The 25 Best Shows on TV That Will Keep You Entertained Around the Clock

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So you’re amped up on caffeine, worried about getting an A on that CogSci midterm, and you haven’t slept in a questionably-long amount of time. You might feel like you’re going insane and start to wonder why you even came to college. Midterm season doesn’t exactly create a perfect recipe for a Netflix marathon. But these lesser-known shows on TV will remove you from reality, if only for a little while.

Want to destress from that 15-page paper or procrastinate all night? These best shows on TV make the perfect fix.

Stress Relief

1. The Good Place (Netflix)

IMDB Rating: 7.8/10

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 95%

Where to Watch: Netflix, Amazon Video, Vudu or iTunes

What if everything you’ve ever done, from reading a trashy magazine to eating a sandwich, impacted whether you go to Heaven or Hell? You’d probably end up in the same situation as Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell). You’ll find yourself bingewatching this until realizing it’s 5 a.m. and class starts in three hours. Eleanor, under careful watch of neighborhood architect Michael (Ted Danson) and psuedo-soulmate (don’t ask) Chidi (William Jackson-Harper), struggles to understand morality and the criterion for being “good.” This storyline and many convention-breaking plot twists make The Good Place certainly good enough for your laptops.

2. Arrested Development (Netflix)

IMDB Rating: 8.9/10

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 87%

Where to Watch: Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video, Vudu or iTunes

From a character that relentlessly wears jeans, even in the shower, to a very determined yet terrible magician, Arrested Development welcomes the audience into ridiculous but surprisingly relatable family antics. With quirky characters, Michael Bluth’s (Jason Bateman) quest to keep his family together after the arrest of his eccentric father for shifty business practices turns into a more difficult task than you’d expect. “[Arrested Development] not only offers easy-to-grasp humor for the everyday viewer, but its intellectual side combines with funny moments to create a truly unique show,” said College of Marin freshman Robert Schwartz.

3. Red Oaks (Amazon)

IMDB Rating: 7.9/10

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 79%

Where to Watch: Amazon Video

With lines like, “I’m happy to know someone around here with a decent IQ…or who can even spell IQ,” why wouldn’t you want to watch this comedy? Red Oaks follows the coming-of-age of teenager David Myers (Craig Roberts) in 1985 New Jersey as he works at a country club to afford classes at New York University. Myers’ underdog character allows us to live vicariously through him to experience the 80s. You’ll fall in love with his dorky personality and strong dislike for accounting. And with some episodes directed by the director of Fast Times at Ridgemont High and Transparent, feel free to binge watch this with your high school BFFs over winter break.

4. Freaks and Geeks (Netflix)

IMDB Rating: 8.9/10

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 95%

Where to Watch: Netflix

Kick back and throwback to high school with Judd Apatow’s short-lived cult dramedy. Freaks and Geeks mixes the 80s with modern issues for an original take on the social hierarchies of high school. “The characters are interesting and well-developed, and the show 100 percent deserved more than one season,” said NYU freshman Jess Zheng. Whether you fall for offbeat Sam Weir (John Francis Daley) or rebellious Daniel Desario (James Franco), each character develops into an iconic staple for the show. Even the most standoffish characters give us reasons to love them by the end. And who wouldn’t want 18 episodes of young Seth Rogen, James Franco and Jason Segel all acting together?

5. Hindsight (VH1)

IMDB Rating: 7.7/10

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 100%

Where to Watch: VH1 website, Amazon Video, Vudu or iTunes

Love 17 Again or Groundhog’s Day? VH1’s Hindsight might test that love. Hindsight questions the implications of time traveling to the past and reversing every decision, especially one that led to an eventual divorce for protagonist Becca Brady (Laura Ramsey). This show’s 90s fashion and dramatic tone that unfolds a nearly-fatal car accident and a vacation that leads to drugs stray from similar shows, playing with time, space and cause-and-effect. While this series displays the imperfections of 20/20 vision, you’ll struggle to find imperfections with its 90s playlist and Hillary Duff-era nostalgia.

