We’re halfway through 2019 and I have to admit, for the first time in a while I’m addicted to the TV. It’s not necessarily a good thing, but I’m discovering so many shows that I’m absolutely loving. The kind where I can’t wait for the day to end so I can slip into some comfy lounge wear, grab some snacks, and tune in. I mean, Big Little Lies is back, and we’re getting a dose of nostalgia with the revival of Beverly Hills 90210 and The Hills: New Beginnings! Here are my recommendations on the best TV shows to watch this summer, along with the season premieres I’m looking forward to seeing.
Euphoria makes previous TV dramas that dealt with teen angst (like Gossip Girl and The O.C) seem tame in comparison. The central character, Rue Bennet (Zendaya) is an on and off again drug user who also suffers from mental illness. In the first episode she has just returned from a stint in rehab after experiencing a near fatal drug overdose.
Euphoria takes place in a picturesque suburban town—the exact whereabouts hasn’t been disclosed but based on the palm tree-lined streets, it’s safe to assume that it’s someplace in Southern California. Every Sunday night I tune in to watch (and occasionally cringe) as Rue and her classmates deal with sex, drugs, violence, rape, social media, and friendship. This Drake produced series has some dreamy like visual effects and a kick-ass soundtrack to go along with them.
Stream on HBO.
As season one wrapped up, a petition went viral and HBO brought the cast of Big Little Lies back for seven more episodes. Season two starts off with The Monterey Five attempting to come to terms with Perry Wrights death. To make things even more complex, they have an uninvited guest; Perry’s mother played by Meryl Streep who makes a stellar addition to the legendary cast. While on a mission to uncover the truth, she doesn’t care who she has to manipulate if it gets her closer to finding out what really happened that fateful night.
On top of that, each woman is encountering her own personal issues. Madeline is grappling with the repercussions of infidelity; Celeste is coping with the aftermath of Perry’s death, raising her two boys, and dealing with her mother-in-law snooping around; Jane is trying to come to terms with her past, and her present; Renata is facing bankruptcy and the fear of losing everything; and Bonnie has an unforeseen visit from her mother which reveals a difficult childhood. This season is just as good (if not better) than the award-winning season one. And nothing is more true than how outward facades couldn't be further from reality. As we approach the finale, I’m trying to enjoy it as much as I can, without thinking it’s almost over—can we start a petition for season three?!
As a teen I was captivated by Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County. Later I followed the cast to The Hills, and then Whitney to The City. As I watched these reality shows from the small and uneventful town that I grew up in, while observing the stunning Los Angeles skyline, the endless beaches, hip eateries, and trendy nightclubs, it was one of the factors that impacted me to pack up and move to L.A. In fact, Lauren and Whitney's jobs in fashion PR inspired me to enter the industry myself.
I like many millennials was overjoyed to hear the cast would be making a return to the small screen for The Hills: New Beginnings (minus L.C, Lo, and Kristin) and it’s become my go-to Monday night show. With the exception of marriage and babies, that cast hasn’t changed much and watching them brings me back to my early 20s; the only difference is I’m not just watching it in my living room, I can step outside and visit all these remarkable places.
Watch on MTV (Mondays at 10pm).
When I heard about a patient in Texas that was infected with the Ebola virus, and then a short time afterward a doctor in New York became sick with it; I was glued to CNN. I’m not sure if it was the fear that this could develop into something bigger and wipe out the world some day, or questioning that we’re in the 21st century and how do we not have a cure for this? Since then I’ve seen an abundance of documentaries focusing on the 2014 outbreak in West Africa and learned that the crisis is far from over.
During the Memorial Day weekend while I was vacationing in Arizona I watched The Hot Zone based on the nonfiction thriller by Richard Preston. It’s the true story of Dr. Nancy Jaax (Julianna Margulies)—a US Army medical researcher whose appointed to research Ebola in a level 4 biosafety containment area. The four-part mini series takes place in Virginia, during 1989 when the Ebola virus was detected in a primate quarantine facility. I’ve done a lot of reading on this pathogen but this alarming event was something I hadn’t heard of.
The Act is based on the true story of Gypsy Rose Blanchard (Joey King) and her mother, Dee Dee Blanchard (Patricia Arquette). Over the course of the series we witness what it was like for Gypsy to grow up with an overprotective mother who has Munchausen syndrome by proxy. I was familiar with this real-life event because it made international headlines a few years ago, so I already knew what happened. However, knowing the outcome didn’t prepare me for the perverse and tragic events I witnessed while watching this miniseries.
(Spoilers ahead) Years ago I binge watched ER which took me forever to finish (there were 15 seasons), but it quickly became one of my favorite dramas. Since then I have attempted to get into newer medical tv shows like Grey’s Anatomy, Chicago Med, and Code Black but none have held my interest because they couldn’t compare to ER. Then last fall when New Amsterdam premiered on NBC, I became hooked after the first episode.
The drama is based on the memoir by Eric Manheimer and it takes place in the oldest public hospital in the United States; the infamous Bellevue Hospital. Each episode follows Dr. Max Goodwin (Ryan Eggold), as he seeks to offset his new job as the medical director, while overseeing his staff, and having medical and personal issues of his own. After the cliffhanger season finale aired (spoiler alert) NBC revealed that one member of the central cast has died. I can’t wait to tune in on September 24th to find out who it is.
Stream on NBC.
Looking Forward To:
Orange is The New Black - Final season premieres July 26th on Netflix.
The Affair - Final season premieres August 25th on Showtime.
The Deuce - Final season on HBO sometime in 2019.
Saturday Night Live - Premiere sometime in September on NBC.
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