The Travel Guide for Holiday Binge Watching on Netflix

by Katherine Parker-Magyar



The holiday season is upon us, and as many of us return home for Thanksgiving, we revert back to our high school ways. The most classic and time-honored of adolescent traditions? Sulking around and avoiding your family. For those looking to reenact the original mannequin challenge this Thanksgiving (11 hours spent motionless on your couch), Netflix is the perfect excuse to be lazy and—in lieu of Seamless—indulge in endless leftovers.

But there is a benefit to spending those dark days watching Netflix post-Thanksgiving and before that Monday back at work: travel inspiration. Maybe you'll book your next trip to Colombia, or England, or the Pacific Northwest. So try not to take Netflix's existential question “Are you still there?” to heart (Am I actually here?) This is culturally immersive programming, all the way from Pittsburgh to the Upside Down. Go forth and conquer/languish.

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Brush up on your high school Spanish with three seasons of Narcos—season 3 was released September 1st. If you’ve fallen behind because you’d been half-heartedly watching in your apartment and couldn’t keep up with the subtitles, rejoice: this will now be the most interesting thing going on in your house. After finishing the third season, feel comfortable updating your resume to bilingual.




Already a hit across the pond, Netflix currently offers Seasons 1 and 2 about an English crime boss in 1919. This show also has staying power: BBC is about to start season 4, so we are officially two seasons behind in the States. For those of us still fearing the inevitable end of Game of Thrones, here is something to hold onto.


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On a regal note, The Crown season 2 arrives on Friday, December 8th, so make sure you are caught up with season 1 over Thanksgiving. Though being married to a queen seems like a case-study in emasculation, the scene of Prince Phillip flying is pretty sweet. For those who have reservations about indulging in more feminine programming, remember: this is a time without judgment. You have been in sweatpants for three straight days. Maybe your mom will watch with you.



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Does going home again confirm your secret suspicion that your glory days were high school? Then go down memory lane or, depending on your investment of time (and commitment to avoiding your family), start this series from scratch. Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose (that remote). Contemplate whether or not things are actually bigger in Texas, then book that trip to Austin.




If you haven't seen Aspen Extreme, you've been living under a rock and we've lost all hope for you. An unparalleled classic of "two friends looking for adventure, discover extreme wealth, skiing, and seduction." Sounds like Aspen today, too.


New York


Master of None season 2 is the perfect meandering, Italian-worshipping respite from these plot-driven, hour-long prestige dramas. The “Thanksgiving” episode about parents and children is the season’s best, so maybe watch it with your family—if only to illustrate why your dating life is nonexistent (Going to Whole Foods, want me to pick you up anything?). You’ll get that reference when you watch the show too. 




Does going home for the holidays give you homicidal thoughts? Check out Mindhunter to thoroughly psyche yourself out. The show is about the first FBI agents to study serial killers in the 1960s. The first episode is set partially in UVA, and is enough to get you hooked for the whole season. Released October 13th, it already has a reputation for leaving viewers feeling dark and twisted: the perfect antidote to holiday cheer.

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Speaking of dark and twisted, Twin Peaks offers the perfect opportunity to dive into the mind of David Lynch from start to finish. Re-watch seasons 1 and 2 (warning: the second part of season 2 is a slog when the director quits for about ten episodes, butt power through) so you can watch the final season released earlier this year. It was always the plan to have the third season be released 25 years later, and seeing the story unfold from the start is more eerie (and mind-twisting) than ever. Set in Washington state, this will make you want to book a ticket to the Pacific Northwest.


Your Hometown

If going home again makes you wistful for the good old days, revisit this classic (it's better on the second viewing, we know you've probably binged this in a day already). This is truly a Utopia where kids roam free in the neighborhood on their bikes. Indulge your nostalgia for Ghostbuster, Alien, and pretty much any movie made in the 1980s with Stranger Things. Season 2 was released on October 27th so, for those lucky enough to have not gotten the memo the first time around (have you been living under a rock? Or, more specifically, a lab in Indiana?), you have nearly 24 hours of binge-watching ahead of you. Going home for the holidays is pretty similar to leaving real life for the realm of the Upside Down, so the show is extra-relevant for Thanksgiving binge-watching. 

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After a Thanksgiving Eve spent socializing with the freaks and geeks from your actual high school, why not check out the fictionalized version produced by Judd Apatow in this cult-favorite series? Cancelled after only one season, the cast includes stars from your favorite comedies (before they were famous), including James Franco, Jason Segel, and Seth Rogan. Watch this if only so you can sound pretentious whenever a new Apatow film comes out: “I mean, I just liked his work best before he sold out to Hollywood.”

Happy Netflix and Chilling. Who says you can’t go home again? 


Anything to add? Let us know in the comment section.