There are few things better than getting wrapped up in a blanket on a dreary winter day and binging a good television show. That’s why we asked ourselves this week, “What do we dig and what’s out there that some of our Blenders fam may be missing out on?”
Enter: Our “What You Should Be Watching” piece below, wherein we make a hard-hitting eight-part list of some of the past year’s finest series.
Remember, these are only some of the best that debuted strictly in 2017. So, yeah, Stranger Things and Game of Thrones aren’t gonna be on this list, because if you weren’t already watching those then we don’t know what you’re doing with your lives—or maybe you were trapped in The Upside Down for the past half decade. Regardless, we’re keeping it current.
And no, these are certainly not “Netflix and Chill” recommendations (to bring that phrase back for a hot sec). You’ll want to actually watch these, trust us.
1. The Punisher | Netflix
Imagine there was a TV show completely centered around the obsessive vigilante crusade of a former Marine that went on a righteous killing spree following the gruesome murder of his family.
Now stop imagining, because that explosive and utterly badass premise is the real deal thanks to Netflix’s The Punisher. Starring Jon Bernthal as vigilante Frank Castle, this is a gritty series about vengeance that boasts some fantastic and frenetic action scenes in the same vein as Daredevil and Luke Cage. And it has a wicked 8.8 score on IMDb, so yeah, put this shit on already.
2. Riverdale | The CW
Campy, fun, and certainly a bit sexy, this subversive take on the classic Archie Comics serial is the latest in a line of hits from the CW that include The Flash and iZombie. The show features intriguing mystery and the threat of a serial killer while still being positively absurd and silly at times. Oh, and anecdote: it features Cole Sprouse as Jughead aka Cody from Disney’s Suite Life of Zach and Cody. If you’re up for something different and popcorn-worthy, this is it.
3. The Deuce | HBO
Let’s move to something a bit weightier. HBO’s The Deuce is a 1970s sex business drama from David Simon, examining all the seediness that comes along with that industry as well as the pervasive influence of New York’s mob in that decade. It can be a bit of a slow burn, but it’s worth it—there’s some pretty rich storytelling here. Maggie Gyllenhaal gets serious screen time, and you even get to watch Method Man, Tariq Trotter (Black Thought of “The Roots”) and the friggin’ Karate Kid himself, Ralph Macchio. Plus, James Franco plays twin brothers (dual role), so that’s… interesting.
4. American Vandal | Netflix
We effortlessly coast now from a show about the sex business to a show largely obsessed with a certain male member.
That’s right. We’re talking dicks.
This show is all about dicks.
OK, that’s an oversimplification, but American Vandal operates as a hilarious true crime mockumentary that examines the furor and fallout over a transgression at a high school—namely, when a student spray paints a bunch of dicks on the cars in the faculty parking lot. Of course, there’s nothing “true” about this series—it’s all bullshit—but that’s what’s so fun. This is the lightest fare on this list and perfect for when you want to unwind at the end of the day with something that doesn’t take itself remotely seriously.
5. Marvel’s Runaways | Hulu
The premise: A group of kids discovers their parents are actually members of a super-villain society steeped in sacrificial rituals. Realizing they’re not safe at home (yeah, no s***), the teens go on the run and discover their own powers.
One word to describe this show: Relatable. Because, really, when we’re teenagers, don’t most of our parents often feel like super villains?
6. Big Little Lies | HBO
On the surface, this seems to follow a bunch of Cali moms lamenting over common first-world problems, including the difficulties in raising their little grade-school gremlins. However, as the title suggests, there are lies, intrigue, and an unsolved murder that’s set to upend the community. It’s got big-time star power—Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Laura Dern, Shailene Woodley, and more—and it rocked the awards circuit, with Kidman nabbing the Golden Globe for “Best Performance by an Actress in a Mini-series.” Sounds like it’s worth a look, right?
7. Legion | FX
Sure, The Gifted is doing its own thing on Fox (and succeeding), but it’s Legion on FX that’s really killing it. It stars Dan Stevens, who plays David Haller, a man seemingly haunted and tortured by schizophrenia. But—surprise!—he’s really a superhuman with wild powers, and yeah, it’s all really captivating. Bonus: Get ready for an incredible performance by Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Rec fame). Highly recommended
8. Mindhunter | Netflix
Set in the 70s a la HBO’s The Deuce, Mindhunter avoids the sex business and instead dives deep—we’re talking way friggin’ deep—into the minds of serial killers. It centers around two FBI agents working for the bureau’s Behavioral Science Unit, then attempting to lead the charge in criminal psychology and profiling. Their specific task? Interview imprisoned killers to glean knowledge of their twisted methodology and motivations in the hopes of solving current murder cases.
Mindhunter is produced by David Fincher and absolutely a must-watch.