We at The Prospect like to have fun too, you know. We don’t just sit around looking up college admissions stats and writing lovely articles for you; we watch TV too! Summer is the best time for TV because all of the subpar shows that the networks put on for ratings start (remember Make it or Break It, and what about The Secret Life of the American Teenager?). While those are awesome for sheer entertainment (some of them even made our list), they only come on once a week. What are you going to do with the other 6 days? Do exactly what our staff members tell you to do and you’ll hopefully make it to the next school year alive.
Ameera Khan, Admit/Deny Blogger
Suits: Truth be told, 40% of the reason I stayed in speech and debate was for boys in suits. It’s pretty much a fact that formal attire automatically makes a guy hotter, and what’s more summery than hot guys? Suits is a law-firm-based drama centered on the photographic mind of Mike Ross, a college dropout turned lawyer. Its third season premieres July 16th at 10/9c on the USA Network, giving you ample time to order seasons one and two on DVD from Netflix (sorry for those of you whose parents got rid of the DVD mail order service; it is not currently streaming on Netflix, but I hear some parts of the country still have Blockbuster stores?).
The Bottom Line: Suits is the bomb because, I mean hello, well dressed men in suits is always wonderful. Plus the acting is fabulous. Even The Prospect’s co-founder Steven Gu has something to say about it, “Funny, witty, and addicting as well! Probably my favorite lawyer show.”
Parks and Recreation: I love Parks and Recreation because it’s a very different type of humor. The storyline is always changing and it’s so completely out there. You will fall in love with Amy Poehler’s character, Leslie Knope. She’s hopelessly clueless but in an adorable lost puppy way and everyone wants her to just be okay. It never fails to make me laugh. You can watch old episodes of Parks and Recreation on Netflix Instant and Hulu.
The Bottom Line: Everyone will laugh at this show, but if you’re from the Midwest, you’ll laugh 10 times harder (it’s a proven fact).
Ellie Lueders, Editorial Intern
Pretty Little Liars: This ABC Family favorite will have you on the edge of your seat. Don’t be fooled by the poppy exterior and freshmen fan base – this is a dark, dramatic show that will have you hooked. That being said, it still isn’t all that academically stimulating, which will allow your brain cells a solid reprieve from summer obligations. My advice is to find old episodes on Netflix Instant Watch before catching it Tuesdays at 8/7c on ABCFamily (or on Hulu the next day).
The Bottom Line: Nothing beats this teen drama for spooky summer fun.
Real World/Road Rules Challenge: Though the MTV label might scare a few readers off, this is the king of reality competition shows. If Survivor and Big Brother had a perverted drunk baby, this would be it. This show takes former stars of the Real World and pits them against each other for large sums of money. Housed in a luxury rental with no access to television, cell phones, or the Internet, the contestants are left with only boozed-up antics for entertainment. This show is perfect for long days lounging on the couch. Pretty much every episode to ever exist is found online at mtv.com. My personal favorite season is The Ruins, where the infamous bro-mance of Evan and Kenny blossoms. But, if you want to catch new episodes, Rivals II premieres July 10th at 10/9c on MTV.
The Bottom Line: It’s basically televised adult summer camp restricted to the slimiest people you will ever encounter on television.
Gilmore Girls: Rory Gilmore is the patron saint of college admissions. Somewhere in America, possibly an overachiever’s bathroom, there is a votive with a little Rory face pasted onto it. However, that reputation should not detract from the downright hominess of this show. With an unparalleled mother-daughter relationship and coziness second-to-none, the Loreleis and Stars Hollow are guaranteed to capture your heart. Though the show is over, you can still watch it Wednesdays at 11 AM/10 Central on ABCFamily. If you can’t wait, a few episodes are available on thewb.com or you can order the DVDs on Netflix.
The Bottom Line: This barrage of pop-culture references will keep you on your toes over a lazy summer.
Steven Gu, Co-Founder/ Site Administrator
House of Cards: This is brilliant, beautiful, and a must see to get an unrealistic (but totally addicting) view on the political landscape in America. Must, must watch (especially if you’re into politics AT ALL). House of Cards is a Netflix original series and only available on the site.
The Bottom Line: This gritty political drama will capture your attention and make you wish it wasn’t over yet (although Season 2 rumors are swirling).
