Joe Rich’s Top 10 Shows To Binge-Watch During Self-Quarantine

I often find myself asking folks for show recommendations. I think most of us find ourselves re-watching the same shows over and over (and over). If you’re like me, you may have already google-searched a list of shows to binge during work or workouts while in your new work from home office (WFHO), or workout from home gym (WFHG). Well guess what? Search no more…

Welcome to the definitive TOP 10 list of shows you NEED to watch! 

That’s right! I have the list you NEED right here. The list was created by me only. I took zero input…meaning that this list will likely be shows that you may have seen, shows you haven’t but want to, and shows you didn’t know still aired on TV. I may even omit your favorite show – it is likely just because I haven’t seen it! In that case, YOU should tell ME to binge, in your own list.

But you get the picture – these opinions are my own. I included shows I’ve seen repeatedly, shows I’ve viewed a majority of, and shows that I’m catching up on. The only true qualifier is that I’ve seen at least 2 seasons of the show. Are you going to agree? Maybe! Will someone question my choices? You bet! Will this list be entertaining to explore? I can only hope! Leave me a comment or send me a message and tell me any of the above!

So here we go: My top ten list! We’ll start with…

Honorable Mention: Gilmore Girls, House, The Good Place. Like any good list, you’ve got to have Honorable Mentions! There simply isn’t enough room for Gilmore Girls (I haven’t watched fully, but appears to be enjoyable to my better half, and great background noise for me!), House (a show I binged often in college, but have not viewed for a few years), and The Good Place (a show I’ve been meaning to watch and will likely do so at some point). But these sitcoms might make my list on a different day, and may be shows you haven’t seen. So, if you’ve seen the 10 below, try these three!

Tier 3: The shows that I’m currently binging:

10. Breaking Bad:

Admittedly, haven’t seen the whole thing. Didn’t watch it live – just getting into it in the last few weeks, really! But it’s good stuff. You take a high school chemistry teacher (Bryan Cranston), and his former druggy student (Aaron Paul) and…they partner up? It’s pretty insane…and great TV! It’s lower on this list because it’s not the most kid-friendly, so if you have the kids home during this time, it’ll have to be a bedtime only show.

9. Stranger Things:

Another show I’m playing catch-up on, this one is still filming, so I’m trying to get up to speed. What a trip! Who knew a bunch of kids, David Harbour and Winona Ryder could make the world seem scary and thrilling, but have you wanting to hit “play next episode” after each watch. Lower on the list for the same reasons as above, but I’ve seen more of it, and can rank higher than Breaking Bad.

8. Shark Tank:
Yeah, if this list and article wasn’t already silly, it is now. And I’m not in a FULL-binge with this…I just watch when I see it on TV. BUT, I am a fan of reality television (you’ll see more, don’t worry), so hear me out on this one. One of my favorite things to see on this show is people being innovative and believing in their product, and THEN getting MARK CUBAN to believe in it, and give you a million bucks (or more, or less) to invest in your company. And having 4 other MILLIONAIRES believe in it too. But beyond the wealth of these individuals, you see some funny stories, and some uplifting. Google “Tree T-Pee Shark Tank” (Season 5, Episode 7), and you’ll see what I mean. This show is GREAT if you don’t want a scary show, or something that you have to keep up with episode to episode.

Tier 2: The Varsity team of binge-watching:

7. Parenthood:

I’m telling you right now, numbers 3 through 7 were quite difficult to list for me, so I’m going with my gut, and may even reorder these before hitting “submit” on this. Parenthood…man, if you haven’t seen it, you’re missing out. There is laughter, tears, smiles, and everything in between. The story of the Braverman family begins with dealing with news of Max having Autism, and turns into a beautiful story of the entire family, navigating jobs, love, school, and more. You’ll see some familiar faces, like Craig T. Nelson (Coach, The Incredibles), Lauren Graham (Gilmore Girls), Dax Shepard (Punk’d), and more in this ensemble cast. Recently this left Netflix, but you can see it on Hulu!

6. Friday Night Lights:

Like Parenthood, this show was created by Jason Katims, and takes you on a whirlwind through the lives of the people that live in Dillon, Texas. This community revolves around one thing – it’s love of High School Football, and the Dillon Panthers. But beyond the football field, you follow the Taylor Family, with Coach Eric (Kyle Chandler) his wife Tami (Connie Britton) and daughter Julie (Aimee Teegarden), along with the lives of the students at Dillon high school Jason Street, Matt Saracen, Tim Riggins, and Lila Garrity. You don’t have to be a football fan to enjoy the show…you’ll get hooked pretty early on.

