TV shows to watch (and finish) on a flight


You’ve booked your airfare, your bag is packed, now, you’ve just got to decide what you’re going to settle into during the flight.

Long flights while travelling are the ultimate environment for binge-watching TV: meals and booze delivered right to your own personal little tray table, nowhere to be for hours but in your seat — and full concentration.

So, instead of wasting time flicking around the airline’s entertainment catalogue, prepare in advance, and catch up on a show you’ve been meaning to spend quality time with — you’ve got hours, and you can finish the show before you land. Just check your flight length and pick one of these based on how much time you have — and be sure to leave a little buffer time to include taxi, take-off, landing, food and bathroom breaks.

You can either download from your chosen streaming service, rent, or buy. Just remember to make it all available offline before getting to the gate, lest you accidentally miss the last episode.

One show you will not see on this list? Yellowjackets.

Flight time: Three hours

A woman sits at a dinner table with two other people.

Settle into “The Chair.”
Credit: Eliza Morse / Netflix

The Chair isn’t without its flaws, but you do get a lot for a little with this smart dramedy from creators Amanda Peet and Annie Julia Wyman. Set on the campus of the fictional Pembroke University, The Chair follows English department head Dr. Ji-Yoon Kim (Sandra Oh) as she grapples with a scandal involving her fellow professor and love interest (Jay Duplass). Choppy pacing and some muddled messaging around cancel culture make this an imperfect, yet worthy binge, clocking in at six episodes in just three hours.*Alison Foreman, former Senior Entertainment Reporter

How long is it? Three hours, one season.

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

A group of young Muslim women walk in a line.

Make sure your headphones are turned up for this one.
Credit: Saima Khalid / Peacock

What started as a Channel 4 comedy short has been made into one of the must-see shows around. Created by Nida Manzoor, We Are Lady Parts is a six-part series about the formation of an all-women Muslim punk band, and every moment rules. You’ll meet Saira (Sarah Kameela Impey), Ayesha (Juliette Motamed), Bisma (Faith Omole), and Momtaz (Lucie Shorthouse) as they recruit lead guitarist Amina (Spider-Man: Far From Home and Mogul Mowgli star Anjana Vasan). As Proma Khosla writes in her review for Mashable, “Seeing five women of color lead a comedy less interested in gawking at their identifiers than exploring their inner lives feels truly revolutionary.”* — Shannon Connellan, UK Editor

How long is it? Three hours, one season

How to watch: We Are Lady Parts(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on All4 in the UK(opens in a new tab) and Peacock in the U.S.(opens in a new tab)

A man and a woman stand in a fancy home next to a painting in a gold frame.

Escapist daliance, ahoy.
Credit: Theodora Films Limited & Moonage Pictures Limited / Robert Viglasky

Directed by Emily Mortimer, BBC One’s adaptation of Nancy Mitford’s 1945 novel is an absolute riot for lovers of period dramas. Set between World Wars, The Pursuit of Love centres around the romantic whims of the audacious Linda Radlett (Lily James), as told by her close cousin Fanny Logan (Emily Beecham). But as Mashable’s Rachel Thompson points out in her review, Fleabag’s Andrew Scott steals the show as the beguiling Lord Merlin: “Prepare for eccentric hijinks, heated conversations about communism, lots of brooding romantic energy, and many entertaining outbursts from Andrew Scott.”* — S.C.

How long is it? Three hours, one season

How to watch: The Pursuit of Love(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on BBC iPlayer in the UK(opens in a new tab) and Amazon Prime Video in the U.S(opens in a new tab).

Three young people stand in a parking lot with two aluminum trays.

Meet Bear (D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai), Elora (Devery Jacobs) and Willie (Paulina Alexis).
Credit: FX on Hulu

Sterlin Harjo and Taika Waititi’s comedy debuted with the confidence and charisma every show wishes it had. Reservation Dogs follows four Oklahoma teens on daily adventures, small and large — from loitering outside a local clinic to stealing a chip truck and delivering it to local criminals. The show is created almost entirely by Native talent behind and in front of the camera; young stars D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai, Devery Jacobs, Paulina Alexis, and Lane Factor never miss a beat. The friends and their world are so authentic and inviting that it’s impossible not to get sucked in, to feel acutely for their victories, laughter, and heartache.*Proma Khosla, former Senior Entertainment Reporter

How long is it? Three hours

How to watch: Reservation Dogs(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on FX via Hulu in the U.S.(opens in a new tab) and on Disney+ in the UK.(opens in a new tab)

Two animated characters, a man and a girl, bow to each other.

If you’re looking for a contained tale, “Yasuke” rules.
Credit: Netflix

LeSean Thomas’ miniseries follows the life and legend of its title character, a Black samurai who served daimyō Oda Nobunaga. Years after Nobunaga’s death, Yasuke lives as Yassan, a boatsman who shuttles villagers along the water and speaks little of his past. But a young girl with awesome power undoes Yassan’s quiet life and alias, thrusting him back into a world of warriors, magic and more. The show blends together sci-fi, fantasy, and history as only anime can, with LaKeith Stanfield at the mic bringing Yasuke sublimely to life.*P.K.

