The best, most snackable one-season shows on Netflix and Amazon Prime

On the prowl for good, quick TV.
On the prowl for good, quick TV.
Image: HBO/Flickr user jokuel
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A common complaint among prospective TV binge-watchers is that many of the best shows—The SopranosLOSTThe WireBreaking Bad—seemingly went on forever, and thus require both a long time commitment and a deep, risky emotional investment.

Luckily, there’s a multitude of one-season TV shows and miniseries that can be consumed in their entireties in just a few days time—or in one sitting, depending on how busy you are. These shows might not offer the same pay-offs that longer series do, but they can be easily snacked on like a bowl of good popcorn. And before you know it, you’ve eaten all your popcorn before the movie even starts. Oops.

Below are the best quick-fix shows and miniseries available on Netlix and Amazon Prime right now.

Generation Kill

Available on: Amazon Prime

Original network: HBO

Number of episodes: 7

The gist: Based on the novel of the same name by Rolling Stone reporter Evan Wright, Generation Kill follows a battalion of US marines during the invasion of Iraq in 2003. It was written by The Wire creator David Simon—and like everything he does, was praised for its execution and commitment to realism.

Top of the Lake

Available on: Netflix

Original network: Sundance

Number of episodes: 7

The gist: Created, written, and directed by Oscar winner Jane Campion, Top of the Lake stars Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men) as a detective returning to her hometown in New Zealand to investigate the disappearance of a young girl. It’s gritty and well-constructed, and almost worth watching for the stunning New Zealand scenery alone.


Available on: Netflix

Original network: FX

Number of episodes: 13

The gist: Best friends—who happen to be a former cop and an ex-con, respectively—team up to start their own private investigation business in San Diego, California. Nobody really watched it, but it was widely admired by critics.

John Adams

Available on: Amazon Prime

Original network: HBO

Number of episodes: 7

The gist: John Adams is about—you guessed it—US president John Adams (who gets far less credit in history textbooks than he deserves). Directed by Tom Hooper (The King’s Speech) and starring Paul Giamatti, the miniseries won 13 Emmy awards. It’s a must-watch for history nerds, and a probably-still-watch for everyone else. The performances are all terrific.

Freaks and Geeks

Available on: Netflix

Original network: NBC

Number of episodes: 18

The gist: The Judd Apatow-produced Freaks and Geeks helped launch the careers of James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, and Linda Cardellini, among many others. Like a lot of shows that get canceled too early, it developed a fairly rabid cult following.

Honorable Mentions


Band of Brothers


Kings (available on