Harpy's TV shows to binge over the winter hiatus
We all know the feeling -- your favorite fall shows go on hiatus and you are left staring at your tablet with nothing to do. In case you find yourself suffering the winter hiatus blues, here is a handy list of 10 shows to watch over the winter break!
While some of these shows are fresh to the scene, like ABC's breakout drama "Quantico", others are shows you've probably heard about but haven't found the time to watch, like Fox's musical hit "Empire", BBC America's mystery "Broadchurch", and Amazon's groundbreaking "Transparent". There's also two great shows on here for kids, "The Great British Baking Show", and the "Walt Disney Studios Animation Studios Short Film Collection".
Each of the following 10 can be viewed by the streaming providers listed. If you have a cable subscription, some of these shows may also be available on demand.
#1. Drama: Transparent (Amazon Prime)
"Transparent" has been the most talked about show of the year. Not only are each actor's performances nuanced and emotionally raw, but the show brings to the forefront the issue of Trans identity in America. If you are looking for a mature drama that honestly and tenderly deals with issues of gender, identity and family, then "Transparent" may be the show for you. Season one is currently available on Amazon Prime, and season two premieres December 11.
"When the Pfefferman family patriarch makes a dramatic admission, the entire family's secrets start to spill out, and each of them spin in a different direction as they begin to figure out who they are going to become. Starring Jeffrey Tambor, Judith Light, Amy Landecker, Jay Duplass, and Gaby Hoffman."
#2. Action: Quantico (Hulu Plus, ABC.com)
"Quantico" is definitely one of the best new shows of the season. It can best be described as something between "Clue", "How to Get Away with Murder", and "Felicity". That may seem like a strange combination, but the teaching style in each episode echos that of Analise Keating in "Murder", the fun college vibe of being on the FBI training campus is reminscient of college drama "Felicity", and the whole plot is wrapped up in a huge "whodunnit" puzzle, like "Clue". It's also the most intentionally diverse cast on television, whose characters are Jewish, Muslim, Black, White, and Indian. With all that's going on with terrorism in the world and making snap judgements against Muslims, "Quantico" is not only an entertaining drama, but culturally relevant to the issues of today.
"A diverse group of recruits has arrived at the FBI Quantico Base for training. They are the best, the brightest and the most vetted, so it seems impossible that one of them is suspected of masterminding the biggest attack on New York City since 9/11. Quantico stars Priyanka Chopra, Jake McLaughlin, Aunjanue Ellis, Yasmine Al Massri, Johanna Braddy, Tate Ellington, Graham Rogers and Josh Hopkins."
#3. Adventure: The Librarians (Hulu Plus, TNT.com)
"The Librarians" is a fresh take on the classic Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Adventure genre. If you enjoy shows like "Doctor Who", "Star Trek: The Next Generation", or "Buffy the Vampire Slayer", you will love "The Librarians". This sophomore series is based on "The Librarian" films, which are also streaming on Hulu. Producers Jon Rogers ("Leverage") and Dean Devlin ("Stargate", "Independence Day"), bring together an ensemble cast who explores a world of magic, science and ancient history -- think "Once Upon a Time" but with more science.
"Returning to the universe of TNT's hit movie franchise, The Librarian, this new series centers on an ancient organization hidden beneath the Metropolitan Public Library dedicated to protecting an unknowing world from the secret, magical reality hidden all around. This group solves impossible mysteries, fights supernatural threats and recovers powerful artifacts, including the Ark of the Covenant, the Spear of Destiny and Excalibur."
#4. Comedy: Master of None (Netflix)
Comedian Aziz Ansari may best be known for his role as Tom Haverford on "Parks and Recreation", but now that "Parks" has finished it's run, Ansari is now producing his own television show for Netflix. This freshman comedy is a wonderful medley of thirty-something dating scenes, traditional Indian family values, the woes of becoming an adult, and what it means to be a working actor in today's world. Ansari has received high praise for this inaugural season, and even though he is playing a fictional character, much of the show's themes are taken from his own life experience.
"New Yoker Dev takes on such pillars of maturity, as the first big job, a serious relationship, and busting sex offenders on the subway. Starring Aziz Ansari, Noel Wells, and Eric Wareheim."
#5. Musical: Empire (Hulu, Fox.com)
TV rarely dives into the world of music, and when it does, it usually revolves around High School ("Glee", "High School Musical"). "Empire" finally deviates from the under-18 trope and builds a musical television show around the world of entertainment and hip hop. This Fox drama has earned the praise of fans and critics alike in it's bold approach the exploring the world of music production. In addition to a stellar cast, the show regularly features famous guest stars, including Jennifer Hudson, Snoop Dog, Rita Ora and Cuba Gooding Jr.
"Empire is an American musical drama television series which debuted on Fox on January 7, 2015. It centers on a hip hop music and entertainment company, Empire Entertainment, and the drama among the members of the founders' family as they fight for control of the company. The show was created by Lee Daniels and Danny Strong, and stars Terrence Howard and Taraji P. Henson."
