Bingeworthy Hall of Fame: 11 Shows We'll Always Love

TV Insider Staff

Clockwise from left: Prashant Gupta/FX; Bill Records/NBC/GettyImages; Liane Hentscher/Fox

Bingeworthy Hall of Fame

If the all-new offerings don't grab you, a marathon of these classics might: check out our guide to 11 shows we'll always love, including Friday Night Lights, Fringe and Parks and Recreation, that you can stream online right now.

Bill Records/NBC/GettyImages

Friday Night Lights

Where to Watch: Amazon, iTunes, Netflix
Number of Episodes: 76
Why It's Bingeworthy: Connie Britton and Kyle Chandler have moved on to their own can't-miss shows (Nashville and Bloodline, respectively), but there was a time when the thought of this good ol' Southern couple being apart was breakdown-with-tears unbearable. FNL was as much about family and community as it was about football. Its captivated fans, who followed the show from NBC to DirecTV, made "Clear eyes, full hearts, can't lose" a mantra. —Gregory E. Miller

Liane Hentscher/Fox


Where to Watch: Amazon, iTunes, Netflix
Number of Episodes: 100
Why It's Bingeworthy: A hybrid of standard criminal procedural and bonkers paranormal serial, the story follows an FBI team that uses unorthodox science to investigate cases. In March, the twisty series from producer J.J. Abrams made it onto Amazon's Top 20 list of most-streamed shows. Never count out time travel. —Gregory E. Miller

Prashant Gupta/FX


Where to Watch: Amazon, iTunes
Number of Episodes: 78
Why It's Bingeworthy: Amazon recently revealed that Justified was the third most watched show on its platform (topped only by The Good Wife and Downton Abbey). Makes sense—the FX drama, which wrapped in April, is a certifiable thrill ride chronicling the battle for law and order fought by U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens (Timothy Olyphant), a current-day lawman who'd be right at home in a classic Western. —Gregory E. Miller

Courtesy of Everett

Melrose Place

Where to Watch: Amazon, Hulu, iTunes, Netflix
Number of Episodes: 226
Why It's Bingeworthy:To satisfy '90s nostalgia cravings, gobble up seven delicious seasons of Melrose Place, the primetime soap about the residents of a West Hollywood apartment complex. If nothing else, seeing the evolution of the irresistible Heather Locklear (and her hair) as Amanda Woodward makes the show worth a revisit. After all, as Winona Ryder's Lelaina famously said in Reality Bites, "Melrose Place is a really good show." —Gregory E. Miller

Ben Cohen/NBC

Parks and Recreation

Where to Watch: Amazon, Hulu, iTunes, Netflix
Number of Episodes: 125
Why It's Bingeworthy: The mockumentary comedy about Pawnee, Indiana's most passionate local government worker (played by Amy Poehler) was always on the brink of cancellation by NBC, thanks to less-than-stellar ratings. But a passionate fan base of both upscale and younger viewers—who still fill Tumblr with Li'l Sebastian gifs—kept it alive for seven seasons of quirky laughs. So go ahead: Treat. Yo. Self. —Gregory E. Miller



Where to stream: HBO Go, HBO Now, Amazon
Number of episodes: 36
Why It's Bingeworthy: David Milch's Western is so much more than that label conveys. Ostensibly, it's the story of an encampment-turned-mining town in the Black Hills of South Dakota not long after the Civil War. Two new faces—perpetually pissed-off former Marshal Seth Bullock (Timothy Olyphant) and coolest Jewish guy this side of the Rockies, Sol Star (John Hawkes)—come to Deadwood to open a hardware business, and wind up on the wrong side of town capo Al Swearengen (Ian McShane). Entire episodes revolve around small meetings of men and decisions about land rights and whorehouses and schools. But Milch's dialogue, rich and beautifully profane, makes even those small matters sing. Plus, the show gives us some of the great female characters in TV history: Calamity Jane (Robin Weigert), Trixie (Paula Malcolmson) and Alma Garret (Molly Parker). HBO unceremoniously canceled the show after three seasons. Ah well. As Swearingen says: "Welcome to f—in' Deadwood. Can be combative."—Oriana Schwindt

