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8 TV Shows to Binge-Watch on Netflix This Summer

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TV shows to watch on Netflix

The past few weeks, we’ve discussed some great movies and interesting books to enjoy over the summer. By popular request, this week I thought it’d be fun to talk about some of my favorite TV shows available for streaming on Netflix!

There’s something so fun about totally indulging and just laying around the house for a binge-watching session. There’s no shame in seizing the opportunity to totally relax over the summer – trust me, when you have a full-time job, you’ll rue the day that you didn’t take advantage of your freedom.

Here are a few of my favorite picks, but remember – CF is always about throwing out ideas and discussing them. Please leave a comment and tell us what your favorite TV shows are, as well as which ones you would and wouldn’t recommend. Gushing about awesome television shows is one of my favorite pastimes!

(Note: The TV shows listed were all available to stream during the date this post was published. With time, Netflix sometimes changes what is available for instant streaming.)

1. Friday Night Lights

Friday Night Lights
Official Promo Material

If you’re not a fan of football, don’t worry. If you hate melodramatic teens, don’t discount this show either. While Friday Night Lights might have been pitched as a high school drama based around a football team, it is SO much more than that!

FNL tells the story of a small town in west Texas that revolves around their high school football team, the Dylan Panthers. However, football is just a vehicle for the life stories of football Coach Taylor and his family, several football players and students at the school, and the students’ families. This show is awesome because every single character is round, dynamic, and multi-faceted. There are no true villains, and the characters you root for throughout have flaws that frequently appear throughout the series.

This show takes about 2-3 episodes to get into, but once you do, you’ll want to plow through the episodes non-stop until you’ve seen the whole series. I’ll be honest, the first half of the second season is kinda shaky – but power through, because I genuinely think that the later seasons are its strongest.

This is the perfect series to start with a significant other. It has a really cool vibe to it that makes you want to discuss each episode afterwards!

Other Shows You Might Like on Netflix: Parenthood, The West Wing, Freaks and Geeks, One Tree Hill

2. Orange Is the New Black

Orange Is the New Black
Official Promo Material

Everyone is talking about Orange Is the New Black - and I promise, the buzz is completely warranted!

OITNB tells the story of Piper, a privileged woman living a comfortable suburban life with her fiance in New England, whose past catches up with her and she is sentenced to spend a year in a women’s prison. It’s an ensemble-based show, and tells the story (partially through flashbacks) of several of the felons living in Litchfield prison.

This show was eye-opening on many levels. First, it exposes you to the conditions of prison and makes you re-think the way you view incarceration. Before watching this show, I don’t ever think I spent more than 10 seconds at a time thinking about what happens to criminals after they’re sentenced. Learning about the rehabilitation program, and the corruption that goes on was very educational.

Also, this show is freakin’ hilarious. All of the inmates have bold personalities and memorable backgrounds you’ll be eager to learn more about. In no time, you’ll have your favorite supporting characters picked out. Mine are Taystee, Daya, Morello, and Nicki.

Because of some nudity, sex scenes, and strong language, this might not be the best show to watch while you’re babysitting the neighbor’s kids, hanging out with your parents, or passing time on an airplane. Save this series for when you’re home alone, or with some laid-back friends.

Other Shows You Might Like on Netflix: Weeds, Grey’s Anatomy, Gossip Girl

3. The Office

The Office
Official Promo Material

I’m going to go ahead and assume you haven’t been living under a rock the last decade, and trust that you have somewhat of a base knowledge of The Office and have probably caught a few episodes.

I watched this show sporadically in high school, but after a few internships and joining the workforce, I have a whole new appreciation and love for The Office. The awkward office rivalries, the committees and affinity groups, the silly workplace competitions and games used to pass time – they all hit very close to home for anyone with a desk job at a corporation. You’ll laugh at both the outlandish and over-the-top story lines involving Michael Scott, Dwight, and Kelly, but also relate to Jim, Pam, Oscar, Daryl, Ryan, and Andy.