5. Schitt’s Creek:

It hurt to put this show 5th. I’ll make this prediction: this is my dark horse pick for the show that gets binged the most from this list for the first time. I went to a sit-down chat with the shows main characters last year and I’ll tell you this - If you need a laugh, you’ll get it. When The Rose family goes broke, they only have one place to fall back on: Schitt’s Creek, a town they jokingly bought from their wealth. The family of four – Johnny (Eugene Levy), Moira (Catherine O’Hara), David (Dan Levy), and Alexis (Annie Murphy) – move to the town’s Motel, run by Stevie Budd (Emily Hampshire), and with the help of the town’s Mayor, Roland Schitt (Chris Elliot), you won’t stop laughing. Very easy to find yourself knocking out a season of the show in a week, if not a day.

4. Parks & Recreation:
I initially had this 3rd but felt it important that I placed this 4th in order to make sure my better half still liked me at the end of the day. I also felt the show above had a SLIGHT edge over Parks & Rec, but wow, that was very hard for me to admit. This show is amazing. Leslie Knope (Amy Poehler), Ron Swanson (Nick Offerman) and the Parks and Recreation department will bring a smile to your face while trying to improve the best town in America - Pawnee, Indiana. And the rest of the cast is fantastic. If you haven’t seen this, “Treat Yo’self” and watch it (terrible use of the reference but I had to do it).

3. Friends:

Yeah, I know. Friends isn’t on any streaming service right now. But if you pay attention to cable, you can DVR or record at least two episodes a day, if not more, from reruns aired on TBS. So, no excuses. The crime that I may be accused of here is placing this 3rd, but I feel I have decent justification for the two shows I place above it. Admittedly, I’m very late to the game with this show too…I never watched the entire show until recently. It’s got everything, just like most of the shows below, with maybe a hint more comedy and a bit more fame. And wow…what an easy show to watch! I don’t need to give this show a synopsis, and if you need one well…you’ve lived under a rock for a very long time.

Tier 1: The Hall of Fame shows:

2. Survivor:

YUP, IT’S STILL ON TV. I told you I’d come back to reality TV! And this is a GREAT CURRENT SEASON TO WATCH (Wednesday’s at 8PM EST on CBS) because they are playing an ALL WINNERS SEASON. So if you’ve watched the show in the last 20 years, you likely know SOMEONE on the current season. Sandra Diaz-Twine? Boston Rob? Parvati Shallow? Jeremy Collins? Tyson Apostol? Yup – they are all there! It’s so good. I love the strategy, the competitions, the alliances and the betrayals. I love seeing into these people’s lives – folks who have become a celebrity to some degree be vulnerable and allow the viewers into their lives. It’s brilliant TV, and Jeff Probst has barely aged a day! Of course, this is a list about binging – YUP, you SHOULD! I re-watch seasons while riding the bike all the time…it’s fun! I recommend seasons 8, 20, 27, and 34 (and have others you can watch, too). Not that I know everything about the show or anything…okay fine I’m a freak of a fan. Go watch it…it’s a great time.

1. The Office (US):

Is anyone I know surprised? This is THE show. Like, if you haven’t seen it, what are you doing? GO – watch it now! Jeepers. Starring Michael Scott (Steve Carell), Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson), Jim Halpert (John Krasinski), Pam Beesly (Jenna Fischer), and really, the entire ensemble cast. This story of a dysfunctional Paper Company will make you laugh SO hard, maybe cry, and mostly smile. You may relate to Oscar Martinez, Angela Martin, Stanley Hudson, Phyllis Lapin, Kelly Kapoor, Ryan Howard…do I need to go on?? Best show on TV. A huge bonus right now is that the shows social media team is in the midst of a “March Madness” style tournament, on Twitter, of the best episodes of all time, and it’s so hard because THEY ARE ALL THE BEST. Its only place is the number 1 spot. If your skeptical, start at season 2 and then go back eventually for season 1. Watch Pam get banned from Chili’s, Michael hit Meredith with his car, and Dwight run his family’s ginormous beet farm. Sounds insane, but I promise you, it’s everything you need, and more.

There you have it. You are now obligated to watch all of these shows. But like any list, there is room for error and change – if you have a suggestion, a critique or more to add, please let me know! I fully expect to take a beating for not only omitting many of your favorite shows, but for including SURVIVOR on a list of shows to binge, and RANKING IT SECOND. I’ve already binged most of these shows – so give me more to view!

~Joe Rich - ORR Coach

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