10 binge-worthy Netflix shows to add to your summer watchlist

by Gavin Meichelbock

Summer vacation means sleeping until noon, staying inside and trying to forget whatever happened in previous academic year — and a big part of that is done by watching massive amounts of television. However, with so many different streaming platforms, each with an endless archive of content, it can be impossible to know where to start. Whether people have their own list of series they want to catch up on or are looking for something new, here are ten binge-worthy Netflix shows people should certainly add to their watchlist.

“Squid Game: The Challenge”

Everyone and their mother watched the acclaimed Korean drama series “Squid Game,” but they might not have stuck around for the American spin-off. “Squid Game: The Challenge” is the absurd reality game show based on the original series that sees people from all over the world take on the trials of “Squid Game” — except no one dies this time. Viewers will laugh as the contestants take on Red Light, Green Light, the Dalgona cookies, the glass bridge, the most intense game of Battleship ever and the hardest challenge of them all, living with 455 strangers in one giant room. Filled with twists, turns, surprising eliminations, incredibly entertaining people and a $4.56 million cash prize, “Squid Game: The Challenge” is a binge-worthy series people should check out.

“The Sandman”

While every superhero show is going bigger, more violent or multiversal, “The Sandman” offers a singular and introspective journey. Based on Neil Gaiman’s graphic novel of the same name, “The Sandman” follows Morpheus, the Lord of Dreams, as he must regain control of The Dreaming after being imprisoned for 100 years. Tom Sturridge expertly captures the distant otherworldliness and complexity required to portray the Lord of Dreams. He is also supported by a scene-stealing ensemble cast, with Patton Oswalt as Morpheus’s talking raven sidekick, Matthew, and Boyd Holbrook as the charismatic serial killer, the Corinthian. The show is not only elevated by its performances but its aesthetic as well. The look of the series brings to life the ethereal plains of The Dreaming and Hell in such a captivating way that viewers might just think they are in fact dreaming. When audiences need a palette cleanser from watching the bloody mayhem of “Invincible” season two and “The Boys” season four, “The Sandman” delivers an artfully crafted superhero’s journey.


If you don’t know what this show is about, it’s okay because those who have seen it do not know either — and that is why it is so great. “1899” is an eight-episode, multilingual German sci-fi period piece that follows a group of immigrants traveling to New York whose run-in with a mysterious ghost ship, the Prometheus, creates havoc amongst the passengers. The feel of the show is a combination of the movies “Titanic,” “The Matrix” and the TV series “Lost.” The level of intrigue the show manages to create is unbelievably intense as passengers start dying for unknown reasons and are haunted by all-too-vivid nightmares. Unexplainable passages start to appear on the ship and the truth about the Prometheus begins to unravel. While none of this intrigue is ever paid off because the questions are never answered and the finale comes out of nowhere, creating even more questions, “1899” is still a phenomenal season of television worth checking out.


Everyone has seen bits and pieces of “Seinfeld,” but they probably haven’t watched the entire show. Simply put, “Seinfeld” is a show about nothing that will have viewers laughing their butts off every single episode. Jerry Seinfeld and Larry David manage to create wildly entertaining and implausible scenarios that constantly build to become even more outrageous and even more funny as the episode develops, culminating in a hilarious final punchline. Beyond the core four of Jerry, George, Elaine and Kramer, the cast of characters that surrounds them are equally memorable and just as hilarious. Soup Nazi saying, “No soup for you,” is a quote everyone has heard at some point in their life. Newman, played by Wayne Knight, is the best annoying neighbor viewers will just love. George’s parents explaining the history of Festivus will never not be one of the series’ best jokes. “Seinfeld” is still one of the funniest shows of all time that people need to check out if they somehow haven’t already.


Beautiful scenery, clever writing and a charming lead performance from Omar Sy all come together to make this binge-able series. “Lupin” follows Assane Diop who, after picking pockets on the streets of Paris as a boy, becomes inspired by gentleman thief, Arsène Lupin, and decides to take revenge on the people who framed his father. Since the show is based around the schemes of a larger-than-life literary character, the entire series has a distinct flair to it. Diop uses a bunch of costumes, optical illusions and fake identities to pull off his heists, which are always a blast to watch unfold. The writing for the show is also remarkable because of how it weaves its story together. Every pocket Lupin picks or piece of jewelry he steals matters to the plot, but audiences won’t know how until the end when it all comes together in a smart and satisfying conclusion. With three seasons, “Lupin” will steal viewers’ time in the best way possible.