Plus, this show is super easy to watch. You don’t have to pay really close attention to understand what’s going on, so it’s a great show to leave on while you’re house cleaning, cooking, or doing crunches in your living room. Even though there’s over 200 episodes, you’ll breeze through this series in no time.

Other Shows You Might Like on Netflix: 30 Rock, Parks and Recreation

4. Lost

Lost
Official Promo Material

At its inception, JJ Abrams and Damon Lindelof sought to create a television series rich with science allusions, mythology, and unsolved mysteries. I remember several years ago hearing an interview with Abrams, who complained about how TV shows nowadays were so “dumbed down,” and he wanted to do the opposite by producing something complex and character driven. Their end-product was Lost, and man, was it a masterpiece.

Lost tells the story of a crashed commercial airline jet and its survivors, now stationed on a mysterious island. Throughout the series, the survivors battle other people on the island, strange supernatural forces, and corrupt powers in the outside world, all while dealing with the (not literal) baggage that they all came to the island with. The show tells the background of its characters using flashbacks, and later, flash-forwards.

I realize that this description sounds insane – but its popularity doesn’t lie. This show is considered one of the all-time greats for a reason. I dare you to just watch the pilot. Just like Lay’s potato chips, you can’t have just one.

Other Shows You Might Like on Netflix: ScandalDesperate Housewives, Sherlock

5. How I Met Your Mother

How i met your mother
Screen Capture

Thank goodness for Netflix! I didn’t watch this show on live TV until its seventh season. One summer I watched the first six seasons, completely fell in love, and never missed an episode after that! How I Met Your Mother is one of my all-time die-hard favorite television shows – controversial ending and all!

How I Met Your Mother tells the story of five best friends, living, working, and figuring out adulthood in New York City. Think Friends, but ten years later. Ted Mosby, the main protagonist, retells to his kids in 2030 the story (err, the broken road) of how he well, met their mother. It’s an easy show to get into, and you’ll love it within the first episode or two.

There are a few things about this show that make it stand out from other sitcoms. First, (although technically the whole series is a flashback) it utilizes flashbacks and cut-away scenes as a narrative comedy tool, something that was very novel when the show premiered, but is totally commonplace now (think Modern Family). 

Also, HIMYM was great at coining funny catchphases and colloquialisms that describe real-life social and cultural observations. Some of my favorites: woo girls, a group of girls who like to party and frequently shout “WOOOOO” when they win a beer pong game, take a shot, or get a cute guy take his shirt off; revertigo, or being around someone from your past and reverting to the person you were during that time period; paratrooping, or going out of town and finding someone to hook up with so you don’t have to book a hotel room. Too funny!

Other Shows You Might Like on Netflix: Scrubs, Don’t Trust the B—- in Apartment 23, Greek

6. Arrested Development

'arrested development' tv series 2003
Official Promo Material

Arrested Development tells the story of a very wealthy family who are caught in a white-collar crime, and then face financial ruin. Jason Bateman plays (for the most part) the straight man against his quirky siblings, histrionic mother, morally questionable father, and his young and naïve son (Michael Cera).

This show (like many others on this list) had a ton of buzz around it this past year, and also with good reason. This show is a bit of a cult classic, and has Netflix to thank for its recent renaissance and fourth season.

Arrested Development is hilarious in a very smart and fast-paced way. Nearly every single line, prop, and backdrop contains a joke of some sort. I’ve watched this show from start to finish probably three times now, and every time I watch it I pick up on new funny bits that I didn’t notice before. It’s jam-packed with running motifs, pop culture references, and laugh out loud funny moments. It’s one of the few comedy shows that you ought to pay full attention to in order to get the maximum enjoyment out of it.

Other Shows You Might Like on Netflix: It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, The League, Portlandia, Wilfred

7. Breaking Bad

Breaking bad
Screen Capture

Breaking Bad might be one of the most talked about shows in the last few years. Again, this show is more than deserving of the hype surrounding it. Breaking Bad is one of the most intense, thought-provoking, and addictive shows I’ve ever seen!

