premiered on Netflix in 2017, Twitter saw more than 11 million tweets about this teen drama less than a month after its release. Season 2 premieres May 18 on Netflix; stream it here.

"The Affair" (Craig Blankenhorn/Showtime)

“The Affair” (Photo: Craig Blankenhorn/Showtime)

“The Affair”

Network: Showtime
Seasons: 3, currently on 4
First aired: 2014

In episode one of Showtime’s series “The Affair,” there was an attention-getting twist that proves things aren’t always what they seem. Tracing—you guessed it—an affair between Brooklyn teacher and writer Noah (played by Dominic West) and damaged Montauk waitress Allison (Ruth Wilson), we quickly learn that people tend to remember things very differently. Also starring Maura Tierney and Joshua Jackson—yes, Pacey from “Dawson’s Creek”—you’ll blow through the first three seasons in no time. Stream it here.

best dramas to binge watch

“Beverly Hills, 90210” (Photo: FOX)

“Beverly Hills, 90210”

Network: FOX
Seasons: 10
First aired: 1990

If you were too young to have watched this game-changing series when it originally aired, we suggest you start from the beginning, stat—if for nothing else than the unbelievable 1990s fashion. Not that the soapy series won’t suck you into its plot: Two wholesome twins—Brenda and Brandon Walsh played by Shannen Dougherty and Jason Priestly—move with their parents from small-town Minnesota to excess-filled Beverly Hills. Yes, there was enough drama to fill 10 seasons. Stream it here.

tv dramas to binge watch

“Boss” (Photo: Starz)

“Boss”

Network: Starz
Seasons: 2
First aired: 2011

Not nearly as buzzy as “House of Cards” (yet similar in several respects), “Boss”stars Kelsey Grammer as Tom Kane, the ruthless mayor of Chicago, who—in the first amazing scene—is diagnosed a fatal form of dementia.

The slickly-shot show delves deeply into Chicago’s often-corrupt political system, a powerful marriage of convenience, and the intense, behind-the-scenes maneuvering of political campaigns. Grammer puts his dramatic acting chops to excellent (if a little frightening) use. Stream it here.

Narcos netflix

“Narcos” (Photo: Netflix)

“Narcos”

Network: Netflix
Seasons: 3, renewed for fourth
First aired: 2015

This obsession-worthy original drama stars Brazilian actor Wagner Moura as infamous drug kingpin Pablo Escobar and tells the story of the Medellin Cartel, which was once the world’s most violent trafficking organization. Stream it here.

MORE: The Exact Beauty Products Movie and TV Show Characters Use for Their Iconic Looks

"Breaking Bad" (Photo: AMC)

“Breaking Bad” (Photo: AMC)

“Breaking Bad”

Network: AMC
Seasons: 5
First aired: 2008

Look up “water cooler TV” and a photo of Walter White appears in the dictionary. Not really, but now’s the time to finally commit to all five meth-infused seasons of what most critics call the best TV drama of all time. Stream it here.

"The Bridge" (Photo: FX)

“The Bridge” (Photo: FX)

“The Bridge”

Network: FX
First aired: 2013
Seasons: 2

This super-slick show only ran for two seasons, but they were two really solid ones. It follows two detectives—one Mexican (Damian Bachir), one American (Diane Kruger)—and their joint effort to investigate a serial killer wreaking havoc on both countries along the Texas-Chihuahua border. Needless to say, the investigation is riddled with corruption. Stream it here.

brotherhood 2006 28 TV Dramas Definitely Worth Binge Watching Tonight

“Brotherhood” (Photo: Showtime)

“Brotherhood”

Network: Showtime
Seasons: 3
First aired: 2006

Some call this series the Irish Sopranos—and for good reason. It follows the intertwining lives of the Irish-American Caffee brothers from Providence, Rhode Island, where Tommy is a local politician and Michael is a professional criminal involved with New England’s Irish Mob. Consider this a warning: While it’s an excellent show, it’s also pretty violent. Stream it here.