How long is it? Three hours, one season

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

Flight time: Four hours

A woman in a bright blouse and sunglasses stands smiling in front of a plane.

You will breeze through “Loot”.
Credit: Apple TV+

Maya Rudolph leads this Apple TV+ comedy as billionaire Molly Novak, who enjoys her gigayacht but maybe not betrayal by her husband of 20 years. When she realises she has a charity foundation run by Sofia Salinas (Michaela Jaé Rodriguez), she starts on a fresh new journey with her assistant Nicholas (Joel Kim Booster), accountant Arthur (Nat Faxon) and cousin Howard (Ron Funches).*S.C.

How long is it? 4.5 hours, one season

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

Two boys lie on snow with a dog, with animated snowflakes falling.

Oh, you’d like a LOVELY time on your flight?
Credit: Netflix

From beloved webcomic to graphic novel to Netflix series, Heartstopper is a truly sweet teen romance that will steal your heart. English writer and illustrator Alice Oseman has extracted the characters of her Tapas/Webtoon/Tumblr hit 2016 webcomic and found real-life ambassadors for them in the screen adaptation directed by Euros Lyn. Heartstopper lies on the sugary sweet end of the teen dramedy series spectrum, worlds apart from Euphoria and Skins, younger but just as delightful as Sex Education, with a new gay love story akin to Love, Viktor. But it doesn’t shy away from a poignant examination of queer identity amid steadfast heteronormativity.* — S.C.

How long is it? Four hours, one season

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

A chef tends pots in a commercial kitchen.

Watch the show that had everypne obsessed.
Credit: Hulu

Created by Christopher Storer, this new FX series centres on fine dining chef Carmy Berzatto (Jeremy Allen White), who returns to his home city of Chicago after he loses a close family member. He’s tasked with running the family sandwich shop, The Original Beef of Chicagoland, with sous chef Sydney (Ayo Edebiri) and manager Richie (Ebon Moss-Bachrach). It’ll be a stressful, rewarding, and delicious journey.* — S.C.

How long is it? Four hours, one season

How to watch: The Bear(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on Hulu in the U.S.(opens in a new tab)

Flight time: Five hours

A teacher holds her hands up and smiles in the principal's office.

Spend hours in school on your flight.
Credit: Disney / Hulu

You know that kind of feel-good comedy that’s not exactly escapist because it never lets you forget the troubles of the real world, but is radiantly heartwarming all the same? That’s the kind of comedy Abbott Elementary offers, making it the top of its sitcom class.

Created by and starring Quinta Brunson, Abbott Elementary is an Office-like mockumentary that welcomes viewers behind the scenes (or into the teacher’s lounge) of a predominantly Black public school in Philadelphia, where the educators are as hilariously flawed as they are lovable. Among the staff, there are newbie/idealists Janine (Brunson) and Jacob (Chris Perfetti), jaded substitute teacher Gregory (Tyler James Williams), no-nonsense veterans (Lisa Ann Walter and Sheryl Lee Ralph), and a self-obsessed diva/problem-making principal (Janelle James). Together, they face budget issues, soiled carpets, faulty electricity, and a slew of other unglamorous problems that are just everyday issues for teachers in America. But through it all, Brunson and her A+ ensemble bring humor and humanity that makes the real world feel bearable. If you’re hungry for TV’s version of comfort food, look no further.*K.P.

How long is it? Five hours, one season

How to watch: Abbott Elementary(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on Hulu in the U.S.(opens in a new tab) and on Disney+ in the UK.(opens in a new tab)

A woman in a colourful blouse smiles and holds her arms out in an outdoor cafe.

If you’re looking for a rom-com on your flight, this is it.
Credit: BBC / HBO Max

It’s Notting Hill but not as you know it. Created by and starring New Zealand comedian Rose Matafeo and filmed in London, Starstruck leans into the mess of liking someone new, especially when one of you is a movie star. A light, smart, fun series over two seasons, Starstruck is a millennial rom-com about Jessie (Matafeo), a twenty-something working in London who has a one night stand with a famous movie star, Tom Kapoor (Nikesh Patel) on New Year’s Eve without knowing who he is. Delightfully awkward chaos, lurking paparazzi, and unsubtle friends ensue, but beyond that, this could be the start of something big.* — S.C.

How long is it? Five hours, two seasons

How to watch: Starstruck(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on BBC iPlayer in the UK(opens in a new tab) and HBO Max in the U.S.(opens in a new tab)

A group of pirates look upward on a ship as palm trees sit in the background.

The perfect piratey flight voyage.
Credit: HBO Max

Do you love pirates? Do you love rom-coms? Then you’re really going to love the excellent pirate rom-com Our Flag Means Death. Creator David Jenkins and executive producer Taika Waititi bring the Golden Age of Piracy to life with a healthy dose of comic irreverence, following the comedy of errors that is rich landowner Stede Bonnet’s quest to be a pirate. Along the way, Stede (played by frequent Waititi collaborator Rhys Darby) crosses paths with legendary swashbuckler Blackbeard (Waititi), and their ensuing relationship is what really drives the show. Lauded for its killer ensemble cast and thoughtful portrayal of queer relationships, Our Flag Means Death is worth all the hype and more.* — B.E.

