Television Shows to Binge-Watch this Summer

Iolanthe Brooks, ’15

We’ve all been there: it’s a summer day and you’re relaxing in the sweltering heat, too lazy to get your butt out of bed. After a perfectly respectable amount of time of Facebook or Buzzfeed, you go to Netflix to spend (let’s face it) probably the rest of your day binge-watching your newest show. But then, the beautiful crimson logo appears, you click to “My List,” excited to begin, when (gasp!) you realize that you have no freaking clue what to watch. How can this be? You don’t want to spend the next hour clicking through weird sequels of classics (“Mean Girls 2,” seriously?) before finding the gem, and I wouldn’t either. And so, my fellow lazy binge-watchers, before you panic, check out some of these binge-worthy shows that are available in full on Netflix!

Dramatic Shows

Mad Men — Ok, this is actually missing the last season, but you’ll be captivated by the six seasons of this amazingly done TV drama set in the wild 60’s (great costume design and smoky bars included) about the high-class, dramatic, and money-filled world of advertising. This show has received so many positive reviews that you can pat yourself on the back for indulging in some high-brow culture, as you get totally and utterly hooked on this show’s addictive plot lines.

House of Cards — If you can stand, or are excited by, the nitty-gritty world of politics, or if you want to watch a show that is both impossible to stop watching (like a really gross clip) and makes you feel morally superior to everyone in our lovely government, then this show is for you. The version on Netflix is a Netflix Original series, so you’ve got the added bonus of the entire new season being added at once (score), but if you get super into it, definitely check out the even more highly rated (this version has still won a ton of Emmys, don’t worry) British version!

Orange is the New Black — This should go without saying. Netflix dramas don’t get better than OITNB (ok, I’m biased here). But, seriously, watch it for the awesome trans-visibility is encourages with the wonderful Laverne Cox (herself trans) playing a trans inmate. Watch it for the hilarious scene where Poussey and Taystee imitate white people. Watch it because there is a character called Poussey (pronounce Poo-say). Watch it so you can hate Piper. Watch it for all the hot lesbian scenes. Watch it for the serious, emotional death scenes. Watch it for the reflection on our current prison industrial complex. Just watch it! (Note: the new season comes out, in full, on Netflix on June 12).

Lost — The ultimate binge watch show, it starts off great and then utterly falls apart, but by the time this happens you’re already too hooked to stop. If you want to watch something so addictive you will literally laugh at yourself by the time you near the end, but then cry when it’s over, watch Lost. It’s got it all: mystery, life-or-death situations, a varied but largely attractive cast, and a binge-worthy plot.

Comedies 

30 Rock — Most people have seen some 30 Rock, but the miracle of Netflix is that now you can see all of 30 Rock. For a hilarious look into Tina Fey’s recreation of writing for Saturday Night Live, for Alec Baldwin being a loveable douche, for love affairs with pizza, for Kenneth’s being adorable, for the brilliant comedy writing and amazing delivery by the whole cast, watch 30 Rock. It’s funny enough to make your binge enjoyable, but not redundant (like a lot of comedy), so that a season a day won’t get old.

The Office — This American remake of a British hit revolutionized television. It made Steve Carell and Dunder Mifflin (the paper company that the show’s about) household names, and it kicked ass while doing it. This foot-in-mouth comedy is shot like a reality TV show, with pull away interviews and all, and focuses on the weird staff of an office run by a clueless Carell. Not only is The Office hilarious, it’s also an American classic, and definitely worth a watch.

Parks and Recreation — Two words: AMY. POEHLER. In this comedy about a run-down Parks and Rec department in the middle of nowhere, the entire cast shines making bureaucracy and public service jobs roll-on-the-ground hilarious.

Friends — On New Years, at 12 am+ in the morning, people all over America rejoiced that all of the classic TV show, Friends, had been added to Netflix. This show stars 6 friends (3 guy and 3 girls, so you can already tell what a lot of the subplots are about) living in NYC. They all look 90’s cute, they sit around and talk in a café for most of the show, the theme song involves jumping around in a fountain…what doesn’t this show have?!

How I Met Your Mother — This show is like friends, except they all hang out in a bar instead of a café. Otherwise, each character in this show is super well developed, the cast works brilliantly together, the writing is hilarious, and it takes place in New York (i.e. a studio that looks nothing like New York, but that’s ok, we forgive you HIMYM). Watch because don’t you want to know how he met his kids’ mother?!?!

The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt — There’s only one season of this new Netflix show, written by Tina Fey, and so it’s a nice low-commitment binge. That being said, it’s amazing and so, so, so funny. The show takes a few episodes to get into a good groove, but the characters are all hilarious and the tongue-in-cheek humor is particularly funny for New Yorkers. The plot centers around Kimmy Schmidt, a women who was kidnapped into a doomsday cult as a child and moved to NYC after her release.

The Classic

Gossip Girl — xoxo, we all know you want to watch Gossip Girl, only somewhat ironically. Watch rich New Yorkers screw each other and screw up their lives in this dramatic show about the elite world of NYC private schools. It’s addictive, the characters are beautiful, and there are some pretty shots of New York, too, I guess. 

Arrested Development — This hilarious and much-loved show is about a kooky, wealthy family who loses everything and struggles to gain it all back. It is a well-written, American Television classic, and well worth a watch.

3rd Rock from the Sun — This quirky, hilarious comedy from the 90’s is about a family of aliens who is sent to Earth to report on human life. They are all super smart and super, super awkward, and this comedy hilariously sets up and plays out everyday situations in the best way. A cult classic, this TV show is both fun and a great piece of American culture.

Gilmore Girls — When this show came on Netflix, earlier this school year, it felt like everyone was binge-watching it. It’s a beautiful, hilarious, relatable, but also totally not, soap opera (but, don’t judge it based on that) about a single mother and her daughter living in a small town in Connecticut. The mother, Lorelai, had her daughter, Rory, when she was 16 and moved away from her rich parents soon after Rory was born. The show lasted 7 wonderful seasons without losing any of the core cast (which includes an entire kooky group of towns-folk), which is worth a watch in and of itself.

Grey’s Anatomy — This show has an epic 10 seasons on Netflix, making it a perfect binge show. True, Grey’s Anatomy is similar to a lot of medical shows—it’s got the drama, the diverse cast, the love and betrayal, and so on, and so on. If you’re not a fan of blood or hospitals, don’t watch this, but if you do, justify this exciting, fun- and drama-filled show as a way to learn about a ton of medical issues 😉 

Some others

Scandal, Scrubs, New Girl, Weeds, That 70’s Show, Wilfred, Friday Night Lights, The League, Bones, Family Guy, Dr. Who, Portlandia, White Collar, 90210, Pretty Little Liars, The Walking Dead, Sherlock, Skins

Happy watching!

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