Plan your summer TV binge

Photo: Wikimedia Commons

For the final issue of the semester I thought I’d set you all in good stead with some summer television inspiration. I did initially toy with the idea of crafting a definitive list of the best procrastination TV shows to watch during revision time. Alas, the weight of being responsible for myself failing my own exams is already a heavy one and I did not want to add a single ounce to that by encouraging anyone else to watch TV instead of studying. So here are my some old, some new, all fab, top picks for summer viewing:

  1.      On Netflix:

The End of the F***ing World

The End of the F***ing World is currently on Netflix and All 4. If you have not seen it yet, this summer is your chance to catch up before season two. Based on Charles Forsman’s graphic novels of the same name, this is a dark comedy following two teens whose lives completely unravel in unexpected ways after they run away from their homes. The humour springs from the blunt delivery and literal lexis of the two main characters and supporting cast. This provides a snappy off-kilter pace that makes the show the perfect balance of disturbing and funny. You’ll soon find yourself engrossed in this madcap story and impatiently waiting for season two like I am.

The Good Place

If you prefer your comedy a little less bleak and a little more whimsical then The Good Place might just be your ideal summer chuckle fest. It stars Kristen Bell as Ellen Shellstrop. Unfortunately, Ellen dies but she does find herself in heaven, a very pastel-coloured heaven. Having lead a self-absorbed and immoral life she finds herself trying make amends by living a good life in The Good Place. The nature of the situation that Ellen finds herself in lends itself well to a discussion of moral philosophy, and The Good Life dives straight into the deep end of the philosophy pool, covering everything from Aristotelian ethics to existentialism. A show that has philosophy and jokes, and philosophy jokes ‒ what more could you ask for?

  1.      Oldies but goodies

True Detective season one

If you are looking for something deep and brooding to darken those summer days, and a casual existential crisis thrown in for good measure, then True Detective season one is the show to discover or revisit. I first watched True Detective on its original release in 2014 and its ominous mood has remained with me ever since. The web weaved around our two detectives trying to uncover the mystery behind the central murders is engrossing on its own. However, surrounding the plot swirls issues of corruption and cover-ups, domestic disturbance, and philosophical musings which elevate the show and place it at an ilk far above any other crime drama. Well-written, well-shot and well-acted, True Detective season one continues to age like a fine wine. However, a word of warning: avoid the urge to binge watch this show. Viewing this intense should be enjoyed in manageable morsel-size nibblets or madness may ensue.

Nathan Barley

A real oldie here is 2005’s Nathan Barley, which is currently available on All 4. Nathan Barley comes from the minds of comedic heavy weights Charlie Brooker and Chris Morris. The titular character is a DJ/ webmaster/all-round internet person, who lives in a trendy part of east London. If this description sounds remarkably uncanny to you it is because, in their vision of Barley, Brooker and Morris had predicted the rise of the vlogger and hipster. Maybe the two had a time machine or maybe they are just blessed with an acutely acerbic eye, either way this show at times is more akin to a documentary than a farce. The show also features Richard Ayoade and Benedict Cumberbatch at the start of their careers, who deliver some very entertaining performances.

  1.      New this summer:

Patrick Melrose

Coming to Sky Atlantic, date to be confirmed, is a new five-part series starring Benedict Cumberbatch. The show has its roots in five novels from author Edward St Aubyn which have become known as The Patrick Melrose Novels. Although fiction, these works closely mirror Aubyn’s own life and can be thought of as semi-autobiographical. They track Melrose’s upper-society life through a turbulent and troubled childhood, spiraling into drug and alcohol abuse, and eventual recovery in England. In the series, each episode reflects on one of the books to capture the tumultuous life of Melrose. There is much excitement bubbling away on the internet over this one so make sure it’s on your summer watch list and get immersed in the stormy goings on in the upper echelons of society.

I hope you find a new favorite TV show amongst this article, and that it provides you enlightenment and entertainment. However, if you do just end up watching the entirety of Peep Show again for the fifth time, that is just fine too.


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