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Lonely Thanksgiving: What to binge-watch this holiday

He's all alone, too. Billy Bob Thornton as Lorne Malvo in Fargo.


He's all alone, too. Billy Bob Thornton as Lorne Malvo in Fargo.



Editor's note: Thanksgiving. A time for the entire family to gather around the table, smiling and laughing over a golden turkey as if life is just one big Publix commercial. Fortunately, some people actually get that experience. But many others don't. Maybe you and your family live in totally different states. Maybe you just don't have a family. Maybe you have chosen a family of friends. Or maybe you just don't want to talk to your family at all.

We got you covered. All week, we're bringing you our Guide to Lonely Thanksgiving. Our critics and writers have offered their best advice for going the holiday alone, from TV to reading to eating out. It doesn't have to be a pity party. If you do it right, you can be thankful for your solitude, too.


Amy Schumer and I were both raised "to eat till you were in a lot of pain, then you take a lil breather, and then you get yourself back in even more pain." And of course this applies to my television habits as well. So what better time to binge-watch an entire series than this long weekend? I've picked five shows — some old and some new ones under the radar — that can be completely gobbled over the next four days. It's the American way.

If you just need a good story: 'Terriers'

One season, 10 episodes, streaming on Netflix
What you name your TV show matters, case in point: Terriers on FX. The 2010 series stars Donal Logue (Grounded for Life, Sons of Anarchy) and Michael Raymond-James (Once Upon a Time) as Hank and Britt, charismatic private investigators in sunny California. It follows a familiar procedural setup as the dynamic duo solves new cases each episode, but one captivating story is threaded throughout. And even though critics loved it, no one tuned into the show — which was not about dogs — and Terriers was canceled after its first season. Terriers will forever be a miniseries that could have been so much more.

If you just need to talk it out: 'Sports Night'

Two seasons, 45 episodes, streaming on Hulu
Before there was The West Wing, Aaron Sorkin gave us Sports Night, another show that was canceled too soon. It was a sitcom that was both charming and heavy all at once. But more importantly, it gave us Josh Charles (The Good Wife) and Peter Krause (Parenthood) together onscreen. We’re so #blessed. They play sports anchors Dan Rydell and Casey McCall on something like ESPN’s Sports Center. The dialogue is Sorkin at his best: snappy, endearing and furious. But unlike his other projects (ahem, The Newsroom), it doesn’t come across heavy-handed.

If you’re feeling politely hostile: 'Fargo'

Season 1, 10 episodes, streaming on Hulu
Based on the Coen brothers’ 1996 movie, Fargo stars Martin Freeman (Sherlock, The Hobbit) as a timid insurance salesman from Minnesota and Billy Bob Thornton as a criminal mastermind with a weird haircut. But its standout star is Allison Tolman as Deputy Molly Solverson, a sharp cop trying to keep up with the crazy. This captivating award-winning show brings together the everyday mundane with the violent evils of life. Fargo follows an anthology format: new era, new story, new cast and characters each season. The second season currently airs on FX on Mondays at 10 p.m. and  is also available on Hulu to those with FX in their cable packages. 

If you’re having an existential crisis: 'BoJack Horseman'

Two seasons, 24 episodes and a Christmas special, streaming on Netflix
What better time to question your life than when you’re sitting alone on a family holiday? Wallow with BoJack Horseman, voiced by the hilarious Will Arnett, a washed-up horse actor just trying to keep his life together. Okay, he’s not really trying. Animals and humans mingle with each other in this surreal animated comedy that’s both hilarious and depressing all at once. Other voices include Amy Sedaris, Paul F. Tompkins and Alison Brie. 

If you’re questioning why you’re #foreversingle: Catastrophe 

Season 1, 6 episodes, streaming on Amazon Prime
This bittersweet British comedy is easily swallowed in one sitting and you’ll definitely want to rewatch it for a second, and even a third time. Rob Delaney plays an American dude on a business trip in the UK and Sharon Horgan (the Tina Fey of England) plays a school teacher. The two 30-somethings meet at a bar, hook up (several times) and get pregnant all in the first episode. Comedy ensues. But it’s also a sincere take on a romantic comedy that pulls on our heartstrings. 

Want more?

Try Freaks and Geeks (Hulu), My So-Called Life (Hulu), Flight of the Conchords (HBO), Enlightened (HBO), Togetherness (HBO), Don’t Trust the B in Apartment 23 (Netflix), Garfunkel and Oates (Netflix), Review (Hulu), You’re the Worst (Hulu).

[Last modified: Monday, November 23, 2015 4:52pm]


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