Sherlock – Modern day Sherlock Holmes: is there much more that needs to be said? This is not your grandma’s Sherlock Holmes and it’s most certainly not the Sherlock Holmes that Robert Downey Jr. brought to life. No, no, this is much more. Plus, each episode is an hour and a half (but it still flies by)! You can watch the first two seasons of Sherlock on Netflix, and don’t be discouraged by the fact that there are only 6 episodes.
The Bottom Line: You’ll finally be able to join a fandom on Tumblr because prior to this, you just didn’t get Doctor Who or Hannibal. Also, everything the BBC creates is amazing.
Eric Aldieri, College Writer
Friends: Six highly dysfunctional best friends spending every waking moment with each other in the lovely city of New York? It’s the kind of life we all want to have–or, the kind of life we all want to watch. If you’ve been introduced to Friends already, you were probably done so by your parents. First airing in 1994 and extending through 10 glorious years of comedic genius, Friends was THE television sitcom, the epitome of 90s primetime television. Whether you’re a loyal fan or first-time-viewer, you should definitely be reliving the 10 brilliant seasons of Friends during your lazy summer week days.
From Joey’s “How you doin’?” catchphrase to Phoebe’s lovable eccentricity, the six main characters instantly create a bond with the audience. Having influenced shows like How I Met Your Mother and Rules of Engagement, the impact of Friends on American primetime was and is profound, not to mention a study by the U of T takes up the idea that the beloved sitcom has actually changed the way we, as Americans, speak. Before the peak of the show’s popularity, very was our culture’s most used intensifier. After Friends and its characters’ excessive use of the word so, that title now belongs to… you guessed it – so. If you need some cheering up, a good laugh, or a quick lesson on American linguistics, the 236 episodes of Friends are always a solid choice for some leisurely viewing this (and every) summer.
The Bottom Line: Cassie owns every single episode of Friends on DVD because it’s her favorite show ever and therefore completely approves of Eric’s choice and recommends it herself and that means that you all much watch it.
The Office: I had to write this graduation speech, and, uh, the only quote I used in the entire thing is a quote from the series finale of The Office – “I wish there was a way to know you’re in the good old days before you’ve actually left them.” The Office and everything about it is a direct symbol and representation of everyone’s “good old days”, that time being spent at a perfectly imperfect workplace called Dunder Mifflin paper company with obnoxiously lovable coworkers who just so happen to double as your best friends.
Though I’ve never worked at a paper company, the whole concept seems to be incredibly adaptable to high school and college. You’ve got the sarcastic prankster in Dwight Schrute (played by Rainn Wilson), the everything-but-business “boss”, Michael Scott (played by Steve Carell), and the sincerely adorable secretary, Pam Beesly (played by Jenna Fischer) – characters that easily translate into our own friends and experiences. Sadly, The Office officially ended this year, but all 9 seasons are readily available on Netflix. If you’re struggling to come to terms with the transitional period of college and the fact that so many people will come and go over these next years, catching up on this thoughtful sitcom is a tremendous way to induce intense feelings of nostalgia, bring tears of laughter and sadness to your eye, and finally reassure you that everything works out if you only stick it out and pull through (that’s what she said) – sorry I had to.
The Bottom Line: You will laugh and you will cry at all the hilariously bad jokes (that are therefore good jokes…just like the one I just made).
Cassie Scaman, Contributing Editor
The Fosters: So far, The Fosters is the only new show on this list. When I first heard that ABC Family was creating a show about a family with 2 moms, I thought for sure that they would mess it up. I was genuinely surprised that the show was as good as it is. While it appears that it’s going to follow in the footsteps of other ABC Family drama-filled shows that have come before it, it’s still heartwarming, and it shows a same-sex parented household in a positive light. It’s a little bit gritty but sweet, and the lesbian couple actually appear to like each other (shocker for a station with ‘family’ in the title)! It’s on Mondays at 9/8c and it’s only had 3 episodes so far (which can be viewed on Hulu).
The Bottom Line: Heartwarming and much better than The New Normal.
Arrested Development: Not everyone gets this old cult show that had no viewers (except my dad) but managed 3 seasons and then was brought back last month after 7 years by Netflix, but those who do get it cannot imagine their lives without it. It has an all-star cast featuring Michael Cera, Portia De Rossi, Jason Bateman, Will Arnett, Michael Cera, Liza Minnelli, David Cross, Mae Whitman, Judy Greer, as well as many others. The running jokes are hilarious but frequent so it’s best to watch these in order. All 4 seasons are available on Netflix.