How long is it? Five hours, one season

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

Two women in swimsuits sit in a pink-lit sauna space.

Two seasons, perfect watch.
Credit: Rekha Garton

Aisling Bea’s sharply written comedy/drama about two sisters navigating life in London pulls at the heart strings while making us splutter with laughter. The tone is perfect, the performances (from Bea in the lead as Aine and Catastrophe’s Sharon Horgan as her sister Shona) are top notch, and the underlying themes are handled with subtlety and care. “Just as the first season of This Way Up portrayed the reality of loneliness like nothing I’d ever seen before, the second continues its streak of capturing mental health issues with compassion and without relying on stereotypes and clichés,” wrote Mashable’s Rachel Thompson. “What’s really wonderful with This Way Up is the way the show continues to portray the reality of living with mental health challenges without pathologising the character or presenting them as a great anomaly.”* — Sam Haysom, Deputy UK Editor

How long is it? Five hours, two seasons

How to watch: This Way Up(opens in a new tab) Season 2 is now streaming now on All4 in the UK and Hulu in the U.S.(opens in a new tab)

A group of animated characters sit on a bench laughing.

Join the crew.
Credit: Netflix

Netflix’s animated series Dead End: Paranormal Park, based on the graphic novel series DeadEndia, is the latest in a long line of cartoons, including Disney’s The Owl House and Netflix’s She-Ra and the Princesses of Power, to feature LGBTQ characters and relationships. The show follows trans teen Barney (voiced by Zach Barack), his talking pug Pugsley (voiced by Alex Brightman), and his friend Norma (voiced by Kody Kavitha) as they spend the summer working at a haunted house that is actually haunted. Between dealing with demons, exorcisms, and the underworld, Barney and Norma face what might be the scariest thing of all: first crushes and/or meeting your heroes.* — B.E.

How long is it? Five hours, one season

How to watch: Dead End: Paranormal Park(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on Netflix.

A woman with a fluffy jacket sits at a dinner party looking worried.

RSVP to this mystery.
Credit: Apple TV+

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 long: 5 hours, one season

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

A young man stands with a beer smiling in the middle of a party.

So many boozy chats in the kitchen at the Pink Palace.
Credit: Channel 4

From Queer as Folk creator Russell T. Davies, It’s A Sin is a deeply moving five-part series from Channel 4 and streaming on HBO Max. Set in London in the ‘80s, the show hinges around five friends — Ritchie (Olly Alexander), Jill (Lydia West), Ash (Nathaniel Curtis), Roscoe (Omari Douglas),and Colin (Callum Scott Howells) — living together over a decade amid the AIDS epidemic as it happened in the UK. Davies has created a beautiful tribute to those who died during the epidemic, many of whose stories have been erased, and the show’s strength comes from its brilliant cast bringing humanity, joy, and integrity to wonderful, real, unforgettable characters. — S.C.

How long is it? Five hours, one season

How to watch:It’s a Sin(opens in a new tab) is streaming on on All4 in the UK(opens in a new tab) and HBO Max in the U.S.(opens in a new tab)

A man in a hooded costume stands in a ring surrounded by unconscious assailants.

Lose yourself in “Moon Knight.”
Credit: Marvel Studios

Oscar Isaac stars in the dual role of Marc Spector and Steven Grant in this MCU series, and their respective metahuman forms: Moon Knight and Mr. Knight. Spector’s powers are his reward for living in thrall to Khonshu, ancient Egyptian god of the moon. Grant’s situation is…more complicated, and best left in the realm of spoilers. His suit is spiffy as hell, though. Propelled by terrific performances from Isaac, a great supporting cast that includes Ethan Hawke and May Calamawy, and refreshingly authentic representation for Arab and Jewish viewers alike, Moon Knight is the kind of Marvel adventure we’d like to see more of in the future.* A.R.

How long is it? Five hours, one season

How to watch: Moon Knight(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on Disney+.(opens in a new tab)

Flight time: Six hours

Four teens look out a window of a trailer.

Extra extra.
Credit: Amazon Studios

Everyone loves a time travel show right now, from The Umbrella Academy to Loki to Dark and beyond. Same goes for shows set in the ’80s — let’s see: Stranger Things, GLOW, The Haunting of Bly Manor. Throw them together and you’ve got Paper Girls, a time-travelling mystery series that we’re absolutely onboard with.

Based on the comics by Brian K. Vaughan and Cliff Chiang, the series follows newspaper deliverers KJ (Fina Strazza), Erin (Riley Lai Nelet), Mac (Sofia Rosinsky), and Tiffany (Camryn Jones). It’s 1988 in Cleveland, Ohio, the day after Halloween, and the friends accidentally find themselves beamed forward to 2019 — where their adult selves are too (including Ali Wong as grown-up Erin). They’ve gotta save the world, of course, but they’ve got to outrun the militant faction of time-travellers known as the Old Watch, who have outlawed time travel.* — S.C.

