Hey, the last thing we want to encourage you to do is to avoid getting out in the sun and surf during the summer months. But… actually, that’s what we’re going to do. You need a break from the heat at some point!
Summer isn’t quite what it used to be in terms of a pure catch-up season – plenty of cable shows premiere during the summer months now, and the streaming channels are a constant source of new things to watch – but when the temps start to hit triple digits and you get to those Saturday afternoons where you just want to laze around in front of the air conditioner for a few hours, it can be a prime time to catch up on the shows that you missed. Here are some of the shows now available to stream that are really worth your time!
If you’re looking for a real deep dive, something with complex storytelling and oh-crap-I-guess-I-need-to-watch-another-one streamability, look no further than The Expanse, which for the past several years has gained a well-earned reputation as the greatest sci-fi show that all too few of us are watching. Based on the book series by James S.A. Corey, the show is at its core a political drama in space, much like Battlestar Galactica was but bringing it much closer to home; a conspiracy, possibly to start a war, breaks out hundreds of years in the future between Earth, the human settlers of Mars, and the “Belters” – struggling underclass who live and work in the mines of our solar system’s asteroid belt. And this is before the really weeeeird extraterrestrial stuff starts to happen. The Expanse takes its time to really unravel its juiciest material, but stick with it and you’ll be richly rewarded, and just in time for the much-awaited fourth season which premieres on Amazon Prime later this year. (Seasons 1-3 are currently available on Amazon Prime)
The Good Place
So, here’s the thing about The Good Place in the year 2019: If you haven’t yet watched this brilliant sitcom and also managed to avoid learning about the massive twist that takes place in the first season’s final episode, then seriously, good for you! That means you are precisely the person who really needs to hunker down and catch up with this incredibly smart, uproariously funny take on the afterlife that somehow sharply exposes mankind for every one of its shortcomings while simultaneously delivering a message of hope that, yes, even at our worst we have the potential to strive to be our best. But even if you do know the twist, don’t let that stop you; if anything, seasons two and three have only doubled down on the show’s greatness. (Seriously, that Season 3 episode where D’Arcy Carden basically played the entire cast? Genius.) Oh, and the show’s creators just announced that this fall’s fourth season will be its last, so this is also a prime opportunity to get caught up. (Seasons 1-2 are currently on Netflix; you can catch up with Season 3 on Hulu or NBC’s streaming app.)
We’ve discussed exactly how invested we are in Bill Hader’s exceedingly dark comedy about a hitman who decides he really wants to be an actor in the blog before. And then Season 2 happened, and holy crap, it somehow got even better. Now, mind you, Barry is a show that once it concluded its excellent first season, didn’t exactly lend itself to the “OMG I can’t wait for season two” vibe; it actually concluded its freshman run with the kind of ending that is so perfectly pitched, and a bit downbeat and tragic, that you’re almost afraid to see them try to pick up the pieces. Maybe that was where it should have ended? Welp, Hader and Alec Berg made a pretty convincing argument otherwise in this season’s eight episodes, which not only let every character develop – even NoHo Hank grows as a person! – but grew the show artistically by leaps and bounds, as well. Episode 5, directed by Hader, is flat-out the most insane episode of TV we’ve seen this year so far, and in all the best ways. Get on the Barry train, and soon. (Seasons 1-2 are currently available on HBO Now and HBO Go.)
My Hero Academia
One tends to think that the trends and hot titles in the anime typically reflect that genre’s own culture much more so than the wider pop culture at large. And yet, in this era where superhero tales are arguably the most source material for blockbuster movies, it stands to reason that an anime like My Hero Academia would become as wildly popular as it is. Taking a premise familiar to titles like X-Men and flipping it on its head – only a minority of the population is born without superpowers, or “quirks” and are somewhat shunned for it – the show follows the quirkless but determined Deku as he crosses paths with All Might, his super-heroic idol, and is set on a path toward a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be the hero he was born to be. Not only is My Hero Academia compulsively watchable and wildly entertaining, it’s an example of a manga adaptation that hasn’t left us hanging for years in between episodes!; we’ve gotten fresh material pretty much every year since 2016, with a fourth season hitting later this year so catch up while you can! (Seasons 1-3 are currently available on Hulu)