Summer is fast approaching, which for many people around the world means warm weather, sunshine, and days spent by the pool. And while summer is usually associated with the end of your favorite television shows, one of the best parts about summer is that it provides your DVR with a little bit of breathing room. In that breathing room, there is plenty of time and space for Netflix and Hulu binge-watching all of the shows you heard people talk about throughout the primetime’s television season.
Below, we have 12 TV Shows You Should Binge-Watch This Summer.
12. Twin Peaks
With its upcoming revival still a while away, there is plenty of time this summer to catch up on Twin Peaks. Both seasons are available to stream on Netflix, and you’ll find yourself sucked into this now-cult classic because of its weird premise. Literally, that is how the show is marketed on Netflix: “Then things get weird. REALLY weird.”
Twin Peaks is a show that intricately balances a few genres with relative ease – campy self-aware parody, procedural, horror, and science-fiction. The reason that this series was so acclaimed is because it has managed to inject itself into pop culture canon flawlessly. And with the revival coming soon, summer is the perfect chance to binge-watch the series – either for the first time or the hundredth.
11. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
One of the most critically-buzzed new series, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a show worth binge-watching over the summer, if you can set aside its off-putting title. This musical comedy is eccentric, vibrant, heartwarming, and hilarious. But most importantly, the writing is smart.
Crazy Ex-Girlfriend centers around Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), a lawyer whose life is going nowhere until she runs into her camp boyfriend, Josh Chan (Vincent Rodriguez III). Learning that he’s moving to West Covina, California, Rebecca impulsively moves across the country for him. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend brilliantly and hilariously tackles real-life issues, especially mental health. In the hands of any other actress, Rebecca Bunch would be irritating and unrealistic. But Rachel Bloom’s delicate handling of the character breathes life into what could have easily been a stale archetype. The ensemble cast is impeccable, and the songs are iconic (“Sexy Getting Ready Song” and “Getting Bi” will be two of the most-remembered songs from the first season).
Entering its sixth season on USA, Suits is a drama set in the world of the high-powered law firm Pearson Specter Litt. Since Suits is on cable and therefore plays by the cable television model, the show’s seasons are split into two different sections which air in the winter and the summer, instead of the traditional fall and spring. With the new season debuting in late July of this year and the show’s first five seasons available to purchase on iTunes, this summer marks the perfect time to catch up!
The show stars Patrick J. Adams as Mike Ross, a young man with a photographic memory who pretends to be a lawyer. Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) plays Mike’s mentor figure, and a central character in the series. Suits combines romance, drama, and humor with relative ease, and is engaging because of its nuanced characters, including fan-favorite secretary and love interest of Harvey’s, Donna Paulsen (Sarah Rafferty). The relationships between the characters are incredible and powerful. Before Suits comes back on July 13, catch up!
9. Pretty Little Liars
Freeform’s hit series Pretty Little Liars is a fast-paced, drama-filled show that combines mystery, teenage soap opera, and comedy all into one. The show begins with four former friends – Aria Montgomery (Lucy Hale), Hanna Marin (Ashley Benson), Spencer Hastings (Troian Bellisario), and Emily Fields (Shay Mitchell) – reuniting after the disappearance and death of Alison DiLaurentis (Sasha Pieterse). What comes next is a show about the four remaining girls being tormented, tortured, and texted by a mysterious person named “A,” who vows to unveil all of their secrets and take them down once and for all.
Pretty Little Liars is a perfect summer binge-watch if you’re looking for an engrossing guilty pleasure. The writing and quality of the show isn’t award-worthy, but it’s a fun, twisty-turvy take on a high school drama. All of the seasons are available to stream on Netflix, and the seventh season premieres on June 21.
8. Gilmore Girls
Perhaps one of the most iconic and pop culture-rich series of all time, Gilmore Girls’ entire series is available on Netflix to binge-watch over your summer vacation. And just in time, too – the show’s revival is underway, so a first watch (or second or third if you’re a hardcore fan) of the series is in order.
The comedy is set in a quiet, small town where everyone knows everyone else. Lorelai Gilmore (Lauren Graham) and her whip-smart daughter, Rory (Alexis Bledel) navigate life and love together. The friendship between the mother and daughter is strengthened by the fact that Lorelai got pregnant with Rory young. Not only is Lorelai the epitome of the “cool mom” archetype, but she’s also an extremely supportive and loving character. Gilmore Girls is a renowned series because the story and characters are timeless and the most memorable lines have permanently woven themselves into the fabric of pop culture.
An unexpected summer 2015 hit, UnReal is Lifetime’s drama-filled series focusing on the producer of a Bachelor-esque series. The smart, sexy, engaging show found quite a following among critics and fans alike. The show, starring Shiri Appleby and Constance Zimmer, doesn’t only draw fans because of its soapy show-within-a-show (though the immense meta-ness of the show itself being a guilty pleasure that features a fake guilty pleasure is brilliant), but also its incredible depiction of strong female characters.