How long is it? Six hours, one season

How to watch: Paper Girls(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on Prime Video.(opens in a new tab)

A man in linen sits on a camel-like animal in the desert

The Force is strong with this flight choice.
Credit: Lucasfilm

Disney+’s latest Star Wars foray, Obi-Wan Kenobi, which follows the titular hero (played by Ewan McGregor) on a quest to save Princess Leia (Vivien Lyra Blair) from the clutches of Inquisitor Reva (Moses Ingram) 10 years after the events of Episode III.*S.H.

How long is it? Six hours, one season

How to watch: Obi-Wan Kenobi(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on Disney+(opens in a new tab).

A teen girl holds her fists in combat mode in her bedroom.

Powerfully fun.
Credit: Daniel McFadden

Have you met Kamala Khan (Iman Vellani) yet? Marvel’s newest screen superhero, a Pakistani-American teen living in Jersey City, is the star of Ms. Marvel and thanks, we absolutely love her. A huge Captain Marvel fan, Khan feels like an outsider at school (classic hero origin situation). Buuuut she gets superpowers, so GO GET ‘EM. From writer Bisha K. Ali and directors Adil El Arbi, Bilall Fallah, Meera Menon, Sharmeen Obaid-Chinoy, this Disney+ plus series is one of the week’s biggest shows.*S.C.

How long is it? Six hours, one season

How to watch: Ms. Marvel(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on Disney+.(opens in a new tab)

Two people hold their foreheads together in a bar.

You’ll laugh, you’ll cry.
Credit: Netflix

Building relationships, growing up, breaking free of emotional dependency, and managing addiction — Mae Martin makes all of it funny, sad, relatable, romantic, and beautiful in the semi-autobiographical comedy drama Feel Good. With Martin in the director/writer/actor chair, the show pushes Mae (Martin) and George’s ( Charlotte Ritchie) story along into various levels while exploring the complicated nature of empathy and handling inner pain. Mae digs into their past trauma and its impact on present relationships, George works on finding time for her own power while supporting Mae, and Mae’s parents (the incredibly deadpan Lisa Kudrow and charming Adrian Lukis) try to meet them halfway.* — S.C.

How long it is? Six hours, two seasons

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

An animated superhero flys through a city.

If your seat neighbours don’t mind a bit of animated blood…
Credit: Amazon Studios

Robert Kirkman may be best-known as the creator of The Walking Dead, but Amazon is poised to change that with Invincible. For people who have read the comic, the first season of this animated Prime Video adaptation is nothing short of a dream come true for the way it’s nailing and even improving on the source. 

For everyone else, Amazon’s first season of Invincible is a standout example of a trope-obliterating superhero story that doesn’t feel like any of the other trope-obliterating superhero stories that have jockeyed for attention in recent years. That’s thanks to Invincible‘s potent mix of jaw-dropping surprises, violence that isn’t just gratuitous, and a tender, beating heart.*Adam Rosenberg, Senior Entertainment Reporter

How long is it? Just over six hours, one season

How to watch: Invincible(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on Amazon Prime Video.(opens in a new tab)

Two people on a 1960s black and shite sitcom.

Enjoy your stay in Westview.
Credit: Disney

There is truly no reason that a sitcom-pastiche-grief-metaphor starring two tertiary Avengers should be a knockout hit and television masterclass, but Jac Shaeffer knew what she was doing with WandaVision. The genre-bending series brought us back to the MCU after more than a year-and-a-half without it, and immediately elevated storytelling possibilities for Marvel, Disney, and TV itself. Paul Bettany and Elisabeth Olsen jump admirably between comedy and drama, providing a TV comedy crash course as much as plumbing new depths for their superhero characters, especially how Wanda internalizes and unpacks her grief. Wanda may have grieved alone on screen, but audiences connected week after week with the show’s understanding of love, loss, and memory.

Kathryn Hahn gives not only an all-time MCU villain performance as Agatha Harkness, but a career best that spectacularly shows off her power (pun intended). Teyonah Parris, Randall Park, and Kat Dennings give us the crossover ensemble we didn’t know we needed (Avengers who?) and built hype for future Marvel movies. We might be back to regularly scheduled programming, but we’ll always have Westview.*P.K.

How long is it? Six hours, one season

How to watch: WandaVision(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on Disney+(opens in a new tab)

Two women in green jumpsuits stand on a game set.

If you’re yet to see “Squid Game” now is your chance to catch up with the rest of the world.
Credit: Netflix

Do we really have to recap? Netflix’s South Korean superhit Squid Game landed on the service in mid-September and exploded like none other, shattering the record for the most watched Netflix show of all time (the record has since been beaten by Arcane). Its dystopian premise, in which indebted civilians compete with each other in death-match versions of schoolyard games for money — is as dark as it comes, but Squid Game‘s candy-colored aesthetic makes the deadly proceedings substantially creepier. Squid Game is a whip-smart satire that calls out the loss of individual humanity in late stage capitalism, which for some weird reason resonated with millions of people all over the world.*A.N.

How long is it? 6.5 hours, one season

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

Two animated women stand on a balcony at sunset with champagne glasses.

You don’t have to play “League of Legends” to enjoy “Arcane.”
Credit: Netflix

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 long is it? Six hours, one season.