Procrastination Station

6. UnReal (Lifetime)

IMDB Rating: 7.9/10

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 92%

Where to Watch: Hulu, Amazon Video, Vudu or iTunes

Get real with this satirical take on the Bachelor franchise. UnREAL progresses from a scripted series into what feels like behind-the-scenes footage of the world of show biz. From adultery to fraud to cocaine, UnREAL’s drama will push you to wonder, “How could scheming executive producer Quinn or manipulative, vulgar coke-addicted show creator Chet do that?” Lifetime blurs the distinction between reality and the entertainment industry in its production of this drama that deserves a spot on your “To Watch” List.

7. Are You The One? (MTV)

IMDB Rating: 6.9/10

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 100%

Where to Watch: Amazon Video, Vudu or iTunes

Take a break from the stressful realities of your back to back English papers. “[Are You The One?] takes you on an emotional rollercoaster as 20 people try desperately to find their perfect matches,” said University of California, Berkeley freshman Lizzy Pyle. Between the relevance of finding true love and the allure of game shows, everyone will find love… with this MTV reality series, at least. Are You The One? will become you and your roommates’ new Monday go-to.

8. Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta (VH1)

IMDB Rating: 5.9/10

Where to Watch: VH1 Channel, Amazon Video or iTunes

What makes this so enticing? You get to watch artists’ trials and tribulations in both creating music and their personal lives. “[Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta] allows me to live vicariously through the lives of those in the music industry. Will I ever have to throw a drink on someone and fist fight them at an album release party? Probably not, but it sure is fun to watch,” said Boston University freshman Nathan Plowman.

9. Skam (Daily Motion)

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 100%

Where to Watch: Daily Motion website

Although it translates to “shame” in English, this Norwegian drama has anything but when it comes to sharing the messy realities of four very normal Norwegian high schoolers. Whether you identify with Eva’s difficult relationship and ensuing loneliness or Isak’s coming out story, you’ll love Skam’s genuine take on the average teenager. Current themes of depression, relationships, abandonment, love and sexual identity will turn Skam into your new guilty pleasure.

10. The Confession Tapes (Netflix)

IMDB Rating: 8.0/10

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 100%

Where to Watch: Netflix

Tired of 20/20, Dateline or Criminal Minds but still love true crimes stories? This Netflix original takes an interesting look into the psyche of criminals and reasons behind their false or involuntary confessions. Every two 45-minute episodes or so looks at a different story, and the intrigue of human psychology combined with the unique cases elevate The Confession Tapes from being just another true crime series. Diving into the psychology behind wrongful confessions, this show will catch your attention. If only the detectives could catch the actual criminals…

The Binge-Watcher’s New Addiction

11. Leverage (Hulu, Netflix)

IMDB Rating: 7.9/10

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 79%

Where to Watch: Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video, Vudu or iTunes

If you love Scandal, meet your new best friend: Leverage. Following five Robin-Hood-like characters, each episode offers a new case for the crew of a mastermind, coder, grifter, heavy-hitter and thief to solve and relationships to develop. Leverage’s Eliot (Christian Kane), Parker (Beth Riesgraf), Nathan (Timothy Hutton), Sophie (Gina Bellman) and Alec (Aldis Hodge) cultivate character dynamics, interactions and plot lines surrounding drug deals and embezzlement scams perfect for some serious binge-watching.

12. Cable Girls / Las Chicas del Cable (Netflix)

IMDB Rating: 7.7/10

Rotten Tomatoes: 92%

Where to Watch: Netflix

Ever wondered what it would be like to grow up in 20th century Spain? Engross yourself in a new world of this drama about four women struggling to find a job and keep it in the patriarchal world of 1920s Spain. The riveting plot will make you grateful for Netflix’s many subtitle options, and is the perfect distraction from that philosophy project. “I watched the whole series in two days. It has the glamor of the 1920s and theme of mobility is very relevant because it’s young women trying to find jobs,” said UC Berkeley freshman Esther Smith.

