TV

Stream this: 9 shows to binge watch over the holiday break

Sacramento Bee Staff

“Insecure,” an HBO series starring YouTube celebrity Issa Rae, is available to binge-watch on streaming service HBO Go.
“Insecure,” an HBO series starring YouTube celebrity Issa Rae, is available to binge-watch on streaming service HBO Go. HBO

Ready to curl up on the sofa for some serious binge watching over the holiday break? Fix yourself a nice drink, maybe a snack, grab a cozy blanket and hunker down in front of the screen. Here are nine shows to stream, all recommended in The Sacramento Bee’s weekly Stream This column, by Carla Meyer and Tim Swanson.

Crime drama ‘Top Boy’ takes viewers on an unflinching ride through East London’s drug trade

As fans of “Sherlock,” “Broadchurch,” “The Fall,” “Happy Valley” and “Luther” can attest, the Brits show real flair for putting the dark side of humanity on the small screen. Another program that should be added to that list is the taut and crackling “Top Boy,” the two-season, eight-episode run of which is streaming on Netflix. -- Swanson

Highly affecting film ‘Other People’ is a Sacramento story

“Other People,” a Sacramento-set tragi-comedy written and directed by Sheldon High School alumnus Chris Kelly, takes its title from a remark its lead character, David (Jesse Plemons, from TV’s “Friday Night Lights”) makes to a friend. David is a New York comedy writer who returns to his hometown to help care for his mother, Joanne (Molly Shannon). Joanne is dying of cancer – something David thought only happened to “other people,” he says. -- Meyer

The detective genre meets cellphone-addled millenials in TBS’ ‘Search Party’

The 10-episode season, streaming on TBS.com, stars Alia Shawkat (who played Maeby Fünke in Fox’s “Arrested Development”) as Dory, yet another aimless millennial living in Brooklyn who passes time brunching with her too-nice boyfriend (John Reynolds) and self-absorbed friends. -- Swanson

‘Insecure’ confident in its sexual frankness and millennial milieu

“Insecure,” an HBO series starring YouTube celebrity Issa Rae, wrapped its first season and became available to binge-watch on streaming service HBO Go. As the first scripted, premium-cable series created by and starring a black woman, “Insecure” represents another key step for television, already far ahead of the film world in creating strong roles (“Scandal,” “Empire”) for black women. -- Meyer

Catch ‘Last Chance U’ for intense college football drama

“Last Chance U” is a binge-worthy six-episode college football documentary series streaming on Netflix. It is set at East Mississippi Community College, where Buddy Stephens in head coach. “Life ain’t fair, all right?” Stephens tells his players during a team huddle. “Fair is where you kiss a pig and give it a blue ribbon.” Most of Stephens’ players understand exactly what he’s talking about. -- Swanson

Watch the performance that likely will have Jeff Bridges hoisting a gold statue

Home viewers can get a jump on awards season with Jeff Bridges’ critically lauded performance in the modern-day western “Hell or High Water,” available for purchase via video on demand after a summer theatrical run. -- Meyer

Handsome and historical,‘The Crown’ is your new ‘Downton Abbey’

“The Crown,” a gorgeous, well-acted 10-episode series covering the early years of Queen Elizabeth II’s now 64-year reign, is Netflix’s most pedigreed original series since the David Fincher-produced “House of Cards” debuted in 2013. Like the addictive “Cards,” “Crown” illuminates behind-the-scenes political intrigue – here, at Buckingham Palace, where a young queen’s personal desires conflict with tradition, and at 10 Downing St., where insiders plot to unseat a prime minister deemed over the hill. Yet the new series’ unhurried pace and general classiness lend it the rare streaming-service distinction of being better savored than binge-watched. -- Meyer

Get low with Amazon’s ‘Fleabag’

This is an Amazon original series (by way of BBC3) created by and starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge, an English playwright and actress best known here for playing a barrister on “Broadchurch.” She brings blitheness, rebelliousness and hints of deep sadness to this series’ title character, a flippant, sexually adventurous young London woman she first played on stage. -- Meyer

‘Night Manager’ delivers shadowy suspense

If election season has left you shaken and stirred, and you’re in need of that special type of escapism that only international espionage can provide, plant yourself on the couch and partake in an extended James Bond marathon. But maybe Bond’s exploits feel a little retrograde at this point. Maybe you’re searching for a thriller with more contemporary currency. If so, Amazon subscribers can access “The Night Manager,” an excellent six-episode BBC (and later AMC) series adapted from the 1993 book by that other great English spy novelist, John le Carré. -- Swanson

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