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The Best Shows To Binge Watch If You're Stuck At Home

When you're stuck at home for a long period of time, whether it's because you're sick or due to bigger circumstances beyond your control, you'll inevitably get bored eventually. Luckily, thanks to the advent of streaming platforms and the Golden Age of Television, there are plenty of available distractions to keep you occupied during long stretches stuck in your house. With so many streaming services available, from stalwarts like Netflix and Hulu to recent additions like Disney+ and Apple TV+, there's no shortage of entertainment to choose from.

Movies are a great distraction while you're living in confinement, but after a while, short two-hour bursts might not fill the time efficiently enough; that's when you might want to find a great television series to binge. Whether you're looking for escapist fantasy, a joke-packed comedy, or heartwarming stories from America's heartland, here are some great shows you can binge-watch if you're stuck at home for an extended period of time.

Game of Thrones

When you're stuck inside, it can feel freeing to escape to an entirely different universe, which is where Game of Thrones comes in. Set in the fictional realm of Westeros, HBO's pop culture phenomenon spans eight seasons, and whether you're revisiting the series or experiencing it for the first time, you'll be completely engrossed in the world of Westeros before you know it.

Thanks to plenty of intrigue, show-stopping battle sequences, an ongoing and deadly fight for power and control, a gripping and intricately woven narrative, and a few dragons thrown in for good measure, Game of Thrones became arguably the most popular and talked-about show on television during its run. Even if you hated the way Game of Thrones ended, you can still go back to the beginning and reacquaint yourself with beloved characters like Tyrion Lannister (Peter Dinklage), Daenerys Targaryen (Emilia Clarke), Jon Snow (Kit Harington), and the rest of the cast while you let yourself and your imagination get lost in the Seven Kingdoms. Game of Thrones is streaming in its entirety on HBO Now.

Schitt's Creek

If you need a feel-good show to pick you up when you're feeling down, look no further than Schitt's Creek. This sweet show was created by comedy legend Eugene Levy, whom you might recognize from classics like American Pie and Best in Show, alongside his son Dan Levy; adorably, the real-life father and son play those same family roles on the show, as Johnny and David Rose, respectively. After the wealthy Rose family — which also includes Eugene Levy's longtime comedic collaborator Catherine O'Hara as the bombastic Moira Rose and Annie Murphy as the pampered Alexis Rose — loses their fortune, they're forced to move to a small rundown town they once purchased as a joke. In time, they realize their life in Schitt's Creek has the potential to be more fulfilling than they ever imagined.

Each member of the Rose family is hysterical and heartwarming in their own right, especially when the show drops the "fish out of water" thread and lets the family really find their place in Schitt's Creek. With a supporting cast that includes familiar faces (Chris Elliott as the town mayor Roland Schitt) and fresh ones as well (Emily Hampshire as the gruff but lovable Stevie Budd, proprietor of the Rosebud Motel), Schitt's Creek, which streams on Netflix and airs on CBC and PopTV, is absolutely worth a visit.

The Good Place

Being stuck at home might make you feel like you're in the Bad Place, but luckily, you can escape to The Good Place any time you want. Michael Schur's strongest effort yet, which wrapped up its brief yet excellent four-season run in January of 2020, introduced viewers to Eleanor Shellstrop (Kristen Bell), a woman who ends up in the "good" version of the afterlife only to realize she may not belong there after all. As she tries to grapple with this potential mistake alongside her assigned soulmate Chidi Anagonye (William Jackson Harper) and hide her secret from the town architect Michael (a perfectly cast Ted Danson), she makes some friends and allies along the way, including Florida DJ/dancer Jason Mendoza (Manny Jacinto), name-dropping socialite Tahani Al-Jamil (Jameela Jamil), and even the afterlife's resident Alexa-type facilitator, Janet (D'Arcy Carden).