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

A man in a suit sits across from a man in a prison uniform with a circular orange computer between them.

Time for some mischief.
Credit: Disney

Marvel’s most mischievous Asgardian got his own series in 2021, with Loki (Tom Hiddleston) charged as a time criminal following the events of Avengers: Endgame. The God of Mischief finds himself incarcerated within the sprawling halls of the mysterious Time Variance Authority, where he’s under the watch of judge Ravonna Renslayer (Gugu Mbatha-Raw) and Hunter B-15 (Wunmi Mosaku). TVA agent Mobius (Owen Wilson) throws Loki a lifeline, requesting his help to catch a much bigger fish causing chaos across time. They’ll encounter Sophia Di Martino, Jonathan Majors, and Richard E. Grant along the way, but we’re not going to tell you how. — S.C.

How long is it? Six hours, one season

How to watch: Loki(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on Disney+.

A young boy with antlers wearing a red checked shirt stands at a door.

You’ll watch “Sweet Tooth” in a heartbeat.
Credit: Kirsty Griffin

Even though it takes place after a deadly virus has decimated the human population and caused the collapse of civilization (yikes), Sweet Tooth is more of a fairy tale told from the perspective of one of the other side effects of the apocalypse — a human-deer hybrid named Gus, whose father sheltered him from the worst of the world until shelter became untenable. Gus’s journey through the world he barely knew existed is a beautiful coming-of-age story with a talented supporting cast and a flawless cute-to-concerning ratio.* —A.N.

How long is it it? Six hours, one season

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

Flight time: Seven hours

A man in a suit sits in a green cubicle typing at a computer.

We know you’re on holiday but this is worth going to an office for.
Credit: Apple TV+

Apple TV+’s excellent drama Severance is “an anti-capitalist fable with a Black Mirror twist.” It imagines a world where workers can “sever” their work memories from their civilian memories, resulting in a bizarre, sterile office world that only exists when employees are physically in the office and “regular” people who have no idea what they do in their hours at work. Led by Adam Scott in a tremendous role, the Severance cast often plays double duty — portraying their work selves and their out-of-work selves as two entirely different characters.

The creeping mystery of what exactly their company does with their labor maintains suspense through the show’s nine episodes, complete with twists no one can see coming and a cliffhanger ending that guarantees a thrilling second season.*A.N.

How long is it? Seven hours, one season

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

Three women look into a car boot, wearing suits and coats and sunglasses.

Perfect for the limbo of being in a plane.
Credit: Netflix

Gotta get up, gotta get out, gotta get into in the superb eternal loop that is Netflix’s Russian Doll. Orange Is the New Black‘s Natasha Lyonne leads this Groundhog Day-like series about a woman in New York City who lives the same day over and over. It’s perfect for watching all in one go while you’re high in the clouds in your own limbo. — S.C.

How long is it? 7.5 hours, two seasons

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

A man in a white suit and hat stands on a wooden platform in front of a crowd.

Let one series grab you heart and soul.
Credit: Apple TV+

One of the most ambitious new shows of 2022 is also among its most rewarding. Based on Min Jin Lee’s best-selling novel, Pachinko spans not only decades but also generations, following a family line from an impoverished community in 1915 Korea to a prosperous Japan in 1989. The center of this moving saga is matriarch Kim Sunja, who grows from an intrepid child (Yu-na) to a pregnant, unwed teen (Kim Min-ha), to a grandmother (Academy Award-winning star of Minari, Youn Yuh-jung) too often patronized by her doting son (Soji Arai) and hotshot banker grandson Solomon (Jin Ha).

Created by Soo Hugh, this sensational drama series slides back and forth across its timeline, paralleling Sunja’s journey with Solomon’s. Though she was raised in poverty and he in prosperity, both face challenges of racism, weighty family expectations, and impossible loves. Incredibly, though Pachinko hits on many dark elements, it’s resiliently hopeful, delivering on the promise of its exhilarating opening title sequence. If you’re looking for a series to grab you, heart and soul, Pachinko is a safe bet for satisfaction.* — Kristy Puchko, Film Editor

How long is it? 7.5 hours, one season

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

A woman in a jacket and scarf looks concerned.

If you’re looking for a crime series to lose yourself in, this is it.
Credit: Michele K. Short / HBO

HBO’s drama became a rare case of must-see viewing and appointment TV — a dying breed that the Home Box Office is one of the last networks to dominate. Where Disney’s Marvel shows were endlessly discussed yet easily spoiled, Mare’s Sunday primetime slot gave us much-needed structure as we dissected a murder investigation in Pennsylvnia. Kate Winslet and her Pennsylvania accent lead this cast which feels as real as any small town in middle America. Winslet gives Mare endless rough edges, cloaking the character’s pain in her gruff determination to solve the crime. Whether or not you saw that final twist coming, Mare sucked you in and kept you coming back.* — P.K.

How long is it? Just over seven hours, one season

How to watch: Mare of Easttown (opens in a new tab)is now streaming on HBO Max.(opens in a new tab)

Five school students stand posing together.

