I know, I know, I shouldn't be talking about the end of summer because we want it to last forever. I am definitely not wishing the sun, flip flops or beach days away, but I am also acutely aware that Labor Day is next weekend.
One of my favorite things about summer is that all my regular season TV shows are in hiatus, so I feel no guilt about cheating on them with my boo, Netflix. The lack of primetime cable TV from June - August gives me hours upon hours to binge watch.
Here are four shows to consider adding to your queue before the fall TV lineup returns.
1. Mad Men (Seasons 1 - 7)
I had never watched Mad Men when it was actually on TV, but I know so many people who count it among their favorite shows, so I decided to give it a shot. I was immediately enamored with the 1960s and 1970s furniture, clothes, shoes and hair styles. Also, since I spent four years working in an advertising agency, I could relate to so many of the work and client situations (and some gave me serious PTSD).
Though many of the characters are unlikeable, I found myself unable to turn away! I had to know what was going to happen to Don, Roger, Joan and Peggy. Here is my review of season one if you want to get taste for the show before committing to streaming all seven seasons.
2. Master of None (Season 2)
My cousin recommended I watch Master of None when it first premiered. I watched four episodes, but I just couldn't get into it. When season two was released, my mom watched it and urged me to give it a second chance. She said, "Don't watch the rest of season one, just start fresh with this one. You get to see him fall in love, which makes for many great story lines."
So, that's exactly what I did. On a day when Scout was sick and I couldn't really leave the house, I nestled into my favorite corner of the couch and pressed play. The second season has 10 episodes, each 30 minutes in length (except for episode nine, which is one hour).
For those who watched, I had a few favorites:
- Episode 2: Le Nozze - Dev's best friend Arnold comes to visit him in Italy. Together they explore Modena, enjoy a private dinner at Osteria Francescana (made famous by Netflix's Chef's Table) and attend a wedding of one of Arnold's ex-girlfriends.
- Episode 4: First Date - This was one of the most accurate representations of what it's like to be single in your 30s. I laughed the entire episode and it made me want to pull it up on my phone anytime someone asks me, "Are you seeing anyone?"
- Episode 9: Amarsi Un Po - This is the most romantic episode in the entire season, where Dev plays tour guide for his friend Francesca, who is visiting from Modena. Not only do get to watch Dev's feelings intensify, but this episode felt like a visual love letter to New York.
I think the thing that impresses me most about Master of None is that Aziz Ansari writes, directs and stars in these episodes. Talk about a triple threat!
3. Grace and Frankie (Season 3)
Last summer I watched season one and season two of Grace and Frankie, starring Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin (revisit that review here). I didn't love it, so when Netflix started promoting season three, I was pretty positive I wouldn't watch.
Then one night, I finished another show before I felt ready to go to bed, so I started scrolling for something else to watch. Exhausted from the work day, I just decided to head back to the beach house with these two wacky friends.
I have to say, I think season three is much stronger than the first two. We get to see Grace and Frankie launch their business, Frankie consider moving away with her boyfriend, Robert star in a community theater musical and Briana confront her younger sister about how their relationship has changed since Mallory had kids. It felt more honest and less gimmicky than the previous two seasons.
4. Friends from College (Season 1)
Friends from College is a show Netflix started recommending to me about a month ago. It has a great cast - Keegan Michael Key, Cobie Smulders, Fred Savage - and is, exactly as the title suggests, about a group of friends who met in college. Not just any college, Harvard.
Keegan Michael Key stars as Ethan, an author having a tough time coming up with an idea for his third book. His agent, Max (played by Fred Savage), also happens to be his best friend from college.
Ethan is married to Lisa, played by Cobie Smulders of How I Met Your Mother fame. Lisa is an attorney working at a male-dominated hedge fund. There are some scenes from her workplace that are extremely cringeworthy.
The group is rounded out by Sam (actress Annie Parisse), Marianne (actress Jae Suh Park) and Nick (actor Nat Faxon, whose voice sounds identical to Ed Helms from The Office and The Hangover).
The show gets off to a slow start, but the final four episodes make up for the bumpy beginning. Prepare to laugh hysterically at:
- Episode 5: The Party Bus - To cheer up his wife, Ethan decides to take the whole crew on a winery tour on a party bus. After a few glasses, they dial things up a notch and hilarity ensues.
- Episode 6: Second Wedding - The gang heads to the second wedding of a college friend, where Lisa openly judges every aspect of the over-the-top occasion. As someone who has been to over 40 weddings, I was dying.
The show has just eight episodes, each 30 minutes. I really hope they bring it back for a second season.
With just about two weeks left before fall TV starts up again, are there are shows I should squeeze in?