If you haven't experienced The Good Place's many twists and turns yet, we certainly won't spoil them here, but whether you're catching this seriously soulful series for the first time or rewatching it to pick up Schur's countless Easter eggs, it's a great way to pass the time and make you think about what it really means to be good, whether people can truly change, and what we owe each other when all is said and done. The Good Place is available on Netflix and NBC.

30 Rock

After her time on Saturday Night Live, Tina Fey struck out on her own with 30 Rock, and with comedy heavyweights like Alec Baldwin and Tracy Morgan by her side, success was inevitable. From 2006 to 2013, this quirky, incredibly weird series packed a truly insane amount of jokes into each half-hour episode while it told the story of Liz Lemon (Fey), a New York woman who runs a live sketch comedy series that airs on Saturday nights. Alongside her erratic and uber-wealthy star Tracy Jordan (Morgan), TGS' conceited and deeply narcissistic leading lady Jenna Maroney (Jane Krakowski), over-eager and potentially immortal NBC intern Kenneth Parcell (Jack McBrayer), and GE executive and mentor Jack Donaghy (Baldwin), Liz does her best to balance life, love, and work in the Big Apple.

Between Liz's constant struggle to keep TGS together, Tracy and Jenna's antics, Jack's wildly misguided advice, and Kenneth's weird backwoods wisdom, 30 Rock is one of the most wonderfully bizarre worlds on all of television; if you need a distraction that will keep you laughing all day long, this is the perfect option. 30 Rock is currently streaming in its entirety on Hulu.

The Walking Dead

If you're stuck inside because of a serious larger issue, you might go for escapism, or you could pick a long-running series that may hit uncomfortably close to home, like The Walking Dead. One of the defining shows of the 2010s, this hit series kicked off the decade with an astonishing first season that found survivor Rick Grimes (Andrew Lincoln) stranded in the abandoned city of Atlanta in the aftermath of a zombie outbreak. As he meets other survivors, Rick leads a growing group that must team up to defend themselves from zombies — and, disturbingly, other humans with sinister motives.

Over its acclaimed run, The Walking Dead has delivered plenty of shocking twists and turns, and though original cast members like Lincoln have since moved on from the series, it remains as engrossing as ever. Plus, with plenty of seasons under its belt, you'll have plenty of material to get through while you wait for the day when you can finally get out of the house again. The Walking Dead is available to stream on Netflix and is currently airing on AMC.


If real-life American and international politics sometimes feels like too much to handle, you can always check out Veep, HBO's razor-sharp, scathing indictment of what it's really like to hold the second-highest office in the United States. Led by the brilliant Julia Louis-Dreyfus, this show — created by In the Loop's Armando Ianucci — expertly skewers the corrupt and cruel landscape of American politics, exposing politicians and aides as soulless, power-hungry monsters in the funniest possible fashion. Louis-Dreyfus plays Selina Meyer, who begins the show as the "veep" to a perpetually unseen male President, and though she rises and falls politically throughout the show's seven seasons, her insane machinations and attempts to claw her way to the top never fail to elicit huge laughs.

With a cast comprised of comedy royalty, including Tony Hale (as Selina's slavishly loyal "bag man" Gary), Matt Walsh (as the Vice President's bumbling speechwriter Mike), Gary Cole (as Selina's uptight numbers guy Kent), and more, Veep gets better and better throughout its seven-season run, letting its characters dig into their depravity with utter shamelessness. Even if you tend to avoid politics, Veep is sure to draw you in, no matter how awful the characters might behave in their quest for power. Veep is streaming in its entirety on HBO.

Friday Night Lights

Even if you're not a football fan, you'll find plenty to love in NBC's Friday Night Lights. Set in the fictional small town of Dillon, Texas, the series — which is based on showrunner Peter Berg's 2004 movie and H.G. Bissinger's 1990 nonfiction novel, both of the same name — stars Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton as Eric and Tami Taylor, a football coach and educator, respectively, who work to keep the teenagers of Dillon in line while winning championships and managing their home life. Beyond Chandler and Britton, the series helped launch the careers of future stars like Jesse Plemons and Michael B. Jordan, both of whom cut their teeth on the series before they hit it big, alongside teen stars like Taylor Kitsch, Minka Kelly, and more.

