Summer Watch List

I was walking outside last night and all of a sudden felt a cool breeze hit the air.  No, it wasn’t the wind, it was the official sign that fall had suddenly sprung on us.  It’s that time of year where we break out the flannels, the boots, and our blood suddenly becomes infused with pumpkin spice.  Along with fall comes the beginning of the new television season for many shows.  But what about shows from the summer, when only a handful of networks aired new episodes of series, and we were left with Netflix and friend recommendations to fill our days?

Like last summer, I was able to sample and watch some excellent television both old and new.  Your schedule may be full this coming fall but don’t let that keep you from tuning in to some great shows you may have missed before!

Erin’s Summer Watch List: 2014 Edition

The New Shows

Finding Carter Cast1.jpgFinding Carter (MTV): Laugh all you want, but MTV has proved they can turn out a decent series.  In fact, Finding Carter is the third drama I watch produced by the channel (Awkward and the surprisingly entertaining Teen Wolf being the first two).  The premise immediately sparked my interest as the show follows the titular character, Carter (starring Kathryn Prescott of Skins fame), as she deals with the bombshell that her whole life has been a lie; the woman she thought was her mother is actually her kidnapper.  The show follows Carter as she struggles through the adjustment of returning to her biological family and navigates forming a whole new identity in doing so.  Though the show can feature some pretty cheesy and infuriating moments from the characters (Carter’s father is an author paid to write his daughters story but constantly lies about it and Carter falls for the stereotypical “bad boy”), there are some surprises and endearing moments that make the show worth tuning into.  The show returns with a second season in 2015, and thank goodness as Season One ended on a frustrating cliffhanger.

The Strain (FX): Genre shows have always been my thing. So, when FX announced their new “vampire” show created by Guillermo del Toro and based off a series of books, I was immediately intrigued.  It didn’t hurt that Corey Stoll was leading the cast either as his role as the heartbreaking Peter Russo on House of Cards may be one of my favorite performances in a television series to date.  The show follows an outbreak of a vampire-like disease that ravages NYC.  Unlike most vampire and supernatural shows on today, The Strain doesn’t give their creatures emotions and love triangles.  It’s more akin to The Walking Dead as the outbreak continues to spread and infection pretty much equals zombie-death of all humanity, body function, etc. The show puts an interesting spin on the whole genre, grittier than what we’ve become used to.

New-ish Shows:

arrowArrow (The CW): Already heading into its third season, Arrow has already cemented its popularity in the DC comics/superhero world.  The show, based off of the Green Arrow comic series, centers on playboy billionaire Oliver Queen as he returns from years stranded on a remote island after his family yacht capsizes at sea.  Oliver’s time on the island becomes apparent throughout the series as he transforms into The Arrow, the resident vigilante superhero of his home of Starling City.  Showcased are a bevy of smart, fun, and very attractive characters as they fight off the enemies and villains of the city.  The show has become so popular that a brand-new spin-off based off another DC character, The Flash, is set to hit television this fall.  The world loves comic-book character TV and movies right now and with good reason.

truedetecTrue Detective (HBO): Why I didn’t watch the wildly popular, critically acclaimed mini-series when it first premiered is a mystery to me.  But True Detective is a winning gem for HBO.  The insanely good acting on the parts of leading actors Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson are not to be missed as the show follows the detectives as they recount their story of tracking and capturing a small-town serial killer.  The cinematography alone is worth the watch and attention to detail when viewing is a must.  The series is also a one-off as Season Two is set to star new actors (Colin Farrell and Vince Vaughan) in an all new town, setting, with new characters, etc.

Bob’s Burgers (FOX): Need I say more? This show is actually laugh-out-loud funny, rare in this day and age I find, especially when it comes to cartoons.  Bob and his family constantly find themselves in wacky situations but the humor is more adult, sarcastic, and even a little dark at times (and Louise is the best).

broadchurchBroadchurch (British – ITV): Possibly my favorite viewing of the summer.  Broadchurch stars Doctor Who alum David Tennant who stars as a detective in a small British seaside town investigating the murder of a young boy.  Everything about this show is phenomenal; from the acting to the story, I cannot praise this show enough.  FOX apparently felt the same way as they hired Tennant to reprise his role, polish up on his American accent, and reshoot the entire series in a US setting also starring Anna Gunn (two-time Emmy winner for her role on Breaking Bad).  The American remake is entitled Gracepoint and airs this fall with the exact same premise.  Whether the remake follows the same end result is still unknown, but the shock value of learning the true killer in the British series is one of the biggest twists that leaves the audience stunned with a million more questions.  The British series is already shooting its second season and my hope is Tennant at least receives the recognition and praise he deserves here in the states.

The Old (but still good!)

Friday Night LightsFriday Night Lights (Entire series streaming on Netflix): Tim Riggins. Tim Riggins. Tim Riggins.  Oh darn, I thought if I said his name aloud three times in a row he would suddenly appear.  FNL is a show people have been gushing about for years.  The original run lasted for five seasons (2006-2011) and piggybacked off a movie of the same name.  The drama follows the lives and residents of small-town Dillon, Texas and their overt obsession with the Dillon Panthers High School football team.  Although the show may not be to everyones liking (the show dropped many story lines and wrote off several characters without followup), acting by head coach Kyle Chandler and on-screen wife Connie Britton are enough to keep viewers enthralled.  It’s a lot of teenage angst but does a good job of blending it with some truly great stories.

Also viewed: True Blood (HBO – final season), Wilfred (FX – final season), Orange Is the New Black (Netflix – Season Two)