50 Binge-Worthy Shows to Watch This Summer

On Wednesday, my 16-year-old had her second foot surgery of the summer and began the subsequent 6-8 week recovery phase.

photo 3 (52)In addition to the tasteless selfies I’ll take with her latest Frankenstein foot, an activity so obvious it practically goes without saying, this means a whole lot of “Mom” and “MOM” and “MOM!” and “HEY, BETH!” from Abby when I don’t jump quickly enough to get her pillow, her blanket, her socks, her shower started, her snacks, her meds, her hairbrush, her phone, her make-up, and, and, and, and, and, and, and.

I am, in short, 48 hours into being Abby’s Beck-and-Call Girl again, and I’m desperately missing my usual Get-It-Yourself, Your-Legs-Aren’t-Broken defense. As such, I’m more than happy – thrilled, in fact – to plug my impressionable kid into as much mind-numbing, brain-rotting, soul-smothering television as possible. The problem, of course, is I end up hearing most of the shows Abby watches, and, as happened during the June/July surgery recovery, I’m prone to be sucked into them. All the way in. Which is how I watched 5 seasons of Gossip Girl, loved it, and lost any hope of getting into Heaven. 

That’s why I turned to you yesterday on Facebook. To ask what my kid and I should binge-watch next. Because there are more than 500 awake-hours in 6 weeks of recovery, and THIS IS IMPORTANT.

As always, due to y’all being extra rad, you came through. And, also as always, due to being a giant nerd, I tabulated the results of your advice.

