My Summer TV Recommendations

If you’re like me, your summer probably consists of covering stories about giant cactuses for the newspaper, reading more fanfiction than any one person should ever read, watching terrible Robin Hood movies on Netflix, whining about not being in Chapel Hill, eating too much food, and watching a LOT of television.

Ok, so you’re probably not exactly like me. Those things do get weirdly specific. But whatever.

I’ve watched so many shows, you guys. So many. So in order to make your lives easier, I’ve created a list of recommended summer watches. This way you don’t have to waste your time sifting through garbage like Two and a Half Men, Whitney, Bates Motel, etc. I’ve even sorted the shows by mood. You’re welcome.

In the mood to cry?

These shows will pull your heart out of your chest and stomp on it. Repeatedly. And while this may not seem appealing, trust me, it’s actually kind of great. Emotions are cool. Sometimes you need to have them.

The Big C – A Showtime original starring Laura Linney. She plays a woman who finds out she has stage 4 cancer. Some have suggested that this is the role of a lifetime for Linney. And it is. She’s perfect. The show is darkly funny, devastatingly real, and miraculously hopeful. It’s a show about death and a show about life. You will cry happy tears, sad tears, and everything in between.

Parenthood – This NBC show has one of the coolest casts on TV right now. Lauren Graham, Peter Krause, Dax Shepard… I could go on. It’s a show about family, and it freaking rocks. Also it was recently renewed for a full season (YAY!) so there’s plenty to watch, and more to look forward to.

Grey’s Anatomy – Yeah, I know. This isn’t even close to the caliber of the previous two, but hey, it’s indulgent fun. Grey’s Anatomy can be cheesy, over the top, dramatic for the sake of being dramatic, and just plain ridiculous, but you WILL get attached to these characters, and when they cry, you’ll cry.

In the mood to laugh?

So you’ve done your crying; it’s time to lighten things up. Here are some shows that are quirky, unique, dryly funny, and ridiculously fun to marathon.

Arrested Development – I recently succumbed to this show and I’m kicking myself for not watching sooner. Honestly, it lives up to the hype. This show is everything everyone says it is. It’s weird, hilarious, unique, clever… It’s a game changer. And there are going to be new episodes very soon, so you’d better watch quickly if you want to keep your hipster “I saw it before it was cool” status.

Community – This is kind of the modern Arrested Development. It’s completely different from every other comedy on TV and its small cult following reflects that. Community is packed full of fun pop culture references. Sure, it’s suffered recently due to the lack of creative direction, but it’s still a great show. It has a lot of heart. Above all else, that’s what stands out for me in Community. The heart.

New Girl – This has unexpectedly become my favorite comedy on TV. I don’t even know how it happened. Maybe it was with Zooey Deschanel being undeniably charming as Jessica Day. Or maybe the blame can be put on Nick Miller’s character, who I can see myself in all too clearly. Or maybe it’s due to Schmidt just being INSANELY funny and likable. Either way, this show is brilliant and one of the few that actually makes me laugh out loud.

In the mood for stressful situations and flawless acting?

Sometimes watching the chaos that characters face on television makes the chaos in our own lives easier to handle. Wait, that’s too oddly philosophical. These shows are REALLY INTENSE. There, that’s better.

Breaking Bad – Before watching this show all I did was whine about the fact that it won every freaking award that I wanted other shows to win. Now, after watching, I totally get it. Best acting on TV. Some of the best writing. It’s just a work of art, plain and simple. Watch this one.

Sherlock – Oh, this is my personal favorite! Is it due to the fact that I ship John and Sherlock with a passion that burns like the sun? I don’t know. Maybe. But it’s great even without the shipping. This is a brilliant imagining of Sherlock Holmes with clever nods to the books and gorgeous acting from some of the best in the business. Also it’s much more impressive than that procedural Elementary nonsense.

Dexter – Michael C. Hall. Incredibly impressive writing. Hilarious and charming side characters. So. Much. Murder. MORALITY STRUGGLES. What more is there to say?

In the mood for Schyler’s all-time favorites?

Look, I don’t know why you’d ever be in this mood, but just let me do my thing.

LOST – It doesn’t get better than this; it really doesn’t. LOST is my favorite show ever. It’s the reason I love TV. It’s the reason I’m writing this. I really don’t even know how to do it any justice with a description. It’s that good. If you watch nothing else this summer, watch LOST. You can thank me later.

Supernatural – I’ve been watching this for about as long as I can remember. Some seasons of Supernatural are better than anything I’ve ever seen (3 and 5.) This show has it all. It’s funny, depressing, enlightening, existential, and addictive. If you watch one episode, you’ll be hooked. Dean and Sam Winchester are two of my favorite characters ever and their relationship is the soul of this show.

