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The Essential Binge-watching Student Guide

by Daniel Drakeford
22 February 2016

One of the things I love most about studying at Roehampton is its diversity. I’ve met people from all over the country – and the world– and it’s fantastic. However, there is something I’ve realised that has become intrinsic to the epitome of student life, no matter who you are or where you’ve come from (it’s right up there with the reliable year-old tin of beans in your cupboard, and that large 1KG bag of pasta that you bought from ASDA in the first week of term): TV Binge-watching.

We’ve all been in this scenario: It’s a Sunday afternoon. You have an assignment due in a few days that you reallllly need to get on with. You’re searching online for some research and you see it: the ‘Netflix’ tab open from the night before. Before you know it, it’s 3am in the morning and you’ve been binge watching for longer than you’ve slept the day before. Every time you say to yourself “Just one more episode, then I’ll start my essay.” We all know its never just “one”.

I’m here to tell you its ok –you’re not alone. With the rise of online steaming sites in the past few years, nobody blames you. And anyway, you always do get your work in just in time, right? (If you don’t – I would advise you to cancel your Netflix/Amazon subscription A.S.A.P.)

There’s a fast growing problem with this though, and you may have experienced it already. There are some amazing T.V shows out there. There are also some…not so great T.V shows too. If you’re reading this blog, you’re probably a bingepert (binge-expert), so you’ve already seen the likes of ‘Breaking Bad’, ‘Orange is the New Black’ and ‘House of Cards’. You’ve seen everything (that’s worth watching). So what to binge watch then? Well, this is where I’m hoping to help. I’ve listed below my two top choices for this year that are perfect for any professional binge-watcher.

I’ve opted for the perfect student binge-watching formula: short (20-25 minute max – who has a whole hour to waste?), comedic (being a student is hard sometimes. We all need a good laugh with our friends), and shows that don’t have 1,000,000 episodes (you do have to do that essay at some point, unfortunately).

So put the kettle on, grab a blanket and your flatmates and get comfortable. Here are my two top choices that I’ve found this year:

Parks and Recreation (2009-15)

PandR-header

Ahh Parks and Rec (as you will end up calling it by the time you get to the end, similar to that mushy nickname you give your pet cat). You can’t help but fall in love with this show. My friend suggested it to me – well her actual words were “YOU’VE NEVER SEEN PARKS & REC?!” - so reluctantly I gave it ago.

With an all-star comedy cast consisting of Amy Pohler, Nick Offerman, Chris Pratt and Rob Lowe, Parks and Recreation is the best thing I’ve watched in years. Heck, it might just be my favourite T.V show of all time. Following the daily life of the ambitious and determined Leslie Knope (Pohler) – Deputy Director of the Parks and Recreation department, Pawnee, Indiana – the show manages to perfectly capture the right level of humour and emotion. It will leave you with tears in your eyes, both joyous and sad ones. Dim-witted yet lovable Andy Dwyer (Pratt) is just brilliant – the show catapulted him into Hollywood movies Jurassic World (2015) & Guardians of the Galaxy (2014) from his performance.

What makes this show so brilliant is the characters. You want these guys as your friends, and by the time you’ve watched a few episodes, its feels like they are too. The reason for this is that the show is part improvised, providing the viewer with spontaneously hilarious jokes and gags. It will give you endless catchphrases in which you will resolutely live your life by (for anybody who has watched it, you’ve most definitely already had a ‘TREAT YO’SELF” day.) The show features cameos from many U.S Politicians – Michelle Obama delivers a hilarious performance at one point, as does Vice President Joe Biden. At 125 episodes, there’s plenty to sink your teeth into, but at 20 minutes they’re manageable – yet delicious - chunks.

You can watch Season 1-3 for free on Amazon Prime (free for six months for us students). So trust me. Go ahead and:

PandR-detail

 

Brooklyn Nine-Nine (2013-present)

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Brookyln Nine-Nine is a great show. After gushing over Parks and Rec, you’d be forgiven for thinking I’m not as kind towards Brooklyn as I was to Leslie and the gang and you’d probably be right. Nonetheless it’s a great show, with a stellar cast (Terry Crews fans?) and brilliant storylines.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine takes place in the 99th precinct of the Brooklyn Police department. What makes this comedy show work so well is its blending of genres. With more jokes shoehorned into 20 minutes that you can sometimes handle, the show also acts as a good old-fashioned crime mystery akin to CSI or NCIS. Like Parks & Recreation, this show is all about the characters, and how they operate together.

The two breakout stars of this show are undoubtedly Terry Crews (of White Chicks fame) as Detective Sargent Terry Jeffords (he’s so integral to the show they even kept his name the same) and Andrew Braugher as the brilliantly deadpan Captain Ray Holt.  Aside from the frustrating “will-they-wont-they” storyline between the shows two leads Jake (Andy Sandberg) and Amy (Melissa Fumero) (I think Ross and Rachel covered this, guys), it an easy and enjoyable watch.  What makes Brooklyn Nine-Nine so great for binge watching is that it is easy to leave, and come back to. It’s not hugely addictive. Also, it’s only three seasons in, meaning there are only a-bite-size 48 episodes so far to catch up on.  Brooklyn also has its fair share of guest stars, too (Adam Sandler fans – you’re in for a treat).

You can catch up with Seasons 1 & 2 on Netflix now. Season 3 is also airing on E4 – so check out 4OD for current episodes.

 

So, those are my choices. As you’ll know the choice for binge-watching is out there is huge, and there are whole heap of other great shows to choose from. But if you’re looking for a couple of hours of easy watching with your friends and a little laughter to take your mind of those dreaded assignments, look no further than here. Go on. Treat Yo’self.

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