Our genre-based guide to a balanced TV diet

Art by Bettina Continuado

Ask anyone what show they’re watching on TV nowadays, and they’ll probably respond by saying “I don’t usually watch TV.” It might as well be the universal code for “I don’t watch shows during their scheduled air dates on cable TV anymore.”

Once upon a time, our TV-watching habits were heavily dictated by networks and their schedules. We’d know our favorite show’s timeslot by heart and park ourselves in front of our television sets at the same time every day. And while waiting for a new episode to come around next week, we’d look in the newspaper’s TV listings in search of something to tide us over for the meantime.

Bingeing on shows was unheard of in those primitive times unless you were lucky enough to own boxed DVD sets (one season per CD? Amazing!). But now that streaming and downloading are available thanks to the internet, viewing habits are way more complex than they used to be.

If you’re wondering what the TV-viewing landscape is like now, Netflix’s new campaign used streaming data from over 20 countries to find out. With Netflix New Rules, they discovered a common viewing pattern: breakfast and after dinner are common hours for comedy, lunch is for drama, dinner is for thrillers, and late nights and early mornings are for documentaries.

We know that all the choices on Netflix can be overwhelming, so Young STAR comes to the rescue with a couple of recommendations. With a mix of new, old, and downright obscure, these shows are going to turn you into a whole new level of couch potato.

Lunch: Drama

Escape into other peoples’ problems for a bit while taking a break from real life. You’ll want to be Lindsay in Freaks and Geeks, Takeshi in Samurai Gourmet, and the folks at Terrace House: Boys and Girls in the City.

Before bed snack: Comedy

Settle into bed with the right dose of laughter courtesy of Aziz Ansari in Master of None and Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin in Grace and Frankie.

Breakfast: Animated comedy

Start your day with a hearty serving of cereal and laughs. Animated shows like BoJack Horseman and Archer can give you the energy you need. (Warning: these aren’t the same Sunday morning cartoons from your childhood.)

Dinner: Thriller

Get your heart racing over dinner while watching Kiefer Sutherland as the default President of the United States in Designated Survivor and Park Hae-Jin as a special agent in the South-Korean drama Man to Man.

Midnight snack: documentary

If you’re the type who spends the wee hours of the morning learning about alien crop circles, you’ll probably want to educate yo’ self with journalist Michael Pollan’s In Defense of Food and get inspired by teen activist Joshua Wong in Joshua: Teenager vs. Superpower.


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