I'm sure there are plenty of people out there who will be joining their perfectly healthy, happy, non-neurotic families this weekend to share food and good times. But for those of you bracing yourselves for the Who Ruined the Holidays fight and drunken dysfunction — or those of you who are avoiding the whole thing altogether — things can get a little depressing. We understand. What you need is some escapism right now, and you need it to last more than one night.
Here are twelve TV series that are guaranteed to suck you in, whether with tension or humor, and they are all available for live streaming right now. So you can get your fix when you need it.
Sorry — many of these are only available for streaming in the U.S. Want to listen to audiobooks to tune out all that holiday "cheer" instead? Here's our list of suggestions.
Watch all four seasons of this amazing, moving, and crazy British series about a group of teenagers who develop superpowers while doing community service to avoid jail time. Unfortunately, their powers aren't always terribly super — and as other people start developing powers around them, the group bands together to prevent bad guys from taking advantage of other people. With great characters, funny writing, and some seriously unexpected plot twists, this show is certain to take your mind off the holiday blues. Four seasons available free on Hulu.
This gorgeously animated tale of a time-displaced samurai who just wants to find a way back to his own time is a cult classic for a reason. Funny, poignant, and full of insanity, it will keep you distracted for hours while your family tries to "enjoy" the "holiday." All four seasons are available for streaming via Amazon.
If you love tales of the weird and supernatural, plus government conspiracies and fanfic-ready tension between heroes Mulder and Scully, then you need to plug your brain into all 9 seasons of this classic that inspired everything from Fringe to Supernatural. Available via Hulu Plus.
The IT Crowd
Need to laugh hysterically? You're in luck. You can stream all three seasons of The IT Crowd, the classic British show about bored, grumpy, hilarious geeks stuck in a basement IT department of a bewilderingly incompetent company. It's also the show that launched the careers of Richard Ayode and Chris O'Dowd. If you've never seen this show before, you can send me thank you notes later. Available via Amazon.
Buffy the Vampire Slayer
You've been meaning to watch this series — or maybe re-watch it. Well this weekend is the time, and your computer is the place. Watch all seven seasons of the legendary show with Hulu Plus.
If Buffy is too cheesy for you, check out this hard-hitting British miniseries about the investigators who track down and try to contain people suffering from a virus that turns them into vampires. A perfect blend of science fiction and horror, this one will keep you gripping the arms of your chair for six awesome hours. Bonus: Idris Elba! All episodes are available via Hulu Plus.
Need to be blind to the outside world, and completely mesmerized by an amazing show that's a murder mystery and spy-fi thriller and high school drama all in one? Then you must absolutely watch the first season of Veronica Mars, the show that launched Kristen Bell's career and is so good that you'll be addicted. There's not a lot of SF here, other than our high school detective's collection of gadgets (plus her hacker friend's skills), but this tale of a teen trying to solve her own rape and best friend's murder will suck you in for the entire weekend. Streaming on Amazon.
We absolutely loved this prematurely-canceled show about a newspaper reporter who becomes unstuck in time, and finds himself pulled into the past (and future) to solve crimes. When he meets up with his ex on one of his time-travel jaunts, things get even weirder. This show starts out a little slowly, but builds up into one of the mind-bendiest shows we've watched in quite a while. Watch every episode on Hulu Plus.
Nothing is better for soothing your brain than this classic 1970s series with Lynda Carter as Wonder Woman. It starts in the 1940s, with Wonder Woman fighting the Nazis, then in the second season we jump to full 1970s fashions when Wonder Woman continues to help the military to learn more about soft turtlenecks and brown leather boots. Watch every episode on Amazon streaming.
Avengers: Earth's Mightiest Heroes
It's the best thing that's happened to Marvel comics on television in forever. And you can stream it on Netflix.
Feeling broody? Go over the top with this gothic anime tale of a student who discovers the "death note," a book that controls who lives and who dies. He wants to use it to make the world a better place. What could go wrong? A lot. Especially when you've found something tossed into the mortal world by the god of death. You can watch the entire first season of this series on Hulu.
Want to completely zone out with goofy anime teen sex jokes? Then relax into season 1 of this series about a boy surrounded by sexy alien girls. Free on Hulu.