Binge Guide

Your Weekly Binge: A Korean Phenom, Bitingly Funny Vamps, and an Empty Nester to Love

What's the RT staff watching while stuck at home? We're giving you a new weekly guide to inspire your next big binge.

by | March 24, 2020 | Comments

Like much of America, the Rotten Tomatoes staff is working remote right now, doing the responsible thing and “social distancing.” And like much of America, and the world, we’re spending a lot of our time – when we’re not working, of course – catching up on the shows and movies waiting for us on our watchlists, and digging around the various streaming services to find previously undiscovered gems. Every week for the next little while, we will be highlighting what our staff members are watching while at home in the hope that we’ll inspire you to discover something new and Fresh, and that you can watch along with us.

  • Check out last week’s Weekly Binge, with One Day At A TimeThe Boys, Columbo, and more. 

Chernobyl: Miniseries (2019) 96% (HBO)

The threat of nuclear annihilation remained a perennial boogeyman for children of the 1980s, so it was particularly terrifying when news of the Chernobyl disaster spread across the world. HBO’s Chernobyl harnesses that anxiety to deliver a bone-chilling reprimand of human arrogance, drawing viewers in by telling some of the smaller stories that played out alongside the big, headline-generating one. Series creator, executive producer, and writer Craig Mazin and director Johan Renck won Emmys for their work here, expertly mixing elements of visceral horror and unsettling dread with deep human drama, and the cast is all aces. Long-time character actor Jared Harris turns in some of his finest work as Valery Legasov, the consultant brought in by the Soviet government to investigate the incident. He’s the anchor of the narrative, but he’s flanked by Stellan Skarsgård and Emily Watson in excellent supporting roles – all three of them were nominated for Emmys – while Paul Ritter is downright loathsome as Anatoly Dyatlov, the chief engineer at the plant whose obstinacy led to the catastrophe. It feels almost disrespectful to call this entertainment, but Chernobyl is some of the most compelling drama HBO has crafted in recent memory. – Ryan Fujitani, Sr. Editor

Where to watch: HBO or HBO Now, FandangoNOWAmazon, iTunes, Vudu

Commitment: 5 hours (five-episode miniseries)

Mrs. Fletcher: Limited Series (2019) 82% (HBO)

Mrs. Fletcher creator Tom Perrotta is one of our generation’s premier miners of suburbia’s dark corners – he wrote the novel Election as well as the screenplay for Little Children. He also knows a thing or two about compelling TV – he EP’d The Leftovers. Here he brings both skills to bear on a story that we’ve seen before – empty nester searching for new meaning when her son leaves college – but never like this. Part of that is due to the series’ incisive and frank treatment of porn and the way in which it has entered the little ticky-tacky homes of American suburbia and smashed open doors and shattered taboos. In Mrs. Fletcher, the titular divorcee rediscovers herself via a number of pornographic genres, while we also see the way a steady diet of hardcore has affected her college-age son’s ability to be intimate. But mostly the series soars thanks to Kathryn Hahn, who is incredible as Eve Fletcher; touchingly lost in her newfound aloneness one moment, giddily seizing control of new opportunities the next. Hahn was another terrible snub for the 2020 Golden Globes. It’s almost a bonus that Perrotta surrounds her with an endearing cast of characters whose stories are as rich and compelling as Mrs Fletcher’s. – Joel Meares, Editor-in-Chief

Where to Watch: HBO or HBO Now, FandangoNOW, Vudu, Google Play

Commitment: Approx. 3.5 hours (one season)

What We Do in the Shadows: Season 1 (2019) 94% (FX)

If you haven’t taken a bite out of Taika Waititi and Jemaine Clement’s TV adaptation of their 2014 film, you’re in luck! Now’s a great time to binge season 1 of this vampire reality show satire, because season 2 is right around the corner, premiering April 15 on FX. The half-hour comedy stars Matt Berry as Laszlo, Kayvan Novak as Nandor, Natasia Demetriou as Nadja, and Mark Proksch as Colin Robinson – a group of vampire roommates living-dead in Staten Island. Harvey Guillen slays as Lazlo’s human “familiar,” Guillermo. We won’t spoil the 10-episode first season for you, but there are some excellent cameos to look forward to. And you have our word: This is one vampire-TV offering that doesn’t suck. – Debbie Day, Sr. TV Editor