Using Dillon as an example of the classic small American town gave Berg license to explore plenty of hot-button issues, including drug abuse, economic inequality, racism, and more, but Friday Night Lights never feels like an after-school special thanks to its naturalistic writing and excellent core performances, particularly from Chandler and Britton. Friday Night Lights has earned its place in the pop culture lexicon, and it's never a bad time to stop by Dillon. Friday Night Lights is streaming in its entirety on Hulu.

Stranger Things

If you're feeling sorry for yourself because you're stuck inside, look on the bright side: at least you're not trapped in the troubled town of Hawkins, Indiana. As the setting of Netflix's hit sci-fi series Stranger Things, Hawkins is plagued by all sorts of supernatural happenings, including visits from a monstrous Demogorgon, insidious Russians, and even an entire literal underbelly known only as the "Upside Down," making it a pretty dangerous place to live; luckily, the inhabitants of Hawkins are up to the task. The series, which premiered to immediate acclaim in 2016, stars Millie Bobby Brown, Finn Wolfhard, Gaten Matarazzo, Natalia Dyer, Noah Schnapp, and Joe Keery; the junior members of the cast, alongside established names like Winona Ryder and David Harbour, have spent multiple seasons putting the town of Hawkins through literal hell.

Thanks to its cliffhanger endings, shocking twists, and extremely thorough world-building, Stranger Things has become one of Netflix's flagship shows, and every time a new season premieres, fans know they can settle in for a wild thrill ride like nothing else on television. Stranger Things is streaming on Netflix.

Parks and Recreation

Showrunner Michael Schur is known for his optimistic streak, and that tendency is on perfect display in Parks and Recreation. Originally conceived as a sort of spiritual cousin to The Office, where Schur cut his teeth as a writer (and appeared as Mose Schrute on occasion), Parks and Recreation took an infectiously joyful approach to its storytelling, letting its characters grow and evolve in realistic and well-earned ways that paid off as the series aged. The show's seven-season run was anchored by Amy Poehler's central performance as Leslie Knope, a small-town bureaucrat who works hard every day to keep Pawnee, Indiana running smoothly, all the while aided by her faithful team.

With unforgettable performances from comedians and actors like Nick Offerman, Aubrey Plaza, Aziz Ansari, Adam Scott, Rob Lowe, Rashida Jones, and a pre-Marvel Chris Pratt, Parks and Recreation is the perfect mood-lifter, serving as a ray of sitcom sunshine on a cloudy day. Whenever you're feeling down, never forget that you can always head back to Pawnee and see some of your favorite characters again. Parks and Recreation is streaming in its entirety on Netflix and Hulu.

Twin Peaks

So, who really did kill Laura Palmer? If you don't already know, you'll have to watch Twin Peaks to find out. In 1990, America traveled to the small (fictional) town of Twin Peaks, Washington when a plastic-wrapped body washed up on its shores, with the audience immediately embroiled in figuring out who killed a popular young beauty queen. David Lynch's signature television series became one of the small screen's greatest shows over the course of just two short seasons. With Kyle MacLachlan as FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper serving as the audience's eyes and ears as he investigates Laura's murder, which is much more mysterious than he bargained for, fans delved deeply into the secrets of this seemingly peaceful town, which was home to some seriously sinister forces lurking just beneath the surface.

With just two short seasons of Twin Peaks available to stream, it might not seem like a great choice when you're stuck inside, but those two seasons are just the beginning. After the show ended, Lynch released a feature film — Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me — in 1992, and in 2017, the series made a triumphant comeback with Twin Peaks: The Return, including most of the original cast. The original run of Twin Peaks is streaming on Netflix and Hulu, and The Return is available on Showtime.

