Updated: Nov 15
By Morgan Cole
This semester is the second consecutive term that ASU students have had to survive without a break after midterms — and we are tired. Our brains need a break from the constant hustle of juggling school, extracurriculars, and jobs. Not to mention the stress that comes with the current state of the world and the numbness that comes with staring at a computer screen all-day-long.
College students need a break. Because spring break was canceled this year, we are forced to schedule our own breaks between classes and studying. And, what better way to press pause on zoom classes than to binge-watch TV shows and movies on the same screen?
Here are my recommendations for TV shows and movies you should watch when your brain needs a break from four months of school without any time off.
For the Horror and Mystery Lovers
I know I know — you’ve heard it a million times. But seriously if you haven’t watched this show, then you need to stop reading this article right now and watch it. I don’t care how old you are or what kind of TV shows you think you like; I promise you will thoroughly enjoy this show. “Stranger Things” is often mislabeled as a horror show, which is why I avoided watching it for so long. In my opinion, this show should not be put in the horror genre because it doesn’t really fit into any specific genre –it has a little bit of everything. This is why “Stranger Things” is made for everyone. If you like horror, watch this show. If you like mystery, watch this show. If you like romance, watch this show. If you like comedy, watch this show. If you like literally anything, watch this show.
Normally I would give a synopsis of the show. However, when it comes to “Stranger Things,” I think it’s best to go into it blind.
I’m not going to beat around the bush on this one. If you don’t like TV shows where the romance carries the plotline, then you will not like this show. “The Vampire Diaries” is put in the mystery genre and, although mystery does play a role, the show is built on the relationship between Elena and the Salvatore brothers.
The show centers around a teenage girl named Elena, who is mourning the death of her parents who died in a car accident a few months prior to the pilot episode. On the first day of her junior year, she literally and figuratively runs into the new guy in the small town of Mystic Falls — Stefan Salvatore. Elena feels an instant connection to him. Not only is he good-looking but after getting to know him more, she finds out that he too knows what it feels like to lose parents. The romance sparks instantaneously between them, and Elena seems to be the happiest that she’s been since before her parent’s death. However, Stefan is mysterious and although that is attractive to Elena at first, Stefan seems to be hiding something. Elena doesn’t let up until she finds out what he is hiding.
P.S. I’m not the biggest fan of Stefan. So if you don’t ship him and Elena, keep watching the show anyway. There’s another Salvatore in Mystic Falls, and he just might be my favorite character of all time.
This critically-acclaimed film is loved by many because of Heath Ledger’s impeccable performance as the Joker. Ledger’s portrayal of the Joker was so shocking because he had never taken a role like this before — he was known as the guy from “10 Things I Hate About You” and “Brokeback Mountain.” How does the guy known for his romantic leads become one of the greatest Jokers we’ve ever seen?
Sadly, Ledger died of an overdose in January of 2008 — just six months before the film hit theaters. Some have speculated that the Joker changed Ledger for the worst and that he became extremely depressed after playing the role. However, “The Dark Knight” remains one of the best, if not the best Batman movie of all time.
Netflix recently added the Dark Knight trilogy to its streaming service, and “The Dark Knight” is currently included in the “Top 10 in the U.S. Today” section.
I won’t give a synopsis for this movie as it is a sequel, but I would recommend watching “Batman Begins” prior to watching this film.
For the Comedy Lovers
If you’re a sucker for a small-town story, this TV show is meant for you. This show makes you want to pack your bags and move to Stars Hollow.
“Gilmore Girls” is what I turn on when I’m having a bad day and just need a happy and funny storyline to distract me.
The show follows Lorelai and Rory Gilmore — a mother and daughter duo who are more like friends than family. They live in the small town of Stars Hollow where everybody knows everybody, and the tea spreads fast. Rory, a 16-year-old whose dream is to attend Harvard, transfers to an elite private school outside of her small town in hopes of looking better on her college applications. However, Lorelai, her 32-year-old mom who is the manager at an inn, cannot afford this school and goes to her parents for financial support. Lorelai’s parents, who disapprove of their daughter for getting pregnant when she was 16, are forced to help in order for their granddaughter to have the life that they wished their daughter had. At its core, this show is a story about the ups and downs of family.
Another recent addition to Netflix is the perfect movie for a girl’s night. Julia Roberts and Richard Gere come together nine years after their classic rom-com “Pretty Woman” to make another rom-com with a funnier script and better characters.
The film follows Maggie Carpenter, a woman who can’t seem to follow through with any of her wedding ceremonies, and Graham, a columnist who is writing a story about Maggie. Graham comes to her small town in order to get the scoop on what is happening and why she has left so many grooms at the altar. Unfortunately for Graham, the two hit off and he just might be the next groom on her list.
For the Drama Lovers
This Netflix original series rocked my world when it came out toward the end of 2020. When I started it, I was planning on watching one episode before going to bed — next thing I know it’s 4 a.m. and I’m finishing the last episode of the series.
“The Queen’s Gambit” follows a young girl named Beth Harmon between the 1950s and 60s. The series begins with a 9-year-old Harmon who has just been placed in an orphanage after her mother’s death. Harmon appears to be confused, depressed, and seemingly disinterested in everything around her until she finds a janitor playing chess in the basement. Chess quickly becomes Harmon’s sole passion in life, and she’s deemed a prodigy. We watch Harmon grow up and compete in several national chess tournaments throughout the 7-episode series, as well as her struggle with drugs and alcohol.
Trust me, I don’t care if you don’t like chess (spoiler alert I don’t either), you need to watch this show.
If you plan on starting “The Queen’s Gambit,” I would recommend canceling all of your plans for the day because the second the last episode ends, you’re going to want to start it all over again.
“Reign” is everything you could ever want in a period piece. The fashion is immaculate, the romance is addicting and every episode ends in a surprise.
Mary Stuart (Queen of Scots) is the main character, and the show follows her life in the French court with Francis II of France. There are several twists and turns throughout the first few episodes, so it’s best to go into it without knowing much.
For the Sports Lovers
Ignore the category. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like sports. It doesn’t matter if you don’t like basketball. It doesn’t matter how you feel about the NBA or Michael Jordan — give this 10-episode documentary a chance. Everyone can appreciate the art that is the 1990s Chicago Bulls.
Because this is a documentary about Michael Jordan, who is arguably the most famous basketball player of all time, I think this is another case of a series that you should go into blind.
Surviving an entire academic year without a fall or spring break is hard and binging a few TV shows won’t prevent you from getting burnt out. But, it does help to take your mind off of school every once in a while. So the next time you feel like your brain is moments away from exploding, give yourself at least an hour to watch an episode or movie from this list.
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