Apologies to your seat neighbours for the guffaws this will induce.
Credit: Channel 4

Looking for a teen comedy to distract you? Line up Derry Girls, set in the ’90s during the Troubles in Northern Ireland. You’ll meet four teens — Erin, Orla, Clare, and Michelle — who get into all sorts of trouble together at school in Derry. Honestly, it’s a series whose portrayal of Northern Irish women is a breath of fresh air — and it’s got one hell of a soundtrack. — S.C.

How long is it? 7.5 hours, three seasons

How to watch: Derry Girls(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on All 4 in the UK and Netflix in the U.S.(opens in a new tab)

Flight time: Eight hours

A man holds a woman's arm from which light power is beaming.

A superb fantasy binge-watch.
Credit: Netflix

Shadow and Bone is the rare book-to-tv adaptation that took full advantage of the time between publishing and premiere and used it to improve the source materials in multiple directions. Leigh Bardugo’s original novel was a smash hit, but Shadow and Bone the series makes the cast more diverse, adds a subplot starring characters from the companion series Six of Crows, and brings forth some of the book’s messed-up romantic politics in a thoughtful and entertaining way.

Casting Ben Barnes as the Darkling, long thought to be the ultimate fancast, is only the very, very good-looking cherry on top of a series that takes the thematic responsibilities of YA fantasy seriously while being a dang entertaining show.*A.N.

How long is it? Eight hours, one season

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

A woman sits on her bed with blurred alcohol bottles in the background.

Amy Adams gives a performance unlike any other in “Sharp Objects”.
Credit: HBO

Based on Gone Girl author Gillian Flynn’s debut novel, and brought to the small screen by Big Little Lies director Jean-Marc Vallée, HBO mini-series Sharp Objects is a must-watch subversion of the Dead Girl trope. A transfixing Amy Adams leads the charge as a reporter who investigates disturbing unsolved crimes back in her small hometown. — S.C.

How long is it? Eight hours, one season

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

A man stands at the circular cave entrance to a realm, with a bodyguard awaiting.

Enjoy Netflix’s big fantasy adaptation in one go.
Credit: Netflix

Neil Gaiman’s The Sandman found itself with a 10-episode comic adaptation from showrunner Allan Heinberg, journeying through worlds, human and otherwise, primarily hinging around the exploits of Morpheus, the Dream King (Tom Sturridge). When Morpheus is captured by mortals and his sacred objects stolen, terrible things begin to happen both in our world and realms of fantasy.

But this just means we get to meet a whole range of weird and wonderful characters, from Kirby Howell-Baptiste as Death, Gwendoline Christie as Lucifer, Vivienne Acheampong as the librarian, Lucienne, Jenna Coleman as the kickass Johanna Constantine, Asim Chaudhry and Sanjeev Bhaskar as murder-bound brothers Cain and Abel, David Thewlis as the exceptionally creepy John Dee, and so many more.* — S.C.

How long is it? Eight hours, one season

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

A woman in an orange jacket and a man in a suit jacket stand in the waves of a beach.

If you want British crime, this is British crime.
Credit: ITV / Kudos

Yep, it’s a series that has more than one season, but for our purposes, Broadchurch Season 1 is all you’ll need. Starring David Tennant, Olivia Colman, and Jodie Whittaker, this emotional British crime drama is one murder mystery you’ll find genuinely hard to get over — and one that’s intensified if you watch it all in one go. — S.C.

How long is it? Eight hours for the first season (that’s all you’ll need, unless you’re a sucker for sadness)

How to watch: Broadchurch(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on BritBox in the UK and on PBS Masterpiece on Prime Video in the U.S.(opens in a new tab)

Four women stand together looking happily surprised.

What are you waiting five?
Credit: Peacock

Every one-hit wonder deserves a second chance. In Peacock’s Girls 5eva, a pop group from the turn of the century has the opportunity to revive its former glory — and maybe make it stick. When the band’s comeback prompts a look back at their old catalogue, Dawn (Sara Bareilles) decides to write something new — “an anthem for things that aren’t perfect but are still great.” Girls 5eva comes from creator Meredith Scardino, executive produced by Tina Fey, Jeff Richmond, and Robert Carlock. It stars Bareilles, Busy Phillips, Renée Elise Goldsberry, and Paula Pell.* — P.K.

How long is it? Eight hours, two seasons

How to watch: Girls 5eva(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on Peacock in the U.S. and on Now TV in the UK.(opens in a new tab)

A woman in a suit suits in a prison consultation room with a man.

HBO’s hit on the criminal justice system.
Credit: HBO

Like an extreme version of Dude Where’s My Car?, eight-part HBO mini-series The Night Of stars a superb Riz Ahmed as Nasir Khan, a student imprisoned after waking up to a murder scene — with no recollection of what the hell happened the night before. You, along with John Turturro as Naz’s lawyer, will piece together the case, while Naz makes a prison ally of Freddy, played by the inimitable Michael Kenneth Williams. — S.C.

How long is it? 8.4 hours, one season

How to watch: The Night Of(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on HBO Max in the U.S. and Now TV in the UK.(opens in a new tab)

Flight time: Nine hours

A woman in an eye mask and hood sits at a desk across from a man in a full head mask.