American Horror Story

When American Horror Story premiered in 2011, showrunner Ryan Murphy was probably best known for fluffy shows like Glee and Nip/Tuck, but by creating this horror anthology show, he completely reinvented his image. The show's first season, which was retroactively titled Murder House, offered up a classic spin on the "haunted house" tale, and with each season changing its theme and approach to the horror genre, American Horror Story has given Murphy endless opportunities for innovative storytelling with each new entry.

By utilizing the same core cast — which typically includes frequent Murphy collaborators like Sarah Paulson, Kathy Bates, Evan Peters, Taissa Farmiga, Emma Roberts, Denis O'Hare, Frances Conroy, and more — and infusing each season with his signature dark sense of humor, Murphy gives American Horror Story a strong narrative throughline, no matter how varied the themes might be. From Asylum to Coven to Freak Show to Cult to Apocalypse, there's no shortage of American Horror Story seasons to enjoy during your downtime, so mix and match as you please and let yourself get lost — and scared — in Murphy's weird, wild world. American Horror Story is streaming on Netflix.


If you're stuck at home for a while, you might want to try a show with a seemingly endless number of episodes; in that case, look no further than ER. The medical show that set the standard for every genre entry to follow ran from 1994 to 2009 and spanned a whopping 15 seasons and 331 episodes, setting a primetime record that was only beaten by Grey's Anatomy in 2019. Throughout that incredible number of episodes, ER played host to an incredible number of famous faces at the beginning of their careers — most notably, stars like George Clooney and Julianna Margulies, who appeared together in the show's earlier seasons. With a creative team that included Jurassic Park's Michael Crichton working behind the scenes, ER set a lofty standard for shows to come.

Thanks to inventive, far-fetched medical cases and a cast that remained great no matter who entered and exited the hospital, ER remains one of the best long-running shows in television history, and it's perfect for a super-long binge. The entirety of ER is streaming on Netflix.

Doctor Who

One of the longest running shows of all time, Doctor Who has captured its audience's imagination across the world since its start in 1962, after which the show ran for 26 seasons until it took a short break in 1989. It returned in 2005 for a fresh start, letting a whole new generation fall in love with the time-traveling Doctor from the planet Gallifrey, his TARDIS, and his loyal companions, and it's remained on the air ever since.

Fans have spent years arguing over which Doctor — who, because his appearance constantly shifts, has been played by a revolving door of talented actors — is their favorite, and with performers like Tom Baker, Paul McGann, David Tennant, Matt Smith, and Peter Capaldi as options, you really can't go wrong. In 2018, Jodie Whitaker (Broadchurch, Black Mirror) became the first female Doctor, picking up the mantle from Capaldi upon his exit in 2017. With a seemingly endless amount of episodes and plenty of Doctors to choose from, Doctor Who is the perfect escape when you're stuck inside. The modern episodes of Doctor Who will stream on HBO Max in their entirety when the service launches.

The Simpsons

Animated shows from Family Guy to Bob's Burgers to BoJack Horseman have become increasingly popular over the last few decades, but without The Simpsons, it's safe to say none of them would exist. The brainchild of showrunner and creator Matt Groening, The Simpsons started out as a short on The Tracey Ullman Show in 1987, and by the end of 1989, it earned its own primetime spot on Fox; from there, the rest is history.

Few shows have shaped pop culture as thoroughly as The Simpsons, and its yellow-hued characters, from Homer to Marge to Bart and Lisa to Krusty the Klown, are some of the most familiar in television history. With more than 30 seasons and 600 episodes to date, The Simpsons remains a seemingly endless source of entertainment, letting viewers rediscover their favorite episodes and newcomers see the origins of phrases like "D'oh!" and "eat my shorts!" Whether you've somehow never seen The Simpsons or just want to revisit your personal highlights, it's always a good time to head back to Springfield and hang out with America's favorite family. The Simpsons is streaming in its entirety on Disney+.