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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How to Cope with TV Haituses: 2014 Edition

Do you guys remember when the last episode for the year of a TV series didn’t have a term? Like, when did networks decide that the phrase “Winter Finale” was a thing? Definitely in the past couple of years, right? So dramatic.

But as the Winter Finale of your fave shows roll out over this month, you’ll obviously need something to bide your time and avoid your fam during the stressful parts of the holiday season. Like last year, I’ve created a hopefully helpful guide to lead you in the right direction when it comes to preoccupying yourself over the next few weeks! Happy watching!

If you like:

How I Met Your Mother

You might like:

A to Z

Just like we fell in love with Cristin Milioti on How I Met Your Mother and she was promptly taken away, as is the fate of Cristin on the sitcom A to Z. The Lord giveth and NBC taketh away. Cristin Milioti deserves better than this. She’s a great actress who is perfect in the romcom role. In fact, everyone on this show is great. Ben Feldman – oh how I swoon for Ben Feldman (The Mindy Project Ben, not Mad Men Ben,obvs) – is perfect as the A (Andrew) to Cristin’s Z (Zelda). Like HIMYM, the show takes a different kind of approach in telling their love story, since we’re told from the pilot that they stay together for 8 months, 3 weeks and 29 days – those aren’t the exact numbers, but you get the picture. They’re so cute together that you wonder how and why it ends. I guess we’ll never be able to find out since NBC hasn’t ordered more than the 13 episode order. Nonetheless, you should catch up with A, Z, and their best friends, who provide that balance needed for an ensemble comedy.

If you like:

Friday Night Lights

You might like:

Kingdom

I’m not really a sports person, so I was initially turned off to Friday Night Lights because it looked like a football show. And that’s what its ‘downfall’ was. NBC didn’t really know how to market the show because there really hadn’t been anything like it before. Ultimately, it’s a drama about the tight-knit community in small town Texas, and football just happens to play another character in the show. That’s what Kingdom is. TBH, I only started watching it because of Matt Lauria and Nick Jonas are in it, but this gritty new series set in the MMA world is about the relationships between family, friends, and lovers. While there’s a fair share of fighting and blood and sweat, you’ll come to find yourself hooked on wanting to see what’s next for each of the characters. In addition, Kingdom has three actors from the Jason Katims world – Jonathan Tucker (Parenthood), Matt Lauria (Parenthood/FNL) and Kiele Sanchez (Matt Saracen’s wife IRL).

If you like:

Happy Endings

You might like:

Marry Me

HAPPY ENDINGS RIP. If there’s one show in the past few years that really didn’t deserve to get cancelled, that show is Happy Endings. The chemistry of the cast was incomparable, the hilarious dialogue was like nothing I had ever heard before, and the situations they found themselves in were not too far off from my own life and the lives of people I know. So if you’re still in Happy Endings withdrawal, try Marry Me, an NBC comedy that actually scored a whole first season, starring Casey Wilson (Penny Hartz) and Ken Marino who play a newly engaged couple. It’s created/executive produced/written by David Caspe, the creator/executive producer/writer of Happy Endings and also Casey’s new husband. While it doesn’t have the same ensemble ‘Friends’y feel as HE, it does take on a similar (hilarious) tone. Plus it’s also set in Chicago, so there might be some crossover characters…

If you like:

The Mindy Project

You might like:

Selfie

Like you and the rest of America, I was turned off by the title of John Cho and Karen Gillan’s new sitcom, Selfie. It initially came off as this social media/internet/daft show that should’ve been titled #SELFIE, but turns out, it’s not. While social media does play a role in the show, as the season progresses, you’ll find that those two up there are at the heart of it. It’s actually a take on My Fair Lady/Pygmalion, in which John Cho plays “Henry”, who tries to class up Karen’s “Eliza”. Their dynamic reminds me a little of Danny and Mindy, where Danny’s kind of curmudgeonly and a no nonsense kind of guy, whereas Mindy is still smart yet flitty, into pop culture and clothes and the latest Cosmo. Mindy and Danny’s relationship works in an opposites attract kind of way, and so does Henry and Eliza’s. We’re at the point where there’s an inkling of a romance going on between them, but with ABC deciding to cancel it (BOOOOO) and Hulu picking it up (YAYY) who knows what we’ll get to seen and when we get to see it. All I’m saying is ignore the title and just watch the damn show.

If you like:
Dawson’s Creek

You might like:

The Affair

Sometimes I decide to watch a show based purely who’s on it, but then am delightfully surprised when the show turns out to be really good. Enter Joshua Jackson. Loyal readers may recall my journey through watching Dawson’s Creek for the first time earlier this year, and I was Team Pacey all the way (if you’re Team Dawson WHO EVEN ARE YOU). Like a fine wine or Leonardo DiCaprio, Joshua Jackson only gets better with age. In The Affair, he is hot as ever, and as Vulture pointed out earlier this week, he’s basically Pacey as a cowboy. But the storytelling is one of a kind in The Affair, and it’s what lured me in from the pilot. As stated in the title, there is an Affair – with a capital A – going on between Noah (The Wire’s Dominic West) and Alison (Luther’s Ruth Wilson). Noah’s married to WASPy Maura Tierney, while Alison is married to Pacey Witter. Set in the summer in Montauk, Long Island, Noah and Alison meet and start to have this affair. We also find out there’s a murder early in the season, and both Noah and Alison are being interrogated months after their summer affair. But the twist: the show is split into two parts, one from Noah’s point of view and one from Alison’s. Needless to say they have different versions of the truth. But also, Pacey on a horse.

If you like:

How to Get Away With Murder

You might like:

Serial Podcast

I HAVE A LOT OF THOUGHTS ON SERIAL, AND I’M GOING TO SAVE IT FOR THE DAY SEASON ONE ENDS. But for now, if you don’t listen to Serial, get on it. I lit’rally gave in to peer pressure and started listening to it over Thanksgiving because everyone kept talking about it and I had total FOMO. I’ll tell you that I’m not usually a fan of crime related entertainment – I’ve never been into the Law & Orders or CSIs or Criminal Minds of the world. But this is a horse of a different color. Serial is one podcaster/reporter’s journey into delving deep deep deep into a real murder case of a teen and her attempts to solve it. Is it really the guy sentenced to life behind bars or is it someone else? WE DON’T KNOW. This isn’t really a spoiler, but there’s a part, I think in episode 5 of Serial, where Sarah, the ‘host’ of the podcast, consults a lawyer who deals with a lot of Innocence cases – where they believe person in jail didn’t commit the crime and she tries to prove they didn’t do it. This lawyer is super interested in the murder case featured in Serial, and even has a team of her law students help her investigate. Sound familiar? Because that’s basically the plot of How to Get Away with Murder. Viola Davis is a high-power attorney who can quite literally get anyone off the hook for any crime, and she has a crack team of students helping her. While HTGAWM is much more dramatic than Serial, both have the same amount of suspense and theorizing that will make you go insane. In a good way.