To many, summer vacation means indulging in a long sleep, enjoying a beach day, and treating yourself to happy hour. But for others, who prefer to cozy up at home, a true vacation requires a list of shows to start bingeing.
Already finished with the new season of “Stranger Things”? That was fast! In that case, a new binge might mean finally starting Phoebe Waller-Bridge’s London-based comedy “Fleabag” — the show that probably everyone in your life can’t stop talking about — or maybe it means you’ll sign yourself up for a voyage to “Love Island,” which just released five seasons on Hulu.
For those in the mood for something more serious, however, Netflix isn’t lacking in the historical miniseries department — “Chernobyl” and “When They See Us” both tell the gripping stories of two very different tragedies that took place in the ‘80s.
Scroll on for our full list of recommendations for the entire summer:
If you’re in need of some reality drama:
“Love Island” (Hulu) The U.K’s version of “The Bachelor” is finally available in the U.S, which means we’re in store for plenty more awkward first dates than we thought. A group of singles are sent to a deserted mansion in a paradisiacal island to find love, and course take home a cash prize.
“The Casketeers” (Netflix) The reality series follows husband-and-wife duo, Francis and Kaiora Tipene running their funeral home, Tipene Funerals, in New Zealand. Think “Six Feet Under” — but with Polynesian traditions.
“Terrace House” (Netflix) The Japan-based reality show — centered on telegenic twentysomethings living in a posh minimalist house — has developed a cult following in the U.S. as an exceedingly polite version of MTV’s “The Real World.” Come for the passive-aggressive roommate fights, stay for the food porn and witty color commentary by the show’s panel.
“Project Runway” (Hulu) There’s no better series to binge than a fashion competition show. Especially one that has been revamped and rebooted for 2019 after seasons of staleness. It takes an episode or two for the new “Project Runway” to get its groove back, but once it does, the 14 episodes go down easy. We came for Christian Siriano but ended staying for new judge Brandon Maxwell’s signature glasses and snark.
If you’re in the mood for a laugh:
“Pen15” (Hulu) Anna Konkle and Maya Erskine revert to their 13 year-old selves in the nothing-is-off-limits web series that now streams on Hulu. Set in the year 2000, the two 31 year-old comics play their middle school selves in a sea of real pre-teens as they relive the anxieties of first “heartbreaks” and growing boobs.
“Fleabag” (Amazon Prime) The bittersweet fourth-wall pummeling British show is as side-splitting as it is heartbreaking. With only two short seasons (or series in British vernacular), it’ll be easy to gobble up over the holiday weekend.
“Documentary Now!” (Netflix) SNL alumni Bill Hader and Fred Armisen parody famous documentaries from “The Thin Blue Line” to “Wild Wild Country,” perfectly nailing the style for big time laughs. The series might even inspire you to binge the works the parodies are based on.
“Big Mouth” (Netflix) Middle school humor — but make it wise beyond its years. The animated comedy, created by childhood friends Nick Kroll and Andrew Goldberg, follows awkward middle schoolers dealing with the confusing feelings associated with puberty, made even more entertaining by the show’s Hormone Monsters that heckle the characters into giving in to their newfound sexual desires.
If you can handle something more serious:
“Chernobyl” (HBO) HBO’s compelling five-part miniseries tells the horrifying story of the nuclear explosion that rocked the Soviet Union in April 1986 and paved the way for the disintegration of the Communist state. Jared Harris, Emma Watson and Stellan Skarsgard deliver sharp performances as those who were among the few to realize the depth of the damage and the level of rot that had set in among leaders who were woefully unprepared for a nuclear disaster.
“When They See Us” (Netflix) The Ava Duvernay-directed series tells the devastating true story of the Central Park Five, in which five young black boys were wrongfully convicted for the rape and assault of a female jogger in 1989. Brutally honest in its portrayal — and admittedly hard to watch at times — the four-part series should be required viewing for anyone in need of understanding how systemic racism plays a part in modern America.
“The Handmaid’s Tale” (Hulu) Based on Margaret Atwood’s novel, the series tells the story of a dystopian society that forces the few women whose fertility have not yet been compromised by environmental contamination to bear children for the elite upper-class. In short, aristocratic men rape handmaids in the hope of gifting a child to their infertile wives. In today’s political climate, its themes feel eerily close to home.
“Billions” (Showtime) Damian Lewis’ Bobby Axelrod has a new foe in Season 4 of the Showtime drama: Taylor Mason (Asia Kate Dillon), his former quant who strikes out on her own this season. Asia Kate Dillon shines as they scheme to survive the onslaught from Axe.
If you want to get weird:
“Russian Doll” (Netflix) Take an existential plunge into the depths of Netflix’s time suck, much like the show’s protagonist and self described “Andrew Dice Clay meets the redhead from ‘Brave’” who gets stuck in a bizarre time loop of perpetual death, Harry Nilsson and lost cats. After bingeing, you’ll probably walk away with more questions than answers, but all the more to look forward to when season two becomes available to binge.
“I Think You Should Leave with Tim Robinson” (Netflix) It’s a dash of SNL-type classic sketch comedy, a dash of Adult Swim craziness, and a whole lot of Tim Robinson’s manic energy coming together for a brew of unadulterated bizarre comedy.
“Twin Peaks: The Return” (Showtime) What a better way to celebrate America’s birthday than to watch David Lynch’s surreal take on Americana? It tops the weirdness of the original series and defies a succinct synopsis, but expect magical gardening gloves, a guest appearance from Michael Cera channeling Marlon Brando, a Nine Inch Nails performance followed by a nuclear explosion and Agent Dale Cooper’s favorite meal — coffee and pie.