We know, you've probably already watched all of Season 3 of Netflix's genius House of Cards (and if you haven't, what the heck have you been doing since last Friday, when the whole season was released??). So, as a probably too-avid TV viewer and connoisseur, I'm here to help. Here are my (and Ann Pinson's) Top 11 (my lucky number) OTHER shows to binge-watch starting tonight and heading into the weekend. If you don't believe in global climate change yet, just think back: When was the last time we were figuring out how to handle an ice day/night in MARCH?
1) The Fall (BBC). This psychological crime drama/thriller from the BBC is in its second season, and if you loved Jamie Dornan as the only-slightly-terrifying Christian Grey inFifty Shades of Grey, you'll really adore him as the completely terrifying serial killer pursued by Gillian Anderson (of The X-Files). Archie Panjabi of The Good Wife also has a major role.
2) American Horror Story (FX). The fourth season, set in a carnival, isn't available online yet, but content yourself with the first three seasons, set in a haunted house in LA, an insane asylum and a New Orleans school for budding witches. You'll want to be all caught up when Season 5 debuts in October - it's starring Lady Gaga and is subtitled "Hotel." Will Stephen King's Overlook Hotel from The Shining get a run for its scary money? We think so. Will Lady Gaga and Jessica Lange square off? We're PRAYING.
3) The West Wing (NBC). I watched every episode of this show when it first aired from 1999 to 2006, but I've totally loved watching it again and seeing nuances that I missed before. Aaron Sorkin's whip-smart, whip-fast walk-and-talk scenes are sublime, and I'm getting all gooey watching Donna (Janel Moloney) fall in love all over again with Josh (Bradley Whitford, whom we adore around here for his time on the Dallas-set, much-missed The Good Guys. And Martin Sheen as President Jed Bartlet? He's still the best president we've had in my lifetime!
4) Orphan Black (BBC America). It's a cinematic crime that Tatiana Maslany hasn't been nominated for an Emmy for her multicharacter role on this Canadian sci-fi thriller, in which she plays a woman who assumes the identify of one of her clones. Maslany plays ALL the clones in the series, which artfully raises issue about the moral and ethical implications of human cloning. She's been nominated for a Golden Globe and other lesser awards, but come on, people. Let's start a campaign for next year's Emmys.
5) The Americans (FX). My favorite current, must-watch show on TV, this show (and the far inferior, soon-I'm-sure-to-be-canceled NBC ripoff Allegiance) takes its cues from real-life incidents involving Soviet spies who, during the Cold War, were sent to America and assumed lives here as American families. All the while, they were spying on us and sending dangerous intelligence back to the Russians. See it for no other reason than the horrific wonders of 1980s wigs, clothes and cars, and for the knockout performances by Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys. Margo Martindale had a good run as a Soviet spy-runner, and she's said she'll be back on the show. Can't come soon enough.
6) Broadchurch (BBC America). I can hear you: "I tried to watch the American version, Fox's Gracepoint, and it was meh." Yes, yes it was, despite the presence of David Tennant, who stars in the BBC original, and Anna Gunn, much beloved from Breaking Bad. The original season is worth watching again, just to compare it favorably to the lackluster American version, and to get ready for the second season, which debuts tonight (am I good to you, or what?!). Also, for the exceptional performance of Olivia Colman as Detective Sargeant Ellie Miller. Sorry, Anna, Olivia's got you beat here.
7) Broad City (Comedy Central), about two hapless 20something women and their raunchy misadventures in New York City. I haven't seen this one, but Guide editor Ann Pinson says to tune in for the inappropriate workplace attire, a side of New York not seen in Sex and the City, and one of the worst roommates ever seen on TV. Each episode is only about 20 minutes, so you can get caught up quickly.
8) Lost (ABC). Another oldie-but-goodie that's worth watching again for all the clues you missed the first time around - and to once again try to figure out that spacey ending (and I'm not talking Kevin Spacey, although he might have helped it). The castaways-on-a-very-spooky island is especially intriguing and unsettling in light of the year-ago-this-weekend complete disappearance of Malaysian Airlines Flight 370.
9) Justified (FX). If you're missing Margo Martindale on this season of The Americans, watch this contemporary western for her nasty turn as crime-family matriarch Mags Bennett; she won an Emmy for the role. I fell a little bit in love with Timothy Olyphant on HBO's Deadwood, and that passion intensified with his turn as Elmore Leonard's irascible anti-hero Deputy Raylan Givens here. If you run out of TV to watch, check out the original Leonard books.
10) Call the Midwife (PBS) and Downton Abbey (PBS) can both fulfill your need for beautiful period pieces awash with gorgeous people, costumes and sets. Downton Abbeyhas the added appeal of Maggie Smith, and Call the Midwife, Ann Pinson says, makes her cry every time.
11) Breaking Bad and Better Call Saul. You may have watched BB not so long ago, but it's worth another time through, certainly, and you can use it as an excuse to then dive into the already-almost-as-good, potentially JUST-as-good Better Call Saul. BB, for those who've been undersea or on Mars for the last few years, follows mild-mannered Albuquerque chemistry teacher-turned-truly terrifying meth dealer Walter White/Heisenberg (Bryan Cranston), his young helper Jesse (Aaron Paul), Walter's wife and son (Anna Gunn, RJ Mitte) and some of the best villains we've ever seen (Giancarlo Esposito, we're talking to you). Better Call Saul, which is only a few episodes into its run on AMC, features the fabulous Bob Odenkirk as sleazy-but-lovable lawyer Saul Goodman, né Jimmy McGill, in his days pre-BB. Best of all - since it's a prequel, Mike (Jonathan Banks) is back from the dead! We're hoping for a sooner-rather-than-later appearance by Dallas actress Tina Parker as Saul's take-no-prisoners secretary, Francesca.