Here we have it. From most to least recommended…

50 Binge-Worthy Shows to Watch This Summer With Your Teen

  1. Gilmore Girls (comedy, drama)  – “Drama centering around the relationship between a thirty-something single mother and her teen daughter living in Stars Hollow, Connecticut” 
  2. VeronicaMarsVeronica Mars (crime, drama, mystery) – “After her best friend is murdered and her father is removed as county sheriff, Veronica Mars dedicates her life to cracking the toughest mysteries in the affluent town of Neptune”
  3. My So-Called Life (drama) – “15-year-old girl and her trials and tribulations of being a teenager and dealing with friends, guys, parents and school” 
  4. Psych (comedy, crime, mystery) – “A novice sleuth is hired by the police after he cons them into thinking he has psychic powers that help solve crimes. With this assistance of his reluctant best friend the duo take on a series of complicated cases” 
  5. Gossip Girl (drama, romance) – I hate that I loved this show! “Privileged teens living on the Upper Eastside of New York City”
  6. Once Upon a Time (adventure, fantasy, romance) – “A woman with a troubled past is drawn to a New England town where fairy tales are to be believed”
  7. Doctor Who (adventure, drama, sci fi, family) – “The further adventures of the time traveling alien adventurer and his companions”
  8. One Tree Hill (drama, sport) – “This series follows the eventful lives of some high-school kids in Tree Hill, a small but not too quiet town in North Carolina, where the greatest source of pride is the high school basketball team, the Ravens” 
  9. Switched at Birth (drama, family) – “The story of two teen girls who discover that they were accidentally switched at birth”
  10. buffyBuffy the Vampire Slayer (action, drama, fantasy) – “A young girl, destined to slay vampires, demons and other infernal creatures, deals with her life fighting evil, with the help of her friends” 
  11. Alias (action, drama, mystery) – “Sydney Bristow is an international spy recruited out of college and trained for espionage and self-defense”
  12. Sherlock (BBC) (crime, drama, mystery) – “A modern update finds the famous sleuth and his doctor partner solving crime in 21st century London” 
  13. Chuck (action, comedy, drama) – “When a twenty-something computer geek inadvertently downloads critical government secrets into his brain, CIA and NSA assign two agents to protect him and exploit such knowledge, turning his life upside down”
  14. Friday Night Lights (drama, sport) – “The trials and tribulations of small town Texas football players, their friends, family, and coaching staff”
  15. Big Bang Theory (comedy) – “A woman who moves into an apartment across the hall from two brilliant but socially awkward physicists shows them how little they know about life outside of the laboratory”
  16. Friends (comedy, romance) – “When Monica’s high school friend (Rachel) re-enters her life, she sets off on a series of humorous and entertaining events involving Monica’s brother (Ross), her ex-roommate (Phoebe), and her next door neighbors (Chandler & Joey)”
  17. Dawson’s Creek (drama) – “Four friends in a small coastal town help each other cope with adolescence”
  18. Leverage (action, crime, mystery, comedy) – “A crew of high-tech crooks attempt to steal from wealthy criminals and corrupt businessmen”
  19. Call the Midwife (drama) – “The lives of a group of midwives living in East London in the late 1950s”
  20. FireflyFirefly (adventure, drama, sci fi) – “Five hundred years in the future, a renegade crew aboard a small spacecraft tries to survive as they travel the unknown parts of the galaxy and evade warring factions as well as authority agents out to get them”
  21. Orphan Black (action, drama, sci fi) – “A streetwise hustler is pulled into a compelling conspiracy after witnessing the suicide of a girl who looks just like her”
  22. Ugly Betty (comedy, drama) – “Betty Suarez is smart, sweet and hard working. The only problem is that she’s not thin and beautiful like all her coworkers at Mode, the high-fashion magazine where she works” 
  23. Pretty Little Liars (drama, mystery, thriller) – “Four friends band together against an anonymous foe who threatens to reveal their darkest secrets, while unraveling the mystery of the murder of their best friend”
  24. Heartland (drama, family) – “A multi-generational saga set in Alberta, Canada and centered on a family getting through life together in both happy and trying times” 
  25. Downton Abbey (drama) – “Beginning in the years leading up to World War I, the drama centers on the Crawley family and their servants”
  26. Felicity (drama) – “A young fresh out of high school girl, follows her high school crush to college to be near him”
  27. White Collar (comedy, crime, drama) – “A white collar criminal agrees to help the FBI catch other white collar criminals using his expertise as an art and securities thief, counterfeiter, and conman” 
  28. CastleCastle (comedy, crime, drama) – “After a serial killer imitates the plots of his novels, successful mystery novelist Richard “Rick” Castle gets permission from the Mayor of New York City to tag along with an NYPD homicide investigation team for research purposes”
  29. Charmed (drama, fantasy mystery) – “Three sisters discover their destiny – to battle against the forces of evil, using their witchcraft. They are the Charmed Ones” 
  30. Angel (action, drama, fantasy) – “The vampire Angel, cursed with a soul, moves to Los Angeles and aids people with supernatural-related problems while questing for his own redemption”
  31. Heart of Dixie (drama) – “Three young sorority women try to find love with potential men, while worrying about changes in their way of life when integration begins at their college in 1957 segregated Alabama” 
  32. Lark Rise to Candleford (drama) – “An adaptation of Flora Thompson’s autobiographical novel set in 19 century Oxfordshire in which a young girl moves to the local market town to begin an apprenticeship as a postmistress”
  33. Lost (adventure, drama, fantasy) – “The survivors of a plane crash are forced to work together in order to survive on a seemingly deserted tropical island”
  34. BonesBones (comedy, crime, drama) – “A forensic anthropologist and a cocky FBI agent build a team to investigate death causes. And quite often, there isn’t more to examine than rotten flesh or mere bones” 
  35. West Wing (drama) – “Inside the lives of staffers in the west wing of the White House” 
  36. The Good Wife (crime, drama, mystery) – “Alicia has been a good wife to her husband, a former state’s attorney. After a very humiliating sex and corruption scandal, he is behind bars. She must now provide for her family and returns to work as a litigator in a law firm” 
  37. 24 (action, drama, mystery) – “Jack Bauer, Director of Field Ops for the Counter-Terrorist Unit of Los Angeles, races against the clock to subvert terrorist plots and save his nation from ultimate disaster”
  38. Burn Notice (action, crime, drama, mystery) – “A spy recently disavowed by the U.S. government uses his Special Ops training to help others in trouble”
  39. Scrubs (comedy, drama) – “In the unreal world of Sacred Heart Hospital, intern John “J.D” Dorian learns the ways of medicine, friendship and life”
  40. Heroes (drama, sci fi, thriller) – “They thought they were like everyone else… until they woke with incredible abilities”
  41. Eureka (comedy, drama, sci fi) – “The best minds in the US are tucked away in a remote town where they build futuristic inventions for the government’s benefit”
  42. Warehouse 13 (drama, mystery, sci fi) – “After saving the life of the President in Washington D.C., a pair of U.S Secret Service agents are whisked away to a covert location in South Dakota that houses supernatural objects” 
  43. DropDeadDivaDrop Dead Diva (comedy, drama) – “A vapid aspiring model killed in a car crash gets brought back to life as an intelligent, overweight lawyer, hoping to find the meaning of inner beauty”
  44. Supernatural (drama, fantasy, horror) – “Two brothers follow their father’s footsteps as “hunters” fighting evil supernatural beings of many kinds including monsters, demons, and gods that roam the earth”
  45. Smallville (adventure, drama, romance) – “A young Clark Kent struggles to find his place in the world as he learns to harness his alien powers for good and deals with the typical troubles of teenage life in Smallville”
  46. House M.D. (drama, mystery) – “An antisocial maverick doctor who specializes in diagnostic medicine does whatever it takes to solve puzzling cases that come his way using his crack team of doctors and his wits”
  47. Battlestar Gallactica (action, adventure, drama, sci fi) – “When an old enemy, the Cylons, resurfaces and obliterate the 12 colonies, the crew of the aged Galactica protects a small civilian fleet – the last of humanity – as they journey toward the fabled 13th colony of Earth”
  48. Monarch of the Glen (comedy, drama, romance) – “Archie MacDonald, a young restaurateur is called back to his childhood home of Glenbogle where he is told he is the new Laird of Glenbogle”
  49. McLeod’s Daughters (drama) – “Five women run a cattle station, “Drover’s Run”, in the outback of South Australia” 
  50. Winners & Losers (comedy, drama) – “The lives of four best friends bound together by their shared experience of being “the losers” in high school. Now ten years later the women are about to become winners, but at what cost?” 

