The Queen's Gambit
If you, like us, gulped down the seven episodes of The Queen’s Gambit, and are aching for more (or thinking about getting into the game of chess in the meantime), we don’t blame you. May we suggest the novel that tells the story of orphan Beth Harmon who plays her first game of chess at age eight, and by sixteen is competing for the U.S. Open championship? Reading about her rise to fame and her descent into isolation and escapism is just as compelling as re-watching the Netflix series, we promise. Checkmate!
Fleabag: The Scriptures
After its recent epic Emmys sweep (Outstanding Comedy, Casting, and Lead Actress), it’s probably safe to say that anyone who hasn’t already fallen head over heels for this boundary-pushing, darkly hilarious, and one-of-a-kind series is curious about what exactly Phoebe Waller-Bridge has accomplished with Fleabag. In Fleabag: The Scriptures, we’re treated to not only the complete scripts from both seasons but also Waller-Bridge’s annotations, director’s commentary, and other bits and pieces that reveal even more about the complex, troubled, and magnetic protagonist who captured our hearts the first time she gazed mischievously into the camera.
Stranger Things: Darkness on the Edge of Town
No spoilers, but if the most recent season of Stranger Things left you desperate for more of everyone’s favorite grumpy yet lovable Hawkins police chief, you’ll want to add this one to your cart. The novel delves into Hopper’s mysterious past, revealing that his troubles with the unexplainable began long before he stepped foot in the small town where he’d come to adopt a strange girl named Eleven.
I Like to Watch
If you’ve ever enjoyed a piece of literary criticism about television, you won’t want to miss this one. Emily Nussbaum, culture critic for the New Yorker, is indisputably one of the sharpest and most discerning artists in this field. From reckoning with our desire (or lack thereof) to separate art from the artist in the #MeToo era to chronicling the rise of the female screw-up, this essay collection has something for every television lover who knows that watching TV can offer so much more than mindless entertainment.
T. Christian Miller
In this gripping, haunting novel—now a Netflix limited series—a young woman reports a rape that police and investigators doubt from the start and eventually classify as a false report. Years later, when another sexual assault case bears undeniable similarities to the dismissed young woman’s, a new team of detectives discovers a chain of crimes that point to a much more sinister mastermind, raising poignant questions about who we choose to believe, and why.
Who can deny the cultural impact of the show that put Central Perk on the map? In this special edition timed to the show’s 25th anniversary (yes, you read that right—feel old yet?), Saul Austerlitz takes you back to 1994, when Rachel, Ross, Joey, Chandler, Monica, and Phoebe were first introduced to audiences nationwide. Chock-full of exclusive, revealing interviews with the show’s cast, crew, and creators, this zany retrospective is a comprehensive look into a show whose legacy has stood the test of time.
A Discovery of Witches
Devoted fans of Deborah Harkness, your hour has finally come: the television adaptation for the first installment in this beloved trilogy is headed your way! If you’re new here, this thrilling tale follows a young scholar and descendant of witches, Diana Bishop, who embarks on an unforgettable adventure into the underworld after discovering an ancient, enchanted manuscript. Think Harry Potter meets Twilight meets Outlander. Need we say more?
All the Pieces Matter
There’s no downplaying the incredible impact that The Wire has had on the way we think about the criminal justice system, systemic bias, structural racism, and the failed war on drugs, among other critical issues. Not to mention, it’s boosted the careers of some of the most talented actors of our time, including Idris Elba, Dominic West, and Michael B. Jordan. Now, for the first time ever, we’re getting an incisive behind-the-scenes dive into the creation of this critically acclaimed series.
Looking for Alaska
What can one say about this instant YA classic that hasn’t already been said? If you’ve somehow missed the boat on this one, prepare yourself for a coming-of-age story that defines the post–Perks of Being a Wallflower, pre–500 Days of Summer generation. You’ll meet Miles Halter, who flees his boring life to find his “Great Perhaps” at boarding school, where he encounters the slyly explosive Alaska Young instead. Read this one before bingeing the Hulu series, which aired in October of 2019.
The Crown: The Official Companion, Volume 2
If historical pomp and circumstance is your jam, Robert Lacey is here to deliver your next fix: a follow-up edition that delves into the history behind seasons 2 and 3 of The Crown. Learn about the real struggles facing the Queen during a charged political era and be prepared to marvel at “Truth vs. Invention,” which highlights the show details lifted directly from history and those added for dramatic tension.
Modern Love, Revised and Updated
Ah, love. No matter the state of your romantic life, there’s nothing like settling in with a juicy, tragic, or heartwarming story about the most complex of human ties. And what better place to find some of the best writing on matters of the heart than the New York Times Modern Love column? Acquaint yourself with these incredible stories before you watch the upcoming Amazon series that features stars like Anna Hathaway, Dev Patel, and Catherine Keener. After all, who couldn’t use a little more love in their life?
We’re in a golden age of TV, and there are so many shows to catch up on. To parse through all the shows you’ve been meaning to watch, might we suggest approaching your TBW (to-be-watched, of course) list from a different angle? If you’re looking for a way to re-enter a fictional universe you loved or just want to get the early scoop before diving in, we’ve got you covered. Here are the most bingeable offerings on or soon-to-come to the small screen, in a medium that will give your eyes some blessed rest from the blue light.
Featured Photo by Jinny Kwon and Abbe Wright