TV Shows You Should Be Watching This Summer

Let’s face it – if you go out this summer you’ll probably just end up sunburnt, or hung-over, or both. Now is actually the perfect time of year to hole up inside with the blinds drawn, marathoning episodes of a TV show. Forget your friends, forget your kids, forget the beach, throw away that book you’ve been meaning to read (kidding – don’t do that). You’ve got shows to watch.

If you’re looking for a serious drama, obviously you can start with one of the big guns from the last fifteen years that you might have missed – or want to rewatch – like The Wire, The Sopranos or The West Wing. If you’re looking for something a little more recent, there is Mad Men, The Walking Dead, Game of Thrones, The Good Wife, Downton Abbey, Dexter, Sherlock and Justified – all excellent, highly recommended shows – or the best of all, Breaking Bad.


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That’s right, Mad Men fans be damned, Breaking Bad is the best show on television right now. The thing about Breaking Bad is that it gets better as it goes along. Season one is pretty good but season five will blow your mind. Once you fall in love with Jesse Pinkman, you can’t go back.

Homeland is another great drama (don’t be put off by all the hype). Season two is just about to finish airing, so catching up isn’t too daunting. Claire Danes is brilliant, as always (watch this Claire Danes crying face super cut as evidence) and the plot is gripping and complex.

If you’ve never seen Friday Night Lights, then you need to stop what you are doing right now and buy it immediately because this show will break (and then repair) your heart like nothing else on earth.

If you’re on the hunt for a good comedy, give Happy Endings a go. It’s currently halfway through its third season in the US, and it’s arguably the best performing comedy on TV right now. Not as cool as Louie and Girls, or as warm and fuzzy as Parks and Recreation, or as weird as CommunityHappy Endings falls into its own slightly zany middle ground. Think of it as a nastier, funnier, crazier, less white-bread version of Friends. As with all comedies, the first season takes a little while to warm up, but once it finds its footing, it’s delightful and addictive. Here’s a clip of my favourite character, Penny. And another, just in case. Oh all right, one more. If that doesn’t convince you, this Salon article on the merits of the show might.


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On the topic of great comedies – if you missed Arrested Development the first time round, now is the perfect time to catch up because after a seven year hiatus, new episodes will be released next year.

Finally, sometimes all you feel like watching is some good, lightweight trashy TV. Classic guilty pleasure shows include Gossip Girl (skip season five and six if you value your sanity), Revenge, Pretty Little Liars, Fringe, Supernatural, Once Upon a Time, Grimm or any of the first four seasons of 24 (better to avoid the later seasons, they get super crazy). And then there is the greatest guilty pleasure show of all time – The Vampire Dairies. The first five episodes are utterly terrible and you’ll want to quit but then it becomes fantastic and by the end of season one you’ll be wondering how you ever lived without it. If you’re not convinced, then read this slightly spoiler-y article from the AV Club on why there’s no shame in being an adult who watches The Vampire Diaries.


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What about recommendations for good reality TV shows, you may ask? I don’t understand the question and I won’t respond to it.

Now, go forth and watch.

The Wire: The Complete Collection (DVD)

The Wire: The Complete Collection (DVD)

David Simon

$94.95Buy now

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