Recently, I tried explaining the concept of summer reruns to my 5-year-old and he was unable to grasp the idea of not simply watching his favorite TV shows on demand. Listen kid, those were tough times. Luckily, we’re now living in an age of television abundance. And this summer is a great time to get caught up on all the good stuff out there. Here are a few TV shows you must binge this summer.
Fine, I’ll admit to a tendency towards a strong hyperbole. But I’m not messing around when I say Fleabag is the greatest show ever made. Created by and starring Phoebe Waller-Bridge as a dry-witted Londoner who navigates family issues, grief, and sex, the show has a ferocious sense of humor and poignancy. No stranger to scandal, our belovedly screwed up heroine falls for a priest in the season two. And, yes, the priest really is that hot.
State of the Union
Perhaps the least appealing premise ever: a couple meets at a pub every week to catch up before their marriage counselor appointment. Why would you want to watch some couple argue? Sure you can get that anytime you want in real life. But the writing is so sharp and the couple’s chemistry is so dynamic, it just works. Created by Nick Hornby, the show stars Chris O’Dowd and Rosamund Pike as the troubled couple. But the best part is that each episode is only 10 minutes long. So you can feel a sense of accomplishment if you finish 3 in one night.
Entertainment veteran Pamela Adlon practically gave birth to the show Better Things. She’s the producer, director, writer, lead actress…what else…I wouldn’t put it past her that she’s running craft services on set. Adlon stars as Sam Fox, a single mom and actor raising her teenage daughters in LA while caring for her aging mom. She nails the sheer exhaustion of being a woman and a mother with perfect precision. In mining through the domestic minutiae, she shows us the absurdities of daily life. Even the act of rattling off expenses from a credit card bill makes you feel for this character, no matter what stage of life you’re in. And she punctuates each episode with a sweeping heart moment that doubles as a gut punch. It’s brilliant.
Dead to Me
Never one to pass up a mom crime drama, I tore through this series in one weekend flat. Christina Applegate stars as Jen, a widow desperately searching for the hit-and-run driver who killed her husband. When she befriends Judy, played by Linda Cardellini, the two form a sweet friendship/ codependency. Naturally, there are tons of secrets waiting to be unpacked there. If you’re a fan of Big Little Lies, this series might appeal.
Tuca & Bertie
One of the weirdest parts about having a newborn is the nonlinear thinking that accompanies sleep deprivation. If you want a jolt of that surreal vibe, try the adult cartoon Tuca & Bertie. Tuca (voiced by Tiffany Haddish) and Bertie (Ali Wong) live in Bird Town with Speckle (the dude who played Glenn on Walking Dead) and a variety of other far-out feathered friends. I don’t suggest binge-watching this one, unless you want your face to melt off. But it could fill the Broad City-sized hole in your heart.
Narrated by Sir David Attenborough, the doc series Our Planet features stunning photography along with subtle truths about our diminishing wilderness. It took my husband and me about two months to watch this eight-part nature documentary because we kept falling asleep during different parts. But it’s such a pretty show to fall asleep to!
Time to get your freak on. If you can appreciate a wild card, dive into the uncanny valley of Chambers, where a teenager searches for the truth behind her heart donor’s mysterious death. The show takes place in Arizona and features a mix of New Age funkiness with some Rosemary’s Baby paranoia. The show is stylish and creepy, with sweeping desertscapes kinda reminiscent of Breaking Bad. Oh, it also has Uma Thurman as a mother in full angst mode. And Uma Thurman in any mode is always a worthy cause.