tv

'I spend my entire life watching bingeable comedies. Here are 11 you probably haven't seen.'

I have a lot of TV friends.

In my mind, the gals (and James) from Derry Girls are the funny Irish mates I miss dearly, and the cast of The Good Place are the old pals I'll never let go of.

And I make new ones all the time. They're usually funny, and I get to know them really quickly over only a couple of hours. The relationship progresses quickly, until I'm sitting there crying while they get their happy (or not happy) ending.

Hence why my favourite genre of television is the 'bingeable comedy'. I don't know if that's a real thing, or if I made it up, but to me, it means a comedy series (usually) with episodes under 30 minutes, with just a few seasons, so I can get through an entire show/season in a day.

They're easy to watch, funny, and comforting. They're like a warm hug, or one of those hard slaps on the back you could only do with close buddies.

Watching bingeable comedies is like making new TV friends every day of the week.

I'm sure we all already count Fleabag as a close personal pal, so today I thought I should introduce you to some new TV friends by rounding up the best bingeable comedy series that you (hopefully) haven't watched yet: 

Forever.

Image: Prime Video. 

It is criminal that a TV series starring Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen has such little fanfare, and was only around for a single season.

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Forever has The Good Place vibes, exploring the concept of the eternal afterlife, but instead of Eleanor and Tahani, we follow married couple Fred and June.

They live a comfortable-but-predictable life in California: they eat the same meals, take the same vacations and have the same conversations. Then June convinces Fred to shake things up with a ski trip, which leads them to completely unfamiliar territory... the afterlife. That's not really a spoiler, I promise.

Forever is mildly unsettling, a deep dive into the monotony of life, but it's also touching and thought-provoking and funny. And did I mention Maya Rudolph?

There's only one season, but the ending is satisfying, so you won't be left feeling like your new mates Fred and June were too hard done by.

Forever is streaming on Amazon Prime Video now.

Upload.

Image: Prime Video. 

I did not expect to love Upload, but the series quickly become one of my favourites.

It's another afterlife-related comedy series, which are really having a moment, but this time, it's 2033 and humans are able to "upload" themselves to a virtual afterlife of their choosing.

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Computer programmer Nathan dies prematurely and is uploaded to the very expensive Lake View, leaving his 'life' financed and controlled by his still-living girlfriend Ingrid. Nathan adjusts to the very funny pros and cons of digital heaven and bonds with his (alive) customer service rep, Nora.

Watch: The trailer for Upload. Post continues below video.


Video via Prime Video.

As Nora and Nathan's relationship progresses, she uncovers details about his life that lead her to believe he was murdered.

It's witty, clever and at times, totally ridiculous, making Upload a total delight to binge. I watched all 10 episodes, which average about 30 mins each, in one day and I challenge you not to as well.

Plus, there's a second season on its way and I'm bloody excited about that.

Upload is streaming on Amazon Prime Video now.

Special.

Image: Netflix. 

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Special is written, executive produced and lead by Ryan O'Connor, based on his 2015 memoir I'm Special: And Other Lies We Tell Ourselves.

It's a funny, uplifting tale of Ryan, a 27-year-old gay man with mild cerebral palsy who branches out from his insular, mollycoddled life to finally get what he wants.

He begins a writing internship, makes friends and ~has sex~, but also pretends his limp is because of a car crash rather than "CB".

The casting is magical: Punam Patel as Ryan's friend Kim is fantastic, and the show explores the other side of the coin too, where Ryan's mother Karen is re-learning what her life looks like when it doesn't revolve around caring for her son.

Special is quirky, snarky, and with mostly 15-minute episodes in season one, concise. It's breaking ground - unlike anything else on TV, which is a terrible indictment on Hollywood - but hopefully will open doors for many more people with disability and their stories.

Special season one and two are streaming on Netflix now.

Crashing.

Image: Netflix. 

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Have you ever wondered what the genius that is Phoebe Waller-Bridge was doing before Fleabag? Well, Crashing is your answer.

The six-part miniseries follows a group of young people living together as 'property guardians' in a disused hospital, keeping the building safe in exchange for cheap rent.

The personal lives of the group begin to overlap, and they navigate baggage, sexual tension and relationships before they're inevitably evicted.

Crashing never got the same exposure as Fleabag, but it is also, unsurprisingly, hilarious. Inappropriate, crass and hilarious. Would you expect anything else from Waller-Bridge? 

The characters are deeply f***ed up, insecure and self-conscious people, who you weirdly find yourself rooting for, regardless. Oh, and there's a shot of Anthony Bridgeton's bum, just in case you're getting restless for Bridgerton season two.

Crashing is streaming on Netflix now.

Creamerie.

Image: SBS On Demand. 

Creamerie is set in the not too distant future, in a post-pandemic world. I know, it's a bit on-the-nose.

A viral plague wiped out all the world's men in just 30 days, leading to a new world order designed and run entirely by women, called Wellness.

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Eight years since the virus, on an organic dairy farm in rural New Zealand, a trio of women live in various levels of satisfaction at the state of their society.

