Summer used to be the TV off-season, when networks aired all the crap that wasn't good enough for the regular season. Once May Sweeps was over, it was three hot, sticky months measured in burn-offs, reruns, and reality TV. In 2018, that's changed a little bit; even though there's been a major push into year-round programming, especially when it comes to streaming and pay cable, there's still plenty of crappy TV to watch.
However, instead of wasting your time with ABC's Bachelor rip-off The Proposal, we, ahem, propose you use your time more wisely and check out all those shows you meant to watch but never got around to watching. And no, we're not talking about The Americans, but you should probably catch up on that as well.
To help you figure out what to watch, we've curated a list of shows that encompasses a little bit of everything, so there's something for everyone. It also includes the time commitments for each show, because we're very thoughtful. So, grab some fresh-squeezed lemonade, find the comfiest spot on the couch and get to it!
RECENT SHOWS EVERYONE KEEPS TALKING ABOUT
Time commitment: 10 hours of double the trouble and double the drama
Why you should watch: Do you know what's better than one J.K. Simmons? Two J.K. Simmons! In this addicting sci-fi spy drama, the Oscar winner stars as Howard Silk, a low level employee of a bureaucratic UN agency who's thrust into a thrilling and dangerous new life when his higher-ranking double from a parallel world, known as the Prime World, crosses through a portal below Berlin and reveals that an inter-dimensional diplomatic crisis is threatening to disrupt life as we know it. With a cast that also includes Harry Lloyd, Olivia Williams, Nazanin Boniadi, Richard Schiff and Ulrich Thomsen, Counterpart is must-see TV that you shouldn't sleep on a minute longer.
The Terror (AMC)
Time commitment: 10 claustrophobic hourlong episodes that will leave you gasping for breath
Why you should watch: Based on Dan Simmons' novel of the same name, The Terror is part supernatural horror series, part historical drama detailing the lost expedition of the British Royal Navy's attempt to find the Northwest Passage north of Canada. The series weaves Inuit folklore into its story, resulting in a monster that hunts down the ship's beleaguered crew in a dark tale that is about survival as well as nature's vicious wrath. It's AMC's best show in years, so even if you're not quite into horror, you should still find time to check it out.
Killing Eve (BBC America)
Time commitment: Eight thrilling episodes full of spy drama, all told from the female point of view
Why you should watch: Based on a series of novellas and written by Fleabag's Phoebe Waller-Bridge, Killing Eve breathes new life into a familiar genre by focusing on two women equally obsessed with each other: Villanelle (Jodie Comer), a ruthless, psychopathic assassin seeking human connection and Eve Polastri (Sandra Oh), a low-level MI5 officer who wants to take her down but isn't necessarily equipped or trained to do so. Over the course of eight episodes, the women circle one another in a game of cat and mouse, though it becomes increasingly unclear who is who.
Time commitment: Eight episodes that smartly breathe new life into the antihero
Why you should watch: Starring Bill Hader as you've probably never seen him before, HBO's Barry is a dark comedy about a scarred Marine who becomes a killer-for-hire. After following a target into an acting class in LA, he decides he wants to become an actor, too. Hader, best known for his work on Saturday Night Live and a number of other silly comedies, shows off impressive dramatic range as the show explores the idea of whether or not it's possible for people to change and start over. At times both funny and bleak, Barry boldly mixes comedy and violence to create a show that stands out in an increasingly crowded TV landscape.
SUMMER SHOWS ABOUT TO RETURN
Returns: Friday, June 29 at 12:01am PT
Time commitment: 10 easily bingeable episodes clocking in between 29 and 37 minutes in length
Why you should watch: There's more to GLOW, a fictional account of the 1980s syndicated women's professional wrestling circuit, than you might expect; beneath the spangly leotards and fake feuds is a series about female friendship and how complicated it can be to navigate. The series, ostensibly a comedy, revolves around struggling actress Ruth (Alison Brie) and her best friend Debbie (Betty Gilpin), a former soap actress. Their relationship is fractured when Debbie discovers Ruth has been having an affair with her husband (Rich Sommer), but both women channel their anger and pain into GLOW, a potential new TV show about female wrestlers.
Wynonna Earp (Syfy)
Returns: Friday, July 20 at 9/8c
Time commitment: 26 episodes of hard drinking and demon killing with a Western slant
Why you should watch: Wynonna Earp is a good time, and we're not just talking about the titular character (Melanie Scrofano) who loves her whiskey and hates her some demons. The show, which has been lovingly compared to Buffy the Vampire Slayer at times, is a supernatural Western about the power of family, both biological and chosen. Even when it's totally bonkers insane, which is actually quite often, it's driven by an emotional undercurrent that makes viewers root for a ragtag group of demon hunters that includes the heir of Wyatt Earp, an immortal Doc Holliday (Tim Rozon) sporting an amazing mustache, and a genetically modified human (Shamier Anderson) who might have some things in common with a dragon. Trust us, just watch it.
