When the weather gets warm it means one thing to the TV watching faithful: reruns. But don’t despair, because summer is also the season of binge-watching. Now with Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, and iTunes in addition to regular ol’ DVDs, binge-watching is easier than ever. So skip the tan this summer and dive into some of the best shows you might have missed, now right at your fingertips. Go ahead, watch another episode.
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#30 The Critically Acclaimed
These are the shows everyone is always talking about, the ones people are always saying you just HAVE to see. But who has the time? You, that’s who! This summer, curl up with these TV classics and binge on some of the most critically acclaimed series.
A plane crash is just the beginning of the bad luck suffered by the castaways from Oceanic Flight 815. In the span of one summer you can get addicted, get aggravated, and finally decide on where you fall on the controversial series finale. You might not love every twist and turn, but Lost is well worth the time. (Find on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime)
#28 Friday Night Lights
The finely observed series about the fanaticism surrounding high school football in the fictional Dillon, Texas is more than just a show about football. It’s a show about community, family, and the relationships that bind us together. It’s also filled to the brim with great performances like those of Kyle Chandler as the inspirational coach at the heart of the story and Connie Britton as his tough-as-nails wife. (Find on Netflix, Amazon Prime, and seasons four and five on Hulu)
One of FX Network’s early forays into original programming, Damages is a very FX-style show. There are twisty storylines, great performances, and at the center is an anti-heroine played to perfection by Glenn Close. (Find on Netflix and Amazon Prime)
#26 The West Wing
If you love political maneuvering and top-notch dialogue, then this Aaron Sorkin gem about an idealistic president and his cabinet is right up your alley. Things got a bit dicey after Sorkin left the show, but The West Wing is certainly must-watch for political junkies and drama addicts alike. (Find on Netflix and Amazon Prime)
#25 Twin Peaks
Before American Horror Story was weirding you out, David Lynch was taking audiences on a trippy journey into the strange world of Twin Peaks. A detective comes to a small town to solve the murder of Laura Palmer, but instead finds the town itself is the real mystery. (Find on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime)
#24 The Guilty Pleasures
It’s summer, the season of sunshine and popcorn entertainment. As blockbusters light up the big screens, why not indulge in some guilty pleasures on the small one?
#23 Gossip Girl
Missed out on the scandalous lives of Manhattan’s elite? Well then you’re in luck, as now is the time to catch up on all the scheming, backstabbing, couture, and weird family connections on the Upper East Side. Plus you don’t have to wait six years to find out who Gossip Girl is. And believe me, you’ll be shocked by the identity of the titular blogger. (Mostly because it makes so little sense.) (Find on Netflix)
#22 The Tudors
This soap about Henry VIII and his many wives is a fun frolic through history that might not always be historically accurate but is always fun. Pay special attention to Natalie Dormer’s Anne Boleyn, who makes such an impression in the role that the series never fully recovers from her absence. (Find on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime)
#21 One Tree Hill
One Tree Hill was the little engine that could, somehow managing to stay on the air for a whopping nine seasons. While the early seasons are the best, you have to respect a show that includes several kidnappings, stalkers, and long-lost siblings. (Find on Netflix)
What if aliens walked among us? What if they went to highschool with us? What if one of them was a young Katherine Heigl? Find out in this soapy, guilty pleasure classic. (Find on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime)
#19 Ugly Betty
Throw some braces, unfortunate eyebrows, and a poncho on America Ferrara and you’ve got the title character of Ugly Betty. Throughout four seasons Betty’s pluck and drive moved her up the ranks of the fashion world, while never changing who she is. (Find on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime)
#18 Prison Break
What started as a tightly plotted breakout tale eventually devolved into something much weirder and wilder. Come for the excellent first season and stick around for the weird head-in-a-box shenanigans of the later seasons. (Find on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime)
#17 The Cult Classics
Just like the critically acclaimed, these are the shows people just cannot stop talking about, even years and years after the shows were cancelled. These aren’t just shows you can hop into causally, these series have an addictive quality that make people obsessive about them decades later.
