10 TV Series to Binge-Watch in 2014

Since Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon introduced streaming video services, we’ve redefined the way many of us watch television. The days of waiting each week for a new episode of our favorite show are behind us. Now we watch entire TV series — ahem, seasons — in a matter of days. It’s called binge-watching, and we highly recommend it. Here are 10 television shows available to stream or rent through your favorite service that are perfect for sick days and lazy weekends.

Source: NBC

1. Friday Night Lights

Number of seasons: 5
Series status: Complete

What’s more exciting than the daily drama of a small-town high school football team? If we’re talking about the Dillon Panthers, it turns out the answer is nothing. NBC’s Friday Night Lights was never a huge success in ratings, but it caught critical acclaim and a group of passionate fans that kept it on the air for five years.

It starts out as a sports drama but becomes something much more. It’s a story about coming of age, the power of education and mentorship, and what it means to be an adult. The cast features critical darlings Kyle McLachlan and Connie Britton as Coach Taylor and his fearless spitfire of a wife, Tami. If you like drama, realistic characters and situations, the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat, you’ll love Friday Night Lights. Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.

Source: BBC

2. Doctor Who

Number of seasons: 7 (revamped series)
Series status: In progress

When Steven Moffatt revamped this classic ‘60s BBC show for a 21st century audience, he may not have been able to predict how popular it would become. But since 2005, fans worldwide have followed religiously as a Time Lord called the Doctor travels through space and time with a slew of memorable companions. To keep the show fresh, every few seasons, the Doctor regenerates and is played by a different actor. We’ll have the 12th Doctor, Peter Capaldi, when Season 8 airs in the fall. If you like science fiction, British humor, intricate plots and an ever-changing cast of characters, now is the perfect time to get caught up on Doctor Who.

Source: IFC

3. Portlandia

Number of seasons: 3
Series status: In progress

IFC’s Portlandia is a lovingly satirical comedy about the Volvo-driving, vinyl-collecting, home-brew drinking citizens of Portland, Oregon. Carrie Brownstein and Saturday Night Live’s Fred Armisen star in the show, which has gained notoriety for its frequent actor and musician cameos that include Kristin Wiig, Andy Samberg, Eddie Vedder, and Sarah McLachlan. If you like irreverent, tongue-in-cheek humor in a realistic setting, you’ll love Portlandia.

Source: NBC via IMDB.com

4. The West Wing

Number of seasons: 7
Series status: Complete

While it’s been more than a decade since this political drama began, its themes of bipartisan battles and political struggle still ring true today. The West Wing debuted on NBC in 1999 and features some of the smartest dialogue and most memorable characters ever to grace the small screen. An all-star cast including Martin Sheen, Rob Lowe, and Allison Janney made The West Wing a must-see for years. If you like rich drama about politics and current events, it’s never too late for you to fall in love with The West Wing.

Source: Netflix

5. House of Cards

Number of seasons: 1
Series status: In progress

In 2013, Netflix decided to bite the bullet and create a series designed for the binge-watchers of America. The result was a glossy, stunning, and addictive political thriller starring Kevin Spacey and Robin Wright. House of Cards starts with a bang and runs full-throttle. Season 2 premieres on Valentine’s Day, so if you love sex, lies, and intrigue, now’s the best time to get caught up on House of Cards.

Source: 20th Century Fox via IMDB.com

6. The X-Files

Number of seasons: 9
Series status: Complete

The adventures of Fox Mulder and Dana Scully helped define ‘90s television. And while it’s been more than 10 years since Fox’s The X-Files went off the air, this classic series still boasts some of the scariest TV episodes of all time. If you like paranormal activity, government conspiracies, and good-looking FBI agents, give The X-Files a shot.

Source: NBC via IMDB.com

7. Freaks and Geeks

Number of seasons: 1
Series status: Complete

This comedy-drama was a critical darling but failed to win fans when it first aired on NBC. Freaks and Geeks found a second life in online syndication and has since become a cult classic. Set in the 1980s, it features a lovable, imperfect cast of burnouts, nerds, and awkward teens trying to figure out life. Many cast members — Jason Segel, Seth Rogen, and James Franco, just to name a few — went on to have impressive Hollywood careers.

Source: BBC

8. Luther

Number of seasons: 2
Series status: In progress

There’s never been a shortage of crime drama on TV, but every now and then, a series comes along that seems to revitalize the whole genre. The BBC’s Luther is a stunning psychological crime show. It stars Idris Elba in a Golden Globe-winning turn as John Luther, a brilliant detective with some serious emotional baggage.

Source: FX Networks

9. Louie

Number of seasons: 3
Series status: In progress

It’s not a surprise that Louie, created by stand-up comedian Louis C.K., is hilariously funny. But this FX series, which features the actor playing a fictionalized version of himself, is also surprisingly poignant. Louie is a single dad who encounters a variety of down-on-their-luck New Yorkers. His reaction to life’s ups and downs is relatable and rewardingly funny.

Source: FX Networks

10. Archer

Number of seasons: 4
Series status: In progress

It’s nothing new for animated series to push boundaries, but FX’s Archer will surprise you in more ways than one. While it features its fair share of explicit content, it’s also a showcase of nonstop wickedly intelligent humor. Archer is a first-class spy who juggles an active love life and a love-hate relationship with his mother, who also happens to be his boss.

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