It’s mid-summer, a time to capture all the beauty and wonder the season has to offer. It’s also a fabulous time to capitalize on the kids being away at camp,or at least at day-camp, so you can focus on what really matters: watching all those shows you keep hearing less busy friends rave about on their Facebook feeds!
Sure, there’s work and household chores, and those darn kids (who may or may not be afoot), but there are also a ton of great shows collecting virtual dust on Netflix and Hulu—some new, some old favorites, ranging from silly to sweet, and serious. So, when you somehow find yourself with a few hours to spare (aka “the parenting dream”), here are a few stellar, streaming shows you just might want to check out.
For many of us who grew up in the ’80s, the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (GLOW) was a Saturday morning staple. I still have fond memories of the Farmer’s Daughter and Mt. Fiji getting up there on the mat with the pink ropes to show that the ladies could give and take it as good (if at times better!) than the guys. The new Netflix series does a good job of bringing that nostalgia back to life, while providing some interesting backstory (that is pretty faithful to the actual story of how GLOW got up and running). Between the costumes, the hair (Oh! The hair!), and the individual storylines, GLOW pulled me in just as much as the original TV show.
Bonus: If you’re still left craving the real deal, after you watch the Netflix original, check out “GLOW: The Story of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling,” a documentary about the actual women who wrestled for our entertainment, including Mt Fiji, the Farmer’s Daughter, and other favorites like Americana, Matilda the Hun, and more. Not going to lie, this one made me mist up just a bit.
I’m not sure how I missed this the first time it aired, but I’ve been hearing about it ever since. And I have to say, I get it. It’s a smart comedy with some dark humor—and lots of witty, fast paced dialogue. The show is about a group of LA caterers who are also struggling actors, comedians, and writers. Each episode is a different catering event, so there’s tons of opportunity for cameos, which the show uses to excellent effect (Hello Ed Begley Jr.!). Plus, the cast itself is truly stellar. Lots of seasoned comedy actors, including Ken Marino, Lizzy Caplan, Adam Scott, the legendary Jane Lynch, Megan Mullally, Kristen Bell, and more. Each episode is less than 30 minutes, providing a nugget of entertainment that will keep you going throughout the day or in that post baby-bedtime slot. The only downside is that there are just two seasons.
The Real Hotwives of Orlando (Hulu)
If you enjoy watching any of the Real Housewives franchise on Bravo, but also realize the immense absurdity of those shows, then the Real Hotwives are for you. They’re a brilliantly crafted satirical take on the genre (and there’s also a Las Vegas season you should catch!). Many of the cast have experience with sketch comedy and no how to take a joke far without losing the thread. Plus, the way they skewer the stereotypes that this genre of TV perpetuates while still making you laugh makes the sow worthy of a binge-watch in my book.
Bonus: If you dig the critical take, but want less zany comedy, check out Lifetime’s original series “UnReal” which does a deep dive into the world of reality shows like The Bachelor, and happens to be created by folks who have had experience with the real deal.
Sense8 is one of those rare shows that draws you in and has you caring about its characters immediately, even the ones you don’t like—and it might as well be a series of movies for the quality of the production. The show is sci-fi and fantasy and drama all wrapped into one, weaving the lives of eight people across the globe who all share something special. It’s too complicated (and full of spoilers) to explain the intricacies of the plot, but the show has everything from stunning settings (the show takes the viewer all over the world from San Francisco and Chicago to Nairobi, Berlin, Mexico City, London, Seoul, Mumbai, Reykjavik, and more). There’s a dream-like quality to the show, interspersed with intense action scenes, all serving to move the story forward and drop more information along the way. It’s also enjoyable to watch a truly diverse cast that is there for the sake of the story and not tokenism.
The show, which recently released its second season, was not renewed for a third, which sent fans on a crusade to try and stop it from being sent to the Netflix graveyard. While the show wasn’t fully saved, fans can expect a special finale episode to come out in 2018, so you have no excuse for not binge-watching the first two seasons knowing there’s a conclusion in the works (whether it’ll be satisfactory or not, I have no idea, but knowing the work of the Wachowski siblings, I have a feeling it will be something worth talking about for sure).
For many folks who love a good jam band session, the days of going on tour to follow your favorite band might be behind them. Others still chugging away at it. But for all these folks—and those who like quality documentaries—there’s Amazon’s Long Strange Trip, a series about The Grateful Dead. This series is a perfect escape if you have a slight yearning for your high school or college days (especially if those days including some patchwork pants, patchouli, and some puffs or two from your bong). You’ll be entranced by the music you love, while learning a whole lot about an iconic band.
Pending: Netflix’s Friends From College. I’ve watched the first few episodes and while I absolutely love the actors involved, I’m having a hard time latching on here. I am annoyed with almost all of the characters, can’t deal with their bougie problems, and find myself more annoyed than relaxed after watching. But I will always be here for Kate McKinnon. Is there more McKinnon? Needs more McKinnon.