To save his family from financial ruin, cancer patient Walter White turns to a former student Jesse Pinkman and enters the world of crystal meth production. The acting in this show is superb, and the directors and producers working on the show carefully added dozens of Easter eggs, subtle motifs, and powerful themes throughout the series that make it even better.

I’ll be honest: there are some parts of this show that are a little… disturbing. The night I watched the pilot episode, I had a nightmare and didn’t start watching the series again for several months. If you can stomach it though, power through – this show is going to go down in history as one of the all-time greatest shows. You don’t want to miss out on the conversation and cultural impact surrounding it!

Other Shows You Might Like on Netflix: House of Cards, Mad Men, Dexter 

8. The Wonder Years

The wonder years
Official Promo Material

If you’re in the mood for a lighthearted and feel-good series to watch, The Wonder Years is the perfect thing to scratch that itch. Full of great music, a nostalgic feel, and old-fashioned family values, it’s a show that’s safe to watch no matter who you’re with or where you’re at. Don’t take this to mean it’s boring, though!

The Wonder Years tells the story of Kevin Arnold, who’s growing up in the late ’60s and early ’70s with his best friend Paul and on-and-off girlfriend Winnie. Though the show often discusses political and social happenings of that era, the coming-of-age obstacles Kevin faces are still very relatable to the kids who were growing up when the show aired in the late ’80s/early ’90s.

This show is easy to watch, and you don’t have to necessarily see every episode in order to enjoy it. It’s the perfect thing to flip on if you’re babysitting at the lake for a family gathering. 

Other Shows You Might Like on Netflix: Cheers, Saved By The Bell, Ally McBeal

What Are Your Favorites?

What are your favorite TV shows to binge-watch on Netflix? What shows would you recommend? What shows did you watch but weren’t crazy about? What series do you love that aren’t on Netflix Instant Watch yet? Leave a comment and we’ll discuss!

Posted on on June 19, 2014 / Filed Under: College Life / Tags: , , , ,

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19 Responses to “8 TV Shows to Binge-Watch on Netflix This Summer”

  1. 1
    June 19th, 2014 at 9:50 am

    Ah, yes, binge-watching.. I’ve just started Hart of Dixie with my roommate last night. :)

  2. 2
    June 19th, 2014 at 11:01 am

    At the moment I’m currently loving Criminal Minds. It’s got 9 seasons and is currently renewed for a 10th! I’m only on series 2 but I can usually watch 3 episodes a day. I thank Sky tv’s on demand for my discovery of this wonderful show. Think it’s pretty popular over in the U.S (is it?) but over here in the UK although it is on tv a lot and I don’t know many people who talk about it.
    Love the crime and psychology mix of the show. If anyone does watch it and wants something similar, I recommend Lie To Me which is brilliant but sadly got cancelled :(

  3. 3
    June 19th, 2014 at 1:46 pm

    My top shows: Doctor Who, Sherlock, Chuck, White Collar, Burn Notice, Castle, and psych. If you watch Doctor Who on Netflix, look for “new Who,” which is the most current. You can tell if it’s new Who if it has “series” rather than “seasons.” I spent last summer binge-watching Doctor Who . . . all 7 series that were available at the time.

  4. 4
    June 19th, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    I’ll be checking out a few of these that I’ve never seen before. Right now I’m binge watching the 4th season of Pretty Little Liars so I can catch up. House of Cards, The 4400, Once Upon a Time & Supernatural are some other good ones on Netflix.

  5. 5
    June 19th, 2014 at 2:40 pm

    Dance Academy!

    It’s an Australian teen drama set in the national ballet school. You’ll laugh, you’ll sob, you’ll want to start dancing!

  6. 6
    June 19th, 2014 at 2:49 pm

    Watch Buffy the Vampire Slayer!! The early seasons will remind you of all your 90s fashion mistakes and the later seasons are heartbreaking, it addresses things like depression and love/lust in a refreshing and relatable way.

