Shows You Should Be Watching If You Aren’t Already: Last-Minute Binge Edition

If you’re anything like me, you make a list of all the things you want to do at the beginning of the summer, and then you procrastinate and blink and it’s September all of a sudden. TIME, MAN. Since there isn’t toooo much going on television wise in the summer months, it’s usually a good time to binge-watch the shows you’ve been meaning to forever. But like I said, it’s September already and those fall premiere dates are right around the corner. However, you still have a window of time to catch up on those buzzed-about shows in time for the new season, so we’ve made a handy list of programs we think you should binge instead of that home improvement project you’ve been putting off. You can do that later.

Traci’s Picks

For Modern Family fans who also like New Girl and miss Don’t Trust The B- : Fresh Off The Boat

Seasons to catch up on: 1

Next season begins: Tuesday, September 22nd on ABC

Why you should be watching: I wrote an entire post for this show right after the pilot aired, and I still stand by everything I said. In summation, it’s funny, every single actor from the kids to the grandma are beyond fantastic, and Asians. Also, the show’s creator, Nahnatchka Khan, also created one of those Cancelled Too Soon shows, Don’t Trust the B- (In Apartment 23). Miss you “James Van Der Beek.”

For Shondaland fans who enjoy legal dramas and have plenty of patience: How To Get Away With Murder

Seasons to catch up on: 1

Next season begins: Thursday, September 24th on ABC

Why you should be watching: Viola Davis is a HBIC in the courtroom and as a professor in the classroom, but in her personal life, she’s got some probs. But also, Viola Davis is a gift to television and to acting.

For Mad Men and True Detective fans who miss Pacey Witter and are okay with watching adultry: The Affair

Seasons to catch up on: 1

Next season begins: Sunday, October 4th on Showtime

Why you should be watching: IDK if you’ve noticed, but all the shows I picked are 15 episodes or less. You can do this, ya’ll. One of the great things about TV in this era is that a lot of accomplished actors aren’t afraid of the “TV stigma” like before (as in TV sucked, movies rule). All four of these leads, Josh Jackson, Maura Tierney, Dominic West and Ruth Wilson are both stars of film and TV, but together, it’s like watching a theatre play with A-list movie stars in the comfort of your own home. The basic conceit of the show should be enough to lure you in – two people in fragile marriages have an affair, and the story is told both in the male and female perspectives. Add a twist of a murder, plus the acting chops and you get a great show. Also, apropos of nothing, Josh Jackson recreating an iconic season one scene from Dawson’s Creek .

Molly’s Picks

For hip-hop fans and pop culture junkies who love a good Biblical drama but think that the ACTUAL Biblical drama airing this year looks a bit much: Empire

Seasons to catch up on: 1

Next season begins: Wednesday, September 23 on Fox

Why you should be watching: I know we’ve drummed this one up in a few other posts, but basically you should be watching because it’s very, very good.  The show centers around Lucious Lyon, a music mogul who must hand his “empire” over to one of his sons – straight-laced Andre, rejected gay son Jamal, or rising star Hakeem. Oh, and his wife Cookie was just released from prison after 17 years, which means – you guessed it – 90s flashbacks. Taraji P. Hensen as Cookie Lyon is one of the most compelling characters on television right now. Obviously there are some amazing musical performances too, but they fit into the story organically, it’s not like Glee or anything. Plus there are only 12 episodes for you to watch.

For Breaking Bad fans who also enjoy dark comedy like Six Feet Under and anthology series like American Horror Story or True Detective : Fargo

Seasons to catch up on: 1

Next season begins: Monday, October 12 on FX

Why you should be watching: The Emmy voters were right: this gritty-yet-quirky crime drama is fresh, compelling, and weirdly sort of funny – and also, there are only 10 episodes to watch. Technically you don’t even need to catch up because it’s an anthology, with each series standing alone. All are set in the north country, but season 1 was set in 2006 and season 2 will take place in 1979, and there’s some sort of Ronald Reagan plotline. Season 2 will feature Kirsten Dunst, Ted Danson, Nick Offerman and Lance Landry Jesse Plemons.

For CW types who enjoy fanciful plotlines, telenovelas, and sitcoms that aren’t too sitcom-y or dramas that aren’t too dramatic: Jane The Virgin

Seasons to catch up on: 1

Next season begins:

Why you should be watching: More like, why WE should be watching. I had to include Jane the Virgin because it’s at the top of both of our personal Last-Minute Binge Watch lists. Both of us caught onto how great the show (/Gina Rodriguez) were sometime in the middle of last season, but didn’t want to jump in halfway through season one, so we have been patiently waiting for Netflix to do something. But everyone says that it’s amazing, and we believe them.

 

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Show You Should Be Watching If You Aren’t Already: Younger

I watch too many TV shows. It’s a problem. Because of this, I’ve had to be selective when it comes to which programs I actually spend time watching. But then when my shows go on a semi-long hiatus, I get ancy like a drug addict feening for a hit. It’s then that I go to the list of bubble shows that I decided I would only watch if I found the time to. Enter Younger.

