The Ultimate Summer Binge-Watching Guide

Dear FSR

It’s hot outside and let’s face it – you’re not outdoorsy.

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At some point in your life, you’ve likely been faced with a question that has no solid answer. Some people may take such a puzzle to a trusted confidant, a friendly pastor, or the esteemed annals of Yahoo! Answers. But will they have the expertise needed to solve your most pressing film predicaments?

Think of Dear FSR as an impartial arbiter for all your film concerns. Boyfriend texting while you’re trying to show him your most precious Ozu? What’s the best way to confront the guy who snuck that pungent curry into your cramped theater? This is an advice column for film fans, by a film fan.

Dear FSR,

Do you have any recommendations on lesser known TV shows or miniseries for me to consume this summer? I’ve binged various adaptations like the US version of The Office, Game of Thrones, and The Walking Dead, but I’m curious about what you would recommend less well known works for long summer veg sessions. It’s a broad question, so interpret it however you’d like – I’m excited to see your response. Thank you!

From,

Beachtime Binger

Beachtime Binger,

What better way to avoid the heat than by never leaving your home? Ignoring the deluge of movie streaming options available to the internet cinephile, each more specifically curated than the last, I’ll give you some of our favorite shows (both popular and underserved) at Film School Rejects that are available on the most popular (and common) services: Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime.

That way when the summer doldrums strike and the sunburns sap your energy, you’ll have a healthy queue to sift through in an air-conditioned Valhalla.

Netflix

Twin Peaks – 2 Seasons

A cold, bizarre, disturbing mystery that introduces iconic character after iconic character while waxing romantic on the luxuries of woodlands and sweet, sweet coffee.

The Bernie Mac Show – 5 Seasons

The comedy king’s family sitcom isn’t only one of the funniest of the genre, it’s also a landmark in black television programming that (along with In Living Color) carved a niche in the market for Fox.

The X-Files – 9 Seasons

Fall in love with the geeky Mulder and Scully over their long run fighting off the spooky edges of the world and try to spot every guest star that went on to become famous. You won’t.

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia – 10 Seasons

You wanna get weird? Always Sunny will make it weird. Over their long run, the gang have done just about everything you could think of, yet continue to screw everything up in new and unbelievable ways.

Bob’s Burgers – 5 Seasons

Bob’s Burgers is the kind of comedy perfect whose jokes are both broad and ubiquitous, letting you enjoy it whether you’re paying close attention or doing chores around the house while the Belcher family fights in the background.

30 Rock – 7 Seasons

Tina Fey’s whip-smart comedy gives you an entire world (of late-2000s TV production) to lose yourself in if the outside world is too bright for your delicate skin.

Star Trek: The Next Generation – 7 Seasons

Allow Captain Jean-Luc Picard of the U.S.S. Enterprise to take you where many nerds have gone before: the adventures and difficult moral decisions of his space exploration team. Sleek, cerebral, and unapologetically progressive, it helped remind audiences (and executives) that sci-fi belonged on TV too.

The Twilight Zone – 4 Seasons

This episodic series of sci-fi what-ifs replaces your sweaty reality with their alternate ones, whether you want campy nightmares or not.

Hulu

Harvey Birdman: Attorney at Law – 3 Seasons

An absurd alternate reality in which Hanna-Barbara cartoons have second careers and (more often than not) are arrested for their antics, Harvey Birdman features the voices of Gary Cole and Stephen Colbert as superheroes, Flintstones, and the legal system collide.

Battlestar Galactica – 4 Seasons

Neil Miller: If the many iterations of Star Trek are the great classic sci-fi television show, the Battlestar Galactica revival is the Internet generation’s high watermark. If you missed all the fuss the first time around, strap in for some of the most exhilarating, fun, ambitious show modern cable has ever delivered. And that’s not just hyperbole. Try to find someone who has seen all of BSG and didn’t love 99% of it. You can’t do it.

Party Down – 2 Seasons

The cult catering series stars Adam Scott whose team of burnouts and wash-ups must get through each bleak party without self-destructing. It’s dark, hilarious, and short enough so that anyone with a free day or two can join its woebegone fan club.

Review – 2 Seasons

One of the strangest bits of deadpan comedy in recent memory is Andy Daly’s mockumentary series during which he reviews experiences as varied as sleeping with your teacher to attaining the perfect body. Daly’s chipper attitude in the face of almost certain emotional apocalypse is as endearing as it is heartbreaking. It’s also a riot.

Peep Show – 9 Seasons

British comedians David Mitchell and Robert Webb star in this POV-shot sitcom about an uptight nerd and his slacker musician roommate as they fail in love and, mostly, in life.

The Mighty Boosh – 3 Seasons

A psychotropic fantasia of glam Brit absurdist comedy, The Mighty Boosh is about as weird as it gets. Best friends Vince and Howard turn their troubles into songs and their successes into failures, with a warm weirdness perfect for the summer.

Amazon Prime

Hannibal – 3 Seasons

Immaculate elegance meets the physically and psychologically grotesque in one of the most gorgeously shot series of all time. It’ll also do some weird things with your appetite, what with all the murder and decadent food porn.

Avatar the Last Airbender – 3 Seasons

A sweet show with surprising depth, Aang and his friends explore beautiful vistas as the classical martial arts story combines mysticism and slapstick as it slowly loses its lightheartedness over its course.

Boardwalk Empire – 5 Seasons

Prohibition didn’t mean the U.S. stopped drinking, and neither should you. Crack open a shandy and kick back with a more criminal element to while away your days.

The Wire – 5 Seasons

Baltimore. Drugs. Murder. Idris Elba. What else is there to say?

Orphan Black – 4 Seasons

Perhaps you really enjoyed The Twilight Zone and wanted an entire series based off one of its concept episodes? Look no further than the clone-based sci-fi of Orphan Black as Tatiana Maslany plays multiple characters and identity ethics get a good, long probing.

Remember to stretch,

FSR

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We’ll be back answering your questions every Tuesday!