The 20+ Shows to Get You Through Your Television ‘Winter Hiatus’

If you’re a fan of Homeland, well, the first three seasons anyway, you might want to check out Life. The show starred Damian Lewis as Charlie Crews, a detective who returns to the force after being jailed for a crime he didn't commit. Life debuted in 2007 and ran for two seasons with 32 episodes. (Netflix)
Prison Break
If The Blacklist is your go to for high drama, check out Prison Break which ran on FOX for three seasons beginning in 2005 (80 episodes). Prison Break featured a structural engineer who is so determined to help his brother break out of prison that he holds up a bank so he can get arrested and smuggle prison blueprints into the facility. (Netflix)
Rescue Me
If Chicago Fire gets you hot, then you might like Rescue Me which aired for seven seasons (80 episodes) on FX. The edgy drama from 2004 stars Denis Leary as a veteran firefighter whose job requires him to be at the ready to save other people's lives -- even though his is falling apart. A warning though, Chicago Fire is much more PG rated than Rescue Me. (Netflix)
Brothers & Sisters
If you’re mourning the loss of Parenthood, check out Brothers & Sisters, which like Parenthood is about the trials and tribulations of the members of an extended family. In this case, it’s the Walker clan. The show ran for five seasons on ABC beginning in 2010 and finished up with 109 episodes (Netflix)
The Gates
If just miss Once Upon a Time, so much, The Gates might interest you. Ok, this one is a little bit of a stretch, but it’s hard to find any shows from the past that feature characters from fairy tales. There was a short-lived comedy called The Charmings, but it was a really poor quality show. The Gates may not have fantasy characters but it’s intriguing none-the-less, featuring a storyline about a former city cop who at first finds being a gated community's police chief easy, until the affluent residents start showing disturbing, supernatural tendencies. (2010 ABC, 1 season, 13 episodes. Netflix)
Canterbury's Law
If you’re missing Alicia Florrick and all of the attorneys from The Good Wife, Julianna Marguiles actually starred in another legal series, albeit a short one. On Canterbury’s Law Marguiles portrayed an attorney trying to get justice for her clients while dealing with her own issues after her young son disappears. (FOX 2008, 1 season, 6 episodes. Netflix) If you want a longer running series with more attorneys and controversial cases, check out The Practice which was on ABC for eight seasons beginning in 1997 and finished up with 168 episodes. (Amazon)
Remington Steele
If Castle or Bones -- couples solving crimes – is attractive to you, how about an oldie, but a goodie? Remington Steele from the early ‘80s features a young, always suave, Pierce Brosnan as a former thief who partners with Stephanie Zimbalist as Laura Holt, running a detective agency with the man who would one day become Bond. (NBC 1982, 6 seasons, Hulu)
The Chicago Code, The Shield
If you like cop drama, like Chicago PD, there’s another show set in the windy city you can check out. The Chicago Code features Jason Clarke as the head of a team of detectives working to fight crime and root out political corruption. The Chicago Code was created by Shawn Ryan, who also gave viewers The Shield, another amazing show that you might want to invest in if you like police dramas. The Chicago Code ran for one season (13 episodes) on Fox in 2011. The Shield ran for seven seasons on FX (89 episodes). The Chicago Code is available on Netflix and The Shield can be streamed on Hulu.
Ally McBeal
If Nashville is a show you can’t miss, you might enjoy David E. Kelley’s breakout hit from 1997, Ally McBeal. Nope, it’s not about country music and it’s not set in Nashville. It’s about lawyers, but there is a lot of music in the show and Heather Locklear plays a nasty boss who’s very mean, just like Nashville’s Juliet. And speaking of Juliet, a very young Hayden Panettiere appears in the series in a surprising role. Ally McBeal ran five seasons on Fox with 111 episodes. (Netflix)
Burn Notice
If Hawaii Five-0 gets your motor running, you can check out episodes of the original 1968 version on That version ran for 12 years from 1968 through 1980 and produced 279 episodes. If you’re not up for that but you desire another sundrenched series, then you may want to dial up Burn Notice which ran on the USA network for six seasons with 112 episodes. The show features Michael Weston as a secret agent who gets ‘burned,’ re: fired, for undisclosed reasons and returns to his home in Miami to work as a private detective and try to figure out who burned him. (Netflix)
The Bernie Mac Show
If Modern Family is your fav, try The Bernie Mac Show which began in 2001 and ran for 5 seasons (104 episodes) on Fox. On the series, Bernie and his wife are living comfortably when his sister is sent to rehab and Bernie is suddenly responsible for her three kids. Like Modern Family, Bernie is a faux docu-comedy with Mac making his observations about parenting directly to the audience, and those quippy remarks are comedy gold. (Netflix)
Crossing Jordan
If you’re a CSI junky, well, you can catch reruns on the USA network, but if you want something along the same lines that’s not a rerun, Crossing Jordan might be just the ticket. The show stars Jill Hennessy as a medical examiner who uses unorthodox methods to solve crimes. The show was created by Tim Kring, who also created Heroes and the upcoming show DIG. Crossing Jordan ran for six seasons on NBC for a total of 117 episodes. (Netflix)
Political Animals
If you’re enjoying the new show Madame Secretary you might want to spend some time watching Political Animals. This six episode series that originally aired on the USA network is also about another female United States Secretary of State. This time the leader is played by Sigourney Weaver and Political Animals was written by the red hot Greg Berlanti who’s currently working on Arrow and The Flash as well as having just announced that he’ll help write the Oscars this year. (Netflix)
If you have How to Get Away with Murder on your season pass list, the series Damages could be just the show for you to binge on. Both shows star Oscar nominated actresses, but Damages star Glenn Close has also won a Golden Globe and two Emmys for her work on this series in which she plays a ruthless litigator. Damages aired on FX and Direct TV for five seasons, beginning in 2007, with 59 total episodes. (Netflix)
If you like Gotham, ok it’s really more if you like Donal Logue, then you should check out Terriers. The FX show only aired one season (2010, 13 episodes) but it was unique and many fans mourned its cancellation. On Terriers, Logue plays Hank, an alcoholic ex-cop who becomes an unlicensed private eye all the while continuing his association with his criminally inclined pal, and wackiness ensues. (Netflix) If you’re a Ben McKenzie fan, cop drama Southland showcases some of his finest work and is an amazing show overall. The show ran five seasons on FX with 43 episodes and is available for streaming on Amazon.
If Elementary intrigues you, the BBC’s Sherlock, another modern-day reboot, has Arthur Conan Doyle's deductive genius moving through London as a Web-adept consultant. Lead actor Benedict Cumberbatch won an Emmy this year for his work as the title character. The show has aired for three seasons (2010) with 15 total episodes. (Netflix)
The Job
If Brooklyn 99 is your thing (although the show still has another new episode to air on 12/14) then you might feel fulfilled watching The Job. Before starring in Rescue Me, Denis Leary played drinking, smoking, pill-popping NYPD detective Mike McNeil on this comedy. Yes, it was a comedy and quite a good one that sadly only made it one season (2001) with 19 total episodes on ABC. (Netflix)
The 4400
If you’re into The 100, then another numeric show may be just what you’re looking for. The 4400 is a sci-fi series that tells the stories of 4,400 people, abducted by aliens over the past half-century, who are suddenly returned to Earth. The show aired on the USA network over four seasons beginning in 2004 with 35 total episodes.
These two aren’t on hiatus per se, but it you’ve finished up all of the current episodes of the two most buzzed about Netflix shows, Orange is the New Black and House of Cards, these next two suggestions are for you.

