Summer used to be a TV dead time. That time of year that we’re all supposed to be playing outside, and as such nothing good was ever on TV. Autumn came, tele was great again, but until the leaves started falling, it was almost pointless tuning in unless you wanted to spend your evening watching endless reruns of dreary detective dramas.
Fortunately, thanks to the power of Netflix (not just Netflix, but my douche of a brother won’t give me his Prime login, despite having been using my Netflix account for the last five years…), summer is no longer a time for getting fresh air or catching up with friends down by the creek. Oh, no. Summer is now the time to binge; to catch up on all those shows you just haven’t managed to get round to yet. And so, before the nights start creeping in too quick, here are a few of the shows that have been keeping me entertained rather than out in the sunshine…
Fear the Walking Dead
Fear always comes up in my ‘What We’re Watching’ lists. At its worst, it’s absolute bobbins. At its best, it’s better than the main show. Season three has, for the most part, been spot-on. Plenty of deaths (including more main characters than the last three seasons of TWD combined), some absolutely stonking situations, and the long-awaited return of the Latin sex god that is Ruben Blades. My one gripe this season, which is, in fact, my one gripe with the whole damn show, is that the writers simply won’t allow our group to be together for more than two scenes before someone else decides to go and try and survive on their own for a while. That said, Fear is a great stop-gap for when the main show isn’t on, and remains one of the best shows on “normal” TV.
Agents of SHIELD
I must admit, I stopped watching SHIELD when season two finished. Season one kinda sucked (and would have been cancelled were it not Marvel). Season two, however, really picked things up, and I genuinely can’t remember why I left the show. Having sat through the pilots of both Inhumans and The Gifted last weekend, neither with many redeeming features, I decided to go back to a Marvel show that I enjoyed. And I’m glad I did. First episode back, I found myself in the presence of James Hong and Peter McNichol. Sold. I’ve pretty much demolished season three in less than a week, and am very much looking forward to the introduction of Ghost Rider when I get to season four. Might even be up to date by the time season five begins next week.
When the trailer dropped for Netflix’s latest animated series, which has some connection with one of the writers of Family Guy if I’m not mistaken, I wasn’t impressed. It looked like crassness for the sake of crassness. But I gave it a go. And I’m glad I did. Big Mouth is a genuinely laugh-out-loud funny look at how crappy puberty is. The main characters are each haunted by their own “puberty monster”, and for some bizarre reason, the ghost of Duke Ellington gives them sage advice. It’s utterly stupid, but it’s also bizarrely heartfelt. Give it a go.
Another Netflix original that I didn’t expect much from, The Ranch is essentially That 70’s Show all grown up. Ashton Kutcher and Danny Masterson live on a farm with their cantankerous father (Sam Elliot), and are basically shits to each other. There’s some story going on in the background about losing the farm and blah blah blah, but this is really just a chance to see adult Kelso and Hyde fucking with each other. And it’s great.
Having devoured the absolutely sublime Travels with my Father last week, I was finding myself in need of more Whitehall. I revisited Bad Education earlier this year (and didn’t fancy it again… the end always makes me cry), so thought it was time to go back to Fresh Meat. One of the best representations of student life, Fresh Meat is very much a surrogate continuation of The Inbetweeners, capturing a group of reprehensible yet lovable teenagers as they cope with all the social awkwardness that comes with being at university. If you’ve never watched it, get on All4 now and binge. Thank me later.