7 Fantastically Fun Shows Worth Binge Watching This Fourth of July Weekend

By Kaitlin Thomas

Jul 03, 2014

Happy (almost) birthday, America! And happy normal end of the week to the rest of you lot. In honor of our forefathers, instead of blowing our fingers off and stuffing our faces with corn on the cob and BBQ, maybe this year we can just stay inside in the air conditioning and watch TV? HAHAHAHA. Good joke, I know. But before you get drunk and light Mr. Johnson's house on fire in the name of George Washington, might we also suggest a few shows worth binge-watching over the holiday? No matter what your mood this Independence Day, there's something for you in the list below. Whether you're looking for an old favorite, a pensive drama, or a series about fake lesbians, we've gathered a hefty list for you to choose from. Also, if laughing in the face of those Brits is more your style this weekend, check out Tim's list of British comedies you should watch.


OLD FAVORITES WORTH REVISITING

Alias, Seasons 1-5 (Netflix)

Watch it with: Your big sister who won't shut up about [insert good-looking movie star]

Why you should watch it: There were a few times we questioned Alias—like during most of Season 5 and whenever Lauren poked her head in—but it's important to remember that there was a time when Alias was good. And by good, I mean great. The first two seasons of the series remain surprisingly strong more than 10 years after their original airing. Add to that the fun wigs, Spy Daddy, Marshall Flinkman, the surprising conclusion of Season 2, and the knowledge that TV had Bradley Cooper first, and Alias is definitely worth revisiting again if you haven't seen it since it aired on TV. Plus, who doesn't love Julian Sark?

We also recommend: Hey Dude (Amazon), Buffy the Vampire Slayer (Netflix and Hulu), and The Wonder Years (Netflix)


COMEDIES GUARANTEED TO MAKE YOU LAUGH

Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Season 1 (Hulu)

Watch it with: Your little brother who knows all the words to "I'm on a Boat"

Why you should watch it: Fox's Brooklyn Nine-Nine is the perfect series to fill the time between the hotdogs and the sloppy joes. The funniest new show of last season, B99 is a workplace comedy featuring people we'd never want to work with (well, except for maybe Andre Braugher's Captain Ray Holt). With a cast of eccentric supporting characters you can't help but love (lookin' at your Gina!), we don't even mind Andy Samberg in the lead role, because everything else is so damn funny. You'll be surprised how quickly you burn through Season 1.

We also recommend: Review (Hulu), Veep (HBO Go) and The Red Green Show (YouTube)


LADY-CENTRIC DRAMAS

Witches of East End, Season 1 (Netflix and Hulu)

Watch it with: Your mom who doesn't understand why you don't call her enough

Why you should watch it: Lifetime's campy Witches of East End is the perfect summer series. Starring Julia Ormond as a witch and mother of two other witches (Jenna Dewan-Tatum and Rachel Boston), the series is a fun watch that won't suck away your will to live like some of summer's patented reality shows. It's a breezy series that takes itself just seriously enough. Plus, it's easy to pick up where you left off in the off-chance your marathon is cut short by a trip to the ER to have Jimmy's fingers reattached. Season 2 debuts Sunday, July 6.

We also recommend: Scandal (Netflix), Hart of Dixie (Netflix), and Melrose Place (Netflix)


"I ALWAYS MEANT TO WATCH THAT" SHOWS

The West Wing, Season 1-7 (Netflix)

Watch it with: Anyone but your right-wing uncle with an opinion on everything

Why you should watch it: What's more patriotic than The West Wing? In addition to being one of the best written dramas in television history, the series finally made politics seem interesting by giving voices to the men and women who work behind-the-scenes at the White House. It made the world of public service feel cool and romantic, and it did it with snappy, witty dialogue and an idealized view of American politics. The series influenced many millennials and if after watching the show you're not inspired to do something for the greater good of your fellow men, you watched it wrong. Plus: The Jackal.

We also recommend: The Sopranos (HBO Go and Amazon), Twin Peaks (Netflix), and The X-Files (Netflix)


TEEN SHOWS YOU WON'T BE EMBARRASSED TO WATCH

Faking It, Season 1 (Hulu)

Watch it with: Your best friend who knows all your secrets and still hangs out with you

Why you should watch it: On the surface, Faking It's central plot sounds about as well constructed as my fourth grade birdhouse: Amy and Karma—two lifelong best friends—pretend to be lesbians in order to climb the social ladder at their liberal Texas high school. But the series has its merits and often boldly (and hilariously) showcases the confusing world of young love through the eyes of its central duo, who are driven by emotion and lust, and who are coming to terms with their sexuality. MTV's newest comedy takes on more than just your average high school problems while still capturing everything you felt back in your own days of youth. Bonus: There are no vampires at this high school!

