Bad Weather Binge

by IMDb-Editors | created - 09 Sep 2014 | updated - 18 Sep 2014 | Public

Sure, it's still nice out right now. But pretty soon, you'll want to stay inside underneath your blankets and bask in your television's warm glowing warming glow. Not to worry though - here's a list of TV series and film trilogies that'll keep you entertained in the stormiest of weather. --Melanie McFarland, TV Editor

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1. Æon Flux (1991–1995)

TV-MA | 30 min | Animation, Adventure, Sci-Fi

Æon Flux is a mysterious and amoral secret agent from the country of Monica. Her motives or background are left unexplained, as are those of her antagonist/love, Trevor Goodchild. On her ... See full summary »

Stars: Denise Poirier, John Rafter Lee, Julia Fletcher, Steffan Chirazi

Votes: 5,122

IMDb's Editors would never advocate the ingestion of mind-altering substances. Never! Your brain is precious. And with shows like this one around, who needs chemicals to make your mind do loopy things?

For those who have never seen Aeon Flux (and for those who watched the 2005 live action film version and mind-wiped away the memory of its existence), Aeon Flux is a secret agent from the country of Monica who appears to be on nobody's side but her own, often making moves in defiance of her nemesis and lover, Trevor Goodchild.

Trippy visuals abound in this anchor series for MTV's sorely missed Liquid Television line-up, and some developments defy explanation. But there are sequences that are as seductive and gorgeous as they are strange. We suggest getting your brain scanned before watching a marathon of episodes, then scanning your brain afterward. Surely the results will be informative... or, if nothing else, make you understand what Goodchild meant when he observed, "That which does not kill us, makes us stranger."

2. The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

PG-13 | 201 min | Adventure, Drama, Fantasy

94 Metascore

Gandalf and Aragorn lead the World of Men against Sauron's army to draw his gaze from Frodo and Sam as they approach Mount Doom with the One Ring.

Director: Peter Jackson | Stars: Elijah Wood, Viggo Mortensen, Ian McKellen, Orlando Bloom

Votes: 1,526,805 | Gross: $377.85M

OK, we're only listing the third film in the trilogy here but remember, this is a binge list. That means you're watching the LOR entire series, front to back. Extended editions of each. To do this right, be ready to enjoy nearly 12 hours of Peter Jackson's finest...12 hours.

I recommend doing this on a day like Thanksgiving or Christmas, especially if remaining glued to the couch is part of your family's special tradition.

3. Xena: Warrior Princess (1995–2001)

TV-PG | 45 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

Xena, a mighty Warrior Princess with a dark past, sets out to redeem herself. She is joined by small town bard, Gabrielle. Together they journey the ancient world and fight for the greater good against ruthless Warlords and Gods.

Stars: Lucy Lawless, Renée O'Connor, Ted Raimi, Kevin Smith

Votes: 38,865

In the realm of '90s TV nostalgia, "Xena: Warrior Princess" seems to have gotten lost in the mists of time. Granted, we haven't forgotten about Lucy Lawless -- she rocked "Spartacus" and "Battlestar Galactica", and she's going to be guest starring on "Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D." this fall. But in pop culture, "Xena" has taken a backseat to characters such as Buffy Summers, Sydney Bristow ("Alias") and Veronica Mars.

Such a shame. "Xena" was a fun, action-powered show centered by one of the most heartfelt portrayals of the fierce loyalty and complexity of female friendships on television. Plus, there aren't many TV heroes that wield a weapon as cool as that chakram. Bonus: Bruce Campbell guest stars as Autolycus, King of Thieves, and he is amazing.

Recommended episodes to get you started: "Sins of the Past" (S1, Ep1), "Hooves and Harlots" (S1, Ep10), "Callisto" (S1, Ep22), "Return of Callisto" (S2, Ep5), "Destiny", "The Quest", "A Necessary Evil" (S2, Ep12-14), "The Price" (S2, Ep20) "The Deliverer" (S3, Ep4), "The Debt: Parts 1&2" (S3, Ep6&7), "Maternal Instincts" (S3, Ep11), "The Bitter Suite" (S3, Ep12), "When in Rome..." (S3, Ep16).. and the rest is up to you. Just make sure you watch the series finale, too.

4. Absolutely Fabulous (1992–2012)

TV-14 | 45 min | Comedy

The wild misadventures of Edina Monsoon and her best friend Patsy Stone, who live in a near-constant haze of drugged, drunken selfishness.

Stars: Jennifer Saunders, Joanna Lumley, Julia Sawalha, June Whitfield

Votes: 16,902

Sometimes the perfect antidote to a terrible day, weather-wise or otherwise, is to watch terrible people doing hilarious things to each other, and with each other. That's why the characters of Edina Monsoon and Patsy Stone have achieved a level of timelessness more than 20 years after they were first introduced to the world. Word is that there's even a theatrical feature in the nascent stages of development.

But who knows when that'll happen, and when it does you'll have to leave the house to see it. Why bother? Right now, you can blow through this entire series in a weekend. How quickly and closely you watch these episodes depends on whether you choose to accompany your "Fabulous" marathon with corresponding glasses of Bolly or Stoli's.

5. Firefly (2002–2003)

TV-14 | 44 min | Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi

Five hundred years in the future, a renegade crew aboard a small spacecraft tries to survive as they travel the unknown parts of the galaxy and evade warring factions as well as authority agents out to get them.

