We here at NTO like warm weather as much as the next guy, but there’s a certain mark on the mercury stick where it makes more sense to shut the blinds and crank the AC and binge your favorite program than to try to pretend you enjoy outdoor activities like some kind of bug swarm. For those of you who know how we feel, we would like to present the Top Five Greatest Shows to Binge Watch in the summer.
5. Dallas Amazon (not free)
There’s something about summer that makes me crave melodrama. It might be that I really got into Beverly Hills, 90210 one summer during a particularly crucial developmental stage of my adolescence. Or maybe it is just easier to stomach when you know you can run outside and dive in a pool if things get too ridiculous (flashback: party at Judi’s apartment circa 2007) and Dallas most certainly will. This show is also good for summer time because it takes place in, you guessed it, Dallas. The Ewings are always throwing some lavish BBQ and there are cowboys, ranch hands and party nights at honky tonks. What could be more fun?
4. Orange is the New Black Netflix
For the past three summers I have anxiously awaited the release of the newest seasons of OITNB. It is a difficult consumptive behavior, really. Dedicate one whole weekend to watching a season and immerse yourself wholly in it, while pleading desperately with your friends to watch it to, so you can talk about it. . . and then having nothing to do with it for a year. It is the kind of show that is made for binge watching. Story arcs and cliffhangers lend themselves to accidentally watching an entire season in two or three days, which is what this list is all about. Great characters and a mix of drama, prison reform and absurdist comedy make this a must binge summer show. Full disclosure: it may have jumped shark in season four.
3. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt Netflix
Uuuuuuuuunbreakable! I love when the song kicks in and I’m about to suspend reality for 30 minutes to 13×30 minutes to join a cast of ridiculous misfits on what feels like some combination of 30 Rock meets Strangers with Candy meets The Brady Bunch, but with an over abundance of 90’s references, bad puns, intentionally bad jokes, and an annoyingly upbeat lead. Okay, so maybe you really have to be in the mood for this one, but binge you will! The show is really funny, once you quit trying to force it to make too much sense. The one liners, the repeat jokes and the ones that force you to wait too long for a mediocre punchline, are hilarious to me. And Jon Hamm is great too!
2. Lost Netflix
Okay. Okay. Okay. I know. I’m like half a dozen years late to the Lost craze, but OMG I’m glad I got on board. . . and then OMG, no I’m not. This is a perfect show to start RIGHT NOW because it will keep you entertained until August or September when, when, I don’t know, when NBC Thursday night Must See TV is back? Whatever happens when summer ends and you’re forced to watch more serious fare because the days are getting shorter and colder. The first few seasons of Lost are completely absorbing. It is the kind of show you will find yourself trying to fit in before work and during your lunch hour. You will give up sleep for this show. . . and then, eventually, you will hate yourself for it. Every former Lost binger knows what this means. . . but don’t let that deter you! Maybe you’ll love it forever, but I promise you it will make you glad you stayed home this summer instead of taking a flight anywhere for vacation and ending up in whatever that is!
1. Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp Netflix
I love Wet Hot American Summer. When it came out in 2001, I rented it based solely on the fact that Janeane Garofalo was involved (I also saw Mystery Men in the theater for this reason, not as rewarding) and I felt like for the first time, there was a whole other genre of comedy that I didn’t know about out there, and I LOVED it. The sort of weird, it’s funny because it is so silly, but we know it is silly, but we want you to also think it is silly kind of humor that is actually pretty prevalent today. Shows like Arrested Development and Family Guy sort of operate in this universe. It also introduced me to Amy Poehler. At any rate, I was beyond thrilled when Netflix developed and released this eight episode series, 15 years after the movie, but is a prequel to the film. There’s also an amazing “making of” documentary that goes with it. I think everyone should watch it, every summer.