my Netflix streaming summer TV schedule

I watch a lot of TV during my summer vacation because, come on, it’s 116 degrees outside and I can’t afford to go to the mall every day. These days there is so much quality TV programming out there that it’s impossible to keep up without devoting some serious time to the tube. While school is in session I only have time for a basic schedule of my go-to shows, so I love to explore new programs when I have the time. And thanks to Netflix Watch Instantly, I have a plethora of titles to choose from. (There are also a lot of great documentaries available instantly, but I’ll get to those in another post.)

Here are my recommendations for summer TV viewing, streaming on a computer, iPad or TV near you:

I intended to make FNL my summer show. I had thoroughly enjoyed the first seven episodes at the end of 2010 but then got sidetracked. So I was going pick it back up and nurse the rest of the series over the weeks of my vacation — there were four seasons to watch, after all. Too bad I was so invested in the folks from Dillon, Texas, by the end of episode eight that I watched the entire four seasons  available on Netflix in a week’s time. Thank goodness the fifth and final season is airing on NBC on Friday nights so I can keep the dream alive for a few more weeks. Don’t be fooled into thinking this is a typical high school drama or that it’s just a show about football. Trust me, it’s not. It’s about relationships and family and passion and disappointment. And really, really good-looking people. Watch it immediately. You’re dumb if you don’t. Clear eyes, full hearts, can’t lose.

You can watch through the first five of seven seasons of this Showtime drama about single mom Nancy Botwin, who becomes a drug dealer to support her family. Wholesome it is not, but it is surely an entertaining look at the shadowy pot-laced underbelly of suburban life.

I think my sisters and I might have been the only people to watch this clever high school drama during its original run. It’s really a shame, too, because it is seriously one of the best shows I’ve ever been obsessed with. Ever. Kristen Bell is adorably spunky in the titular role of a high school student who moonlights as an amateur private detective, all while trying to solve the murder of her best friend. It’s so much better than that cheesy description. Watch it and you’ll see.

It may not have been the first teenage drama, but it certainly goes down in history as one of the angstiest. Claire Danes is darling and heartbreaking aslovelorn Angela Chase and, though his current role as creepy 30 Seconds to Mars frontman may make it hard to believe, Jared Leto is just plain hot as the object of her affection, Jordan Catalano. The show lasted a mere 19 episodes, so you can make a weekend out of it.

This is already one of my go-to shows, but I just can’t get enough. Entertainment Weekly called it TV’s Smartest Comedy, and even though I’m a huge fan of the smartypants comedy of 30 Rock and Tina Fey (also available on Netflix Watch Instantly), I am completely in love with the Pawnee Parks Department. You can get your Amy Poehler fix streaming seasons 1 and 2.  The many highlights include seeing how Leslie Knope and Ann Perkins became friends, meeting Ron Swanson’s alter ego Duke Silver and, of course, the Pit Song.

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