Younger is a TV Land series, which is partly why you’re confused about it. It’s not a repeat of Gunsmoke or Who’s the Boss or even Friends, and it’s not a shot-in-front-of-a-live-audience multi-cam show like Hot in Cleveland. It’s a single-cam, original series that isn’t aimed towards the baby boomer demographic. I watched the pilot and liked it so much that I watched it again immediately after it aired. But that’s partly because my DVR cut out the last 30 seconds and I obviously needed to see what happened. But that aside, it feels like a fresh, new show that isn’t trying to be anything else. So what’s it about?

Basic Plot

Liza (Sutton Foster) is 40 years old and suddenly becomes a divorced single mom of a college freshman. She gets mistaken for a 20-something by a young, hot, gentleman caller (Nico Tortoella), which makes her think she can pass for a young professional, multiplying her chances of scoring a decent job in the publishing world. It works, and she lands a position as an assistant to a Devil Wears Prada-esque boss, but her co-worker Kelsey (H Duff) befriends her and takes her under her wing. Liza attempts to keep up appearances as a “26 year old” but the problem is that no one knows her real age and real life story.

Still intrigued? Here are a few more reasons to watch one of my new favorite shows this year.

Sex and the Gilmore Girls

Darren Starr, the executive producer of Sex and the City, is the creator, writer, director, etc. of Younger, so some of that Carrie Bradshaw flair can be seen in the show. Like SATC, it also takes place in New York City, specifically Brooklyn, where Liza has to adjust to all the young hipsters. The writing of Younger is reminiscent of Gilmore Girls – while not quite as verbose and pop culture reference-y, it has a similar fast-talking pace that is perfect for the brilliant Sutton Foster, who if you recall, starred in the cancelled-too-soon dance dramedy Bunheads, created by GG’s Amy Sherman-Palladino. The fusion of these two shows results in a hip, hilarious program for millennials and older folks alike.

Hilary Duff Is Back On TV

I have been a fan of Hil since My Lizzie and Gordon OTP Days, and have loved her ever since. While she’s had some random TV cameos since (REMEMBER THE DAN HUMPHREY VANESSA THREESOME), this is a full-fledged series return since she’s had a kid. Now I don’t think she’s lined up to earn an Oscar nomination anytime soon, but her acting and mere presence feels like a breath of fresh air, and the role of Kelsey is perfect for her. She’s a strong female in the workplace and goes after what she wants with determination. She also isn’t a mean girl, which I expected her to be when I first started watching. She truly is a friend to Liza and I hope that never changes, because, girls lifting up other girls and whatnot.

Sutton Foster Is Back On TV

As previously mentioned, Sutton was in the short-lived Bunheads, which was the perfect role for her as a Vegas showgirl-turned-small-town-dance-teacher. Sutton nailed the delivery on Amy Sherman-Pallidino’s writing, which isn’t an easy feat. It also helped that Sutton is a huge Gilmore Girls fan so she knew what she was getting in to. And while some may only be familiar with her work on Bunheads, many others like me know her as Broadway royalty. Like the kind of Broadway royalty that has won two Tony Awards as Best Actress in a Musical because she’s that flawless. Whenever Broadway actors transition into TV, I always root for them like the underdog because I know how much talent they have and it deserves to be seen than more than the lucky few who get to see them perform on the stage live (see: half the cast of Bloodline). Sutton being on Younger is not only an achievement and feat for her, it’s one for us too.

Fashion

The fashion in Younger is interesting on a whole new level, in that while there are the clothes that, say, Hilary Duff’s character wears (trendy, young NYC professional), there’s that of Liza’s, which is a 40 year old woman pretending to be 26. What she wears literally depends on her livelihood. Bring in Patricia Field, the costume designer for not only Younger, but she also worked with Darren Starr on SATC. I recently read an Entertainment Weekly feature on Patricia and now I can’t stop reading about her process for styling characters and tips on how to not look like trash, basically. For example, a trick for dressing Liza is that she wears items that balance out her silhouette – i.e. being youthful is about not being overtly sexy. When Josh first hits on Liza, she’s wearing like a comfy chambray shirt – and this is what makes him not only like her, but think she’s 26.

Millennial Life As Seen By A Non-Millennial

There’s a good chunk of this show that deals with Liza just trying to keep up with the “kids” and understand the millennial language. She gets hired as an assistant, and is expected to know how social media works because that’s what we do as millennials. In one scene she comes up with this brilliant publicity campaign involving Twitter, but when she launches it, she forgets to include the hashtags, and therefore it doesn’t become the viral sensation she promised her boss it would be. In the pilot, Liza seriously asks who Lena Dunham is. Kelsey at one point has to teach her what IRL means. It’s an interesting semi-psychological study on what we do and why we do it, couched in the guise of a hilarious show.

Younger airs on TV Land Tuesdays at 10p/9c