The lead of the series is a woman who calls the shots – both in her personal and her professional life. And the sheer genius of UnReal is that it is brushed aside as a guilty pleasure, but is truly profound in the way that it subverts tropes in many areas and provides agency in many more. This Lifetime series is worth a binge-watch of the first season before the second debuts on June 6.
6. Beauty & the Beast
As The CW series heads into its final season, audiences have likely overlooked it or dismissed it simply based on its name. You’d be hard-pressed to find many references to the acclaimed Disney movie in this show about a woman named Catherine (Kristin Kreuk) who witnesses her mother’s murder. The same night, Catherine is saved from her mother’s murderers by a mysterious “beast” (Jay Ryan). Years later, Catherine learns more about Vincent – the beast who saved her – and what happened to her mother.
With something for nearly everyone, including romance, drama, and a procedural element (since Catherine is an NYPD cop), Beauty & the Beast is worth a binge-watch this summer before its final season debuts on June 2.
5. Orange is the New Black
One of Netflix’s most-watched and acclaimed original series, Orange is the New Black returns for its fourth season on June 17, which means that if you haven’t watched this show yet, there’s still time to binge-watch before the newest season begins.
Orange is the New Black has become quite the ensemble series over the years, launching many of its stars to becoming household names. But what makes the series so engaging to many isn’t the plot but the complexity of its characters. The fact that the show’s major cast is filled with diverse and varied women is a testament to the show’s faith in women driving compelling stories. From fan-favorites like Poussey (Samira Wiley) and Crazy Eyes (Uzo Aduba) to layered anti-heroes like Piper (Taylor Schilling), Orange is the New Black is a series where humanity and dark humor intersect.
4. Mr. Robot
This USA Network sleeper hit earned impressive critical acclaim in its first season. And with the second season debuting on July 13, it might be time for you to play catch up and watch the show from the beginning. Hailed as inventive, this dark and twisty (and artistically directed) series focuses on a hacker-turned-vigilante named Elliot (Rami Malek) who is recruited to join a mysterious underground organization.
Already nominated for awards, Mr. Robot is a new age television thriller, with tightly-written stories and incredibly nuanced and stylized directing that has earned it a place in the must-watch canon. And while dark and gritty, and intense, it is precisely these elements that make Mr. Robot worth your time.
Based on the best-selling book by James Patterson, Zoo follows the story of protagonist Jackson Oz (James Wolk) as he and numerous around the world attempt to determine why violent animal attacks are occurring on humans around the world. While Zoo’s protagonist might be Jackson, the series is an ensemble, focusing on many different characters from veterinaries to reporters.
What is impressive about this series and why it deserves your time as a binge-watch show this summer is its take on horror and suspense. The incorporation of animals might initially seem campy, but the intrigue and mystery that surrounds the horrific attacks elevates the content. Zoo’s second season premieres on CBS on June 28.
2. Prison Break
Prison Break is returning for a special event in the 2016-2017 television season, and with the first four seasons available to stream on Netflix, this summer might be the perfect chance to catch up with FOX’s hit series. The show is, undoubtedly, a bit self-explanatory: a young man named Michael (Wentworth Miller) is a highly-skilled architect and orchestrates a prison break in order to free his brother Lincoln (Dominic Purcell), who was accused of murdering the brother of the Vice President of the United States.
Prison Break was a tightly-written, drama-fueled series, akin in pace and urgency to its former sister show, 24. Miller and Purcell were supported by an array of characters throughout the series, including Michael’s love, Sara (Sarah Wayne Callies) and criminals like “T-Bag” (Robert Knepper) and Fernando Sucre (Amaury Molasco), who were desperate to break out of prison, too. The show’s return is sure to be epic and as fast-paced as ever, as the recent trailer indicates. Do yourself a favor and catch up soon!
CBS’s recent foray into the superhero genre might have been a bit of a misstep, as Supergirl’s sophomore year will be airing on The CW this fall instead of the big network. Nevertheless, it is worth binge-watching the freshman series, as it provides a solid base in terms of character and plot for next season.
Supergirl follows the story of Kara Danvers (Melissa Benoist), a seemingly ordinary young assistant who is, in reality, a superhero with powers. Kara struggles to balance her day job with her superhero persona, and spends a majority of the first season battling that – in addition to her actual nemeses! The cast is great, and the tone of the series light and carefree. Its serious moments are given appropriate weight, while the special effects are good as well. It will be interesting to see how the tone and quality of the show shifts, for better or worse, when the show moves to another network. Before that happens, Supergirl deserves your time this summer.
What will you binge-watch this summer?