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13 shows you can binge in one day if you need a distraction

Let’s face it: None of us have spare time and we all need a distraction from … everything. And what better time-friendly distraction is there than a great TV show you can binge in one day?

If you’re looking to take your mind off current events, or if you want to catch up on some of TV’s most popular shows without taking up too much time, we’ve got some suggestions for you. From exquisite comedies to nail-biting dramas, we’ve put together a list of some excellent shows you can binge-watch in their entirety in about a day (between two and 10 hours).

Here, from shortest binge to longest, are 13 shows you can binge in a day.

1. Astronomy Club

An astronomically good time.
Credit: Lara Solanki/Netflix

How long: 2 hours (6 episodes, about 20 minutes each)

If you’re in the market for something light-hearted and low-commitment, you can’t do much better than this one-season sketch show. With a tight-knit cast of eight Black comics who honed their craft together at UCB, Astronomy Club gets funnier the zanier and more specific they get. — Angie Han, Deputy Entertainment Editor

How to watch: Astronomy Club(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on Netflix(opens in a new tab).

2. Over the Garden Wall

How long: 2 hours (10 episodes, about 10 minutes each)

Over the Garden Wall transports viewers to the mysterious Unknown, a forest that’s home to many strange characters. Among the denizens of the Unknown are brothers Greg and Wirt, whose journey home sees them cross paths with a talking bluebird, a grieving woodsman, and the dangerous Beast. Strange, atmospheric, and brought to life with stunning 2D animation, Over the Garden Wall is a perfect show to binge — especially in the fall, or if you just want some Halloween vibes. — Belen Edwards, Entertainment Reporter

How to watch: Over the Garden Wall (opens in a new tab)is now streaming on HBO Max.(opens in a new tab)

3. Los Espookys

Three humans dressed as green aliens gathered around a woman in a doctor's chair with several wires attached to her chest.
Things are getting espooky.
Credit: Jennifer Clasen/HBO

How long: 3 hours (6 episodes, about 30 minutes each)

Halloween may have come and gone, but there’s no wrong season for enjoying this silly and surreal comedy about four friends staging fake exorcisms and hauntings for paying clients — when they aren’t dealing with real mirror dimensions and water demons, that is. — A.H.

How to watch: Los Espookys(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on HBO Max.(opens in a new tab)

4. Schmigadoon!

How long: 3 hours (6 episodes, about 30 minutes each)

A show for musical lovers, by musical lovers, Schmigadoon! is a loving tribute to Golden Age musicals. Think Oklahoma!, The Music Man, and The Sound of Music. In a Brigadoon-esque plot, a couple (played by Cecily Strong and Keegan-Michael Key) whose relationship is going through a rough patch stumbles upon a magical village where life is a musical. From there, it’s a nonstop parade of joyful musical numbers, delivered by a cast of Broadway mainstays like Kristin Chenoweth, Aaron Tveit, Alan Cumming, and Ariana DeBose. Theaters kids, eat your heart out. Schmigadoon! is a treat. — B.E.

How to watch: Schmigadoon! (opens in a new tab)is now streaming on Apple TV.(opens in a new tab)

5. Heartstopper

Two boys in striped rugby shirts; one is reaching out towards the other's face.
Did your heart stop?
Credit: Netflix

How long: 4 hours (8 episodes, about 30 minutes each)

Looking for an absolutely adorable binge? Then Heartstopper, the wildly popular series based on Alice Oseman’s graphic novel, is the show for you. Follow along with the romance between Charlie (Joe Locke) and Nick (Kit Connor), two teenagers figuring out their feelings for each other. Because the show gives you so many sweet characters and relationships to root for, you’ll have no trouble going through all the episodes at once. And don’t worry once you’re done: Hearstopper has already been renewed for Seasons 2 and 3! — B.E.

How to watch: Heartstopper (opens in a new tab)is now streaming on Netflix.(opens in a new tab)

6. Literally any of the Disney+ Marvel shows

How long: 5 hours (6-10 episodes per show, 30-60 minutes each)

Whether you’re an MCU fanatic or a Marvel noob, the Disney+ TV shows set in the Marvel Cinematic Universe all do a great job of re-immersing the audience into its world of superheroes and cosmic villains. Each show has a totally different vibe — WandaVision is a riff on decades of classic sitcoms, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier is a thrilling spy series, Loki is a time-traveling drama, What If…? is an animated multiversal anthology, Hawkeye is a holiday buddy comedy, and Moon Knight is a psychedelic thriller. Just pick one, you’ll probably like it and if not, well, you didn’t really waste that much of your time. — Alexis Nedd, Senior Entertainment Reporter

How to watch: WandaVision, The Falcon and the Winter Soldier(opens in a new tab), Loki(opens in a new tab), What If…?(opens in a new tab), Hawkeye(opens in a new tab), and (opens in a new tab)Moon Knight(opens in a new tab) are all streaming on Disney+.

