Entertainment Television

Campus Life

Shows to binge-watch on Netflix during summer break

By Raven Nyman

Alison Brie in "GLOW." (Erica Parise/Netflix/Supplied)

Alison Brie in "GLOW." (Erica Parise/Netflix/Supplied)

No matter how much homework we have, there’s one thing university students can always find time for: Netflix.

During the academic year making too much time for TV can be a bad thing, but thankfully summer break is the perfect time to catch up on all of the hit shows you missed out on during the school year. What better way to de-stress from a rough term of studying than by cozying up with a good series, am I right?

But first, you’ll need an essential summer binge-watching guide, complete with the most popular new releases and even a classic or two. Whether you’re looking to relax for a night-in with friends, or searching for the perfect sitcom to wind down to after work, Netflix has it all.

'Schitt’s Creek'

If you have yet to take a journey up Schitt’s Creek, I suggest you do so — and quick, before a new season arrives. This series features father-son writing-and-acting team, Eugene and Dan Levy, and is an unapologetically Canadian sitcom.

If you’ve ever moved to the city from a small town, or had to do the opposite, then you’ll know the challenges of adjusting from one way of living to another. In Schitt’s Creek, the Rose family must do just that when they lose their fortune and are forced to move to the small town they once bought as a joke. Once there, the Roses find their world completely changed, and hilarity ensues.

Did I mention Catherine O’Hara lends her talents to the series as the family’s theatrically inclined matriarch? Enough said.

'GLOW'

If you were ever passionate about the sport of wrestling in any way, shape, or form, then you’ll probably find this show amusing. And if you ever watched the WWE, you’ll definitely want to tune in, just for the inside jokes.

Alison Brie leads the cast of GLOW — aka the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling — as a struggling actress who joins a group of women wrestlers to create a television show in 1980s Los Angeles. This series kept me laughing consistently and I was pleasantly surprised by the diverse cast and the overall message of the plot. Rather than getting a segment of plain old physical action, as one may expect when entering into a television series about wrestling, GLOW offers up intelligent writing, political commentary, and girl power, too.

'Stranger Things'

Love sci-fi? Dungeons and Dragons? Eggo waffles? Then Stranger Things is for you. And with the highly anticipated second season set to release on Netflix this October, you’re running out of time to catch up. But who am I kidding? If you’re a true university student, you’ve already mastered finishing a television show over the course of a weekend.

Set in 1980s Indiana — okay, I’ll admit a slight obsession with the '80s here — the show begins when young Will Byers disappears after an epic game of D&D with friends. It’s a bit more complicated than that, but I wouldn’t want to spoil it for you. There’s also top secret lab experiments, telekinetic 12-year-olds, Winona Ryder, and major X-Files vibes. Once you start watching, you won’t be able to stop, but you may need a friend to accompany you into the Upside Down; it can get a little scary at times.

'Shameless' (U.S. version)

This is not your average sitcom, and it’s certainly not safe for work, either — in case you were thinking about streaming Netflix over your lunch break. But if you’re searching for a fresh, well-written comedy to binge, Shameless may have just what you’re looking for. The delightfully dysfunctional Gallagher family is made up of six kids and one exceptionally drunk — and frequently absent — father, played by the hilarious William H. Macy. Emmy Rossum plays the role of Frank’s oldest daughter, who raises the other children of the house as they struggle to make it by in modern Chicago.

The content may feel a bit in-your-face at first, but I can promise that as far as the shenanigans go: it only gets worse as the seasons go by — and that makes for some serious entertainment. Expect to be offended and you may be surprised to leave laughing, and even find yourself returning for another episode.

'F is For Family'

This series is a surprising combination of dark humour and genuine heart. Just because it’s the only animated comedy on the list doesn’t mean you should bypass this series.

If you were a fan of The Simpsons, Family Guy, or King of the Hill growing up, then there’s a good chance you’ll love this show. The humour deals with issues like racism, depression, family relationships, and politics, too, but never gets that stale Family Guy feeling due to a seamless combination of real-life challenges and comedic relief.

The show centres around a family of five living in 1970s America and is worth watching for the well-articulated setting and atmosphere of the ‘70s alone. The show was written and created by Bill Burr — who also voices the father — so definitely check this one out if you’re a fan of his work. A warning though: this is most definitely an adult comedy series with mature content.

'Friends'

A classic! This series has something for everyone, and is always a guaranteed laugh.

If you haven’t seen it yet, what are you really waiting for? You’ve got 10 seasons to finish, so this is a series you won’t have to rush, but since the episodes are under half an hour they don’t really require much commitment, either.

Throw on an episode before bed, during a meal, or while you get ready for work, and you’ll never have to worry about missing anything too complex. Even if you’ve already seen every episode a time or two — make that two hundred times — the storylines and jokes never seem to get old.

In fact, many of them get better each time. Has anyone ever grown tired of Joey’s Thanksgiving pants? Nope, didn’t think so.

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