Paul Schiraldi/HBO

The Wire

Where to Watch: Amazon, HBO GO
Number of Episodes: 60
Why It's Bingeworthy: Find out why this gut-wrenching, gritty crime series is consistently ranked by critics as one of the best shows ever. A smart, compelling and sometimes emotionally devastating look into the lives of Baltimore's powerful and powerless, The Wire shows the rot beneath our most essential institutions, including police, local government, the legal system, unions and, most heart-rendingly in Season 4, the public school system. Creator David Simon's brilliant work also introduced us to such terrific actors as Idris Elba (Luther), Dominic West (The Hour, The Affair) and Michael K Williams (Boardwalk Empire), all of whom deliver mesmerizing performances as characters whose actions, while often horrible, share an attempt to live by some kind of moral code. Shamefully, The Wire never won an Emmy, but in 2013, TV Guide Magazine ranked it as the sixth greatest show of all time. —Ileane Rudolph

Franco Biciocchi/HBO


Where to Watch: Amazon, HBO GO
Number of Episodes: 22
Why It's Bingeworthy: If you're looking for a brainier Spartacus, or a less sadistic Game of Thrones, and you're all in for a sexy yarn with historical roots and splashy gore, you can't do better than this gorgeous award- and ratings-winning visit to ancient Rome. The show was canceled prematurely due to its extraordinarily high cost, but for two packed seasons the show followed the rise and fall of Julius Caesar (Ciaran Hinds, Game of Thrones) and, post-Ides of March, the struggle between Mark Antony (James Purefoy, The Following) and Octavian (Max Pirkis, Simon Woods), the future Emperor Augustus. Documented history is the scaffolding for lusciously baroque tales of betrayal, lust and tragedy. —Ileane Rudolph



Where to Watch: Amazon, iTunes
Number of Episodes: 97
Why It's Bingeworthy: Late night reruns helped this NBC comedy about an AM radio station become a cult favorite while it was still airing in the late 1990s. Kids in the Hall funnyman Dave Foley made a superb square as incoming news director Dave Nelson. His charges: Joe Rogan as duct-tape obsessed handyman Joe Garrelli, Andy Dick as anxious reporter Matthew Brock, Maura Tierney as go-getter producer Lisa Miller and Phil Hartman (in his final series role) as blowhard anchor Bill McNeal. —Aubry D'Arminio

Finale Fail-Roseanne

©Carsey-Werner Co/Courtesy Everett Collection


Where to Watch: Netflix
Number of Episodes: 50*
Why It's Bingeworthy: In truth, you can't stream the 222-episode series in its entirety (not from any legitimate source, at least.) But Netflix's collection of 50 episodes from the show's early seasons is enough for a fairly deep dive into one of the most revolutionary sitcoms ever on television. The late 80s/early 90s gem about Roseanne (Roseanne Barr), Dan (John Goodman) and the rest of the blue-collar Connor family getting by in Illinois dared to feature storylines about working class realities, showed a marriage and family dynamic that was both loving and challenging, embraced feminism before it was cool, and perfectly balanced brash, acerbic one-liners with warmth and heart. (As an added bonus, you'll also get a glimpse of a young, fresh-faced newcomer … named George Clooney.) —Amanda McGrath

Scott Garfield/Warner Bros./Getty Images

Veronica Mars

Where to Watch: Amazon
Number of Episodes: 64 (and a movie)
Why It's Bingeworthy: A hard-boiled high school detective solves both her classmates' minor mysteries and the murder of her best friend in this noir-tinged, canceled-too-soon series. Kristen Bell is brilliant as the bitter, clever, complicated Veronica; her rat-a-tat banter and whole-hearted chemistry with Enrico Colantoni as her dad, disgraced-sheriff-turned-PI Keith Mars, makes for one of the most memorable father-daughter duos on the small screen. The undercurrent of town class dynamics keeps the sleuthing from devolving into typical teen silliness, while the sly, sarcastic one-liners and a collection of misfit sidekicks keep the show from taking itself too seriously. —Amanda McGrath

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