The Bottom Line: Kristen Wiig and Seth Rogan guest star in the new episodes and they’re fantastic.
Undeclared: A lot of people are familiar with Judd Apatow’s work in the film world as a director and producer (Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy, The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Superbad, Funny People, This Is 40, and more) but not as many are aware of his work in television. One of his best television shows, in my opinion, is Undeclared. While it only had one season, it is so funny and relates to your lives so much. It’s a witty and smart comedy about freshmen starting out at a made-up public California university. They cover all the bases with the “nervous, nerdy-ish kid”, “the kid who just likes to eat a lot”, “the hot, British actor”, “the girl who won’t leave her loser boyfriend at home” and “her roommate”. Plus, tons of guest stars like Adam Sandler as himself. The entire series is available on Netflix.
The Bottom Line: Get excited for college NOW.
Pretty Wild: A few years ago, there were several teenagers in the Los Angeles area who wanted to be famous and thought that robbing the houses of famous people would get them there. Well, it did. While tons of people know about the “Bling Ring” (especially since Sofia Coppola just released a movie about them this past week), not a lot of people know about this hidden gem. A 19-year old participant in the Bling Ring signed on to do an E! reality Ssow with her family before the news got out that she was even involved in the crime sprees. While filming the pilot episode, this young girl (Alexis Neiers) was arrested for the robberies and that was when E! knew they had a hit on their hands. It only lasted one season because it turns out two of the sisters were addicted to drugs but that season is probably the best season of reality TV ever produced. It’s available on Netflix.
The Bottom Line: Get ready to see the new movie by watching the TV show first. You will not be disappointed.
RuPaul’s Drag Race: If you’ve read my bio on this site, you are well aware that RuPaul is one of my all-time heroes. RuPaul’s Drag Race came about when RuPaul was all “I’m 20x better than Heidi and Tyra combined” and decided to make her own show. It’s the love child of America’s Next Top Model and Project Runway with just enough La Toya Jackson thrown in and way more glitter. Previous seasons are available on Netflix and the most recent one is up on logotv.com.
The Bottom Line: Don’t question, hunty, just do.
Tisya Mavuram, Editorial Intern
Mad Men: Looking for a healthy dose of drama and escapism this summer? Then the high-profile offices of Sterling Cooper Advertising Agency is your go-to destination. Set in 1960’s New York, Mad Men follows the complicated and often eyebrow-raising lives of talented ad exec Don Draper and his colleagues. The characters, while seemingly one-sided at first glance, are wonderfully complex and fascinating in a way absent from most dramas on TV. Filled to the brim with deceit, utter decadence, and amazing 60’s style fashion as well as cultural references that would be appreciated by any history buff, Mad Men is a show that promises to be a more intelligent version of the quintessential guilty pleasure without any of the guilt. Previous episodes are available on Netflix and episodes from this last season can be found on AMC’s website.
The Bottom Line: Like men in suits with skinny ties and chain smoking? Watch Mad Men.
Doctor Who: Doctor Who is one of those shows that everyone is either obsessed with or is dying to watch. And for good reason: with 32 seasons spanning almost 50 years, there’s something in it for everyone. That might seem overwhelming, but the show can actually be considered as two separate series: the older version, running from 1966 to 1989, and the revamped, more modern version running since 2005.
It’s a bit more complicated than can be explained in such a short paragraph, but the general idea is this: The main character, the “Doctor”, is a Time Lord from the planet Gallifrey who has the ability to travel through time and space in a machine called the TARDIS. Time Lords have the ability to regenerate every so often, thus changing their look and personality and becoming a “new Doctor”; throughout the years there have been eleven. They say that your favorite Doctor is always the one you saw in your first episode of Doctor Who (my personal favorite being Matt Smith, the eleventh and current Doctor), so watching the show is truly a different experience for different people. Not just a show for sci-fi lovers, Doctor Who’s innovative plotlines and lovable characters makes this one show that’s worth the hype.
The Bottom Line: Do you like all that wibbly wobbly timey wimey stuff? Watch Doctor Who and don’t forget to dress up as your favorite Doctor for Halloween like Cassie’s grandma did for way too many years.