Stars: Nathan Fillion, Gina Torres, Alan Tudyk, Morena Baccarin

Votes: 230,383

When the sky is grey outside, it makes sense to journey into the black. There's a measure of wonder and clarity to Captain Mal Reynolds's outlook on life, and even when Mal and the crew and passengers of Serenity are down and out, they find a way to band together for each other's sake -- not just survive, but really live.

Sadly for fans, the entire series only consists of 14 episodes. But its too-short lifespan means it can be easily viewed in one day. Naturally you'll want to follow the viewing of the final episode by watching Serenity, the theatrical coda to the series.

6. Pretty Little Liars (2010–2017)

TV-14 | 44 min | Drama, Mystery, Romance

Four friends band together against an anonymous foe who threatens to reveal their darkest secrets, while also investigating the disappearance of their best friend.

Stars: Troian Bellisario, Ashley Benson, Lucy Hale, Shay Mitchell

Votes: 144,648

Who is "A", and why is "A" set on tormenting Aria Montgomery, Hanna Marin, Emily Fields, and Spencer Hastings? The fifth season of this series just ended, and we still don't have a definitive answer to that question. But plenty of creepy evidence, plot twists and evil turns have made a show ostensibly targeted to teens into a phenomenon enjoyed by people of all ages.

If you enjoy a soapy mystery soaked in thrills, shocks and a few queasily uncomfortable developments (not to mention scores of chic fashion "do's" on its stars), give this show a binge. Beware, however, that once you start watching it'll be very hard to stop.

7. The Matrix (1999)

R | 136 min | Action, Sci-Fi

73 Metascore

A computer hacker learns from mysterious rebels about the true nature of his reality and his role in the war against its controllers.

Directors: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski | Stars: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving

Votes: 1,546,559 | Gross: $171.48M

This is one of those trilogies that merits a binge viewing (or re-viewing) not because it was a successful cinematic triptych. Rather, view it as an example of what happens when a successful film yields bigger budgets, ballooning hype and grander special effects for its sequels and nevertheless fails to deliver in the story department.

The Matrix Trilogy is interesting enough for most people to want to at least see how it ends (which The Wachowskis evidently knew, or else the second film would not have wound up with cliffhanger). We recommend planning a low-impact project to complete while The Matrix Revolutions is on, because there are large swaths of story during which one could do all kinds of useful things and not miss a beat. No joke -- I gave my teeth a thorough brushing and flossing during a major character's final monologue at the end of it and didn't feel any loss for having done so.

8. Prime Suspect (1991)

207 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

A female police detective investigates a series of serial murders while dealing with sexist hostility from her male comrades.

Stars: Helen Mirren, John Benfield, Tom Bell, Jack Ellis

Votes: 6,023

Before she was an assassin in RED, or The Queen, Helen Mirren fascinated viewers with her portrayal of Detective Chief Inspector Jane Tennison.

Tennison is a hard-driving woman not prone to nostalgia or demonstrative of tenderness. She couldn't be when we first meet her; in the earliest episodes of the series, the DCI is frequently passed over at work and has to fight for respect among her male co-workers. Thorny determination and unmatchable skills eventually lead to Tennison's rise in ranks, although the price she pays is relinquishing her personal life.

Then again, it takes a person with a thick skin to dive into the cases "Prime Suspects" serves up. A marathon viewing of "Prime Suspect" from beginning to end is quite an undertaking and not for the faint of heart. But you may be a more discerning TV viewer by the end of it. It could also ruin a lot of television shows for you for a while, and that's fine -- it's probably healthy to take a sabbatical from TV after a binge.

9. Farscape (1999–2003)

TV-14 | 50 min | Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi

Thrown into a distant part of the universe, an Earth astronaut finds himself part of a fugitive alien starship crew.

Stars: Ben Browder, Claudia Black, Anthony Simcoe, Lani John Tupu

Votes: 31,224

Another under-appreciated series, this one from the early 2000s, "Farscape" was one of Syfy's first big original space adventure series, co-produced by Jim Henson Productions and Hallmark Entertainment. Besides flooring geeks with its ongoing exploration of wormhole technology, and the idea that single person space shuttle could change the fates of beings on the other side of the known universe, "Farscape" also blessed us with an alternative to the f-word with "frell". Sadly, this gentle faux expletive fell out of favor once "Battlestar Galactica" came into existence and frakked the term into obsolescence.

In any case, watching the adventures of John Crichton and the evolution makeup of Moya's crew is a tremendous means of frelling away the hours on a stormy weekend. Feel free to skip over the odd one-off episodes, particularly ones involving bug hunts. Yes, Moya is a living ship and somewhat prone to exotic space parasites, but do we need to dwell on that? Nope.

10. Cowboy Bebop (1998–1999)

TV-MA | 24 min | Animation, Action, Adventure

The futuristic misadventures and tragedies of an easygoing bounty hunter and his partners.

Stars: Kôichi Yamadera, Unshô Ishizuka, Megumi Hayashibara, Steve Blum

Votes: 78,328

More straightforward than "Aeon," this epic anime series has tremendous style and a killer soundtrack. And like some of the other live-action space-based series recommended on this list, it's the personalities of Spike Spiegel's crew that makes watching chapter after chapter go down oh-so-easily.

The entire series consists of only one 26-episode season, easily digestible in a day if you really wanted to blow through the whole thing. Should you want more once you've plowed your way through it, there's always Cowboy Bebop: The Movie or any of the anime series influenced by it, such as the addictive Samurai Champloo.

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