It’s halfway through the summer. The sun is shining, the sky is clear, and the days are absolutely gorgeous. They’re also longer than any other season of the year and it’s hard to keep yourself from getting bored all day. That can get even harder to do when you realized you’ve exhausted your Netflix queue and you still have a month before you get back to school. Maybe you’re looking for dramatic crime stories or maybe you’re just looking for a sitcom to mindlessly watch. Regardless of reasoning, here are 10 shows for you to binge watch this summer.
1. "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt"
Starring the always enthusiastic Ellie Kemper (known for her roles in "The Office" and "Bridesmaids"), this show centers on a young woman named Kimmy Schmidt who has spent the last 15 years trapped in a bunker by a religious fanatic. Trust me though, the series isn’t nearly as dark as you might expect. It’s a brilliant comedy featuring the comedy talents of funny women such as Jane Krakowski and Tina Fey. The show follows Kimmy in her adventures experiencing the “real world” in New York City. For those who grew up in the Disney Channel generation, this show is for you.
2. "Arrested Development"
If you’ve watched this series (or "The Graduate" if you’re a real film nerd), then you’ll probably never be able to hear “The Sound of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel the same way again. A cult classic comedy series featuring such stars as Michael Cera, Will Arnett and Jason Bateman, this series follows the adventures of a wealthy family that suddenly has everything to lose when the father of the family is sent to prison. It’s a delightfully hilarious series with all the callbacks and puns that you could possibly ask for. While the fourth season came under some fire for not matching the quality of previous seasons, the series stands as one of the finest examples of an ensemble comedy series.
After finishing its seventh season a few weeks ago, this animated spy comedy has been renewed for three more seasons, and for good reason. The show centers on the unfortunately named ISIS (a name that was gotten rid of after the fourth season), a spy agency which holds the contract for world class spy Sterling Archer, codename Duchess. He and the rest of the agency go on some fairly ridiculous missions, including but not limited to going to space, being shrunk to microscopic levels to enter a human body and even smuggling cocaine. And for those of you who are "Arrested Development" fans, Jessica Walter (aka Lucille Bluth) reprises her role as an uncaring mother by playing Malory Archer. The humor of the show is an odd blend of quick witted dialogue and good ol’ dirty jokes. It’s a mixture that is not to be missed and if viewership keeps growing as it has been, this show is a major force to be reckoned with.
4. "House of Cards"
If you’re concerned that there’s too much laughter and general happiness in this list, look no further than "House of Cards." Frank Underwood, played by Kevin Spacey, is a hard-willed Democrat who serves as the Whip during the Presidential election and is set to become the Secretary of State. However, when he is denied the position, he sets out on a personal vendetta to get back at those who wronged him and seize any possible powers he can. This is not the happiest of tales, the opening scene has us watch him as he kills a dog. But there’s something intoxicating about watching Frank and his ruthless methodologies, partially due to his monologues to the audience. There’s a lot to be said about this show, but one that’s almost undeniable is how addictive this series can become.
If you’ve ever seen a Batman movie, a Batman TV show or a Batman anything, then you’ve had the origins of Bruce Wayne crammed down your throat over and over and over again. We’ve all seen Martha and Thomas Wayne gunned down in the streets as Bruce weeps over the pearls that lay scattered around him. What we don’t ever see is what happened just afterwards. Rather than focusing on the beginnings of Batman, we watch the origins of another influential character in the Dark Knight’s saga: Commissioner Gordon. As a war veteran who has returned to work for Gotham PD, Gordon makes a personal vow to Bruce that he will hunt down the Waynes’ killer. It’s a unique origin story which shows us the beginning of not only Bruce and Jim, but the origins of notable villains like The Penguin, The Riddler, and even Catwoman. With the first season on Netflix, I can’t think of a good reason for any superhero fan to not be watching this show.
6. "Master of None"
Chances are that you’ve seen Aziz Anzari in "Parks and Recreation" or in one of his comedy specials. He’s a genuinely funny guy and putting him in as writer and star for his own comedy series sounds like a recipe for a hilarious show. But it delivers far more than that. It’s a very real and very personal portrait of what it’s like to be an adult in modern society. Every facet of what it means to try and find your way in this world is analyzed through a comedic lens. Whether it’s reconnecting with your parents, figuring out who to take with you to a concert, or even something as simple as finding the right place to eat. The show is currently filming for a second season and is scheduled for release sometime during 2017.
7. "Bojack Horseman"
Speaking of comedies with a deeper meaning, "Bojack Horseman" has established itself as a very thought-provoking series. With Will Arnett (aka Job Bluth from "Arrested Development") playing a horse-man who was well-known for his role in a '90s sitcom, the show dives into what fame represents and how far the hunt for self-discovery will take you. Animated shows for adults have taken a turn for the better in the last few years. Intricate plots and character development have only served to make the jokes even funnier. The show is satirical and tongue-in-cheek at many times, but between the jokes and gags there are some very deep and personal moments shared by the cast. To say any more would give too much away, but keep in mind that there is more than meets the eye when it comes to "Bojack Horseman."
8. "Orange Is the New Black"
Shame on you if you haven’t watched this yet. If you’ve been living under a rock for the past four years, "Orange is the New Black" focuses on the trials of a middle-class woman named Piper Chapman whose prior involvement in drug smuggling finally catches up with her and results in some prison time. Of course, Piper is just one of many prisoners who have found their way to Litchfield Penitentiary. As the show quickly reveals, everyone in the prison has their own story and their own reasons for ending up where they have.
With crisscrossing stories and each group trying to achieve their own ends, it’s a complex story that shows women of all kinds struggling in a system meant to break down its inhabitants. It’s not necessarily an uplifting tale, but it is one of survivors and of people who struggle to maintain their grip on their own selves. With the show scheduled for three more seasons, it seems likely that it will continue to reach new heights as the years go on.
9. "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia"
It seems unlikely for a sitcom to be successful after eleven years, let alone continue to be inventive and original. But this show has defied the odds with an absolutely all-star cast. Following the lives of five morally dubious (at best) workers at a bar named Paddy’s Pub in Philadelphia. All five of them are willing to sell each other out at the drop of a hat for their own benefit and willing to engage in any level of debauchery if it means a quick buck. Their ridiculous antics are abhorrent at times but ultimately hilarious. Whether they’re taking advantage of the gas crisis or throwing a child’s beauty pageant in a bar, their various misadventures are always worth a re-watch or three.
10. "Gravity Falls"
Ending off the list with a happier note, this Disney XD show is about two twins named Dipper and Mabel who are spending the summer in a little town called Gravity Falls. While there, they spend their time working at the Mystery Shack run by their Grunkle (great uncle) Stan. However, they soon discover that there is much more to the town than they expected when Dipper stumbles on an old book containing all sorts of secrets about monsters and strange things that appear in the town. With all the fun and jokes promised by a Disney show, this cartoon is a show that has gained a following in a similar vein as Adventure Time, with a significant following consisting of those who have grown out of the targeted age group. Despite having only two seasons (and a very limited DVD release), it’s a fun watch if you’re looking for a little nostalgia.