We also recommend: Teen Wolf (Amazon), The Carrie Diaries (Netflix), and Greek (Netflix)


DRAMAS THAT MAKE YOU THINK

Rubicon, Season 1

Watch it with: Your sophisticated and often pretentious know-it-all father

Why you should watch it: Rubicon, a conspiracy thriller starring James Badge Dale, Christopher Evan Welch, and Miranda Richardson, arrived a few years too early to be a successful hit for AMC, but would probably have found success in today's struggling lineup. Set at the American Policy Institute (API), a government intelligence think tank, the series slowly unravels a compelling mystery involving grand conspiracies committed by a secret society in corporate America. If you prefer your TV with a side of complex puzzles that require actual brainpower, or a drama that poses serious and thoughtful questions, this is a series you don't want to miss.

We also recommend: The Hour (Amazon), Orphan Black (Amazon), and Battlestar Galactica (Netflix)


SHOWS THAT GIVE YOU FEELINGS

Parenthood, Seasons 1-4 (Netflix) Season 5 (Hulu)

Watch it with: Your siblings and a good bottle of wine

Why you should watch it: Everyone needs a good cry every now and then (yes, even you men), and there's nothing better than a good Parenthood cry as the series takes viewers through the ups and downs of the large, loud, and verbose Braverman family. The series deftly explores relationship dynamics while never shying away from difficult subjects like Asperger's, cancer, and even divorce. But at the end of the day, no matter what problems the Bravermans may have (and they have a lot of problems), there's nothing a little well-timed family advice and dinner can't handle. 

We also recommend: Shameless (Showtime Anytime), Friday Night Lights (Netflix), and Rectify (Netflix)


What will you watch this weekend?

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  • justtimthen Jul 07, 2014

    Best comedy I ever remember was Coupling (UK version)

  • justtimthen Jul 07, 2014

    I'm watching lost again Yes, it has lost its shine but still entertaining.
    I miss Men of a certain age.
    I wouldn't mind seeing Six feet under again

  • Wiseguy70005 Jul 07, 2014

    Brooklyn Nine-Nine is stupid. Stupid dialogue. Stupid characters. Anyone who thinks it is funny either thinks stupidity is funny or needs to look up comedy in the dictionary.

  • itsmemadie01 Jul 06, 2014

    Binge watch list:
    Orphan Black (Maslany will slay it at every scene)
    Orange is the New Black (very interesting support cast although I'm still not loving the lead character)
    FRIENDS (good memories of comedy without perversity and it's pre-Kardashian era... smelly cat, anyone?

    But if you have good emotional investment to spare with good stress I'd say Breaking Bad, Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead will be my top picks for complex characters, great visuals and amazing storytelling.

  • EGO-T Jul 06, 2014

    Firefly.

  • gmanBegins Jul 06, 2014

    Binge Watch List
    24( I have seen this series 4 times)
    BSG (Awesome experience)
    LOST( Don't let the finale piss you off)
    and X Files (which stills holds up 20 years later) and don't let THIS finale piss you off either!! LOL!!

  • SteveFreeman1 Jul 06, 2014

    Friday Night Lights I definitely agree with. It's a fantastic show, almost beginning to end, with tons of heart.

    Alias, again, I agree...most of the show was fantastic. And yes, I also agree that season 5 got a bit...off the rails.

    Teen Wolf...it's just a helluva fun show.

    Battlestar Galactica was amazing, from beginning to end. Watch it now.

    My additions...
    Stargate SG-1, SG Atlantis, and SG Universe (maybe skipping over seasons 9 and 10 of SG-1...they didn't hold up to the rest of the series, IMHO)
    Firefly (that one would only take a day, unfortunately...)
    Band of Brothers, if a TV mini-series counts.
    Doctor Who
    Downton Abbey
    Game of Thrones
    The Newsroom
    And finally, Justice League Unlimited (yes, it's a cartoon, but it was FANTASTIC, if you're a DC comics fan).

  • SteveFreeman1 Jul 06, 2014

    Oh, also Longmire. And yes, I realize my viewing habits are all over the place.

  • Mate Jul 05, 2014

    I will always hate AMC for canceling Rubicon and replacing it with The Killing.

  • WildPict Jul 05, 2014

    My choices to binge watch:

    Millenium,
    Soap
    Carnivale
    Stargate SG1
    Kolchak, The Night Stalker
    Kyle XY
    American Gothic
    Earth 2
    Daria

  • itsmemadie01 Jul 06, 2014

    Daria, what do you think people do on dates? I kinda miss that one.

  • TheBam711 Jul 05, 2014

    No, do not watch Kyle Xy. I find shows to be disappointing when they end up with a cliffhanger. (Yeah, it was canceled. There was an explanation on the internet of what might have happened or w/e...but meh. The show itself was pretty good when I watched it but my taste might have improved through tasting the delicious TV shows we currently have)

  • mylok Jul 05, 2014

    Yeah Rubicon and Brooklyn Nine-Nine are superb.

    Both are highly recommended!

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