TV Shows to Binge-Watch Over Winter Break

With finals just around the corner and classes all online, the semester is coming to its close and students are getting ready to go home for the holidays. 

With the three weeks of winter break nearing, students will have a little extra time to watch shows, read books, spend time with loved ones and unwind from the stressful fall semester the pandemic has brought on.

Looking for a new show to sit down and binge-watch? The University Journal recommends four of their favorite shows of all time.

The Queen’s Gambit – Netflix 

Released on Oct. 23, this show is set in the 1950s. Although the focus of the show is the game of chess, it still had news editor Liz Armstrong on the edge of her seat throughout the seven, hour-long episodes and is currently ranked as the seventh best TV show in the United States. 

Based on Walter Tevis’s novel written in 1983, it follows the story of a young orphan named Beth who learns to play chess from a janitor at the orphanage. 

Beth finds success, love and comfort from the game as she becomes the world’s greatest chess player. The show tugs at heartstrings as Beth battles the loss of loved ones, struggles with alcohol and drug addiction and reunites with her closest friend from the orphanage, Jolene. 

The beauty of the show is not in the game of chess itself,, but in the story of Beth and what the game teaches her about life. 

Friends – HBO Max

Nominated for 62 Primetime Emmy Awards throughout its history, “Friends” was said to have “become one of the most popular television shows of all time” according to an article written by Time Magazine. Although it was recently taken off of Netflix, it can still be found on HBO Max.

The show first aired in 1994 and has stayed timelessly popular, with ten seasons that concluded in 2004. Influencers Jaci Smith and Chelsey Curtis recommended “Friends” as the “perfect show to watch after a scary movie” in their weekly What We Said podcast. 

Life editor Amanda Walton recommends “Friends” as one of her favorites of all time (along with “Stranger Things”) because it’s something she can watch “over and over again.” Lighthearted, funny and romantic, an anonymous review shared that this series is the equivalent of “TV comfort food.” 

Poldark – Amazon Prime Video 

Although the first episode of this series was released over five years ago, Armstrong binge-watched the five-season series during the fall semester and recommends it as her all-time favorite television show. 

Set in 18th-century England, the show is a perfect escape from the stress of current times. Ross Poldark, a hunky captain that has recently returned from fighting in the American Revolution, finds his true love engaged to his cousin. Recovering from heartbreak, Poldark finds himself in a Robin Hood role, battling to bring justice and equality to the poor citizens of England. 

A perfect mix of romance, historical fiction and the horrors building a fortune off of copper mining can bring, “Poldark” is emotional, action-packed and will have viewers deeply involved with the characters and their plights long after the show concludes. 

This is Us – Hulu

“This is Us” is the perfect series to watch with a significant other or as a family, as it is romantic and heart-warming. Featuring iconic actors Milo Ventimiglia and Mandy Moore, it follows the couple’s life story as they have triplets and watch their children have kids of their own.

Described as an “American romantic family drama” whose producer Dan Fogelman created the screenplay of the movie “Tangled, the series aired on NBC in 2016. Armstrong warns viewers that she bawled her eyes out during almost every episode, but still recommended it during the most recent podcast episode of A Date With Sugar and Spice. 

Although these four shows were at the top of Armstrong’s and Walton’s lists, many other shows have been binge-worthy in their books. Others include “Gossip Girl,” “The Vampire Diaries,” “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Adventure Time,” “You,” “Criminal Minds,” “Yellowstone” and “The Office.” 

Story by: Elizabeth Armstrong
Photos by: freestocks on Unsplash, sk on Unsplash, Dennis Kummer on Unsplash