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?
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.
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.
"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.
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!
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.
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.
What will you watch this weekend?
AIRED ON 5/22/2006
Season 5 : Episode 17