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5 TV Shows To Binge-Watch During A Winter Storm

Thomas Gloning
Getty Images

The snow and severe cold of the "bomb cyclone" currently hitting the East Coast is no joke.

But for a TV nerd, a storm that shuts down work and school means more time for binge-watching!

It may be only a day or two, so viewing choices are crucial. Can't waste time with dramas that go nowhere or marginally funny sitcoms (yes, Twin Peaks and Curb Your Enthusiasm, I'm talking about you). I'm here to give you some suggestions tailored to your tastes. Hopefully, these shows will act like a hot bowl of chicken soup and a thick, warm blanket.

If you're a sci-fi geek looking to disappear into new worlds ...

Netflix's latest season of Black Mirror is the perfect getaway for a day inside; an anthology series with exquisitely framed stories on how technology can transform society and individuals. It's like The Twilight Zone for an era of Snapchat and self-driving cars. Season four's batch of six episodes stand out because few fans can agree on which episodes are best.

This unapologetic Star Trek geek loved "USS Callister," a story about a coding nerd who creates a virtual reality fantasy game where all the people who torment him at work are recreated as characters in a Trek-like starship which he commands. "Black Museum" is a convoluted but compelling story about how human consciousness is stored inside artifacts within the most depressing exhibits on Earth. And "Arkangel" is a Jodie Foster-directed morality play on the dangers of installing a chip that allows parents to see what their kids see and affect perception through a tablet computer. Before long, you'll be tethered to your streaming device like one of the characters from the episode.

If you're a comedy nerd with a taste for period drama ...

Amazon's The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is the tale of a 1950s housewife who develops a career in stand-up comedy after her husband — who she had been supporting in hishobby as a comic — leaves her. It's partly a look at the early days of stand-up (Midge Maisel enlists the help of legendary comic Lenny Bruce to hone her act). And it's a wonderful showcase for star Rachel Brosnahan, who snaps off the one-liners (provided by creator Amy Sherman-Palladino, of Gilmore Girlsfame) as if she were born to play this character.

If you're a sucker for stories about blood feuds between powerful men ...

Showtime's Billions was one of the best dramas no one talked about last year. Its most recent, 12-episode season is available for viewing through the premium cable channel's streaming platforms, and earlier seasons are available through Amazon. The show features Damian Lewis as the billionaire head of a top New York hedge fund and Paul Giamatti as the U.S. attorney obsessed with arresting him. Giamatti's final scene in the season is one of the best moments of acting I saw on TV last year.

If you're a Star Trek fan on a budget ...

The first half-season of the newest Trek TV series, Star Trek: Discovery, is available for viewing on the streaming service CBS All Access. (It costs $5.99 with ads, but you can sign-up for a free, 7-day trial and watch the first nine episodes of Star Trek: Discovery in one binge.) This show has boldly tried re-inventing and updating Trek, and, after the first episode, it works. You'll see one of Trek's coolest heroes in Sonequa Martin-Green's Starfleet mutineer Michael Burnham, a human orphan raised as an adopted daughter by Mr. Spock's dad, Sarek. What self-respecting Trekkie could pass up that?

If you love behind-the-scenes stories about the craziest figures in music...

The Cinemax series Mike Judge Presents: Tales from the Tour Bus is an overlooked gem. Judge (co-creator of King of the Hill and Silicon Valley) puts together Behind the Music-style documentaries about legendarily dysfunctional figures like Johnny Paycheck and Jerry Lee Lewis. He interviews relatives, employees and members of their backup bands. Then, he animates their stories. Judge recreates a scene of Lewis shooting up a dental lab with a machine gun, and one of Paycheck's backup musicians declaring "there's nothing worse than a hillbilly with a hit record." It's funny, shocking and a great counterbalance to the perfectly manicured images some country artists present these days. ( Tales From the Tour Busis available by subscription on Cinemax, or for $1.99 per half-hour episode on YouTube or Google Play.)

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Eric Deggans is NPR's first full-time TV critic.