Top 5 Shows to Binge-Watch Over Winter Break

Story By: Taylor Lamb

Happy finals season! The beautiful time of year when the people who haven’t visited a library all semester (me) are suddenly there every night this week (me) and are getting dirty looks from the people who were there all semester and now have to fight for space (not me). This is a time of stress, all-nighters, and if you’re not careful, burnout. However, the one thing about finals season that should put joy in the hearts of every girl and boy is that winter break is right around the corner. A whole month free of classes, tests, papers, deadlines, and stress. A whole month to hang out with family and friends, sleep without an alarm clock, maybe make some extra cash, and most importantly…. watch TV. If you’ve been feeling like you don’t have a show to watch over break, don’t worry, I’ve got you covered. Here are 5 shows you should binge-watch to your heart’s content. (Side note: Am I the only one who noticed that no one calls it “marathon” anymore?)

1. Jane the Virgin

 

picture1I’ve been watching this show since it premiered my first year here and have been loving it ever since. Loosely modeled off of Spanish telenovelas, Jane the Virgin is a comedy about Jane Villanueva, a virgin who gets pregnant through a medical accident. Hijinks ensue. Despite that unrealistic, comedic, premise, the show manages to shed light on a lot of important issues such as U.S. immigration laws and societal expectations regarding female sexuality. What’s more, the relationships among the three generations of Villanueva woman are so beautifully portrayed. You’ll want to go hug your mom. In fact, I definitely would recommend watching this one with your mom. You can find seasons 1 and 2 on Netflix.

2. Scandal

2This is a show I’m sure you’ve heard about, though maybe you’ve needed a push to finally give it your attention. Consider this article your push. Scandal is a political thriller about Olivia Pope, a badass political fixer with her own crisis management firm that helps her DC clients resolve all their dirty secrets. Also… she happens to be having an affair with the president. Five seasons in, the show has definitely become about a lot more than that, but I won’t spoil it for you. I was originally drawn to this show when I heard that Kerry Washington (Olivia Pope) was the first black woman to lead a network TV show in almost 40 years (and the second one ever)! After one episode, I was hooked. Not only by the incredible acting of the entire cast, but the character Olivia Pope, who, in my opinion, is one of the most amazing characters on television. And I’m not just comparing her to women, either. Not convinced? The first season is only 7 episodes, so you can definitely give that a shot when you’re in your food coma the day after your holiday dinner. Find it on Netflix.

3. Buffy the Vampire Slayer

3Now this one is definitely a bit of a throwback, considering it stopped airing back in 2003. Its impact on popular culture, however, has withstood the test of the time. If you’re into something a little more supernatural, this one is definitely for you. Buffy the Vampire Slayer is a show about a teenage girl who likes shopping, dating, hanging out with friends… and who happens to be The Chosen One, the latest young woman in every generation chosen to battle vampires, demons, and the forces of darkness. She does this while juggling a boyfriend, a social life, and trying to navigate high school. One of the coolest things about this show is all the demons and evil forces are really just exacerbations of everyday problems that young adults often deal with. So, if you couldn’t already relate to the idea of a young woman with too much on her plate, you can definitely recognize some of the things she’s battling. Now, this show is seven whole seasons long; however, considering I’ve binge-watched it twice in the past four years, I highly recommend it. I think Buffy Anne Summers is in the top five fictional characters ever written, and you can quote me on that. Find it on Netflix.

4. Ugly Betty

4If you’re looking for something a bit more lighthearted and uplifting, Ugly Betty is definitely something you should check out. The show is about Betty Suarez, a simple girl from Queens who wants to be a writer and ends up thrown into the competitive world of a fashion magazine, the last place she expected to be. Don’t let the off-putting title fool you. Despite the fact that no one could ever consider America Ferrera ugly (and honestly, what does “ugly” mean, anyway? Screw conventional beauty standards!), the show reminds you that what really matters is what’s on the inside, and you can find a home in even the most unlikely places. And if you don’t want to get hooked on a show that you’ll feel pressured to keep up with in the spring semester, just know that it ended after four seasons! All of which you can find on Hulu.

5. Pitch

5If you’ve been angry throughout this whole list thinking “I watched that ages ago!” then here’s probably one you haven’t added to your roster. Pitch is about a talented baseball player, Ginny Baker (played by Kylie Bunbury) who is called up to play for the San Diego Padres and is the first woman to play for a Major League Baseball team. One of the coolest things about this show is that Major League Baseball has signed on for it, so not only can they use real locations and team names, but it’s also sort of their way of saying: “hey, we hope a female does get to be in Major League Baseball soon!” If you’re really into baseball and are bummed by the lack of women, this show is for you. If you’re not at all into baseball, don’t worry. It’s definitely not the main point of the show, and you’ll find a lot in it you can enjoy and relate to. And if you’re one of those smart folks who have been thinking “But I don’t want to spend my whole break watching television” (can’t relate) then this is the show for you! It just started this year, and season one is only 10 episodes. You can watch it on Hulu.

Well, there you have it! I hope you found a show on this list that you feel will help you enjoy your winter break to the fullest. And hey, I just noticed… they all have some strong female leads! That totally wasn’t on purpose or anything. Regardless of what you watch, I hope you get to enjoy a nice, relaxing break in which you get to spend time with loved ones and get away from the stress of UVA. And even if you’re staying in Charlottesville, get out, enjoy the downtown area, and stop thinking about school! Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!