6 Netflix Marathons to Get You From Christmas to New Year's

6 Netflix Marathons to Get You From Christmas to New Year's
by Jessie Hunter
December 23, 2015

THE DAYS BETWEEN CHRISTMAS AND NEW YEAR'S ARE, LET'S FACE IT, A BIT STALE.

After a month of seemingly endless holiday parties, gift shopping, and travel, Christmas serves as a kind of energetic exhale. By the 26th, everyone is exhausted and just trying to make it through a week when work is slow, family members are a little tired of one another, and friends are still scattered about in their respective hometowns. The stage is set for America’s new favorite pastime: the Netflix marathon. {Click to Tweet}

Without further adieu, here are the six shows most worthy of your week of yuletide recovery. Yes, some will give you new professional insight, but we’re also big into taking a mental break now and again with some classic sitcom comedy.

6. GILMORE GIRLS

Number of Episodes: 154

Average Episode Length: 45 minutes

From 2000 to 2007, the world was enriched with the fast-talking witticisms of Lorelai and Rory Gilmore. Remarkable for its "Aaron Sorkin meets turn-of-the-millennium Girl Power" dialogue, and packed with more cultural references than you can shake a Bop It at. Gilmore Girls is the story of the bond between a mom (Lorelai) and the daughter (Rory) she had at 16... but we probably don’t need to tell you that, right?

Coming from someone who was born to a single teenage mother, Gilmore Girls always felt like an earnest representation of the best of the mother-daughter bond, the highs and lows of first loves, secret crushes and the ironman-style, academic athleticism that any motivated kid endures for 4 years of high school. Rewatching the show a decade and a half later, I found myself increasingly relating to Lorelai, a wild child turned entrepreneur, and as we’ve all aged with the show, I’ll bet you will too.

Best For: Those of us that need a little heart-warming to round out 2015, plus some ultra strong female leads. Pairs nicely with knitting.

Bonus: It was recently announced that Netflix has signed on to produce four brand new 90-minute episodes of Gilmore Girls. This is your opportunity to get all caught up.

Portlandia is for those who need to end their free-range organic, artisanal Christmas on a lighter note.

5. 30 ROCK

Number of Episodes: 138

Average Episode Length: 21 minutes

If you’re anything like me, you think that Tina Fey hung the proverbial moon and stars in the sky. She’s funny, she’s smart, she’s unabashedly ambitious, and this is the work that showcases it all. 30 Rock, which also stars heavy hitters Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan and Jane Krakowski, is dense with punchlines, pratfalls and affectionate ribbing of broadcast television. {click to tweet} But it’s also a great medium for covering common issues for women in the fast-paced, post-digital workplace. Story arcs range in intensity from Liz trying to figure out if and how motherhood fits into her life and professional goals to the quiet drumbeat of questions surrounding Kenneth’s age.

Best For: Laughing off holiday stress without the burden of heavily emotional plotlines.

Bonus: Pre-game your Fey-a-thon with the movie Sisters, starring Tina and Amy and written by SNL writing alum Paula Pell. It comes out Christmas Day.

4. PORTLANDIA 

Number of Episodes: 47

Average Episode Length: 22 minutes

Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein are the cool older brother and sister pair we all wish we had (can you imagine the record collections you could mooch?). {Click to Tweet} Carrie was a riot grrrl and Fred was on SNL and continues as a bandleader for Late Night with Seth Meyers. That pedigree alone should be enough to get you on the Portlandia train. A combination of scripted dialogue and improv, Portlandia is a loosely tied together string of skits, many with recurring characters like Candace and Toni, the operators of Women and Women First, the feminist bookstore.

Best For: Those who need to end their free-range organic, artisanal Christmas on a lighter note.

Bonus: Carrie Brownstein just released her memoir, Hunger Makes Me a Modern Girl, with stories of growing up with a closeted gay father, an anorexic mother, and her own misadventures as one of the most recognized faces in the underground feminist hardcore punk movement of the 1990s. It’s honest and empowering. We think it just might be this year’s best #Girlboss story.

3. PARKS & RECREATION 

Number of Episodes: 125

Average Episode Length: 21 minutes

What was originally supposed to be a spinoff of The Office turned into a vehicle for the world to welcome characters like Ron Swanson, Leslie Knope and Tom Haverford. Each has become its own cultural archetype in an astoundingly short period of time, leaving us with excessive meat appreciation, excessive professional enthusiasm, and excessive nickname generation (parm parm chickie chick, anyone?). What makes a Parks and Rec marathon unusual is you’ll want to start with Season Two, then watch Season One. The show took a season to find its voice and you’ll have an easier time falling in love with Pawnee if you flip-flop.

Best For: When you want to feel like you’re hanging out with your warmest, sincerest and funniest friends. But without having to actually hang out with them because they’re still in Eagleton with their rich snobby extended family and you’ll have to wait until they get home, thankyouverymuch.

Bonus: Amy Poehler released her memoir/collection of essays/awesomeness manifesto, Yes Please, last year and the audiobook makes for a spectacular companion on the long drive home from grandma’s house.

2. KEN BURNS: CANCER—THE EMPEROR OF ALL MALADIES

Number of episodes: 3

Average episode length: 2 hours

This year Ken Burns, King of Slow-Panning-On-Still-Images-For-PBS, released his documentary interpretation of the Pulitzer Prize winning book The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer, by Siddhartha Mukherjee. Cancer deviates from Burns’s typical format by weaving contemporary stories of patients and oncologists in with the detective story of cancer’s scientific history. Narrated by Edward Herrmann, an actor most known for playing Richard Gilmore on Gilmore Girls (who himself passed away from cancer this year), the documentary pulls you in with its fascinating approach to science while warming your heart with incredible humanizing interviews.

Best for: When you need some intellectual stimulation to go with all  your holiday cheer.

Bonus: Netflix currently has five additional Ken Burns documentaries, so when you can’t get enough of Emperor you can spend weeks immersed in classics like Prohibition, The West, and The Civil War.

If you’re anything like me, you think that Tina Fey hung the proverbial moon and stars in the sky.

1. MASTER OF NONE 

Number of Episodes: 10

Average Episode Length: 30 minutes

If you have somehow made it to late December without knocking Master of None out in a single weekend, I applaud you. You are clearly a pillar of society with incredible productivity and an innate ability to stick to your to do list. Master of None is the brainchild of Aziz Ansari and his Parks and Rec colleague, Alan Yang. The show focuses on how adults in their late 20s and early 30s deal with a world so filled with options that decision paralysis is a near daily occurrence. The show explores friendships, race, dating, feminism, family, and career in a tone that somehow blends humor, sincerity, and earnestness without ever crossing into preachy.

Best For: When you need a little emotional support on how complicated it is to be an adult, especially after spending days with relatives asking when you’re going to get a real job/married/pregnant.

Bonus: Aziz Ansari also released a book this year, Modern Romance. Part humor essays, part sociological examination of dating, sex, the internet, cheating and marriage in the 21st century. It’s a good one to tackle when you’re ready to actually start thinking strategically about all the ideas Master of None got going in your head.

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What are your favorite relaxation tools over the holidays? Share with us in the comments below anything you'll read/ listen to/ watch over your break.