Trouble arises when they stumble upon a woman who happens to have a magnificent beard and... wait. Upon closer inspection, that's definitely a man. Where the hell did he come from?

Creamerie is hilarious, while tackling some really dark topics including grief, power and sexual assault. It's a quick and (mostly) easy watch at just two-and-a-half hours long, but you'll be left thinking about it long after the final credits.

All six episodes of Creamerie are streaming on SBS On Demand now.

Everything Sucks!

Image: Netflix. 

I'm a product of the 90s, so if you chuck some teens in baggy jeans and play 'Lovefool' by The Cardigans, I'll watch it.

Everything Sucks! parodies 1990s teen culture, so it does both of those things. Set in (the real-life city of) Boring, Oregon in 1996, the series revolves around the group of misfit teenagers from the A/V and drama clubs, who proceed to make a movie together while dealing with issues like mental health, sexuality, relationships and growing up.

It's nostalgic as hell, and treats its young characters with the care they deserve - especially Kate, the school principal's daughter who begins questioning herself when she develops a crush on drama club member Emaline.

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There are only 10 half-hour episodes, so you can spend a few hours back in the 90s.

Everything Sucks! is streaming on Netflix now.

The Other Two.

Image: Comedy Central. 

Cary and Brooke both have entertainment dreams. 

Brooke is a former professional dancer who has landed more on her head than her feet recently, and aspiring actor Cary is excited at the prospect of playing 'man who smelled a fart' in a TV commercial.

So yeah, things aren't panning out how they'd planned. But all their uh, failures, are exacerbated by their 13-year-old brother Chase's sudden rise to internet fame with a Rebecca Black-esque song and baby Justin Bieber-like charm.

The Other Two simultaneously celebrates and... derides fame and fortune, both with the same witty sense of humour.

The characters are mostly all terrible people - special shout out to Chase's manager... Streeter (a play on Bieber's IRL manager, Scooter) - but the actors are game for it. Molly Shannon is especially wonderful as the trio's well-intentioned-but-blinded-by-the-bright-lights-of-Hollywood mother.

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The Other Two is streaming on Google Play now.

Great News.

Image: Netflix. 

Another criminally underrated show is Great News, which was executive produced by comedy queen Tina Fey.

The series takes place in a familiar comedy setting: a local television news station, with two narcistic anchors who only get along on camera, an uptight producer and a ridiculous wider group of employees. It follows up-and-coming producer Katie, who is already struggling at work when things take a weird turn: her mum is hired as an intern.

The core character group is hilariously dysfunctional - Nicole Richie is especially great as self-absorbed anchor Portia - but the series also tackles workplace power structures in a way that similar shows never have.

It was cancelled after two seasons, which is a travesty to be honest, and Fey once danced around the fact that it was not promoted properly in an interview. Great News deserved better. There are 23 episodes, and I implore you to watch them. 

Great News is streaming on Netflix now.

Friends From College.

Image: Netflix. 

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Friends From College is kind of like Kmart How I Met Your Mother. But I love Kmart, so that's a compliment.

Critics hated it, but the audience response to the show's untimely cancellation after two seasons is proof that sometimes, you don't need something... critically successful. You just need to watch a group of kinda terrible Harvard alumni in their 40s navigate their dysfunctional, intertwined lives.

There's cheating (lots of cheating) and bad decisions, and it's just the kind of 'thank God that's not my life' kind of show you need on a Sunday morning (or... literally anytime in lockdown. Because right now we're always as vulnerable as we usually are on Sunday mornings).

Both seasons of Friends From College are streaming on Netflix now.

Betty.

Image: Binge. 

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Betty is about a group of diverse young women navigating the very male-dominated, often sexist world of skateboarding in New York City.

Full disclosure: I had no idea what I was watching throughout the first episode. It was just a group of Gen Z women skaters... skating, and then running around NYC trying to find a stolen bag. I didn't feel any emotional buy-in until episode two, when we started to learn more about the individuals in the groups. 

What evolved from there was a touching story about friendship, sexuality, acceptance and embracing yourself for who you are. 

It's low stakes, but with only 12 25-minute eps, it's an easy binge.

Betty season one and two are streaming on Binge now.

Wellington Paranormal.

Image: SBS. 

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If you like your TV shows to be... ridiculous, and love the absurdist humour of Taika Waititi, Wellington Paranormal is right up your alley.

It's a mockumentary comedy horror television series which expands on Waititi and Jemaine Clement's What We Do in the Shadows universe. In the series, incompetent but loveable officers Minogue and O'Leary front the police's new Paranormal Unit tasked with investigating strange phenomena in and around the NZ capital.

Originally just a very niche Kiwi comedy, the series has been so well received it's now streaming worldwide, rocketing to the top of US streaming charts upon its release in July 2021. 

It's laugh-out-loud ridiculous, and pretty much exactly what the world needs right now.

All three seasons of Wellington Paranormal are streaming on SBS On Demand now.

Chelsea McLaughlin is Mamamia's Senior Entertainment Writer. For more pop culture takes, sarcasm and... cat content, you can follow her on Instagram.

Feature image: Supplied/Prime Video.

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