Better Call Saul (AMC)
Returns: Monday, Aug. 6 at 9/8c
Time commitment: Three beautifully filmed, exceptionally written, character-driven seasons of 10 episodes each
Why you should watch: Better Call Saul is a worthy successor to Breaking Bad, but it's not Breaking Bad 2.0. While fans couldn't wait to see Walter White become the dangerous and egotistical drug lord Heisenberg, Jimmy McGill's (Bob Odenkirk) transformation from con man with a heart of gold to sleazy criminal lawyer Saul Goodman is a tragedy that will leave you heartbroken. Still, the show portrays the character's evolution in such a way that makes it impossible to look away. Plus, everything you loved about Breaking Bad is still here, including Mike Ehrmantraut's (Jonathan Banks) adventures with some of Albuquerque's most notorious criminals — yes, we mean Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) — and the show's breathtaking cinematography.
SHOWS YOU MISSED BECAUSE THERE ARE TOO MANY SHOWS
American Vandal (Netflix)
Time commitment: Eight episodes of incredibly self-aware and clever sophomoric humor
Why you should watch: One of the best high school-set shows in years, Netflix's American Vandal is a laugh-out-loud satire of popular true crime documentaries like Making a Murderer, but it also has layers, people! On the surface it is an eight-episode-long dick joke that draws viewers in by asking who drew the dicks, but across eight episodes the series reveals itself to be a surprisingly profound look at how perception can ultimately shape someone's life and future. It also offers rather thoughtful commentary on how we consume and discuss media in 2018, making it one of the few shows that truly lives up to the hype.
Time commitment: 10 episodes of wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey wormhole magic
Why you should watch: Many have compared Dark, Netflix's first German-language production, to Stranger Things because the spooky series revolves around a missing child. However, the comparison is rather unfair: Dark is so much more than that. The sci-fi series is deeper and far more evocative of Twin Peaks, weaving a twisty tale that revolves around four interconnected families in a small German town. When the young Mikkel goes missing, his disappearance reveals the strained relationships and double lives of many of the people who live there. Understanding how everyone is connected in the series requires the same type of mental gymnastics that all the best time travel series require, but the show is more than worth the effort. Also, pro tip: skip the unintentionally hilarious dubbing and go straight for the subtitles.
Time commitment: 13 half-hour episodes about discovering one's true self
Why you should watch: You already love ABC's family comedy black-ish, so it makes sense you're going to also love its young adult-centered spin-off grown-ish, which follows Zoey (the delightful and talented Yara Shahidi) as she heads off to college. As savvy TV viewers know, it's often difficult for college-set series to find their way and succeed, and grown-ish definitely struggles a bit out the gate, but you can rest easy knowing the series eventually hits its stride about halfway through the first season. Even as Zoey finds she might not be as sure of who she is as she once thought, the Freeform series has a real sense of self, offering up comedy and the same familiar social commentary for which black-ish is known. Even if you're well past your own college years, you won't regret digging into Zoey's.
Cobra Kai (YouTube Red)
Time commitment: 10 episodes that probably have no business being as good as they are
Why you should watch: Sometimes you don't realize how desperately you need something until it's right in front of you. That is Cobra Kai, YouTube Red's follow-up to the beloved '80s film The Karate Kid. The 10-episode comedy picks up three decades later and finds bad boy Johnny (William Zabka) is a down-on-his-luck drunk, while good guy Daniel (Ralph Macchio) is a successful car salesman in the Valley. After Johnny uses his karate skills to defend his young neighbor, he seeds redemption by reopening the Cobra Kai dojo to teach the type of people he once bullied. Now, before you think he just becomes a changed man, you should know that's not true; Johnny is still a pretty big dick for the most part. And although the show is quite predictable, that's also kind of the point, and kind of why it's so fun.
Vanderpump Rules (Bravo)
Time commitment: 120 hours of non-stop hookups, breakups and epic fights. 24 hours if you just watch the infidelity-riddled most recent season.
Why you should watch: Sure, Vanderpump Rules isn't like the rest of the shows on this list, but Jax and Brittany got engaged! After cheating on a girlfriend again (and this time, with an audio recording to prove it), Vanderpump's resident villain Jax Taylor popped the question to Brittany Cartwright this summer while filming the Season 7 premiere of the long-running Real Housewives spin-off. This means we're in for some serious drama as the potential sociopath attempts to settle down and stop being one of the worst people ever seen on TV. So just think of watching Vanderpump Rules like observing a social experiment, only with way more booze and everyone is actually terrible. Once you realize you're not actually supposed to like anyone, it's hard to not get sucked into the wild ride of this alcohol-soaked group of waitresses, bartenders and unemployed sh** stirrers.