It’s that time of year when things slow down (or at least they hypothetically do — I’m running around like a crazy person!), all the prime-time TV shows are on hiatus and you’re looking for a mindless activity to fill your free time. Everyone loves a good TV binge so here are the must-watch shows this summer, from a few oldies you might have missed the first time around to newer ones worth catching up on.
I’ve been reading more (use this list for the best book reads), but I’ve also caught the TV binge bug and am currently 20 episodes into Friday Night Lights. Holy goodness! It’s been on my list for ages, and I’m so glad I’m finally into it. I’m also seeing more and more friends ask the question on Facebook what TV should they watch so let’s put it all in one location. Have one I missed? Comment below!
Younger: Just watch this and trust me here… the story of a recently divorced 40-year old woman (played by Sutton Foster) who has an impossible time getting a job so she pretends she’s 26 to land an assistant marketing job at a publishing house. There she becomes best friends with a character played by Hillary Duff, starts dating a seriously hot guy and is living in Brooklyn with her bestie, played by Debbi Mazar. The one-liners, fun and quick episodes (hey, 22 minutes!), sexual energy and all star cast make this a MUST watch. It’s on TV Land but don’t be disuade. Fourth season comes back this week and it’s SO good I’m even going to a girls night to watch.
Girlfriends Guide to Divorce: despite the name (and the fact that my husband didn’t want me to watch it as a result!), this is a fun comedy/drama centered around Abby McCarthy, a self-help author, and her adventures in romance and friendships as she faces divorce. On Bravo, it’s a really easy watch… can’t wait for it to come back this summer.
Billions: a complex Showtime drama set in the high stakes world of New York finance that’s won a slew of awards. Shrewd, savvy U.S. Attorney Chuck Rhoades (played by Paul Giamatti) and the brilliant, ambitious hedge fund king Bobby “Axe” Axelrod (Damien Lewis) are on an explosive collision course, with each using all of their considerable smarts, power and influence to outmaneuver the other. The stakes are in the billions in this timely, provocative series.
Silicon Valley: a comedy set in the 1980s, it tells the story of six programmers who founded a company in Silicon Valley and aim to strike it rich.
Shameless: I really want to watch this comedy/drama show but find it daunting it’s about 8 seasons in. That said, it’s the story of an alcoholic dad played by William H. Macy who basically lives in a perpetual stupor while his six children with whom he lives cope as best they can. It’s a raw, honest look at how alcoholism impacts a family, and the realities of the real working class.
Jane the Virgin: A show with big critical acclaim, the CW show is basically a loose adaption of the Venezuelan telenovela Juana la Virgen and stars Gina Rodriguez as Jane Villanueva, a working, religious young Latina virgin, who becomes pregnant after being accidentally artificially inseminated.
Odd Mom Out: A seriously hysterical look at Upper East Side as New Yorker Jill Weber embraces her quirky and unconventional life (i.e. she has a job) and navigates the wealthy mommy cliques. It’s so good, so funny and so worth watching. Plus, I love a 30 minute comedy… perfect night watching.
Veep: another incredible comedy, this time in the political satire realm and starring Julia Louis Dreyfoos (yup, she’s won a gazillion awards) as former Sen. Salina Meyer who is busy navigating her new vice president role. Watch for Julia and her team… the interactions and day-to-day goal of avoiding major political snafus are worth it alone. You won’t regret it.
House of Cards: a political thriller that was Netflix first original series, the show led by Kevin Spacey and his TV wife played by Robin Wright, chronicles their ruthless rise to power. It’s super juicy, edge-of-your-seat (or errr, couch) anticipation of what Spacey’s character, Frank Underwood, is willing to do next.
Orange is the New Black: about life inside a woman’s prison, based on a book, with in-depth features of the women inside.
13 Reasons Why: you’ve likely heard extensive talk about this drama about a teen suicide as a result of intense bullying, sexting, betrayed friendships and loneliness of high-school get too much for teenager Hannah Baker. I’m candidly not sure I can handle watching, though with a growing little girl, it’s likely one of those tough-to-watch yet necessary ones.
Big Little Lies: the seven-episode miniseries based on the book and led by Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman and a cast of all-stars, is a dark comedy based on three friends who have quite a lot of secrets. A worthy watch!
The Crown: a biographical story about the reign of Queen Elizabeth II that humanizes the monarchy in a way that’s never been done before. If you’re looking to play catch up quick, this is a good one… they’ve only released one season.
Master of None: a comedy by Aziz Ansari (who is hysterical), follows the romantic, professional and cultural experiences and pursuits of Dev Shah, a 30-year-old actor in New York. The second season (10 episodes each) just debuted in May to much acclaim, with Ansari plays the lead character.
Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: Created by Tina Fey, Unbreakable is the wacky story of a “mole woman” who goes to start a new life (though stuck in the 80s and insanely optimistic) and make it in NYC. She winds up rooming with Tituss Burgess as her flamboyant and put-upon roommate, Titus Andromedon, and working for an upper east sider played by the hilarous Jane Krakowski.
Bloodline: people love this show, but I must confess that as much as I wanted to love it… you need to get at least a half dozen eps in to feel connected and still not sure I looovvveeed it. I do love the stellar cast, the gorgeous backdrop of the Florida Keys and will likely catch up at some point.
Transparent: an award winning show about a man who decides late in life to transition to a woman.
Catastrophe: a romantic-comedy in reverse: There’s a pregnancy, then they get married, and then they get to know one another to see if they can fall in love. Their open and honest dialogue is among the most real (and best) on television.
OLDIES BUT GOODIES
Friday Night Lights: on the surface, about a high school team in Dillon, Texas, however it’s so much more. This drama is about family — the ones you’re born with and the ones you make — about love, and loss, and community.
Mad Men: Also on my short list, this drama is about one of New York’s most prestigious ad agencies at the beginning of the 1960s. The show, which by the way has incredible costuming, focusing on one of the firm’s most mysterious but extremely talented ad executives, Donald Draper. Must watch!
New Girl: A comedy about a kooky teacher Jess (Zooey Deschanel) after she moves into a Los Angeles loft with three men. Definitely some drama-filled moments as these 30-somethings mature, evolve in relationships and professionally. Did you know the original name of the show was Chicks and Dicks? 😉
Breaking Bad: We have heard multiple people tell us this is the best series they’ve ever watched; one saying he was jealous because he wishes he could watch it again for the first time. The five-season crime drama is about a high school chemistry teacher diagnosed with inoperable lung cancer who turns to manufacturing and selling methamphetamine with a student in order to secure his family’s future.
Gilmore Girls: a coming-of-age dramedy of a single mother and teenage daughter making it on their own and growing up on their own in Connecticut.
Parks and Recreation: an American comedy starring Amy Poehler and Leslie Knope, a perky, mid-level bureaucrat in the Parks Department of Pawnee, a fictional town in Indiana. This one has been on my list for ages… everyone says its hysterical.
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