Although these were recommended based on what my daughter and I might like to watch, there’s such a great variety here! Something for everyone. What are your favorites from the list? Or what else would you add?

Though I’ve watched and liked several of the shows above, my top picks at the moment are Firefly (my favorite sci fi, a totally unique series with great character development, superb writing and a bizarre setting), Leverage (funny, charming heist series) and Veronica Mars, the last of which we’re watching now. Gilmore Girls and Buffy the Vampire Slayer are up next. And, although it’s not something my daughter would like, I think this list is missing Boston Legal – LOVED that series.

……….

All series descriptions, images and categorizations via IMDb, the Internet Movie Database.

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ABOUT BETH WOOLSEY I'm a writer. And a mess. And mouthy, brave, and strong. I believe we all belong to each other. I believe in the long way 'round. And I believe, always, in grace in the grime and wonder in the wild of a life lived off course from what was, once, a perfectly good plan.
34 comments
  1. Watched so many of these, and the list includes a lot of my favourites (Castle, White Collar, Chuck, Psych, Call the Midwife, Doctor Who, Big Bang Theory, Firefly) 🙂 Lately I’ve been enjoying Numb3rs,Body of Proof, Gilmore Girls and Fringe. I also love Modern Family, How I met your Mother & Outnumbered. Community is another really funny show 🙂 My brother & I are fans of The Good Wife too, and Monk was awesome! Paradise

  2. I lerve Sidney Bristow. I don’t know how else to say it, she is the modern day Wonder Woman times 1000. I could watch her ridiculous feats of transforming into other people and kicking arse in every way possible a million times.

    She has complicated issues with her dad and is beset by handsome men who love her, which I can of course completely relate to (the latter, not the former).

    Super family friendly although it dips into racy and absurd at times (like the time she was walking on top of a submarine in high heels while 9 months pregnant and running and doing jujitsu and such, it was just silly)

  3. If your daughter likes buddy cop shows, try Rizzoli and Isles, woman buddy cop show (OK, cop and medical examiner), best friends who solve crimes – so, so good.

  4. I’ll second what Anne said up above. Pushing Daisies. An awesome show. And I loved Firefly!

  5. […] so sorry. But we couldn’t reschedule, even though we did call and offer, because it was my kid’s post-operative appointment and the doctor said it had to be done today, dead car battery or […]

  6. Ok, so here goes sappy. Reading this post brought back such good memories for me. Six years ago when my daughter was between her junior and senior year of high school she too had surgery…on her ankle. Twice a week for the entire summer her close-knit dance friends over to watch So You Think You Can Dance with her knowing she couldn’t go anywhere. It was so heartwarming to see them spend that time together. Today, they’re all grown and the last of the 5 just got married. Big plus for me (so selfish), I got to spend a lot of time with her just before a busy senior year and then college. Your daughter might be in pain now but that will go away…the time you spend together will be cherished forever. Much love to you Beth! Thanks for keeping it real!

  7. Pushing Daisies was short-lived, but one of my favorites of all time. And I can’t believe nobody mentioned Modern Family. I’m a late arrival to the show but now I get to watch marathons whenever I want thanks to TiVo. Ooh, and Monk!

  8. Judging Amy was a good one

  9. One that I used to love but had convinced myself it was too lousy to mention and my high tolerance for bad TV was to blame for my love for it was Joan of Arcadia. Then, serendipitously , I found it on TV today! And I love it again and don’t think it is my Brady-adled mind talking. I think it really is good! A modern teenager (Joan) is being spoken to by God (in the form of everyday people). It has very interesting characters: she is an average teen sometimes short and flippant with “God” and grudgingly goes on with the plan, two brothers- one needs, one former jock recently paralyzed in a car accident, a loving mom and a police chief dad. I think it was only one 2 or 3 years so it would be a short binge.

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