“Cobra Kai”

For Netflix subscribers who are missing the ’80s nostalgia of “Stranger Things,” tune in for a blast from the past that lands every punch. “Cobra Kai” is a sequel series to the 1984 film, “The Karate Kid.” The show follows Johnny Lawrence, the antagonist from the first film, as he finds meaning in his life by reopening his old dojo, Cobra Kai, and becoming a sensei. The show is incredibly over the top in all of the best ways. Every notable character from the franchise, except Hilary Swank, appears with an “Avengers: Endgame” level introduction. Lawrence’s political incorrectness and the training exercises he puts his students through are absurdly entertaining. Speaking of the karate kids, they are so angsty that they are constantly starting fights with each other simply because they do not know how to talk through their issues — and it’s amazing. With the first two parts of the final season coming out this year, strike first, strike hard, strike fast and catch up on “Cobra Kai.”

“Somebody Feed Phil”

This show is pure unashamed happiness and will make anyone and everyone smile. “Somebody Feed Phil” is about Philip Rosenthal, a guy who loves food more than anyone else on the planet — he literally does a happy dance when he eats something he likes. While it sounds corny, it is incredibly sweet and heartwarming. He travels around the world, going to places such as Chicago, Dubai, Bangkok, Copenhagen and Iceland, searching for the best cuisine each new location has to offer. Rosenthal is always joined by local guides and restaurant owners who expose him to the culture behind the mouthwatering dishes he is about to eat. In each episode, he also does non-food-related excursions. He rides camels, trains falcons, inner tubes and so much more, all while cracking jokes with the biggest smile on his face. So before that big summer trip, check to see if somebody fed Phil there. It might just be the best dish ever.


Escape into an alternate history of Hollywood’s Golden Age from “American Horror Story” showrunner Ryan Murphy. “Hollywood” centers on a young, diverse group of aspiring actors and filmmakers in post-WWII Hollywood as they try to flip the script and make it in the industry, no matter the costs. The story is gripping from beginning to end and has an immensely satisfying conclusion. The acting is impeccable as it includes notable faces from before they got big. Jake Picking from “Top Gun: Maverick,” horror darling Samara Weaving and Superman himself, David Corenswet, all share the spotlight throughout the series’ seven episodes. While “Hollywood” is a very serious drama, it still manages to capture the glitz, glamor and fun of the Golden Age of cinema. Scene transitions are all accompanied by music from jazz greats of the era such as Ella Fitzgerald, Glenn Miller and Doris Day. The cinematography in the opening credits alone is breathtaking and will make viewers not want to click the “skip” button. For an expertly crafted romp with a serious story, great characters and that classic 1950s style, “Hollywood” is a must-watch this summer.


“Stranger Things” meets “Back to the Future” meets some creepy family drama in this one-of-a-kind time travel thriller. “Dark,” at its core, is about four families whose relationships become increasingly fractured, intertwined and complex as they get further and further entrenched in the sinful history of their small German town. Even though this is the narrative through-line for the show’s three seasons, it is so much more than a simple family drama because of “Dark’s” complex time travel element. Working on 33-year cycles, the time travel is meticulously explored and expanded upon throughout each episode. Unlike other time travel stories that have fun playing in the sandbox of jumping through time and space, the time travel in “Dark” truly lives up to the name as it feels properly dangerous with universe-ending stakes. While this may seem like a daunting and overly convoluted watch, the relationships in this show, specifically between its two love interests Jonas and Martha, beautifully ground the hard-core sci-fi elements. On a streaming service filled with so much mindless clutter, “Dark” might just be one of the best shows Netflix will ever produce.

“Blue Eye Samurai”

“Blue Eye Samurai” is a criminally underrated show that proves animation is not only for kids. Set against the backdrop of Edo-period Japan, “Blue Eye Samurai” is a revenge-driven narrative about Mizu, a half-white warrior, hunting down the European colonizers who raped her mother. The animation is top-notch and beautifully well-rounded. It delivers breathtaking grounded visuals while also delving into its anime influences just enough to allow for more dynamic and creative fight sequences. “Blue Eye Samurai” pulls no punches with its storytelling as it is, in part, developed by Michael Green After helping to write the Oscar-winning films “Logan” and “Blade Runner 2049,” Green brings his skill of crafting broken heroes to make Mizu three-dimensional. The narrative complexity that comes from each of the character’s tragic pasts and dedication to honor and inner demons, give the story and its characters such rich, emotional depth. “Blue Eye Samurai” does not let viewers go once it starts and will leave them demanding a second season.

This summer, don’t go outside, watch one of these binge-worthy series on Netflix instead.

Featured Image via Diego – stock.adobe.com

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