13. Downton Abbey (PBS)

IMDB Rating: 8.7/10

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 86%

Where to Watch: PBS Channel and Website

1912 has never been more fascinating. The sinking of the Titanic at the start of Downton Abbey only hints at what later unfolds in this historical drama. The loss of the elitist Crawley family’s heirs to the sinking of the Titanic triggers the start of the binge-worthy series as stars like Maggie Smith and Michelle Dockery bring the world of Downton Abbey to life. “[Downton Abbey is] a great illustration of development with classes and gender in early 20th Century England, and it’s easy to become super invested in the characters,” said University of Notre Dame freshman Bailey Jordan.

14. Friday Night Lights (Amazon)

IMDB Rating: 8.7/10

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 96%

Where to Watch: Amazon Video, Vudu or iTunes

Small-town life just got big. Following the football team of a disadvantaged high school, you’ll come to love the small-town Dillon Panthers and their coach through the realities of football, poverty and relationships in Friday Night Lights. Even if you’re not a football fanatic, show stars Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler will draw you in with the sincerity of their relationship even through all types of hardships. “Friday Night Lights taught me about the importance of teamwork, resilience and finding what I want in a future husband: Tim Riggins,” said University of Vermont freshman Penny Saltzman.

15. Bloodline (Netflix)

IMDB Rating: 8.1/10

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 82%

Where to Watch: Netflix

What happens when paranoia dismantles the pillars of this Southern community? Crime and chaos. You won’t be able to turn off this thriller as it uncovers the dark secrets the Florida Keys’ Rayburn family hides, from domestic abuse to drug smuggling to even a murder case. Bloodline takes a deeper look into good people’s motivations to act bad, and their imperfections create this scintillating drama’s intense shock value and iconic dialogue.

Bring Out the Popcorn

16. The Sinner (USA Network)

IMDB Rating: 8.0/10

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 94%

Where to Watch: USA Network website, Amazon Video, Vudu or iTunes

When a scandalous crime committed in the public eye becomes more and more complex, the shocking plot that ensues tangles nuanced characters in its web as it captivates you through the screen. More than just another murder mystery, The Sinner’s production and acting talent elevate its thrill to Globe-worthy heights.

17. Black Mirror (Netflix)

IMDB Rating: 8.9/10

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 92%

Where to Watch: Netflix

From one episode where a memory implant allows the characters to never forget anything to another where impressing judges in a “Hot Shot” talent show is the only way to escape a dystopian society, you’ll find yourself reexamining the modern age with this science fiction series. And, if you’re anything like Jordan, you’ll get hooked on this drama. “I became totally obsessed with Black Mirror on Netflix because each episode was a completely unique plot line based off some sort of technological advancement or central issue due to technology. It made me think in ways TV shows usually don’t,” said Jordan.

18. Fargo (FX)

IMDB Rating: 9.0/10

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 97%

Where to Watch: Hulu, Amazon Video, Vudu or iTunes

Twin Peaks lovers, listen up. Taking place in 1979 South Dakota and Minnesota, Fargo follows a Vietnam War vet’s investigation of a massive Mob syndicate whose impact on the local community expands past murder and deception. Adapted from the Coen Brothers’ film, FX’s Fargo employs dark humor, drama and quirky characters— from a deaf hitman who always wears a leather jacket or a murderer with an addiction to Bridge—to leave you biting both your nails and the popcorn.

19. Designated Survivor (ABC)

IMDB Rating: 7.9/10

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 85%

Where to Watch: ABC Channel and website, Hulu, Amazon Video, Vudu or iTunes

Designated Survivor interests more than just polisci majors. Anyone with a love for drama and plot twists will find themselves binging this show like there’s no tomorrow. After the murder of the president, most of the Cabinet and several secretaries, the fate of the free world falls into the somewhat questionable hands of Tom Kirkman (Kiefer Sutherland). On top of the political intrigue, Designated Survivor also has plenty of action. “It’s a lot of guns and shady s–t with pretty people,” said UC Berkeley freshman Loyalty Traster-Lee.

