- Watch: 8 episodes (2014) on Starz, Amazon Instant Video
- Stars: Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, Graham McTavish
- Come for: Panoramic Scottish Highlands, men in kilts
- Watch: 10 episodes (2014-2015) on Amazon Prime
- Stars: Titus Welliver, Jamie Hector, Jason Gedrick, Veronica Cartwright,
- Amy Aquino
- Come for: Gritty and romantic shots of L.A.
- Watch: 12 episodes (2011-2012) on iTunes, Amazon or BBCAmerica.com
- Stars: Dominic West, Romola Garai, Ben Whishaw
- Come for: Heady, sexy drama about the birth of TV news in 1950s Britain
- Watch: 38 episodes (2007-2010) on Showtime
- Stars: Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Natalie Dormer, Peter O’Toole, Sam Neill, Henry Cavill
- Come for: Jousting, pageantry, rutting and scheming in the court of Henry VIII
- Stay for: The ripping of bodices, the chewing of scenery
‘Getting On’ (American version)
- Watch: 18 episodes (2013-2015) on HBO, Amazon Instant Video
- Stars: Laurie Metcalf, Alex Borstein, Niecy Nash, Mel Rodriguez
- Come for: Absurdly real but funny look at life in a hospital’s extended-care unit
- Stay for: The magnificent cast; haven’t we met them all somewhere?
- Don’t miss: Metcalf as puffed-up Dr. Jenna James: “My job is infinitely more important than yours.”
- Binge-breaker: Caregivers, binge in small doses only!
- Watch: 28 feature-length episodes (2002-2015) on Acorn TV
- Stars: Michael Kitchen, Honeysuckle Weeks, Anthony Howell
- Come for: Murder mysteries on England’s home front during World War II.
- Stay for: One wry grin from Detective Chief Superintendent Christopher Foyle tells you when a suspect is lying.
- Don’t miss: Foyle’s reveal to his female chauffeur that he knew how to drive all along.
- Binge-breaker: Fans reversed two cancellations, but we’re glad the war is finally over.
‘Parks and Recreation’
- Watch: 125 episodes (2009-2015) on NBC, Amazon, Netflix
- Stars: Retta, Adam Scott, Amy Poehler, Aubrey Plaza, Chris Pratt, Nick Offerman, Rob Lowe
- Come for: “Treat yo’self,” as Retta would say, to TV’s top comedy writing.
- Stay for: Seeing the ensemble cast bloom as individuals
- Don’t miss: Leslie Knope (Poehler) and Ron Swanson (Offerman) get locked in the office overnight to settle their differences.
- Binge-breaker: Season 1 clumsily portrayed Knope as a dope, but stick with it.
- Watch: 14 episodes on Netflix (2012-2014)
- Stars: Ricky Gervais, Kerry Godliman, Brett Goldstein
- Come for: Acting mastery of Gervais as a mentally challenged nursing-home staffer
- Stay for: Touching, tender moments hidden in a mockumentary
- Don’t miss: While clipping a resident’s toenails, Derek proclaims: “I like old people; they’re kind.”
- Binge-breaker: Must every actor break the fourth wall? (We blame The Office.)
- Watch: 36 episodes (2013-2015) on FX
- Stars: Keri Russell, Matthew Rhys, Richard Thomas, Noah Emmerich
- Come for: Russian spies living next door in Reagan-era suburbia
- Stay for: To decide which is twistier: family dynamics or international espionage?
- Don’t miss: Period props (slide carousel projectors, metal ice-cube trays) and multiple costume changes per show
- Binge-breaker: It’s easy to OD on noir!
- Watch: 51 episodes (2010-2015) on PBS, Amazon, Netflix
- Stars: Hugh Bonneville, Elizabeth McGovern, Maggie Smith
- Come for: To learn what life’s like in an English castle. (Answer: cold.)
- Stay for: The conniving and striving, both upstairs and down
- Don’t miss: Lord Grantham’s emergence as a human being. Took him only five seasons!
- Binge-breaker: Once the cast feels like family, you may long to ditch them!
‘Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries’
- Watch: 34 episodes (2012-2015) on Acorn.tv, PBS, Netflix
- Stars: Essie Davis, Nathan Page, Miriam Margolyes
- Come for: Glam, sexually liberated P.I. solving murders in 1920s Melbourne, Australia
- Stay for: Miss Fisher’s slowly building romance with Detective Inspector Jack Robinson
- Don’t miss: Flapper fashion-palooza! (Chokers, tiaras, pearl-handled pistol)
- Binge-breaker: Sorry, can’t think of one. But like Phryne (pronounced FRY-knee) Fisher, we’ll keep noodling it!