If you haven’t watched “Watchmen” skip everything else and do it.
Credit: Mark Hill / HBO

Much like the 1986 comic it serves as a sequel to, HBO’s Watchmen turns a critical eye to the idea and function of masked heroes in our culture but goes beyond its source material to examine the dark realities of racism, conspiracies, and police violence in a world almost — but not quite — like our own. Anchored by a towering performance from Regina King as Angela Abar, A.K.A the masked cop Sister Night, Watchmen’s every episode dazzles while maintaining the social integrity dozens of other shows can only dream of achieving.* — A.N.

How long is it? Nine hours, one season

Where to watch: Watchmen(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on HBO Max.

A creepy manor house shown at night with the lights on.

Nothing like a jump scare in a plane.
Credit: Steve Dietl / Netflix

If you don’t mind yelping in fright in a silent plane every so often, open the front door on Netflix’s The Haunting of Hill House. A genuinely frightening drama from creator Mike Flanagan, based on Shirley Jackson’s 1959 novel, the series centres around the concept of family trauma and grief. But there are plenty of scares too, and a mystery that will get you all the way to your destination, about five siblings and their parents who live in a truly haunted house. Hill House will keep you on the edge of your plane seat until the last showdown. — S.C.

How long is it? 9.5 hours, one season

How to watch: The Haunting of Hill House(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on Netflix.

A man sits next to an outdoor fire with a bottle of wine as a woman sits with a glass behind him.

A superb horror mystery.
Credit: Eike Schroter / Netflix

OK, so you’ve seen The Haunting of Hill House? Check out Flanagan’s follow-up gothic romance horror The Haunting of Bly Manor. Set in England in the ’80s, the series follows Hill House alumni Victoria Pedretti as Dani, an American au pair hired to take care of two orphaned kids (Amelie Bea Smith and Benjamin Evan Ainsworth) at the grand, creepy Bly Manor in mysterious circumstances. They all live with the estate’s housekeeper Mrs. Grose (T’Nia Miller), chef Owen (Rahul Kohli), and groundskeeper Jamie (Amelia Eve). But the house holds a fair few secrets, and if you’re into Charlotte Brontë or Henry James, you’ll like this. — S.C.

How long is it? 9 hours, one season.

How to watch: The Haunting of Bly Manor(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on Netflix.

Flight time: 10 hours

Two men and a woman in '50s clothing sit in a diner booth.

Get weird and wild.
Credit: HBO

The Mashable review of Lovecraft Country described the first five episodes as “wild.” There was no way to know how wild the show was going to get. Lovecraft was ambitious and attempted to rewrite the white supremacist legacy of H.P. Lovecraft by using his concepts to examine the eldritch horrors of racism by anchoring tales of adventure, science fiction, and magic in Black American experiences. It was messy, perhaps not earning its ending but taking the audience on a ride so unpredictable Season 1 could almost be watched as an anthology. At its best, Lovecraft Country was brilliant and thought-provoking, and even its worst gave the audience enough material to tease out meanings and subtleties for themselves.* — A.N.

How long is it? 10 hours, one season

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

A woman in a chic black suit sits in first class on an airplane.

Turns out, you do have time for this.
Credit: Netflix

New York wasn’t ready for Anna Delvey, and neither are you. The German heiress posing as a socialite is the core of Netflix series Inventing Anna. Julia Garner stars as the real-life figure behind endless speculation and a whole lot of missing cash. Anna Chlumsky plays a reporter intent to learn Delvey’s story. But she’s met with more and more questions every time she gets close. The Shondaland series is based on Jessica Pressler’s viral article on Delvey and her antics, and it paints a picture of someone obsessed with the high-society lifestyle, no matter what the cost.* — P.K.

How long is it? 10 hours, one season

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

A man and a woman in a bushy area look up to the sky.

Chiwetel Ejiofor and Naomie Harris bring “The Man Who Fell to Earth” to life.
Credit: Aimee Spinks / Showtime

The Man Who Fell to Earth is a sequel to the 1976 film of the same name starring David Bowie, and it rules. It pays homage to its predecessor while spinning a smart, all-too-relevant story about an alien attempting to save his homeworld from total collapse. That alien is Faraday (Chiwetel Ejiofor), and his quest on Earth is to find scientist Justin Falls (Naomie Harris) and recruit her to his cause. Ejiofor and Harris are both brilliant, as is Bill Nighy, who takes on Bowie’s role from the original film. If you’re looking for smart, fascinating science fiction, this should be at the top of your list.*B.E.

How to watch: The Man Who Fell to Earth(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on Showtime.

How long is it? 10 hours, one season

A woman in a leopard print shirt and a girl in a black jacket stand in front of a mountain.