Why are people still going on and on about a show that only aired 15 episodes over 10 years ago? That’s because Firefly, Joss Whedon’s space western, is just that good. Find out what all the fuss is about and learn to love Nathan Fillion and the whole Serenity crew. (Find on Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime)
#15 Buffy the Vampire Slayer/ Angel
When it comes to shows that have a special place in my heart, the one-two punch of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Angel are second to none. Joss Whedon reimagined the vampire tale for modern audiences, taking the horror trope of the helpless cheerleader and turning it on its head. In the process vampire slayer Buffy Summers became one of the toughest and coolest TV characters of all time. (Find on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime)
#14 Arrested Development
There’s a reason Arrested Development was popular enough to deserve a resurrection on Netflix. The show is deeply funny, whip-smart, and full of brilliant sight gags that reward rewatching. Not spending some time with the Bluths would be a “huge mistake”. (Find on Netlfix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime)
Joss Whedon’s most recent foray onto the TV landscape was neither as popular or as great as the shows that gave him cult status. Still, if you stick around until the end of season one, Dollhouse’s second season throws caution to the wind, goes all out, and becomes a much more intriguing show. (Find on Netflix and Amazon Prime)
Double and triple crossing, spies, and a colorful array of wigs makes Jennifer Garner’s TV spy drama a must-watch. Although the quality declined sharply in the later years, the first two seasons are among some of the best and twistiest drama around. (Find on Netflix and Amazon Prime)
#11 The Under the Radar Gems
Haven’t heard of these shows? Well now you can be the person who said “I saw it first” when it comes to these quality series which have gone under the radar for far too long.
#10 Slings and Arrows
Taking place at a Canadian theater company, Slings and Arrows is as darkly funny as it is dramatic and moving. The show is grounded by Paul Gross, who gives protagonist Geoffrey Tennant all the pathos of a great Shakespearean actor who cracked up along the path to stardom. (Find on Netflix and Amazon Prime)
#9 Full House (Korean)
Although it shares the same name as the classic 90’s sitcom, this Full House is a delightful romantic comedy for fans looking to expand their TV horizons. The series from Korea stars pop star Rain as a troubled star who ends up in an unlikely arranged marriage with his complete opposite. Or is she? Come for the romantic comedy, and stay for men’s fashion that would make Chuck Bass say “ok, that’s too much”. (Find on Netflix and Hulu)
#8 The IT Crowd
Before Chris O’Dowd was in Bridesmaids he was in this absolutely hilarious British comedy about the lives of IT workers. Did you try turning it off and turning it on again? (Find on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime)
A British comedy in the Friends mold by Doctor Who showrunner and Sherlock creator Steven Moffat, what sets Coupling apart is the brilliant chemistry of the cast and the inventive way the show plays with narrative structure. (Find on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime)
#6 Better Off Ted
Cancelled after only two seasons, this show quickly warms into a solid and funny comedy about the soulless nature of big business and the family that can spring up even in the most unlikely environments. (Find on Netflix and Amazon Prime)
#5 Remember the 90s!
The 90s were a magical time. Before Lucy Lawless was on Spartacus, before Keri Russell was a KGB agent, and before Katie Holmes was Mrs. Tom Cruise, these stars all helmed essential 90s classics.
It was the haircut heard around the world when star Keri Russell lopped off her signature tresses. Find out why even today TV actresses are paranoid to change their hair by visiting the original TV college drama. Bonus: form an opinion on the age-old Ben vs Noel question. (Find on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime)
#3 Xena: Warrior Princess
This show about a warrior princess pretty much established star Lucy Lawless as the go-to girl when it comes to playing tough, badass characters. (Find on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime)
#2 Dawson’s Creek
The ultimate teen drama, Dawson’s Creek launched the careers of Hollywood royalty with its cast of hyper verbose teens. (Find on Netflix and Amazon Prime)
This witchy tale of three sisters is spellbinding. Just ask those already addicted: it’s one of the most binge-watched shows on Netflix. (Find on Netlfix and Amazon Prime)