Five shows to catch up on before the new TV season

Face it.  There are millions of shows to watch, and with a whole new batch slated to begin this month, it can be a bit difficult to navigate and find the diamonds in the rough. Thankfully, we’re here to help you sift through the rubble and flag a few shows you’ll want to binge-watch before their fall premieres, so that you can get right up-to-speed before the new year.

In order to be eligible for this list I’ve created, shows needed to be returning this fall and should have only one or two previous seasons, which will ease binge-watching efforts. I also avoided shows that are already hyped up, such as Orange is the New Black or House of Cards (both of which are amazing).

The Americans:

Time Commitment: Two seasons of 13, 40-minute episodes = an episode before bed for a few weeks (the show doesn’t start until the winter, so it is completely manageable to catch up)


The Americans tells the story of two under-cover Soviet KGB spies living as a sub-urban American couple in the 1980s.  The show follows the duo as they attempt to live a “normal,” inconspicuous life with their two children, while simultaneously carrying out top-secret operations. I love all the shades of grey each character has, I love that the show takes place at the height of Cold War paranoia and that both sides, the Americans and the Soviets, are willing to get their hands dirty in the name of their cause. The show is dark, with plenty of sex and violence not typically seen on cable TV, but none of it is gratuitous. The amazing writing, partnered with cutthroat performances by the leads, makes this a show one you won’t want to miss.

Still not convinced? Read these:

Brooklyn Nine-Nine

Time Commitment: One season of 22, 20-minute episodes = one weekend sick in bed with nothing but orange juice, chicken noodle soup and Andy Samberg to keep you company

I’ll be honest…originally I wasn’t sure I would like this show. Though I found Andy Samberg funny on SNL, I wasn’t sure whether I could sit through an entire, scripted series with him as the focal point. However, after catching the last half of an episode, I was hooked.

Brooklyn Nine-Nine follows a group of detectives in Brooklyn (duh) as they learn to work with their new captain (played by Andre Braugher who takes dead-pan comedy to a whole new level).  The cast is diverse, avoiding the typical stereotypical characters that comedies tend to include. The characters gel really well together, something that doesn’t happen for many sitcoms until much later in their run. From Diaz’s rage, Santiago’s over-achievements and Boyle’s bumbling devotion, there’s something about the whole cast that works! Since, the show was created by the genius minds who brought us Parks and Rec, go ahead and set your standards high, because I guarantee it won’t disappoint. 

Still not convinced? Read these:


Orphan Black

Time Commitment: Two seasons of 10, 40-minute episodes = who cares…once you start you won’t be able to stop…


Orphan Black wrapped up its second season at the beginning of the summer, so it won’t be back until the spring, which leaves you plenty of time to catch up! It tells the story of Sarah, who discovers she is one of many identical clones (who are all played amazingly by Tatiana Maslany, a Canadian Actress who has exploded onto the scene). If sci-fi usually isn’t your deal, don’t worry… you are not alone in this. Yet, the breakneck pace, the intrigue and the comedic zingers, partnered with the fact that it is one of the few shows on featuring a kick-ass female lead, hooks you into the world of science fiction.

Orphan Black is, at its core, a conspiracy show, yet where many other shows falter and become too convoluted, this one manages to keep the plot alive and more mysterious, without leaving you super confused.

Between Maslany’s amazing feat of playing a half dozen characters (often interacting with only herself in some scenes), the nuanced look Orphan Black takes at human cloning and the action packed episodes, you need to just indulge, already!

Still not convinced? Read these:

Broad City

Time Commitment: One season of 10, 20-minute episodes = one lazy Saturday in bed with your laptop


Let’s get one thing off the table: People who say Broad City is just a knock-off version of Girls are lazy and are making that assumption based off the fact that it features characters who have vaginas and live in New York.

Broad City, which began as a webseries, stars Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson (who also created the series), as they live their everyday, low-income lives in NYC. While Girls is more revolved around the interpersonal struggles of a tight foursome of females, Broad City focuses on situations that are a bit more… overtly comedic. Physical comedy, zany situations, sex jokes, all rolled into one slightly awkward, but really enjoyable, series.

Still not convinced? Read these:

The Blacklist

Time Commitment: One season of 22, 40-minute episodes = a weekend with nothing but Netflix (or a “sick” day during the week) and a determination to do nothing but binge

I jumped on the bandwagon late with this one and am still working my way through the first season.  However, all of the hype that you have heard about the show, in particular about James Spader’s amazing performance, is completely bang-on, accurate!

Spader plays the role of Red, one of the FBI’s most wanted, who turns himself in to help them catch some of the best of the worst the criminal world has to offer. However there is a twist: Red will only work and communicate with one novice FBI profiler, and nobody has any idea why. If the plot sounds a bit run-of-the-mill, and like something that has already been done a dozen times, you would be completely right.  However, there’s something about the snappy, smart writing and Spader’s performance that will pull you in.

Still not convinced? Read these:


Is there anything you think is missing from my list?


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