Remember those old school essays, “What I Did On My Summer Vacation?” I should have called mine “What I Watched On My Summer Vacation,” because I spent a lot of time in front of the TV watching reruns of different shows. My summer hellatus companions included Batman and Robin, Mr. Steed and Emma Peel, and Simon Templar, back in the days before binge-watching, DVRs and the internet were a thing.
These days, I spend my summers catching up on things I missed the first time around, and re-watching things I really loved before. It’s a chance to make some new fictional friends, and to enjoy the company of old ones.
Here’s who will help me get through Hellatus 2017:
1. Lucy Preston, Wyatt Logan & Rufus Carlin – Timeless.
I love time travel shows, so this should have been a natural fit for me. But somehow I managed to miss the original run on NBC, and when word came that the show was canceled I’d decided I wasn’t going to bother. Then a miracle happened, and Timeless will be back in 2018. So now it’s at the top of my list. Find it on Hulu or nbc.com.
2. Claire Randall & Jamie Fraser – Outlander.
I’d passed on the series before, but considering it combines two of my weaknesses (time travel and period drama), I want to catch up before the Season 3 premiere in September. Find it on Amazon or starz.com.
3. Angus MacGyver – MacGyver.
The original MacGyver was appointment viewing in our house, so technically I know this guy who can jury-rig anything with a Swiss Army knife and a bit of duct tape. I’ve been hesitant about the reboot because I’ve been disappointed before (Bionic Woman, Heroes Reborn). But I am curious to see how Lucas Till is filling Richard Dean Anderson’s sneakers. Find it on cbs.com.
4. Nathan Ford & Co. – Leverage.
I keep seeing this recommended by fellow fans of The Flash’s Rogues Gallery and of Prison Break. The series synopsis on IMDb says it’s about high tech crooks robbing other crooks, so I’m intrigued. Find it on Hulu.
5. Don Draper & Co. – Mad Men.
This is one of those shows I wanted to see during its original run but somehow never managed to see back then. Having done a stint in advertising, I suspect I will see that the more things changed, the more they stayed the same! Find it on Netflix.
6. Walter O’Brien & Company – Scorpion.
Another show that’s appointment viewing in our house. Socially inept geniuses saving the world on a regular basis? And episode titles like “Sharknerdo” and “Monkey See, Monkey Poo?” Perfect. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to keep the appointment for most of this season because of the shift from 9 to 10 p.m. Mondays. So I’ll do some catching up this summer. Find it on cbs.com.
7. Henry VIII & His Court – The Tudors.
This is something to salve my disappointment in The White Princess, which started well but ended poorly. Jonathan Rhys Meyers was fascinating as Henry, taking him from his 20s to his death at age 55. He was surrounded by an amazing cast, including Sam Neill, a pre-Superman Henry Cavill, Natalie Dormer, Peter O’Toole, Joely Richardson and so many more. It’s not historically accurate, but it is sexy and a lot of fun. (Fair warning: If you have kids in the house, make sure they’re not around when you watch this. Unless you’re ready to have The Talk.) Find it on Hulu or sho.com.
8. Michael Scofield, Lincoln Burrows & Co. – Prison Break.
Seven years after “The Final Break,” the show returned with a limited nine-episode run subtitled “Resurrection” this spring. I’ve always loved puzzles and shows that are layered. Prison Break gave me that, along with a new appreciation of tattoos! (I already had an appreciation of Wentworth Miller and Dominic Purcell thanks to DC’s Legends Of Tomorrow.) You don’t have to watch the original series to enjoy Prison Break: Resurrection, but you’ll enjoy it more if you do. Find it on Hulu or on fox.com.
9. Team Arrow – Arrow Season 5.
If you gave up on Arrow’s fifth season, or didn’t even start because of the buzz on social media, give it a shot now. Really! I know it was a tough season, especially if you love Olicity and Original Team Arrow. Sometimes the tough stuff is easier to take when you’re binging and can get to the next thing quickly. (It certainly helped for me when I was binging the first three seasons of Arrow; the League of Assassins storyline felt like such a slog.) Now, some good news: You don’t have to watch ALL of Season 5. Episodes 1 & 2 will set you up with the main premise and what you really need to know. Episode 3 is only worthwhile to see Thea channel her mother. Episode 8, the 100th episode, is a tribute to the show’s history but got mixed reviews; I liked it myself. Then you can skip everything up to 5×17-23. Those will get you caught up enough for the premiere of Season 6 in October. Find it on Netflix or cwtv.com (last 5 episodes).
10. The ACN News Team – The Newsroom.
I work in TV news, so I was very excited about this show when it premiered back in 2012. Yes, some of it is soap opera schlocky, but there’s a lot they got right in this one. (Unlike ABC’s Notorious, which I refused to watch again after the first episode.) Will McAvoy’s rant about whether America really is the greatest nation in the world still has resonance today. And my favorite newsroom phrase will always be, “We’re throwing out the rundown.” Find it on HBO Go.
That’s what I’m checking out this summer. What about you? Let us know in the comments!