#6. Mystery: Broadchurch (Netflix)
If you enjoy dark, emotional, and brooding British mysteries, then "Broadchurch" is the winter binge show for you. It centers on the death of a child in a small town in England. As each episode unfolds, the town's mystery's are unravled and everyone becomes a suspect. While the the killer is found at the end of season one, the trial is the focus of season two. The town continues to fall apart as more secrets are revealed.
"Detective Inspector Alec Hardy (David Tennant) – still haunted by the collapse of his previous murder case – was put in charge of the Latimer investigation, much to the chagrin of local officer Detective Sergeant Ellie Miller (Olivia Colman). Strong yet compassionate, Ellie was forced to put her personal connections to the victim aside to help solve the case that devastated the close-knit community."
#7. Superhero: Jessica Jones(Netflix)
"Jessica Jones" is the gritty, noir, superhero show the world has been waiting for. It features a strong female lead, played by "Breaking Bad's" Krysten Ritter. It's set in Marvel's darker world of Hell's Kitchen. It's a companion show for Marvel's "Daredevil" and the upcoming "Luke Cage". It boldly deals with the effects of abuse, trauma and PTSD. It's violent, emotional, funny -- and even though it centers on a woman overcoming her past abuser, it's truly about two friends, Jessica and Trish, and how the female bond of friendship is stronger than any force of abuse that would seek to separate them. It's easily the best new show of the year.
“After a tragic ending to her short-lived super hero stint, Jessica Jones is rebuilding her personal life and career as a detective who gets pulled into cases involving people with extraordinary abilities in New York City. The series stars Krysten Ritter as Jessica Jones, David Tennant as Kilgrave, Mike Colter as Luke Cage, Rachael Taylor as Patricia “Trish” Walker, and Carrie-Anne Moss. “Marvel’s Jessica Jones” is Executive Produced by series Showrunner Melissa Rosenberg (“Twilight”, “Dexter”). “Marvel’s Jessica Jones” is produced by Marvel Television in association with ABC Studios for Netflix.”
#8. Telanovela : Jane the Virgin (Netflix)
"Jane the Virgin" is the funny, over-the-top family dramedy you are looking for this season. If you're had a hard year and need something to watch to help you laugh and unwind, this is definitely it. Newcomer Gina Rodriguez is delightful as Jane -- the accidentally pregnant twenty-something virgin. Jane's whole life gets turned upside down when, in the middle of her engagement, she gets pregnant with her boss' baby, reunited with her TV star dad, and gets caught in a drug-scandal turned murder. It's crazy, funny, spiritual, and features some of the best telenovela storylines to be explored on America television to date. Gina Rodriguez won a Golden Globe for best actress in a comedy for her role earlier this year.
"Set in Miami, the series details the surprising and unforeseen events that take place in the life of Jane Villanueva, a hard-working, religious young Latina woman whose family tradition and a vow to save her virginity until her marriage to a detective is shattered when a doctor accidentally artificially inseminates her by mistake during a checkup. Starring Gina Rodriguez, Andrea Navedo, Justin Baldoni, Yael Grobglas, Brett Dier, Ivonne Coll, Jaime Camil."
#9. Cooking: The Great British Baking Show (Netflix)
If you are fan of British TV, if you love British accents, tea time and all things delicate and dainty, then "The Great British Baking Show" is for you! Netflix recently acquired the rights to "The Great British Bake Off", England's most successful baking show in history! Each week home bakers make classic European desserts that range from cakes to cookies, and pies to breads. At the end of the competition one winner is crowned and everybody celebrates. It's a fascinating look at how the UK and Europe do dessert differently,and it sure beats watching all those reruns of "Diners, Drive-ins, and Dives" on The Food Network.
"Each week, the bakers tackle a different skill, the difficulty of which increases as the competition unfolds. Mary Berry, a leading cookbook writer, and Paul Hollywood, a top artisan baker, serve as judges. Together with hosts and comic foils Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, Berry and Hollywood search for the country’s best amateur baker by testing the competitors’ skills on cakes, breads, pastries and desserts, crowning a winner after 10 weeks of competition."
#10. Children: Walt Disney Short Films Collection (Netflix)
If you're a parent who isn't sure what to watch with your children over the holiday break, check out the "Walt Disney Animation Studio Short Films Collection". It features 12 short films, ranging from Anna and Elsa's "Frozen Fever", to the delightful "Paper Man", and even "Tangled After After" -- Flynn and Rapunzel's wedding day. Not only is the collection entertaining, but it's also educational. The first short, "John Henry", is narrated by actress Alfre Woodard and details of the life of former slave John Henry, and his family. Some of the short films in the collection are being presented for the first time, and two of them are perfect for Christmas: "The Little Matchgirl" and "Prep and Landing: Operation Secret Santa".
"From Walt Disney Animation Studios comes an extraordinary new collection of award-winning and beloved short films including the never-before-released Frozen Fever, starring Frozen's Anna, Elsa, Olaf, Sven and Kristoff, and the Oscar-nominated Lorenzo. The Short Films Collection also includes the 2012 groundbreaking Mickey Mouse cartoon, Get A Horse! as well as hailed Oscar® winners Paperman and Feast. Enjoy them together for the first time in this must-own collection, featuring all-new extras including introductions and interviews with the Disney Animation filmmakers themselves."