TV power rankings: What to watch while you hibernate

For the last TV power rankings of the year, we’re giving you five shows that make excellent excuses for staying in this winter.

End of December is a great time to binge-watch. For one, it’s cold as heck and thus no one will hold it against you if you stay inside for two straight weeks. With regards to work, well, hopefully, you’re on vacation. If you’re in the office, everyone else is likely on vacation, meaning you can definitely get away with watching TV at your desk. Point is: Ideally, the holidays provide ample time to marathon the shows you missed or new releases.

To end the year, this week’s TV power rankings is a list of five shows (mostly) I am excited about or plan to watch over the holidays. Some of them are new shows that will be or are being released in December. Others are shows that, for whatever reason, are on my mind to watch this winter. One is not a show at all. (Better Call Saul is my forever “this winter, I’ll binge” show. Better Call Saul is not on this list.) All of them are things that I would encourage you to watch too. (Alternatively, I obviously recommend any of the shows on my best of 2019 list that you haven’t seen or want to watch again. The entire season of Russian Doll is collectively only 30 minutes longer than The Irishman and 30 times more engaging.)

Whatever you choose, enjoy your binge-watch time. 2019 was a great year for TV, and 2020 is looking super promising too. We’ll see you in January when we return to our regularly scheduled most-notable-of-the-week format.


Amazon, Netflix, Hulu


This is a lazy choice but whatever. If you have streaming services for TV purposes and lots of time with which to stream things, might as well take advantage and pivot ever-so-slightly to get started on your Oscars homework — if for no other reason to be righteously indignant when one of these critical darlings is snubbed. Also, if showrunners are going to drive me into Lake Michigan describing their shows as 13-hour movies, I’m going to include the concept of movies on a TV power ranking. In 2019, words have no meaning!!

Anyways, here’s an incomplete list of where to find what:

Amazon Prime has The Last Black Man in San Francisco, High Life, Under the Silver Lake, Transit, Climax and The Souvenir.

Netflix has Atlantics, Marriage Story and The Irishman.

Hulu has Diane, The Beach Bum and Booksmart.

HBO has Long Shot and Us.




The L Word reboot very quietly premiered on Dec. 8 and is currently airing on Showtime on Sundays, meaning there will be two episodes out by the time you read this and four by the end of December. Reviews have been mixed, but critics seem to agree that the show, by giving personalities and plotlines to characters representing a broader spectrum of queer life, is making admirable strides to right the wrongs of the original. And with all this binge-able December time to fill, why not give it a try?

Alternatively, you can rewatch or watch for the first time the original L Word, a goddamn landmark series we certainly don’t talk enough about when we talk about influential TV.




I liked the Watchmen finale! Was it the best episode of the season? Nope! Would Lady Trieu have been a more worthy adversary minus the Maury of it all? Maybe! Was the final shot a total cop-out? Certainly! Still, I found it an enjoyably satisfying end to a remarkable season of TV. I can’t really explain it, but I loved Watchmen to an ideal degree where I was deeply invested and entertained, but also never got too hung up on minor details and what could have been.

Anyways, I will be following my least favorite advice (just get through the first season) and watching The Leftovers over the holidays as I consider becoming a Damon Lindelof stan.




The Witcher embargo is not yet up so I can’t talk specifics, but the Netflix fantasy series, out Friday, Dec. 20, is absolutely unhinged and it rules. (Is it good? I don’t know! It’s action-packed and utterly nuts and funny so…yes?) I don’t understand anything that’s going on and I wouldn’t have it any other way. (Book readers and game players: Do not tell me, I genuinely don’t want to know.) Thoroughly entertaining, 10/10 would recommend.

I have more thoughts on this for a story that will run later this week when I can go into more detail, but Game of Thrones fans are gonna loooooove The Witcher and it will be very interesting to see to what degree The Witcher can be The Next Game of Thrones. (It can’t.)




YOU a.k.a. the Penn Badgley hot stalker show is back! You know, the show that last winter, when the first season arrived on Netflix after an anticlimactic airing on Lifetime, got fans so hot and bothered that Badgley issued a statement saying his character should not be lusted after because he is a literal serial killer.

Anyways, Netflix ordered a second season and Joe the sociopath is taking his talents to California, so there’s sure to be a lot of insipid philosophical voiceover about the vanity and superficiality of L.A. and every single person you know who lives there is going to screenshot the shit out of this.

YOU is exactly the kind of show you binge between Christmas and New Year’s, when time doesn’t really exist and you forget how to think, critically or otherwise, about TV or anything else. Lucky for all of us, YOU hits Netflix Dec. 26.

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