    Hahah there’s my plug :P

  7. 7
    June 19th, 2014 at 4:49 pm

    ** Dillon Panthers

    PS. Obviously, I am a huge fan of the show and I’ve binge watched 4 seasons in as many months. Everyone should watch this.

  8. 8
    June 19th, 2014 at 4:55 pm

    I would definitely recommend Fringe!

  9. 9
    June 19th, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    I love binge-watching Doctor Who, Sherlock(although that doesn’t last long lol), Once Upon A Time, and Wonder Years. Something you forgot to add about Wonder Years above is how absolutely hilarious it is! I would reccomend all of these.

  10. 10
    June 19th, 2014 at 8:56 pm

    HOUSE OF CARDS!! Even if you’re not particularly interested in politics or political drama, you will get drawn into this show and the characters. I love it!

  11. 11
    June 19th, 2014 at 10:43 pm

    I’ve binge watched Scrubs, Parks and Rec, Arrested Development, Grey’s Anatomy, The Office, House, Lost, Frasier, Everybody Loves Raymond, How I Met Your Mother, and Orange is the New Black.
    Over the course of multiple years. Yeah that list is sad….. ok.

    Yeah, but my whole point was just to say that I love these shows!

  12. 12
    June 19th, 2014 at 11:17 pm

    I am making it my summer goal to rewatch all 7 seasons of Burn Notice. I love that show and I miss it so much! Definitely would recommend it.

    Also, if you haven’t watched House of Cards, you should spend some time doing that because it is absolutely insane in the best way.

  13. 13
    June 20th, 2014 at 12:14 am

    I recently started binge watching Hannibal and it’s even better than I could have imagined! Although I suppose it is quite a new show so I will need shows with a lot of seasons!
    You should definitely write another netflix article in the future (as they are always fab) which sorts TV shows by number of seasons/how long it would take to watch.

  14. 14
    June 20th, 2014 at 7:40 am

    I am a huge fan of The Office and I consider it one of the best tv shows ever :) I am also a fan of Once Upon A Time, Grey’s Anatomy and I liked watching How I Met Your Mother but was never really obsessed with it, but since it’s summer I would definitely recommend some comedy like that to watch during these next months :)

  15. 15
    June 22nd, 2014 at 12:42 pm

    I’m going to binge watch every historical drama I can get my hands on: HBO’s Rome, Spartacus, The Tudors, The White Queen, Blackadder, The Borgias, I Claudius… shows like Reign or Da Vinci’s Demons don’t count (they’re somewhat entertaining but they’re so massively inaccurate they might as well be fantasy)

    And this article should warn you that the series finale of HIMYM is arguably one of the worst finales in a TV show ever, hated by a large percentage of fans, and will only make you angry. I’m not making this up, people have been saying how much they hated it for months since it was aired.

    Ditto on House of Cards. Also, Orphan Black.

  16. 16
    June 22nd, 2014 at 6:55 pm

    I’m obsessed with Pretty Little Liars! All four seasons are on Netflix I believe and it’s currently in its 5th season. Good article though! I’ve heard a lot about Orange is The New Black and I need to check it out.

  17. 17
    June 22nd, 2014 at 8:03 pm

    I recommend The O.C. seasons 1-3 you’ll understand how it inspired Laguna Beach and Veronica Mars you’ll get why we Marshmallows needed that movie 10 years later. Shows to catch up on are Arrow and Sirens the US version. Great part about Arrow is it was renewed for another season so if you want you can start watching it regularly in the fall again

  18. 18
    June 23rd, 2014 at 8:31 pm

    Gossip girl is amazing, Orange is the new black, Scandal, Desperate housewives, Pretty little liars, Ringer, The lying game all girly but good!!

  19. 19
    June 23rd, 2014 at 9:19 pm

    I’ve started on Gossip Girl….I never watched it while it was on tv and I’m really enjoying it so far!! Its so crazy and outlandish LOL

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