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9 worthy TV shows to marathon on your weekend off, from American Crime to Superstore

From American Crime to Superstore, here are some (shorter) gems you might’ve missed.

superstore cast
The cast of NBC’s Superstore gets in formation

Labor Day weekend is a glorious opportunity to get outside, eat a hot dog, and take a walk with a loved one. Or perhaps you’d rather be productive by finally finishing the chores you’ve been avoiding, or just cooking a lovely meal or two.

Of course, you can also just forget all that, stretch out on a couch, and catch up on the approximately 20,000 TV shows you’ve fallen behind on, like a true patriot.

You certainly won’t lack options, but to maximize your marathon-watching efficiency this Labor Day weekend, we’ve compiled a list of nine worthwhile shows you can blaze through in just a day or two.

(And, yes, all of them are readily available on streaming services, so there goes your last excuse!)

American Crime (ABC)

This beautifully bruised drama doesn’t want to solve America’s problems; it wants to force you to look at them, to think about them, to grapple with them. And since it’s an anthology series — where every season tells a new story with new characters — you can skip right past the interesting but overwrought first season and start with season two, which centers on what happens when a boy at an exclusive school is sexually assaulted at a party.

Filled with powerhouse performances, especially from Lili Taylor as the boy’s mother and Connor Jessup as the boy, the show can be hard to watch, but it’s always intensely, immensely rewarding.

Episodes: 10 episodes in season two, 42 minutes each. (There are 11 episodes in season one, should you want to watch that.)

Available to stream on: Netflix

Animal Kingdom (TNT)

Making a TV adaptation of the 2010 Australian crime movie about a family of petty criminals with a tyrannical mother seemed like a pretty pointless endeavor. After all, there have been seemingly millions of shows about small-time crooks and hoodlums in the years since The Sopranos debuted in 1999. But Animal Kingdom wisely leaned into what made it different: It’s about family.

As Smurf, the family matriarch who’s perpetually dancing on the edge of incest with her many, constantly shirtless sons, Ellen Barkin is a defensive snarl reimagined as a TV character, and though the season starts slowly, showrunner Jonathan Lisco (formerly of Vox’s beloved Halt and Catch Fire) brings the story to a rousing, satisfyingly dark conclusion.

Episodes: 10 episodes, 50 minutes each

Available to stream on: TNT’s website or video on demand. Episodes are also available for digital download.

Burning Love (E)

You might think the Bachelor franchise is already too nonsensical to spoof, but Burning Love will prove you wrong within minutes. Erica Oyama and Ken Marino’s show — which started as a Yahoo web series before E picked it up to air in reruns — has three seasons, mocking the specific ridiculousness of The Bachelor, The Bachelorette, and Bachelor in Paradise each in turn. But even if you’re not a Bachelor aficionado, you’ll still find something to laugh at in Burning Love, thanks to an incredibly stacked cast of comedians that features Marino and his former The State co-stars Michael Ian Black and Joe Lo Truglio, as well as Kristen Bell, Adam Scott, June Diane Raphael, and so many more than we have time to list here. Just trust us: The show is hilarious.

Episodes: 21 episodes, 22 minutes each

Available to stream on: Hulu

Catastrophe (Amazon)

Chances are your jaw will hit the floor within five minutes of starting Catastrophe, Sharon Horgan and Rob Delaney’s bracing, explicit, and incredibly funny series about relationships and, eventually, parenthood. The show follows a couple who never intended to become couple from a wild fling to an unplanned pregnancy to the point where two cynics make a surprisingly strong commitment to each other. Horgan and Delaney’s humor has a ton of bite to it, but there’s a real sweetness lurking just underneath, making Catastrophe one of the best and most unlikely romantic comedies out there.

Episodes: 12 episodes, 30 minutes each

Available to stream on: Amazon

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (The CW)

By all reasonable measures, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend could have been a disaster. On paper, the quirky musical comedy about love and anxiety set in West Covina, California, didn’t exactly scream "guaranteed hit" — but thanks to creator and star Rachel Bloom and showrunner Aline Brosh McKenna (The Devil Wears Prada), the series instead became one of the best surprises to land on television last fall.

The show features 40 original songs across dozens of genres, and the ongoing story of Rebecca (Bloom) leaving her high-powered New York job to chase her own fairy-tale love story — even when it’s not quite as romantic as she thinks — will suck you in.

Episodes: 18 episodes, 40 mins each

Available to stream on: Netflix

Lady Dynamite (Netflix)

One of the benefits of the recent TV boom is that networks (and especially streaming services like Netflix) are more likely to take a risk and experiment with weirder, more niche shows. Lady Dynamite would’ve never seen the light of day 10 years ago — but thank God it exists today, because it’s fantastic.

The spectacularly strange comedy stars comedian Maria Bamford as a (lightly) fictionalized version of herself and chronicles her experiences in navigating an acting career, relationships, and an often debilitating mental illness at three different times in her life. But if that doesn’t sell you, consider that Lady Dynamite comes from some of the minds behind Arrested Development, South Park, and Broad City, so the comedy pedigree is strong with this one.

Episodes: 12 episodes, all of which are 30 minutes or less

Available to stream on: Netflix

The Magicians (Syfy)

This TV adaptation of Lev Grossman’s terrific novels about bored 20-somethings who realize that magic doesn’t make life any better extends the books’ best elements into a new medium, all the while breaking new ground. To really get into this show, you’ll need to wade your way through a few messy episodes, but by the series’ fourth hour — featuring one of the more ingenious "This is all in the protagonist’s head!" gambits of recent memory — The Magicians has started to find itself, and by the final stretch of the season, it’s evolved into something wholly unique. If you’ve ever wished Game of Thrones were just a little bit more like the great college comedy Undeclared, well, here you go.

Episodes: 13 episodes, 44 minutes each

Available to stream on: Syfy’s website. It’s also available for digital download.

The Real O’Neals (ABC)

This seemingly straightforward family comedy has an incredible amount of heart and weirdo wit at its center, most notably in Noah Galvin’s Kenny, the teen who comes out to his strictly Catholic family in the series premiere. The show — based loosely on columnist Dan Savage’s life — starts off a bit wacky, as so many sitcoms do, but quickly becomes just as sweet as it is smart. Galvin and his TV mother Martha Plimpton steal the show, but the entire cast is great, selling every joke with obvious joy.

Episodes: 13 episodes, 22 minutes each

Available to stream on: Hulu

Superstore (NBC)

The working-class sitcom — featuring characters who struggle to make ends meet and work blue-collar jobs — has a long, rich tradition in the US. But as more and more low-income jobs become retail jobs, TV has done a poor job of keeping up. Superstore, which centers on the staff of the Cloud 9 department store, is a promising turn toward telling these sorts of stories.

The series has jokes aplenty, yeah, but what really makes it work is how interested it is in the hopes and dreams its characters have put on hold while they’re forced, whether by circumstance or choice, to spend their days helping irritating customers who are pretty much never right, no matter how the saying goes.

Episodes: 12 episodes, 22 minutes each

Available to stream on: Hulu

Watch: How a TV show gets made

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