40 binge-worthy TV shows: Watch them all right now because who needs sleep

5 of 40

Photo: FX

Justified – Amazon Prime

I love a show set in the South, and Justified does this genre more dignity than all the rest combined. It never succumbs to stereotypes or caricatures, and treats it’s with the respect they deserve. It doesn’t forget its cultural underpinnings, by any means, but it doesn’t exploit them to serve its own justice, either.

Justified tells the story of two boys who grew up in rural Kentucky, dug coal together, and took very different paths in life. Rayland Givens went on to be a US Marshal, dedicating his life to repentance for his sorry daddy. Boyd Crowder went the other way, living the life of a criminal and outlaw. The two spend the entire series facing off over the morality of their precious Harlan County.

The entire show centered on pitting these two against each other, and although they were positioned as enemies by their choice of lifestyle, they never lost respect for one another. With an easy familiarity you can only have with the folks you grew up with, these two faced off time and time again with witty insults, nefarious plots, and a healthy competition for a girl.

This show will rip your heart out, but you’ll love it and beg for more. Rich in scope, Justified examines not only the identity of these two childhood friends, but of the place itself. As much as this is a story about good vs. bad, Raylan vs. Boyd, it’s also a story about the identity you get from the place you’re from.

Starring: Timothy Olyphant, Walton Goggins, Joelle Carter, and Natalie Zea