Summertime is often seen as an “off-season” for all good TV, but this summer a lot has been happening. Here are some of the highs and lows this season, from best to worst:
“Game of Thrones”
HBO has had a stronghold on summer’s hottest TV shows this year. “Game of Thrones” continues to smash their own record-high ratings. This season especially, they’ve thrown everything they have into it. They’re finally bringing together plotlines and characters that have been in development for the past six seasons. With only seven episodes this season and six next season, they’re wasting no time. Every episode has left me feeling shocked and emotionally exhausted, more so than ever before. You can catch the remaining three episodes on HBO at 8/9 central.
Following “Game of Thrones” on Sunday, HBO has another summer hit in “Insecure.” After a shocking finale, we follow Issa as she’s venturing through her newly single life, being somehow more relatable this time around. That finale also split fans of the show into Team Lawrence and Team Issa, further arguing that Issa may be the best anti-hero of all time. Shows often underwhelm during their second season, but “Insecure” has continued with the same magic that made it a hit last season—and continuously gives us the best TV soundtrack ever made.
I tried to limit my HBO choices for this summer, but I couldn’t leave out “Room 104,” HBO’s new anthology series created by the Duplass brothers. Each episode has an entirely new cast, new plot and new genre. The only thing that stays the same is the location: hotel room 104. So far the episodes that have aired have all been beyond amazing. They pull together a variety of incredible actors, and as an added bonus, over 50 percent of this first season is female-directed. I really can’t recommend this show more.
“House of Cards”
In my personal opinion, this season of House of Cards was one of my favorites. Though Kevin Spacey as Frank Underwood is one of my favorite performances, this season we really got to see Robin Wright’s Claire Underwood shine. They pulled us through an election that somehow was just as stressful as ours was this past year. We got to see really amazing performances and terrifying plot twists that have me counting down the days until next season.
Surprisingly enough, another hit of this summer comes from truTV (yeah, the channel that I thought only aired “Forensic Files” reruns). “I’m Sorry” follows Andrea, a mother and comedy writer, through her daily life. It’s immature, raunchy and everything you wouldn’t expect from a show centered around a mom. It’s flipping the narrative of how moms are depicted in the media—and it’s acknowledged in the pilot. Andrea Savage is great as the protagonist, and the supporting actors are just as hilarious and charismatic. (Also, Jason Mantzoukas is just as great as always, so watch it for him alone.)
Netflix got into the summer TV competition with a few original programs of their own. Riding off of their success with “Stranger Things,” they went back to the ‘80s, but this time with a campy comedy about female wrestlers. I went in with huge expectations and found Alison Brie’s incredibly unlikeable character dragging the show down, but as a whole, the rest of the cast carried it with their huge personalities. It was a lot of fun and far too easy to binge with its 30-minute episodes.
“Friends From College”
Netflix is lucky to have released instant fan-favorite “GLOW” to balance out this flop of the summer. “Friends From College” is a new comedy following, shockingly enough, a group of friends from college as they all end up living in the same city and have to spend more time with one another. The stand-out performances are Keegan-Michael Key and Billy Eichner, but the rest of the cast falls a bit flat and the chemistry between them all is more than lacking. It’s more of an indie comedy, quiet and reserved, that doesn’t quite translate well into a sitcom.