Game of Thrones – As a fantasy fan, I loved this before I’d even seen it. But Game of Thrones is so much more than sword fighting and dragons. It’s a show about people, about fascinating characters. As I’ve said about a lot of the shows on this list, there’s something here for everyone. That’s why Game of Thrones is so successful. If you want political scandal, you’ve got it. If you want murder and deceit, it’s there. If you’re just in the mood to see some boobs, Game of Thrones is for you, too. It’s got it all.

Seinfeld – It’s the show about nothing. Of course I’m going to mention it. If you haven’t seen Seinfeld, you’re missing out on a world of potential references. I couldn’t tell you the number of Seinfeld references I make in a week. It’s an embarrassingly high number. Please watch this show so you can laugh at my stupid TV jokes. Thanks.

Firefly – It’s a WESTERN in SPACE. Watch it just to find out what the hell it’s about. Plus anyone even remotely geeky is probably obsessed with it. You’ll gain cool nerd points for watching it. And I know you all want cool nerd points.

So there you go. There are enough shows on this list to get you through the summer and if you somehow blow through them all, feel free to contact me for more suggestions. It’s no exaggeration to say that I would gladly talk about TV all day. Enjoy!

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12 thoughts on “My Summer TV Recommendations

  1. Schyler, what about Parks and Rec? That one is hilarious as well. However, i do love Community. Other shows i would highly recommend are: Mad Men (Drama, and some laughs sometimes) Justified (Action, the lead character is such a smart ass, and never boring) Louie (Funny, Louis CK doesn’t disappoint) let me know what you think!

    1. Those are lovely additions. I actually watch Parks and Rec, Mad Men, and Louie. They’re all wonderful and do deserve a mention. I tried to keep this list short enough that it was manageable, but in doing so I was forced to leave off some great shows. Thanks for your comment! I might just have to check out Justified.

  2. Ps: Supernatural, Lost, Seinfeld, Community and Breaking Bad are probably my favorite shows, too. I was just adding some others, not saying mine were better than your list.

  3. Great list. I’ve seen most of those, and I completely agree. I have some shows I watch that aren’t on your list, but they’re pretty standards for fandom (Merlin, Doctor Who, Stargate). I was pleasantly surprised by Elementary, which I did not expect to like at all. It’s not Sherlock, but it’s an interesting take.

    LOST is one of the series on my to-watch list this year. I watched it for the first couple seasons, then I went to college and didn’t have a television, so I didn’t watch it until I stumbled onto the finale and stopped for a moment because they were all in my high school’s chapel. Then I realized I probably shouldn’t be watching the finale of a series I was planning on watching later on and never went back to it. Thanks for the reminder.

    1. Cool additions! I’m a huge fan of Merlin. I even named my cat Merlin. haha. I really wrestled with the idea of including it. As for Doctor Who, I’ve been disenchanted lately, but overall I do love the show. Never seen Stargate though. I guess I should check it out? And perhaps I should give Elementary another chance. The first few episodes were too procedural for me so I dropped it, but I’ve heard good things since then.

      1. What they did with Irene Adler was new, although that plotline isn’t over by far. I happened to record a bunch of them before I could watch it, so I had a good number to burn through.

        I haven’t been nearly as obsessed with Doctor Who since… perhaps last season? Shortly after Smith started, although I don’t mind him at all. I don’t think I’ve had a good overarching plot that I’ve really cared about since Tennant, which is sad.

        At the least, you should give Neil Gaiman’s episodes a watch. The Doctor’s Wife is brilliant, and I liked his Cybermen episode, too. If you liked Tennant, you might want to watch the finale (it’s the lead-in) and give the anniversary show a shot since he’ll be there. Eccleston won’t be.

        Sorry. Went off on a rant there. Hope it wasn’t too much.

      2. No worries. I’m actually only a few episodes behind on Doctor Who. Three, I think. I like Clara. I think she has a lot of potential. I just don’t like the dark, serious tone Moffat gives the show. I’ll be happy when we get a new show runner. Moffat’s great with Gatiss on Sherlock, but not so much on Who.

      3. True. The three-story arcs, mostly episodic arcs seem to work much better for him.

        I like the dark episodes, but I wish the “filler” episodes were more like we had with Davis. Smith can do fun and light, but he doesn’t seem to be given the opportunity to do it in good stories. They’re mostly “meh.”

        As far as Stargate goes, I forgot to mention this. If you insist on doing things in order (I do), then you’ll probably want to watch SG-1 in short bursts because it was 10 seasons long and you start to see the repetition. If you just want to get to the good stuff, you should start with the 5-season Stargate: Atlantis. I haven’t been able to finish Stargate: Universe, so I don’t have much to say about that.

      4. I’ll keep that in mind. I usually am pretty worried about watching everything in order, so I may have to pace myself. I’ve also been wrestling with the idea of watching Battlestar Galactica. Ever seen that?

      5. I tried a few years ago and never got into it (I’m much more of a fantasy than a sci-fi person), but I have friends who know me and keep trying to get me to watch it, so I may have to give it another shot.

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