What I’m Watching in 2016: Last Chance, Catch-up, New Starts

Partially because I usually rely on short (and sometimes not so short) YouTube videos for procrastination purposes, I often feel guilty when I turn to Netflix or another TV streaming site during the school year. I tell myself that there is something more important I should be doing or that the campus WiFi simply won’t suffice for an hour-long episode.

However, this year I’m finding myself more invested in wanting to keep up on shows than in the past. Perhaps it’s the reminder that I’m facing a long, ruthless Northeastern winter after gorgeously unseasonable London weather, but I don’t think guilt will be a problem this semester. Why not dedicate an hour or two to some TV after a long school day?

What to Catch Before It’s Gone:

I could’ve watched Downton Abbey’s final season when it first aired in the UK back in the fall, but I wasn’t caught up with the previous season yet. I used some credit from a Christmas iTunes gift card to buy the episodes I missed, and finished Season 5 right before the US premiere of Season 6 last week. After feeling very “meh” towards Downton for a few years (how many troubles must the Bates go through, Fellowes?!), this last-minute binge was enough to get me excited about the show again.

Nothing has quite lived up to the first two seasons of the show, during which I was at my prime fangirl status. As seen above, I’ve had issues with the recycling of tired plotlines (Anna and Bates trouble, Edith lonely and unfortunate) and can’t help but wonder what the story would be like if those Season 3 deaths never occurred. But, like others, it’s my history with the show that will keep me watching till the end. I do love the Carson and Mrs. Hughes storyline, and I just want Molesley and Baxter to kiss already. Julian Fellowes, do not touch Rose and Atticus in their adorable, happy newlyweds bubble. I’m pretty indifferent towards Mary, but happy endings for Tom and Edith would be appreciated.

I also started watching Call the Midwife again, so that will be my British period drama replacement.

Seriously, Fellowes, it got old fast.

What to Catch Up With:

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, my favorite show of the past year, launches its second season this spring. I watched the first season shortly after it premiered on Netflix, but watched the last few episodes again with my sister during her first viewing of it. It’s just so hilarious and different, and if you haven’t watched it yet, you should! The humor definitely isn’t for everyone, but do give it a try!

I slowly got into Gilmore Girls last year, but have a new love for it after binge-watching it with my sisters over Christmas break. We’re on Season 3 now (I know, we’re quite slow in terms of bingeing) and I’ll probably watch some on my own once I’m back at school (shh, don’t tell my sisters).

I also started watching Aziz Ansari’s Netflix series Master of None and am two episodes in. I do like it so far, but don’t find it absolutely amazing yet, as all the reviewers and critics claim it to be. I’ll have to keep watching to see how I feel!

What to Watch Because It’s New:

I am so excited for Mercy Street, a PBS period drama set during the Civil War. It premieres January 17th, following Downton Abbey (well-played, PBS). Starring Josh Radnor, Donna Murphy, and AnnaSophia Robb, among others, the show follows two war nurses from different sides of the conflict and takes place in what was an actual hospital during the war.

I think American period drama is a genre that is hugely underrepresented. Ones that do exist don’t seem to get much attention, so I’m hoping Mercy Street‘s time slot will attract a lot of viewers! I’m just so eager for this new story – how often does the Civil War appear in television? – and I hope that it leads to a lot more American historical dramas. Plus, Josh Radnor back on TV is never a bad thing.

What about you? Is there anything you plan to watch or continue watching in 2016?

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