20. Reign (CW Network)

IMDB Rating: 7.6/10

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 78%

Where to Watch: The CW Network website, Netflix, Amazon Video, Vudu or iTunes

Love, religion, dark magic and war: Reign follows the life of Mary (Adelaide Kane), Queen of Scots, in her troubles with all that accompanies fantasized royal life in the 16th century. The CW adopts dramatic plotlines surrounding clairvoyance, Pagan sacrifices, royal deaths, mistresses and blackmail that differentiates Reign from other historical dramas. “Strong female characters and the mixture of history and fantasy is enticing,” said UC Berkeley freshman Esther Smith. And if that drama doesn’t compel you to watch Reign, the show’s eye candy surely will.

Midterms? What Midterms?

21. Westworld (HBO)

IMDB Rating: 9.10

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 88%

Where to Watch: HBO website, Amazon Video, Vudu or iTunes

What happens when human curiosity and greed can be indulged without repercussions? Westworld propels us into an alternative reality where robotic simulations fulfill park visitors’ wildest fantasies through artificial consciousnesses, altering the status quo forever. With dramatic plot twists that may get too close to reality for comfort, this HBO series will have you gripping the edge of your seat.

22. Continuum (Netflix)

IMDB Rating: 7.7/10

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 86%

Where to Watch: Netflix, Amazon Video, Vudu or iTunes

Time travel sounds amazing, right? Well, not if the wrong people get ahold of it, like they do in Continuum. When a detective time travels from the year 2077 to present day in pursuit of criminals, problems with criminalization and technology prevent her return. The unprecedented premise of this show offers a refreshing and psychologically-thrilling drama that will quickly become your new favorite thriller.

23. Orphan Black (Netflix)

IMDB Rating: 8.4/10

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 92%

Where to Watch: Netflix, Amazon Video, Vudu or iTunes

If you thought Lindsay Lohan playing twins in The Parent Trap was impressive, take a look at Orphan Black. Tatiana Maslany plays not two, not three, but five very different characters. Encountering an identical copy of herself on the street after witnessing a suicide, the reality of Orphan Black’s protagonist quickly spirals into something completely disturbed as she begins to uncover mysteries surrounding her life— and how they relate to others like her. This show’s complex treatment of topics like cloning and identity make Orphan Black a must-watch.

24. Mr. Robot (USA Network)

IMDB Rating: 8.6/10

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 92%

Where to Watch: USA channel and website, Amazon Video, Vudu or iTunes

Take the premise of Hannah Montana, add hackers and high-stakes and you get Mr. Robot. From a cinematic standpoint, this show uses unusual lighting and framing to break the conventions of comfortable film. But, if you’re not as interested in the art of TV, Mr. Robot’s enthralling plot and themes of cyber security will propel you into the fan club of this quirky series starring Rami Malek and Christian Slater. An underground group of hackers named “fsociety” hires computer coder Eliot (Malek) to disembody corporate America, but Eliot’s anxiety disorder and wish for a normal life get in the way. And that’s only the beginning…

25. The Leftovers (HBO)

IMDB Rating: 8.2/10

Rotten Tomatoes Rating: 90%

Where to Watch: HBO website, Amazon Video, Vudu or iTunes

Your bus driver, your cousin, the lady making your lunch in Subway—if 140 million people vanished from Earth without a trace, what would happen to those left behind? The Leftovers shines with its analysis of human nature and considerations for such a disastrous hypothetical scenario. And by the time you queue up the first episodes, while you may question what happened to the 140 million, you won’t question why you can’t put it down.

How can you binge-watch without staying comfy and cozy?

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Evelyn is a freshman at the University of California, Berkeley and hopes to major in international relations. With a passion for politics, you'll often find her binge-watching Scandal. If she's not, she's most likely producing short films, petting dogs, or drinking chai tea lattes.

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