Deborah and Ava in full force
Credit: Karen Ballard / HBO Max

Hacks is many things: an incredible vehicle for Jean Smart; a provocative piece about the business of comedy; an odd-couple two-hander about work relationships that become all-consuming. The show, about a falling star older comedian (Smart) and the once-hot, now-blacklisted writer (Hannah Einbinder) that begins to work with her on her Las Vegas standup act, is snappy and smart, with plenty to say about women who never got their due. It could easily have turned into a screed against Gen Z or Boomers, but instead, Hacks (which was co-created by Lucia Aniello, Paul W. Downs, and Jen Statsky) is a thoughtful exploration of change and comedy, engaging to both those who know a lot about the inside of Hollywood as well as those who look on from afar. The show is engrossing and funny — a binge you’ll be thinking about far after the surprising and stirring final moments.*Erin Strecker, former Entertainment Editor

How long is it? 10.5 hours, two seasons

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

Two school students covered in blood look horrified and hold onto each other.

School sucks and then there’s zombies.
Credit: Netflix

Combine zombie outbreak with teen drama and you’ve got All of Us Are Dead. Based on the webtoon by Joo Dong-geun, the South Korean series was written by Chun Sung-Il, directed by Lee Jae-kyoo and Kim Nam-su, with superb cinematography from Park Se-seung. The series takes place during a pretty damn intense zombie apocalypse that emerges from Hyosan High School, wherein students balance fighting off their former classmates with…their crushes. — S.C.

How long is it? 10.5 hours, one season

How to stream: All of Us Are Dead(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on Netflix.(opens in a new tab)

Flight time: 11 hours

Two men face each other in a cafe.

Credit: Apple TV+

You’d better believe Ted Lasso is one of the most binge-worthy watches on this list. Each wholesome, hilarious, moving episode comes brimming with delightfulness (and Easter eggs) only to be brought back into line with Roy Kent’s perfect swearing. Created by Jason Sudeikis, Bill Lawrence, Brendan Hunt, and Joe Kelly, the two-season series follows the titular Ted Lasso (Sudeikis), an American football coach who is brought in to coach English Premier League team AFC Richmond by the club’s owner, Rebecca Welton (Hannah Waddingham). Only problem is, Lasso and his 2IC Coach Beard (Hunt) know little about this type of football at all. But this is simply where the show begins, and where it goes is worthy of a long flight. — S.C.

How long is it? 11 hours, two seasons

How to watch: Ted Lasso(opens in a new tab) is now streaming on Apple TV+.

Two women stand together outside at night looking worried.

Credit: Sayeed Adyani / Netflix

If you’re after an addictive, easy binge-watch during your flight, Dead to Me is your go-to. The dark comedy’s first season follows Jen (Christina Applegate) who scrambles to solve her husband’s hit-and-run murder. In the meantime, she befriends Judy (Linda Cardellini), who’s dealing with her own loss. But there’s a big secret afoot, all leading to the Season 1 finale, at which point you’ll want to get up, stretch, and dive straight into Season 2. — S.C.

How long is it? 11 hours, two seasons

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

Three people peer around the corner of a fancy apartment building door.

If you love a good comedy mystery, pull on a sweater and get into this.
Credit: Hulu / Disney+

Spend hours solving murders at the Arconia with our three podcasting heroes in Only Murders in the Building Season 1, and Season 2.

Martin Short, Steve Martin, and Selena Gomez star as Mabel Mora, Charles-Haden Savage, and Oliver Putnam, three true crime podcast superfans and residents at a fancy Upper West Side apartment who become entangled in each other’s lives after murder becomes afoot in the building. But there’s a bigger question afoot: why is everyone always wearing sweaters?

How long is it? 11.5 hours, two seasons

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

Flight time: 12 hours

A woman with blonde hair and a pink shirt looks shocked speaking on the phone.

The truth will either set you free or make your husband leave you. One or the other.
Credit: Jennifer Clasen / HBO

Adapted from Liane Moriarty’s best-selling book, directed by Wild‘s Jean-Marc Vallée, and set in the sedate, well-to-do Californian beach town of Monterey, this captivating Golden Globe winner is impossible to close a window on. Big Little Lies features one of the biggest little casts on television: Nicole Kidman, Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern (raaaaage), and Zoe Kravitz, along with Alexander Skarsgard and Adam Scott. Then, in Season 2, Meryl Streep lands, and hoo boy. — S.C.

How long is it? 12.5 hours, two seasons

How to watch: Big Little Lies is now streaming on HBO Max in the U.S(opens in a new tab). and Now TV in the UK.(opens in a new tab)

A group of people in hi-vis vests and trash spears stand in a line.

A criminally fun watch.
Credit: Amazon Studios

When you combine the powerful forces of The Office co-creator Stephen Merchant and acting legend Christopher Walken, good things are bound to happen. Splicing silly comedy with elements of crime thriller, Merchant’s six-episode series sees seven mismatched strangers (Merchant and Walken alongside Rhianne Barreto, Gamba Cole, Darren Boyd, Clare Perkins and Eleanor Tomlinson) being brought together to complete their community service in Bristol, UK. The show is a little patchy in places but there are enough laughs to keep it ticking over and an entertaining storyline involving a bag of stolen money and some criminals desperate to get it back. — S.H.

How long is it? 12 hours, two seasons

How to watch: The Outlaws is available to stream now on BBC iPlayer in the UK(opens in a new tab) and on Prime Video in the U.S.(opens in a new tab)

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