Binge Guide

Your Biweekly Binge: Sam Raimi's Epic Horror Series, a Political Showdown, and One for the Psych-Os

What's the RT staff watching while stuck at home? We're giving you a new biweekly guide to inspire your next big binge.

by | May 21, 2020 | Comments

The Rotten Tomatoes staff is working remotely right now, doing the responsible thing and “social distancing.” And like much of America, and the world, we’re spending a lot of our time – when we’re not working, of course – catching up on the shows and movies waiting for us on our watchlists, and digging around the various streaming services to find previously undiscovered gems. Every second week for the next little while, we will be highlighting what our staff members are watching while at home in the hope that we’ll inspire you to discover something new and Fresh, and that you can watch along with us.

  • Check out last week’s Biweekly Binge, with The Last KingdomThis CountryUpload, and more

50 States of Fright: Season 1 (2020) 85% (Quibi)

Quibi’s first set of splashy “movies in chapters” mostly failed to connect with critics and audiences, but its second wave has been more promising — especially this epic Sam Raimi–produced horror anthology series. The idea is simple but ambitious: a horror story for all 50 states, each directed by a different horror filmmaker or filmmaking team, and each unfolding in two-to-three chapters that can run no more than 10 minutes. “The Golden Arm (Michigan),” directed by Raimi himself and starring Rachel Brosnahan and Travis Fimmel, is the best of the five stories released so far, a strange tale of just how far a man will go to please his wife. (Hint, he might just melt down a bunch of gold to make her a very fancy prosthetic that she definitely does not want to let go of!) But even the lesser entries – “America’s Largest Ball of Twine (Kansas),” among them – are elevated by sharp writing and direction, great visual effects, and the presence of big-name stars like Ming-Na Wen and Asa Butterfield. Now, if only I could cast all this terror to my TV! – Joel Meares, Editor-in-Chief

Where to watch: Quibi

Commitment: 1.5 hours (five stories so far)

Detroiters 94% (Comedy Central )

If you’re having a hard time waiting for the second season of I Think You Should Leave to arrive on Netflix, you should definitely check out Detroiters with Tim Robinson and Sam RichardsonDetroiters may be more accessible to the average viewer than I Think You Should Leave, but it’s far from being a traditional 30-minute sitcom. The series ran for only two seasons on Comedy Central, but quickly developed a cult following thanks to its rich, extremely quotable, semi-fictional world with its esoteric characteristics, businesses, and local celebrities. Tim and Sam play… well, Tim and Sam, lifelong best friends who run an advertising business in their hometown of Detroit. They also live next door to each other, and Tim is married to Sam’s sister. The kind of low-budget commercials they create are instantly recognizable to anyone who grew up with a local television station — Mad Men this is not. Sam, Tim, and their clients’ spirit of entrepreneurship and wholehearted investment in literally everything they do, however, sucks you in completely. Detroiters is a beautiful balance of the randomness of sketch comedy and the groundedness of a particular place. Sometimes I wonder what Tim and Sam would be up to now if they were still on the air, and console myself with the fact Netflix has picked up canceled shows before. – Sara Ataiiyan, Review Curator

Where to Watch: FandangoNOWComedy Central, Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, iTunes.

Commitment: Approx. 7 hours (across two seasons)

Mrs. America: Season 1 (2020) 96% (FX on Hulu)

Cate Blanchett portrays conservative activist Phyllis Schlafly with relish in the FX on Hulu series about the movement to ratify the Equal Rights Amendment. The two-time Oscar winner’s performance would alone be worth the binge, but she is joined by an all-star cast appearing as some of the era’s most iconic women, including Rose Byrne as Gloria Steinem, Margo Martindale as Bella Abzug, Uzo Aduba as Shirley Chisholm, Elizabeth Banks as Jill Ruckelshaus, and Tracey Ullman as Betty Friedan. The cast also boasts Sarah Paulson, John Slattery, Jeanne Tripplehorn, Ari Graynor, Melanie Lynskey, and Kayli Carter. Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck (Captain Marvel) direct four of the nine episodes. Come for the star power, stay for an engaging exploration of the 1970s culture wars that divided the country, and the repercussions of which the U.S. still feels — sometimes painfully endures — today. – Debbie Day, Sr. TV Editor

Where to watch: FX on Hulu

Commitment: Approx. 8 hours (with one more episode dropping next week)

No Passport Required  (PBS)

Hosted by chef Marcus Samuelsson, PBS’s No Passport Required takes viewers on a culinary tour of immigrant communities nationwide. Each episode focuses on a single community in a single city — from Seattle’s thriving Filipino culinary world to the Nigerian–West African community that’s redefining the Houston dining scene — diving deep into the history, culture, and context of each. Along the way, Samuelsson encounters plenty of chefs, but also poets, musicians, business people, and other community members, each of whom fleshes out a new nuance or historical nugget. It’s a refreshing reminder that food is not just for eating, but rather an essential part of community building. Samuelsson (ChoppedIron Chef) is the perfect host, bringing energy and enthusiasm to every interview and new plate of food (all while sporting an impressive wardrobe that will make you wish you were a hat person). In a time when it’s hard to feel connected, No Passport Required provides a hopeful reminder that together we can get through just about anything — especially a good meal. – Haña Lucero-Colin, TV Curation Manager

Where to watch: PBS, Amazon Prime Video, iTunes

Commitment: Approx. 11 hours (across two seasons)

Psych 89% (NBC)

Psych contains all the gripping mystery elements of your favorite police procedural — think Castle or The Mentalist — but tempers it with the whimsical comedy of Scrubs or Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Shawn Spencer (James Roday) has an extraordinary gift for detective work — a gift drilled into him by his strict policeman father during childhood — but he only uses that gift to impress women and make a meager living calling in tips to the Santa Barbara PD for rewards. Until, that is, the police become convinced Shawn could have only gotten his highly specific information from the inside. Unable to prove his innocence, Shawn “admits” he solved the crimes using psychic abilities and, impressed by his “paranormal” gift, the SBPD contracts Shawn and his bookworm best buddy/partner, Gus (Dulé Hill), to help solve crimes when normal methods won’t work. Psych’s cult following is so strong, the cast and crew have managed to reunite for two TV movies after the show was canceled in its eighth season; 2017 saw the release of Psych: The Movie on USA Network, and Psych 2: Lassie Come Home will debut on NBC’s Peacock streaming service in July, so now’s the perfect time to watch every episode and hit the discussion boards with other Psych-Os before that big day!– Tyler Lorenz, Media Coordinator

Where to watch: Amazon Prime Video, FandangoNOW, iTunes, Vudu,

Commitment: Approx. 88 hours (eight seasons, one extended musical episode)

Check out our regular May Binge GuideThumbnail image: © Quibi, © Comedy Central, Sabrina Lantos / © FX

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