For 16 days straight, world-class athletes from around the globe who have trained for years gather to... totally ruin our TV schedules and DVRs. And it's not just NBC's lineup that is put on hold while people perform in death-defying sports for an all-too-brief moment of glory. No, other channels put their shows on hiatus so they don't have to compete with the 2014 Winter Games. So if you're not glued to the drama going on in Sochi, the Olympics will feel like an awfully long two weeks. (Everything on the other channels is usually either a repeat or The Taste.) Thankfully, Netflix -- as is so often the case -- is at your rescue. If you're not an Olympics person (or simply need a break from all that spinning and luging), this is prime time to do some Netflix binging.
Now, we don't mean serious, time-commitment binges like The West Wing or The X-Files or Dexter (though why would you do that to yourself) or even playing catch-up with current shows like Bates Motel or House of Cards or Arrow (there's always time for that.) No, we mean this is the time watch some great, (mostly) short-lived shows that won't consume your life, and you'll be done with them in time to return to your regularly scheduled programming post-Olympics. Here are five things worth binge watching during the Olympics to tide you over.
The IT Crowd: I must reluctantly admit I was late to The IT Crowd game, which is inexcusable really, considering how much I love Chris O'Dowd. The IT Crowd is a perfect show to binge-watch, as there are enough episodes to keep you satisfied (24 30-minute episodes in total), and it's just plain silly (see: anything Moss does; that time Roy tricked Jen into thinking he had access to the entire internet), as well as re-quotable ("Have you tried turning it off and on again?"). Best of all, it's one of those shows you can revisit after you've finished it and picked out your favorite episodes. It might take a few episodes to get into the show -- it's very British and very sitcom-y and has a laugh track, so if that's not your cup of tea you might be turned off at first -- but as far as workplace comedies go, this one ranks pretty high up there. It should firmly re-establish your crush on O'Dowd, but mostly just make you laugh a whole lot.
The Office: Of course, if you're going to marathon The IT Crowd, you kind of have to marathon the original version of The Office too, out of principle. Not only is it short and (bitter)sweet at just 14 episodes, but -- like any other great comedy -- it's worth revisiting at least once a year. Also, if you're one of the few that slogged through all nine seasons of the U.S. remake, but have yet to see the Ricky Gervais original, now is the time to do to so. David Brent will definitely make you cringe harder than Michael Scott ever did, but oh, is it all worth it for that incredible series finale.
Freaks and Geeks/Undeclared: Sigh. These just sting. As much as a joy as Freaks and Geeks is to watch -- not only to marvel at how many stars came out of that show (James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jason Segel, Rashida Jones, just to name a few) and how devastatingly pitch-perfect it was about high school life -- it's such bittersweet binging. With a criminally-short 18-episode single-season run (ugh, how?!) you have to watch with the knowledge that you only have a limited amount of time with Lindsay Weir and Co. Following it up by watching the college comedy Undeclared softens the blow a little bit thanks to some familiar faces (Rogen) and early Judd Apatow's comic sensibilities.
Don't Trust the B---- in Apartment 23 : Why a show about a bitchy New Yorker who makes her sweet roommate's life a living hell (and who is also friends with James Van Der Beek) didn't last longer is beyond us. Especially when it was a show as sharp and biting and unconventional as this one. (Then again, Happy Endings, inexplicably not yet on Netflix, cruelly endured a similar, short-lived fate.) The nice thing about Don't Trust the B is at just two seasons it's a quick watch, but also allows you to see Krysten Ritter again after her own short-lived (RIP Jane) run on the greatest Netflix watch you'll ever have: Breaking Bad.
Mystery Science Theater 3000: Decide if you're a Joel or a Mike person by watching one of the 18 MST3K offerings on Netflix. Now, there's no way you can watch all of these during the Olympics run, but it's a good jumping-off point if you're a newcomer or you just want to relive all the terrible glory of these movies. While you should seek out classic episodes like Manos the Hands of Fate, you can definitely giggle and snarkily comment along with the excellent Netflix offerings like Gamera, Laserblast, Werewolf, Soultaker, and Pod People.