Winter is… here, which means less sunlight, colder nights, and sometimes, longer weekends thanks to the holidays. Oftentimes, that means endless errands and trips to see family and friends, but sometimes, you’ve got to ditch that jam-packed social calendar for some restorative binge watching. And sometimes you don’t want to go back to work with unfinished business in your queue. So, with that in mind, we teamed with Xfinity to clue readers into some HBO shows that — with a little planning, a lot of food delivery, plenty of hydration, and ample stretching — can be enjoyed from start to finish over a long weekend, all for free.
That’s right, from Saturday, December 29, through Tuesday, January 1, some of the most-buzzed-about HBO series can be enjoyed subscription-free during Xfinity’s HBO Free Preview Weekend. Even better news? All you need is Xfinity Internet and the ability to watch from your computer or the Xfinity Stream app on your smartphone in order to get in on the action. And there’s plenty of action. From murder mysteries to laugh-out-loud comedies and the kind of family drama that you can easily press pause on, there’s something for everyone on this list, including the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve finished something.
1 season, 7 episodes
Liane Moriarty’s best-selling novel about a group of housewives entangled in a murder mystery gets a darkly-comedic tint with Jean-Marc Vallée at the helm. Reese Witherspoon, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern, Zoe Kravitz, and Alexander Skarsgard all-star in a story that’s drenched in small-town gossip, beachside mansions, private schools, and BMWs. But the real star of this thing is Nicole Kidman, who turns in an award-winning performance as a wife and mother suffocating under the abusive hand of her husband (a deviously-charming Skarsgard). The first season is only seven episodes long, just enough to get you hooked before the second season.
2 seasons, 20 episodes
With Game of Thrones winding down, HBO needed a new series capable of filling the fantasy epic’s shoes. Enter Westworld. Like Game of Thrones, the series specializes in world-building, crafting a near-future universe set in an interactive theme park filled with humanoid bots who cater to your every whim. You know, until the robot uprising comes. This is a show that’s meant to be binged, if only because ingesting it over a long weekend might help you to keep track of all the threads, Easter eggs, and conspiracy theories the story spins.
Season 7, *67 episodes
Yeah, yeah, we know the holiday weekend isn’t long enough to fully appreciate the brilliant and engrossing world of Game Of Thrones, which is, at this point, 67 episodes in. But we’re not here to pressure you into watching all 67 episodes in one weekend — that would be physically impossible or, at the very least, dangerous to your health. The weekend is long enough however to get caught up on the show’s latest season before the series ends next year. Even if you’ve watched it once, there’s no reason why you can’t enjoy a second helping of dragons, political power plays, and Night Kings. And when else are you going to have the time to get that refresher in one fell swoop?
2 seasons, 16 episodes
Nic Pizzolatto’s anthology crime drama (which is headed for a long-awaited third season in the middle of January) cemented itself as one of the best shows on television when its first season premiered. Filled with grit, Southern-fried mystery, and Matthew McConaughey waxing poetic about time and flat circles, the show traded on murder mysteries and in-depth character studies and brilliant performances from its star cast. The second season failed to garner the same level of praise, but it’s a worthy watch.
2 seasons, 17 episodes
The writing, costumes, and setting all work to bring viewers into the world of New York City (specifically, Times Square) in the 1970s, but stand-out performances from James Franco, Maggie Gyllenhaal, and a stellar supporting cast power this drama from David Simon and George Pelecanos (The Wire, Treme) about the porn industry’s early ascent toward legitimacy.