Where to watch: FXNOW, Hulu, FandangoNOW, Vudu, Google Play, Amazon

Commitment: Approx. 5 hours (one season)

Supernatural 93% (CW)

The Winchester Bros.’ long and winding road is coming to an uncertain close, so what better time to get caught up on the 14 seasons that started it all? For those new to the monster-hunting party: Supernatural follows brothers Dean and Sam Winchester on a grand, ghoul-bashing tour of the United States. From wendigos and chupacabras to fighting the devil himself, there’s no creature Dean and Sam haven’t faced at least once, if not several times, all the while dealing with a very complicated family history that just won’t leave them alone. The deeper you get into Supernatural’s lore the more bonkers it all gets, but with a reliable creature-of-the-week format and undeniable chemistry between stars Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki it’s an easy binge. And with almost two weeks’ worth of spooky fun, you won’t have ,to worry about running out of story anytime soon. (But be warned, all ye who enter: the CW has halted production on the back half of the show’s final season, leaving the series finale in limbo. With any luck, it’ll pull a Winchester and find its way to a small screen near you soon enough.) – Haña Lucero-Colin, TV Curation Manager

Where to watch: Netflix, FandangoNOW, Amazon, Vudu, Google Play

Commitment: Approx. 13 days, 7 hours (14 seasons)

Kingdom 96% (Netflix)

Set in Korea, about 400 years ago in the Joseon era, the series kicks off with a “sick” King, who no one is allowed to see. There is a movement to crown the illegitimate Crown Prince to the throne. In the middle of the political drama, a mysterious plague spreads and forces the Crown Prince on a mission to uncover and stop the disease. Whether or not you’re still watching The Walking Dead, Kingdom is a fresh take on the zombie apocalypse genre. Plus, thanks to Parasite, South Korean content is front and center these days, and if you already love 2016 Korean zombie movie Train to Busan, you’ll get the same shocking, breathless moments in this series. A period piece, Kingdom will subvert your expectations in a lot of ways, not the least of which is the setting. This is not TWD — the zombies run fast, and no one can hide in a mall 400 years in the past. Add to that, amazing special effects and gorgeous cinematography that bring to life a bloody good time. – Eileen Rivera, Sr. Director of Production 

Where to Watch: Netflix

Commitment: 11 hours (two seasons)

Medical Police: Season 1 (2020) 92% (Netflix)

If you think a satirical sketch comedy series about a team of Children’s Hospital doctors in Brazil who try to find a cure for a disease that’s rapidly spreading across the globe may not be the best thing to watch right now, I’m sorry but you’re wrong.  Medical Police is a spoof of procedurals like CSI, 24, and The Blacklist, in addition to being a spin-off of Children’s Hospital (2010-2016), which itself is a spoof of medical dramas like ER and Grey’s Anatomy. It’s like a sketch comedy house of mirrors where your favorite comedians and guest stars are given free rein to be as weird and funny as they want be. – Sara Ataiiyan, Review Curator

Where to watch: Netflix

Commitment: Approx. 5 hours (one season)

Elite 97% (Netflix)

It’s Gossip Girl meets Big Little Lies — have we got your attention? A standout of Netflix’s international programming, Elite has everything you could want in a soapy noir melodrama: tortured rich teens, murder, chic fashion, sex – all while the youths are studying for those pesky exams. Elite finds nuance in its pulp and explores themes like classism, racism, and LGBTQ issues with a surprising amount of realism and grit. Power is one of the central pillars of this show; how its characters use or misuse it to get what they want creates a lot of highly entertaining moments, like seeing the students concoct a plan to deflect blame for a death at a nightclub. It also boasts a soundtrack that rivals Euphoria’s. A highlight to look for is former Mexican child-star-turned-acclaimed-pop-star Danna Paola’s turn as Lucrecia, daughter to the Mexican ambassador in Spain. Lucrecia is the best diva-villain-with-a-secret-heart-of-gold since Blair Waldorf. Netflix offers a dubbed version, but we highly recommend watching the series in its native Spanish language with English subtitles. And now is the perfect time to start, as the third season is streaming on Netflix. – Daisy Gonzalez, Theatrical Review Curator

Where to watch: Netflix

Commitment: Approx. 22.5 hours (three seasons)

Check out our regular March Binge Guide. Thumbnail image Juhon Noh/Netflix, Sarah Shatz/HBO, Bettina Strauss/The CW

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