"Call the Midwife" (Photo: PBS)

“Call the Midwife” (Photo: PBS)

“Call the Midwife”

Network: PBS
Seasons: 7, currently airing 8
First aired: 2012

If you’re into period dramas, seek out this beloved BBC series about a group of nurse midwives working in the East End of London during the 1950s.

"Damages" (David M. Russell/Sony Pictures Television)

“Damages” (David M. Russell/Sony Pictures Television)

“Damages”

Network: FX (2007-2010), DirecTV (2010-2012)
Seasons: 5
First aired: 2007

If you haven’t seen this addictive legal thriller, get on it—you’ll be hooked after episode 1. It stars Glenn Close as ruthless litigator Patty Hewes and Rose Byrne as her protegé Ellen Parsons, a relationship that takes on a captivating cat-and-mouse narrative throughout.

What’s so interesting about the show is that each season is based on one case—modeled after something going on in the world right now—and never steps foot into a courtroom. Instead, it uses non-linear storytelling to focus on the characters’ lives. Plus, the guest stars throughout the show’s five seasons are excellent and include Ted DansonŽeljko Ivanek (who snagged an Emmy for his role as a slow-burning Southern lawyer), Marcia Gay Harden, and John Goodman.

MORE: How ‘This Is Us’ Helped Hannah Zeile Overcome Her Body Insecurities

 28 TV Dramas Definitely Worth Binge Watching Tonight

“Deception” (Photo: NBC)

“Deception”

Network: NBC
Seasons: 1
First aired: 2013

Sure, it got the axe after one season, but this delicious network drama is a blast. When a famous socialite named Vivian Bowers is found dead in a motel room from what appears to be a drug overdose, her estranged best friend, Detective Joanna Locasto (Meagan Good), is re-embraced by the wealthy Bowers family. In time, she begins to uncover the truth of what really happened with her friend’s death and to figure out who was behind Vivian’s death. The show also stars Tate Donovan, Victor Garber, and Laz Alonzo.)

"Firefly" (Photo: FOX)

“Firefly” (Photo: Fox)

“Firefly”

Network: Fox
Seasons: 1
First aired: 2002

To give you a sense of just how beloved this 2002 Joss Whedon sci-fi series is, fans are still lambasting FOX for canceling it after one season. This beloved series is set in 2517 and features nine space cowboys who are staring “into the blackness of space and seeing nine different things.” Turns out, we still have the same political, moral, and ethical problems in the future as we do right now.

"Friday Night Lights" (Photo: NBC)

“Friday Night Lights” (Photo: NBC)

“Friday Night Lights”

Network: NBC
Seasons: 5
First aired: 2006

This critically-acclaimed network drama centers around a high school football team in the fictional town of Dillon, Texas, a close-knit community in rural Texas. And while its football scenes are masterful, there’s also enough small-town drama and overarching contemporary culture issues to keep any non-sports fan engrossed. Stream it here.

game of thrones hbo1 28 TV Dramas Definitely Worth Binge Watching Tonight

“Game of Thrones” (Photo: HBO)

“Game of Thrones”

Network: HBO
Seasons: 7, renewed for 8
First aired: 2011

Even if you’ve read the books, HBO’s excellent interpretation of George R.R. Martin’s beloved fantasy series requires your full attention, making it the perfect binge.

20141120 homeland 28 TV Dramas Definitely Worth Binge Watching Tonight

“Homeland” (Photo: Showtime)

“Homeland”

Network: Showtime
Seasons: 7, renewed for 8
First aired: 2011

What are you waiting for? Now’s a good a time as any to start Season 1 of this drama about mentally unstable, terrorist-chasing CIA agent Carrie Mathison (hauntingly played by Claire Danes.)