7. Only Murders in the Building

A young woman and two older men in warm coats stand in a courtyard; one man has a dog in a stroller.
The trio of your TV dreams.
Credit: Craig Blankenhorn/Hulu

How long: 5 hours (10 episodes, about 30 minutes each)

Boasting an excellent cast and an engaging murder mystery, Only Murders in the Building is a must-watch. A death in a New York condo building leads three residents who are also true crime fans to make their own podcast to get to the bottom of the mystery. Exciting twists and turns ensue. The show’s central trio of Steve Martin, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez bursts with comedic chemistry, elevating one of 2021’s best, most compulsively watchable TV shows to new heights. — B.E.

How to watch: Only Murders in the Building (opens in a new tab)is now streaming on Hulu.(opens in a new tab)

8. Our Flag Means Death

How long: 5 hours (10 episodes, about 30 minutes each)

Our Flag Means Death is a bait-and-switch masterpiece that lures the audience in with the hilarity of creator David Jenkins and team’s anachronistic writing set against the Golden Age of Piracy and traps ’em with the reveal that OFMD is a gay romantic comedy. Our Flag Means Death treats the near-ubiquitous queer romances of its cast with humor, respect, and often stunning tenderness, culminating in one of TV’s most satisfying slow burn relationships. — A.N. (*)

How to watch: Our Flag Means Death(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on HBO Max.(opens in a new tab)

9. The Afterparty

A group of well-dressed adults in a dance circle in a high school gym.
How great is this party?
Credit: Apple TV+

How long: 5 hours (8 episodes, about 30-40 minutes each)

Many people have attempted modern twists on the classic detective whodunnit. Apple TV+’s The After Party is a series that got the genre absolutely right. Its all star cast delivers nuanced and hilarious performances that slowly build up the mystery of who murdered a pop star after their high school reunion, all of which culminate in one of the most satisfying mystery finales in a long time. All that in just eight episodes? Don’t waste your one (or two) shot(s) to hop on this bandwagon. — A.N.

How to watch: The After Party(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on Apple TV+.(opens in a new tab)

10. Arcane

Close up on a young woman with blue hair and an angry expression.
Jinx is here, and she’s MAD.
Credit: Netflix

How long: 6 hours (9 episodes, about 40 minutes each)

Whether you’re a big fan of League of Legends or have no idea who Jinx, Vi, and Jayce are, you’re guaranteed to smash through Arcane. The show’s gorgeous animation is the perfect vehicle for an excellent story about magic, betrayal, and family ties. Trust us: as soon as you enter the cities of Piltover and Zaun, you won’t want to leave until you’ve finished all nine episodes. — B.E.

How to watch: Arcane (opens in a new tab)is now streaming on Netflix.(opens in a new tab)

11. Stath Lets Flats

How long: 7 hours (18 episodes, about 23 minutes each)

BAFTA favorite Stath Lets Flats hasn’t quite caught on in the U.S. yet, but that’s all the more reason to scope it out. Jamie Demetriou (the Bus Rodent from Fleabag) plays a horribly incompetent but strangely endearing lettings agent in London, surrounded by a similarly off-kilter collection of coworkers. — A.H.

How to watch: Stath Lets Flats(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on HBO Max.(opens in a new tab)

12. Squid Game

A group of people in green tracksuits in a room with blue clouds painted on the walls.
Is it too late to quit the Squid Game?
Credit: Noh Juhan/Netflix

How long: 9 hours (9 episodes, about 60 minutes each)

Thanks to a nail-biting premise and life-or-death stakes, it’s almost impossible not to binge the record-breaking phenomenon Squid Game in one or two sittings.

The 456 participants in the titular Squid Game are all in financial trouble and have agreed to play children’s games in exchange for money. The catch? If they lose, they die. Squid Game leans fully into the brutality of its premise, contrasting pastel playground aesthetics with tragedy and gore. However, the show also makes time for plenty of substance by fleshing out the relationships between its leads and interrogating the royally messed-up circumstances that led to each player ending up in this position. — B.E. (*)

How to watch: Squid Game (opens in a new tab)is now streaming on Netflix.(opens in a new tab)

13. Kidding

How long: 10 hours (20 episodes, about 30 minutes each)

The fact that Kidding works is, as described by its creator, a “magic trick.” No other show on television could bring its audience to a whimsical world of f-bomb dropping puppets, begin an episode with a flashback to one of the Dalai Lama’s past lives, and get Ariana Grande to cameo for a 30-minute musical episode about divorce while keeping its story on the rails, but Kidding makes it look effortless. Jim Carrey delivers a lifetime top-three performance as Jeff, a Mr. Rogers–type TV star whose long-suppressed trauma and parental grief chip away at the happy facade his show requires…with emotionally devastating (yet strangely beautiful) consequences. — A.N. (*)

How to watch: Kidding(opens in a new tab) Seasons 1 and 2 are now streaming on Showtime.(opens in a new tab)

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