I watch a lot of television. I won’t deny it. Instead, I own it. And I consider myself somewhat of a professional resource for people when summer rolls around—nights are long and friends are starting to miss their must-see TV shows and can’t really get into the talent/dancing/trapped-in-a-house-with-strangers reality shows that fill the summer television line-up.
Well, if you’re looking for a show to get into this summer, get your clicking finger ready to download or head on over to your Netflix queue, because you are going to love these TV picks. If you missed them the first time around, there’s never been a better time to get caught up.
1. LOST. It’s full of an epic story arc that starts with a plane crash and includes things like smoke monsters, polar bears, mysterious numbers, head-spinning twists and turns, and some of the most well-written characters I have ever seen on television. This one is worth it.
2. Dexter. So, Dexter is just your average likable Miami-based forensic analyst. Oh, and he happens to be a serial killer. It’s super complicated to say the least, but Dexter has a fancy code and there’s something, well, intriguing—and almost heroic—about what he does.
3. Six Feet Under. This is television at its finest, really. The show centres around the Fisher family and funeral home that they run and live in. Each episode begins with the death of someone and we see just how that death affects everyone involved, including all of the Fisher family members. It’s quirky, it’s dark, it’s hilarious. It’s awesome.
4. The Wire. Set in Baltimore, each season of The Wire deals with a different facet of the city, including the drug trade, the port, the government, the education system and the media. It’s real and gripping, but it’s also funny. And it boasts a cast of characters that will fascinate you.
5. Parks and Recreation. There is absolutely nothing funnier on television at the moment, and I urge you to start watching Parks and Recreation from the beginning. There has never been a more eccentric, hilarious and perfect mix of personalities than the staff at the Pawnee, Indiana Parks and Rec office. There’s a certain lovable awkwardness about Leslie Knope, who works so hard for her little underdog of a town. Also, it’s full of Rob Lowe pronouncing literally as LIT-rully.
6. Mad Men. This show has the best-written ensemble cast. Everyone is great and the characters are so well developed that you can’t possibly figure out who your favourite is. Set in the 1960s New York City ad agency of Sterling Cooper, we are transported back to a time of chain-smoking and morning scotches; of day dresses and skinny suits. The show tackles the history of the time brilliantly—the Civil Rights Movement, the Kennedy assassination, the Cuban Missile Crisis. There’s a reason that everyone raves about this show. You won’t be disappointed.
7. Weeds. Nancy Botwin is anything but your average TV mom. Sure, she lives the good life in a big house in the suburbs, and yet, the widow Botwin earns her ice-coffee cash by setting up a rather lucrative career selling marijuana. But, you know, she also has two boys to support and a whole extended family that includes her brother-in-law and collection of hilarious friends.
8. OZ. This is the prison show you don’t want to miss. Life in Emerald City, a ground-breaking new concept for improving life for convicted criminals, is not always pretty. In fact, at times it’s often downright gritty and raw, but it makes for exceptional television. Each inmate and character is complicated and brings his or her outside-world story and baggage to Emerald City, adding fascinating storylines and interesting inside-world developments.
9. Friday Night Lights. You don’t have to be a football fan to fall in love with this show. In fact, it’s about so much more than football—it’s about children who grow up in small towns, raised to peak in high school. Because in towns like these, it never gets better than the glory on that football field on Friday nights. We watch what happens to these characters we love as they grow up and grow out of football. We also watch what happens to the friends and family members around them, including the wonderful Coach Taylor, a man we wish more men were like.
10. Entourage. I could probably tell you that it’s worth watching Entourage for Jeremy Piven’s Ari Gold character alone, but in truth, the show is so much more. It follows the story of another up-and-coming pretty face of Hollywood, Vincent Chase, and the entourage of friends who help him with his career—and who sometimes help themselves to the rewards of being with a celebrity. There are ups and downs and dirty, dirty behind-the-scenes secrets. Plus, some pretty amazing cameos!
11. Arrested Development. The Bluth family, undoubtedly, will make your family look normal. They are a family that had everything and then lost everything. There’s only one good man—stuck in a family full of crazy, greedy, spoiled, dysfunctional and (unintentionally) hilarious people—who can possibly work to save this mess. The only downside to this show is that it only ran for three seasons, and there are only 53 episodes of hilarity to soak up.
What’s on your must-watch TV list? Is there a great show that we forgot? Let us know!
—Ali, Senior Associate Editor of CF.ca
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