MORE: Why No One Cares About ‘Keeping Up with the Kardashians’ Anymore

"In Treatment" (Photo: HBO)

“In Treatment” (Photo: HBO)

“In Treatment”

Network: HBO
Seasons: 3
First aired: 2008

This drama—which originally aired on HBO five nights a week—stars Gabriel Byrne as a psychotherapist and each episode dives (very) deep into his weekly sessions with a patient, in addition to his time with his own therapist. Blair Underwood, Diane Wiest, Melissa George, and Mia Wasikowska are among the actors who play Byrne’s patients.

Penny Dreadful

“Penny Dreadful” (Photo: Showtime)

“Penny Dreadful”

Network: Showtime
Seasons: 3
First aired: 2014

The title of this British-American horror series refers to penny dreadfuls, a type of lurid horror fiction popular in 19th-century Britain. The show features plenty of characters from Irish and British fiction, including those from Oscar Wilde’s The Picture of Dorian Gray, Frankenstein, and Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Oh, and it also stars ’90s heartthrob Josh Hartnett.

"Political Animals" (Photo: Andrew Eccles/USA Network)

“Political Animals” (Photo: Andrew Eccles/USA Network)

“Political Animals”

Network: USA
Seasons: 1
First aired: 2012

This six-episode miniseries got a lot of flak for being hokey, but trust us: It’s so fun and entertaining that you’ll breeze through it in a day. Sigourney Weaver kills it as Elaine Barrish, a divorced former First Lady and Governor of Illinois, who also happens to be the Secretary of State. Similarities to Hillary Clinton abound, but the show’s real sweet spot is spotlighting a powerful political family and what goes on behind closed doors.

"Rectify" (Photo: Sundance)

“Rectify” (Photo: Sundance)

“Rectify”

Network: Sundance
Seasons: 4
First aired: 2013

After 19 years on Death Row for the rape and murder of his teenage girlfriend, Daniel Holden’s conviction has been vacated due to new DNA evidence and he’s a free man. This razor-sharp drama follows him home, where his reentry into the outside world isn’t easy. The show does an excellent job of creating character studies of Daniel, his extended family, and the people in his sleepy Southern town. Stream it here.

"Ringer" (Photo: The CW)

“Ringer” (Photo: The CW)

“Ringer”

Network: The CW
Seasons: 1
First aired: 2012

Yes, this addictive drama—based on the 1964 Bette Davis film “Dead Ringer”—first aired on the CW, but was likely a little too high-minded for the network, thanks to its very adult themes (drugs, sex, murder) and twisty, serialized plot.

Sarah Michelle Gellar plays estranged twins—Bridget, a down-on-her-luck former addict and stripper being chased by a Native American gangster who thinks she witnessed a murder; and Siobhan, a cold-as-ice devious Park Avenue society wife (think a grown-up version of Gellar’s Catherine from “Cruel Intentions.”) The two reunite briefly, Siobhan disappears, and Bridget assumes her identity. And that’s just in the first few minutes. Still not convinced? Here’s a compelling case as to why you should watch it, stat. Stream it here.

MORE: Gillian Jacobs on Playing a Female Anti-Hero and Battling Self-Doubt

riverdale the cw 28 TV Dramas Definitely Worth Binge Watching Tonight

“Riverdale” (Photo: The CW)

“Riverdale”

Network: The CW
Seasons: 2, renewed for a third
First aired: 2016

This isn’t your typical take on the Archie Comics franchise. Say “hello” to a march darker, more mysterious whodunit narrative with your favorite Archie characters: Archie Andrews (K.J. Apa), Betty Cooper (Lili Reinhart), Cheryl Blossom (Madelaine Petsch), Veronica Lodge (Camila Mendes), and Jughead (Cole Sprouse). Stream it here.

the shield fx 28 TV Dramas Definitely Worth Binge Watching Tonight

“The Shield” (Photo: FX)

“The Shield”

Network: FX
Seasons: 7
First aired: 2002

Some call “The Shield” (which ran from 2002 to 2008) one of the best dramas of all time because it broke new ground for FX and cable TV in general. Essentially, it’s about an experimental division of the LAPD that features a group of unethical detectives called the Strike Team who will stop at nothing to bring their version of justice to the streets. Michael Chiklis portrays the show’s shady main character Vic Mackey, who uses questionable methods to maintain peace on the streets, while making a profit through illegal drug protection schemes and robbery.

