The long slog between spring finales and fall premieres is hell for any TV fan. How to fill the time? Netflix binging, of course. But instead of watching old episodes of The Office for the hundredth time, here’s a guide to shows that you may not have seen yet, recommended based on what you already like to watch (they’re all available on either Netflix or Amazon Prime):
If you like Mad Men, you should try Suits
Think Mad Men’s wit, style and office politics, but in the present-day, at the law offices of Pearson Hardman. Suits is a slick drama, full of wry humor, secrets, double- and triple-crossing and attractive people wearing nice clothes.
If you like Scandal, you should watch Pretty Little Liars
Crazy “what just happened??” moments abound in this ABC Family show, which centers on a group of girls in small-town Pennsylvania who are being stalked (maybe from the grave?) after the death of their friend. PLL has all the hallmarks of a great nighttime soap: questionable romances, mysterious frenemies, huge cliffhangers and amazing hair.
If you like The Simpsons or Family Guy, try watching Bob’s Burgers
Absurd animated comedy? Check. Bizarre family dynamics, held together by a (barely discernible) thread? Check. Wacky neighbors? Check. Bob’s Burgers hits all these sweet notes, plus a few more as the Belcher family struggles to keep their burger joint afloat.
If you like How I Met Your Mother, watch The League
Now that NYC’s closest friend group is off the air, head to Chicago to watch a bunch of guys in a fantasy football league who sort-of kind-of hate each other, and for good reason: they’re all terrible humans. Whether you care about football or not, you’ll get instantly sucked into this gut-bustingly funny show.
If you like Game of Thrones, try The Tudors
Dragons and zombies aside, what makes Game of Thrones must-watch TV is the political intrigue between old families. The Tudors is historical fiction at its steamiest, depicting the glories, romances and executions of Henry VIII’s storied reign.
If you like Nashville or Parenthood, you should watch Friday Night Lights
Though Friday Night Lights is ostensibly about the local high school football team, the show is really about life in a small town in Texas, with all its grit, grime and glory. Grounded by the relationship between Coach Taylor and his wife Tami (played inimitably by Kyle Chandler and Nashville’s Connie Britton), the show hits all of the feels (you will definitely need a box or two of tissues). Texas forever, y’all.
If you like Sleepy Hollow, watch Supernatural
If you dig the love-hate relationship between Abbie and Ichabod, then you’ll love Dean and Sam, who spend their time fighting demons, ghosts and each other. But the Winchester bros always have each others’ backs, and what beautiful backs they are, as played by Jensen Ackles and Jared Padalecki.
I didn’t include HBO shows since HBO Go isn’t as widely accessible. But if you’ve got a subscription, I highly recommend:
- Rome*: Historical fiction at its best, the show chronicles Caesar’s takeover the Roman Empire. The Tudors wishes it was this good.
- Curb Your Enthusiasm: For Seinfeld fans, this is required television. Larry David at his most cringe-inducingly awkward, surrounded by a rich cast of loonies.
- Six Feet Under*: An exploration of family, love and life — all under the specter of death. Who knew a funeral home could be such a rich setting?
And if you haven’t already seen it, The Wire’s* depiction of inner-city Baltimore at its realest is must-watch television for pretty much everyone.
*These shows are also available on Amazon Prime.