Now that we've reached "peak TV," it seems like everyone we know is inundating us with the new show we just HAVE to watch. Even advertisers are capitalizing on the phenomenon. Additionally, without the run-time and ad break constraints of network television, many cable dramas now release 70+ minute episodes (looking at you, Sam Esmail). This can make the prospect of bingeing a new show rather daunting.
Need a quick and easy watch this weekend instead? Look no further than these 3 comedies - all are less than a 6 hour commitment!
The Good Place Hulu
NBC's The Good Place recently wrapped up its critically acclaimed first season. With both Parks and Rec creator Mike Schur and Veronica Mars herself (Kristen Bell) attached to the project, this comedy had been on our list for a while. However, it was only after the season finale aired, purportedly featuring a huge twist, that we committed to give Good Place a real shot. What can we say? Game of Thrones has ruined us.
The high concept pitch: Eleanor Shellstrop, a jerk for the entirety of her short life on Earth, finds herself transported to the "Good Place" upon her untimely death. After Michael (Ted Danson) welcomes her to the afterlife, Eleanor realizes they've got the wrong girl. Seemingly unbeknownst to the higher ups that she's the wrong Eleanor Shellstrop, she still plans to reap the heavenly rewards of her doppleganger's good deeds.
When strange things begin happening in her perfectly planned neighborhood, Eleanor enlists her assigned soulmate, twitchy philosophy professor Chidi (William Jackson Harper), to help her go legit. Bell is at her snarky best in this role, with hilarious supporting performances by Manny Jacinto as a monk/Florida DJ and Broad City's D'Arcy Carden as the Good Place's AI personal assistant, Janet. The "twist" is worth sticking around for, and it perfectly positions the show to explore new territory in Season 2.
Lovesick was picked up by Netflix in 2015, after airing its first season on British TV under the name Scrotal Recall. The UK title was a bit less subtle, as the comedy focuses on 20-something Dylan (Johnny Flynn) and his chlamydia diagnosis. Dylan is forced to contact all of his previous partners, and thus the format of the show is established, with each episode focused on a particular escapade ("Anna," "Jane," "Phoebe," etc).
The structure is refreshing, even if it does ultimately become difficult to reconstruct the narrative timeline chronologically. Though Dylan suffers from a Judd Apatow-esque Peter Pan syndrome in his relationships, it's his friendships with caddish Luke (Daniel Ings) and practical beauty Evie (Antonia Thomas) that are the real heart of the series. Flynn gives us major young Charlie Hunnam vibes, and you'll be 'shipping Dylan and Evie by hour 2.
Based on her web series, The Mis-adventures of Awkward Black Girl, Issa Rae kicked off in full format on HBO this fall. Rae's Issa character (loosely based on herself), feels like the token person of color at her job (a youth-oriented non-profit "We Got Y'all"), unappreciated and unacknowledged at home by her stay-at-home boyfriend Lawrence, and awkward in everyday situations. Rae the actress is completely charming, particularly during her impromptu raps to her reflection, psyching herself up in front of the mirror ("Is you Khaleesi? Or is you...that other bitch? Whose name I don't remember.")
The most refreshing surprise of Insecure? Its focus on Issa's friendship with Molly, a lawyer who seems confident at work, but cannot escape feeling incomplete in her personal life without a man. The very real dynamics at play in their friendship, both good and bad, anchor the series. We weren't totally sold at first, but 3 episodes in, the real personality of Insecure starts to shine through. Also, all 8 episode titles in the first season follow the same pattern; except instead of including "The One With.." à la Friends, they end with "as F**k." "Racist as F**ck," "Thirsty as F**k," etc. And creator-star Rae? Badass AF.