Television Shows to (Binge) Watch in Your Spare Time

Two students browse through TV recommendations

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We don’t need to tell you that binge-watching television shows for hours on end isn’t good for you, but if you’ve worked hard this school year, why not treat yourself to a TV bender or two this summer? After all, as you’ve spent the last few months toiling away with homework, your Netflix queue has surely grown. If you’re looking to add more shows to the lineup or wondering what the rest of the world was watching while you studied organic chemistry, we have some TV show recommendations for you.

Please note: Any given episode of the following television shows may contain profanity, sexuality, or violence, and viewer discretion is advised.

Black Mirror: This show is really different from the other recommendations in that each episode is stand alone; you don’t have to watch any other episodes to understand what is going on in the current episode. Whenever I recommend this show to people, which happens a lot, I say that it’s like the Twilight Zone of the current generation. The storylines are always a little bit eerie (the first episode of season one especially) and you never entirely know what’s going on, but all of the episodes explore the relationship between the human race and ever-changing technology. Social media and the need for constant validation are recurring themes; in one episode a woman tries to increase her social media “score” because only the highest scorers are allowed to rent apartments in a certain community, but the viewer comes to realize that social media-based interactions are empty. In another, a woman buys a robot that can imitate her deceased partner, but the differences between the original and the copy are extreme. Each episode tells a story and shares a lesson. I’ve found them all fascinating. -- Megan C.

Glitch: This is an Australian television series that was recently picked up by Netflix and, if the rumors are to be believed, is currently filming a second season. It focuses on a cop named James, who is called out to the local cemetery one evening. He is greeted by more than one naked, dusty person, all of whom seemingly crawled out of their graves in the middle of the night. It certainly makes for one confusing encounter. It doesn’t help that one of these zombies (for lack of a better word) is James’s dead wife. And that he’s since started a new relationship. James calls upon a local doctor, Elishia, to see if they can solve the mystery of why these people have come back to life and, in some cases, who they are. The series follows James, Elishia, and the risen characters through six episodes that are really intriguing. I would be lying if I said that I didn’t watch them all in two days, during which I barely left the couch. -- Megan C.

The Golden Girls: This list just wouldn’t be complete if I didn’t give a shout out to Rose, Blanche, Dorothy, and Sophia. Hear me out—there was once a time when I, too, thought that The Golden Girls was about a bunch of old people dealing with the 1980s. And it is, but it’s so much more. The main characters of The Golden Girls are, well, women in their golden years who share a house in Miami. Like Carrie and her friends in Sex and the City, each golden girl has a caricatured personality—the aloof one, the promiscuous one, the sarcastic one, the nutty one—and the show relies on their differences for tension and humor. Sure, some jokes are outdated by now, but most themes aren’t. Friendship and eating cheesecake on a lanai never go out of style. -- Gwen

The Handmaid’s Tale: Based on a book of the same name, The Handmaid’s Tale follows a woman named Offred as she tries to survive life in Gilead, a totalitarian nation which has sprung out of a declining United States. In this dystopia, environmental factors have led to widespread infertility, and civil war rages on. Women have lost their rights to choose their own destinies, and Offred because she can still bear children, is forced into life as a handmaid, sentenced to produce children for the rich and powerful. Her flashbacks reveal the “time before” Gilead: when she had a husband and child of her own, when she held a job, when she had friends, when she was free. The show derives suspense not only from the sense that a quiet resistance is underway, but also from the question of where Offred’s family is now. Admittedly, I’ve only seen a few episodes, but that’s because only a few episodes have been released at the time of this writing. New ones premiere on Hulu every week (you can guess what I’ll be doing Wednesday night...), so there will be plenty to binge watch by summer break. -- Gwen

Insecure: If you have a coveted HBO GO account, check out Insecure, which manages to explore a range of human emotions while still providing laughs. In many ways, it’s similar to Broad City, though Insecure digs deeper, feels realer somehow. The show revolves around the trials and tribulations of Issa and Molly, college best friends who navigate dating, work, finances, and general adulthood. Both characters are black women, and in an interview with NPR, creator and star Issa Rae says, “Isn't it sad that it's revolutionary? It's so basic ... but we don't get to do that. We don't get to just have a show about regular black people being basic.” But now we do. Season two is set to premiere on July 23, 2017. Until then, you have eight half-hour episodes to consume. -- Gwen

Once Upon a Time: If you’re looking for a more fantasy-meets-reality experience, give Once Upon a Time a try. This show takes a lot of the characters you might be familiar with from classic fairy tales and puts them in the sleepy town of Storybrooke, Maine. There’s only one problem: they have no magic and no memories of their fairy tale lives. The protagonist, Emma Swan, is brought into the town by Henry, the ten year-old son she gave up for adoption when he was a baby, and she soon finds herself involved with this town and its strange residents. Along with their new present-day surroundings, the residents of Storybrooke are met with real-life challenges as well as fantastical ones when their fairy tale histories begin to collide with the more modern lifestyles they have been living. There are currently six seasons, and season seven is set to premiere in September 2017. Once Upon a Time airs on ABC Family, but you can find the first five seasons on Netflix or Hulu (Hulu Plus subscribers can watch everything up through the end of season six). The six most recent episodes are also available to watch on ABC's website. -- Heidi

Twin Peaks: David Lynch’s quirky, yet mysterious TV series made its debut in 1990 and has enjoyed a cult following ever since. The main character, oddball FBI Agent Cooper, investigates the murder of teenager Laura Palmer in the small logging town of Twin Peaks. At first, the people and their surroundings seem quaint and innocent, but slowly the investigation into Laura’s death unveils something more sinister and eerie permeating Twin Peaks. With everything ranging from teenage love to surrealist dream sequences, this show is sure to appeal to both the Gilmore Girl lovers and X-Files fanatics. Binge the first two seasons on Netflix and then tune into Hulu or Showtime Anytime for the third season. Parts one through four are available now, and there are more episodes to come. Yes, this show was such a hit, it’s returned 25 years later with the same cast of characters. -- Megan R.

Happy watching!

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