"Sons of Anarchy" (Photo: FX)

“Sons of Anarchy” (Photo: FX)

“Sons of Anarchy” 

Network: FX
Seasons: 7
First aired: 2008

Loosely based on Hamlet, the series centers around a Northern California motorcycle gang and manages to fuse its abundant violence with family drama. The show’s led by Charlie Hunnam and stars Katy Segal, who plays a fiercely protective (if violent) matriarch and happens to be married in real life to “SOA” showrunner, Kurt Sutter. Stream it here.

"Transparent" (Photo: Amazon Studios)

“Transparent” (Photo: Amazon Studios)

“Transparent”

Network: Amazon
Seasons: 4, renewed for a fifth
First aired: 2014

See why everyone’s buzzing about Amazon’s original series, which chronicles the effect on a family when its patriarch (played by Jeffrey Tambor) reveals that she is a transgender woman. Despite Tambor dropping out of the show in 2017 amid harassment allegations, the show will continue on for Season 5, its final season. Stream it here.

"True Detective" (Photo: HBO)

“True Detective” (Photo: HBO)

“True Detective”

Network: HBO
Seasons: 2, renewed for a third
First aired: 2014

Even if you’ve never seen it, you’ve probably heard plenty about this intense drama that nabbed Matthew McConaughey a Best Actor Emmy in 2015. Season 1—arguably the best season— uses multiple timelines to trace two Louisiana State Police Criminal Investigations Division homicide detectives’ hunt for a serial killer in Louisiana across 17 years. Stream it here.

MORE: 13 Upcoming Movies You Need to Put on Your Summer Bucket List

twin peaks 4 28 TV Dramas Definitely Worth Binge Watching Tonight

“Twin Peaks” (Photo: ABC)

“Twin Peaks”

Network: ABC
Seasons: 2
First aired: 1990

There’s a reason why David Lynch‘s groundbreaking series earned its spot in the pop-culture canon, despite the fact that viewership wasn’t through the roof. Set in a small rainy Pacific Northwest town, the series was—at face value—about a murder (“Who killed Laura Palmer?” was a catchphrase you couldn’t escape in the early 1990s), but the murder served as an excuse to create a show about the secrets that lie beneath small-town living and the odd characters that inhabit it.

The show is rife with strange symbolism, spooky music, and more than its share of “huh?!” moments, but we suggest you give it a shot—the two-hour pilot is a brilliant way to get involved before you jump into the Showtime revival, which aired in 2017.

"The West Wing" (Photo: NBC)

“The West Wing” (Photo: NBC)

“The West Wing”

Network: NBC
Seasons: 7
First aired: 1999

Regarded as one of the best shows of all time—at least for network TV—all seven seasons of the political drama are up on Netflix now.

westworld season 2 28 TV Dramas Definitely Worth Binge Watching Tonight

“Westworld” (Photo: John P. Johnson/HBO)

“Westworld”

Network: HBO
Seasons: 1, currently airing 2
First aired: 2016

We’re sure you’ve heard all about this one. There are theories all over Reddit the second each episode airs on HBO; there are even plenty of podcasts dedicated to the stunning drama. Currently in its second season, Westworld is set in a Wild West fantasy park, and a group of android “hosts” begin to become more “aware.” It’s a wild ride, that’s for sure. Stream it here.

STYLECASTER | Binge Worthy Dramas

28 TV Dramas Definitely Worth Binge-Watching Tonight | @stylecaster

A version of this article was originally published in December 2014.

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