I know summer is supposed to be my favorite season. People all around me spend the snowy winter and rainy spring waiting impatiently for the long sunny days of summer. Swimming pools, BBQs and the beach seem to be everyone’s favorite topics leading up to the first really hot days of the year. For me though, with my freckled skin and vampire-like avoidance of the sun, a season largely lacking quality television has always been a bit of a buzzkill. What good are the longer days if there is NOTHING to do?!
Everyone measures this dead zone a little bit differently. These days for me it runs roughly from the season finale of Game of Thrones through the day I leave for DragonCon. It used to be torture, 3 solid months of forcing myself to read a book (gasp!) or sit through reruns of Seinfeld (which I do love, but I’ve seen them all dozens of times at this point). Since I know I can’t be the only one dealing with this right now, here are a few shows that are helping me through. And just remember guys, we’re about halfway there!
First, we all know that if there’s one thing we can count on no matter the season, it’s Sunday nights on HBO. Yes True Blood is long past its prime, assuming it ever had one, but it’s still a somewhat enjoyable guilty pleasure. This summer I’ve been thinking of it like the last cookie from a batch you baked last weekend. Yes it’s a little stale and would have tasted better a few days ago, but hey, it’s still a cookie! And you’ll definitely miss those cookies once you’ve eaten the last one.
But this summer HBO has really nailed it with The Leftovers. After several good episodes, and a couple of really great ones, I still have absolutely no idea what this show is about. The framework is simple, 2% of the world’s population has disappeared with no explanation and the rest of the world is left to pick up the pieces. Was it the biblical rapture? Were the people who disappeared the innocent? Or the guilty? I have no clue. (And since this comes from one of the masterminds of Lost, it’s entirely possible they have no clue either.) It’s certainly a little deeper than your normal summer fare, but sometimes it’s nice to have a show in the off-season rotation that actually makes you think.
If contemplating the big questions isn’t your idea of a relaxing summer’s eve and you’re looking for something a little more light and fluffy, you might give Covert Affairs a try. Currently in its fifth season (somehow, I had to double check that number, just how old am I?), this show is a spy drama that doesn’t take itself too seriously. The tech is cool, the scenery is beautiful, and the characters are likeable enough to want to spend an hour with them each week. Really that’s all I’m looking for in a summer show. And as a bonus this show also features Peter Gallagher’s eyebrows.
Maybe a globe-trotting spy isn’t your idea of a hero? What about a history professor turned militia leader? I’m sure a lot of you have been watching Falling Skies for years, but if you haven’t you should really give it a shot. I’ve had trouble committing to a science fiction show since Battlestar Galactica went off the air. Partially because nothing else compares, and partially because I know that even if a show is good it will probably be cancelled after one season. But I’m really glad I stuck with Falling Skies. It’s got cool aliens and historical references just clever enough to make you feel like you’re learning something on your summer vacation. Teachers should rejoice.
None of these options up your alley? My final suggestion is what I did for years before networks finally wised up and starting giving me SOMETHING to get through the summer months. Summer is a great time to revisit an old favorite. For me, my project this summer has been a Prison Break marathon. I forgot how much I LOVED this show. It’s reminded me how excited I should be to see Wentworth Miller back on TV this fall in The Flash and got me itching to expand my tattoo collection. (Unfortunately I’m currently stalling near the end of season 2. Though it’s been years since I watched I do remember a significant decline in story quality in season 3, and I’m not quite ready for that.)
So what about you? Any marathons you’re doing this summer, maybe waiting for the return of new episodes this fall? Or is there a new summer show out there that I’m missing? I’m open to suggestions!