If you’re missing Orange is the New Black, the 2013 Australian series Wentworth could be just the thing to fill the void. The 22 episode series follows Bea Smith, a woman in prison for trying to kill her violent husband where she’s taken under the wing of a lesbian drug dealer and her friends. (Netflix)
If you’ve finished both seasons of House of Cards and still want to see more government corruption, the Kelsey Grammar led series Boss should be in your queue. On Boss, Grammar plays coldhearted Chicago Mayor Tom Kane who has a secret that threatens to strip him of his power. The 2011 Showtime series ran for two seasons with 18 episodes (Netflix)
And, just for fun, here are four bonus shows for your viewing pleasure.

Lights Out is the story of a former heavyweight box champ, Patrick ‘Lights’ Leary who struggles to find himself and support his wife and three daughters after he retires from the ring. Lights Out ran for one season on FX in 2011. (13 episodes, Netflix)

Freaks and Geeks was a critically acclaimed show that only lasted on season on fox in 1999. The show was known not only for its accurate portrayal of high school life, but also for its cast, almost all of whom when on to much success in television and film. The show featured James Franco, Seth Rogen, Jason Segel and Busy Phillips. (18 episodes, Netflix)

The HBO series from 2008, In Treatment, featured Gabriel Byrne as a psychotherapist who, while continuing to work with his patients, questions his abilities and gets help by reuniting with his own therapist, whom he hasn’t seen for ten years. (106 episodes, Amazon)

Friday Night Lights is about football, sort of. It’s really more about family and community and all of the things that people do when faced with the ups and downs of everyday life. The series, starring Emmy winner Kyle Chandler and Connie Britton, aired for six seasons on NBC and Direct TV. (76 episodes, Netflix)

In the past few years, the ‘winter finale’ has become a thing for television shows, meaning they take an extended break over the holidays with no new episodes for about three weeks to a month, often leaving a void in fan’s lives.

During these mini-hiatuses, if you have some free time and are looking to supplement you regular viewing habits, here are some shows to help fill the gap. All of the shows listed here are available for streaming. Some only have a few installments while others require a bit more commitment as they have over 100 episodes.

So dive in, and let’s meet back here in the New Year and discuss what we’ve all seen and enjoyed.

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