It’s no secret that many of the world’s humans are going to be stuck inside for a while. Surely you’ve heard the news. It’s perfectly okay to be anxious about things in 2020, but as anxiety about the fate of society settles and we begin to come to terms with our collective near-future reality, there’s an important question that we must answer: What the hell are we all going to watch while we’re stuck inside?
In the era of streaming, the list of potential answers feels infinite and overwhelming. Like you, we’ve also spent time on the couch aimlessly scrolling through Netflix, then Hulu, then Prime, then back to Netflix, desperately trying to find the perfect movie, the perfect show, the perfect release. And while we, the team behind One Perfect Shot, are confident in our ability to make good recommendations — which we’ve done several times in the past few weeks — we also believe in both data and fun. So we’ve devised a bracket project to identify the most perfectly bingeable show ever, starting with 32 shows from a variety of genres and time periods selected by our team.
Let’s get started.
Defining “One Perfect Binge”
First, we have to explain what we mean when we say that we’re looking to find the “One Perfect Binge.” It’s not just about identifying the best show of the group. There are other considerations, including:
- What is the perfect length for a good binge-watch? Some of the shows on our list can eat up as many as 176 hours of your time (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine) or as few as 11 hours (Flight of the Conchords).
- How should you feel when your binge ends? Does it matter that a show ends on a high note? For example, if you’re not a fan of the ending of a big show (Battlestar Galactica and Lost may have this problem for some), does that mean you’re less likely to enjoy rewatching it?
- How much does consistency matter? Especially as they pile on the episodes, not every show is consistently great from start-to-finish. Are you willing to forgive a bad season (or two) in the interest of revisiting the entirety of a show’s run?
To further explore the nuance at play in this project, here are some responses from members of our team when asked what qualities they look for in a perfectly bingeable show:
Anna Swanson: “My One Perfect Binge has to be consistently good. If I have to sit through 3 bad seasons in the middle I’m going to lose interest.”
Aurora Amidon: “My One Perfect Binge has to have characters that I want to spend even more time with than my friends/family.”
Brad Gullickson: “My One Perfect Binge has to be addictive. If I’m choosing sleep, work, movies, comics, family, or any other form of socialization outside of the series than the show is simply not doing its job.”
Christina Smith: “My One Perfect Binge clocks in at a manageable length. Sure, part of me wants to see my favorite stories go on forever, but I also don’t want to feel so overwhelmed by the idea of a series that I hesitate to take the plunge.”
Ciara Wardlow: “My One Perfect Binge has to have a satisfying conclusion—if I’m dedicating my time to a marathon I don’t want to be disappointed by the finish line.”
Kieran Fisher: “My One Perfect Binge has to make me lose sleep because I need to see what happens in the next episode, all the way to the very end.”
Jacob Trussell: “My One Perfect Binge is a show that offers equal parts entertainment and inspiration, something that you can arguably feel smarter for watching.”
Liz Baessler: “My One Perfect Binge has a strong thread of continuity that rewards me for watching so fast – I get that reference to three seasons ago because for me it just happened this morning.”
Luke Hicks: “My One Perfect Binge is an emotional rollercoaster. I need to laugh, cry, and marvel in equal measure, as if I’ve lived another life entirely by the time the finale strikes.”
Here’s how this bracket is going to go down:
- Over the next few days, we’ll be publishing essays from our contributors arguing in favor of one show or another, giving them time to stand up and make the case for their chosen candidates. You can follow along with those here.
- Voting will begin on Saturday, March 28 via polls on the One Perfect Shot Twitter account. You can also follow along via the #OnePerfectBinge hashtag on Twitter.
- After two full days of voting for each round, we’ll be posting updates here on FSR recapping the results and providing analysis until we have a winner.
Here’s the bracket. Clicking it makes it larger. These 32 shows were chosen based on a number of factors, including those outlined above — overall length, consistency of quality, and the personal preferences of the One Perfect Shot team. While it’s possible that your favorite show didn’t make it, we hope that everyone finds at least a few shows to root for as voting gets underway.