8 TV Shows You Should Binge Over Labor Day Weekend
Labor Day weekend is often the ideal time to binge-watch television. Not only might you want to spend some time out of the hot sun, but with the summer TV season having wrapped up and the fall shows gearing up to have their premieres, these three days can serve as a chance to catch up on everything you’ve been meaning to see so far this year.
This Labor Day weekend, we’d recommend binge-watching some of these great shows, most of which either recently wrapped up or will be returning for new episodes soon.
The Good Place – Netflix
This sitcom stars Kristen Bell as a woman who dies and finds herself in heaven, but she quickly realizes this was a mistake, as she’s actually a terrible person who should have gone to the bad place. That’s how the show begins, at least. Quite a lot has changed since then, especially because of a massive reveal that takes place at the very end of Season 1 but that we wouldn’t dare spoil.
Unlike most sitcoms, The Good Place is one that really draws you in with its plot, with many episodes ending on cliffhangers that lead right into the next one. Season 2, especially, is basically one long continuous story in the second half, making it a perfect binge-watch.
American Vandal – Netflix
Another show we’d recommend binge-watching in order to prepare for the new season is American Vandal, the Netflix original comedy. One of the most unexpectedly excellent shows of last year, American Vandal is a satire of true crime documentaries like Making a Murderer and The Jinx. Set in a high school, it follows two students hoping to figure out who vandalized the cars in the teachers’ parking lot by drawing penises on them.
When you hear that premise, and even when you first start watching the show, you’ll wonder how the heck that can possibly last for a full season without getting old. But believe it or not, it never does get old. Not only is the series funny all the way through, but what’s so unexpected about it is that even though this is a goofy parody, you’ll actually find yourself getting legitimately drawn into the mystery and becoming invested in all of these characters. By the end, it turns out to be a far more poignant and gripping season of television than you would expect from a mockumentary about a bunch of cartoon penises being drawn on cars.
This is one of those shows that was originally imagined as a miniseries but is returning for a second season because it was so popular. Season 2 will focus on a new crime, but with the same documentary filmmaker characters returning. Season 2 will stream on September 14th.
Disenchantment – Netflix
From Matt Groening, the creator of The Simpsons and Futurama, comes the new medieval comedy series Disenchantment, which revolves around a reckless young princess, her elf friend, and her “personal demon.”
Unfortunately, Disenchantment hasn’t gotten off to nearly as good a start as Groening fans might hope, but let’s not forget that both The Simpsons and Futurama took some time to evolve into two of the greatest animated comedies of all time. Disenchantment opens with two uneven episodes, but viewers have generally found that things pick up after episode three, so you should at least give it a chance until then.
Disenchantment‘s entire 10-episode first season is now streaming. It has not yet been renewed for a Season 2, but that seems fairly likely.
Jack Ryan – Amazon
If you’re looking for a new show to watch this weekend, Amazon just came out with the action series Jack Ryan.
Based on the Tom Clancy character, John Krasinski stars in this new show as a CIA analyst sent into the field in order to stop a possible terrorist attack. Krasinski is the fifth actor to play Jack Ryan after Alec Baldwin (The Hunt for Red October), Harrison Ford (Patriot Games, Clear and Present Danger), Ben Affleck (The Sum of All Fears), and Chris Pine (Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit).
Jack Ryan has received mostly positive reviews from critics so far, holding a score of 69% on Rotten Tomatoes. In his three-and-a-half star review for Rolling Stone, critic Alan Sepinwall writes, “Like Jack Ryan himself, the Amazon show is smart and confident and thorough. That’s enough to get the job done.”
Sharp Objects – HBO
Sharp Objects just ended its run on HBO this past Sunday, and although it aired weekly, there’s an argument to be made that it might actually work better watched all in one weekend.
Based on the Gillian Flynn novel, Sharp Objects threw some people off in that it has the set-up of a gripping crime thriller, but it ends up becoming more of a character study about its damaged lead character, Camille Preaker, a reporter who returns to her hometown to investigate the murder of two girls. If you’re expecting a pulse-pounding murder mystery, look elsewhere, as entire episodes go by with virtually no progress being made on the case.
But Sharp Objects is about so much more than just a simple whodunnit, and Amy Adams gives a mindblowing performance as one of the most compelling fictional characters on television this year. Although the pace can be fairly slow at times, stick with it, as Sharp Objects‘ final episode makes the journey well worth the time investment. This is theoretically a miniseries, though the door doesn’t seem 100% shut on Season 2 just yet.
Castle Rock – Hulu
Along with Sharp Objects, another one of the summer’s great shows has been Castle Rock, a mystery-drama set within the world of Stephen King.
This Hulu original series centers around Henry Deaver, a lawyer who returns to his hometown to help a young man who was recently found after being locked in a cage against his will for years by the local prison’s former warden. We soon discover that there’s something off about this mysterious kid, and the warden may well have locked him up for a very good reason.
Although not based on any specific Stephen King story, Castle Rock feels very much at home in his world, and there are plenty of references for diehard King fans to pick up on. Castle Rock‘s first season is not yet complete, but you can catch up on the first eight (of 10) episodes now.
Killing Eve – BBC America
Killing Eve really snuck up on us when it premiered earlier this year, and still not enough people have been exposed to it. But this drama series starring Sandra Oh is actually the best new show we’ve seen in 2018, and at only eight episodes, it’s ideal for binging this weekend.
In this series from Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Sandra Oh plays an MI5 officer who becomes obsessed with catching a female assassin, Villanelle, while the female assassin becomes increasingly obsessed with her. The relationship between these two is fascinating, making for the most enthralling (and subtly sexual) protagonist-versus-antagonist dynamic on TV since Hannibal.
Although Sandra Oh is obviously amazing, the real stand-out performance of Killing Eve is Jodie Comer as Villanelle. She’s a relative newcomer but no doubt has a long and successful career ahead of her after this iconic performance. Killing Eve‘s eight-episode first season is now available to stream on the BBC America app or website.
Who Is America? – Showtime
Want to feel even worse about the current state of American politics than you already do? Then, boy, do we have a TV show for you.
Comedian Sacha Baron Cohen follows up Da Ali G Show, Borat and Bruno with Who Is America?, a Showtime series with the same basic conceit; Cohen interviews people in character, with nobody knowing that they’re speaking with a comedian who is just messing with them. In this case, Cohen creates a variety of new characters that are specifically designed for his politically-charged interviews, from an Alex Jones-style right-wing conspiracy theorist to a self-hating male feminist.
The show is a bit hit and miss, but when it hits, it’s absolutely brilliant. Some of the best segments pair a ridiculous Cohen character with a real politician who shares similar views that are only a little less absurd, and because they’re theoretically on the same side, Cohen’s character attempts to get the politician to agree with him on increasingly ridiculous things. Infamously, in the very first episode, he got a bunch of actual elected officials to support the idea of arming school children.
Other segments just involve some good old fashion trolling, like when Cohen’s ultra-liberal character visits an extremely conservative town to announce that they’ve been selected as the site of the largest mosque in the United States. The responses are as depressing as you’d imagine.
Who Is America? just wrapped up its first (and possibly only) season, so you can watch all seven episodes on the Showtime Anytime app right now.