May is typically “season finale season” in the world of TV, and that’s always bittersweet. When the dust settles from the Revenge-style explosive cliffhangers, what’s a viewer to do? Read a book? Write fanfiction? Go outside? Sure, those are acceptable activities, but thanks to the internet, there’s a whole world of series you can watch to tide you over until the summer series start up. Here are five shows available for binge-watching you may not have heard of.
Please Like Me
Where to watch: Hulu
This comedy-drama from Australia follows Josh (Josh Thomas), a nerdy, awkward, newly single college student. When his ex-girlfriend Claire (Caitlin Stasey) bluntly informs Josh that he’s gay, he scoffs—until he meets the handsome Geoffrey (Wade Briggs), who appears to fall madly in love with Josh at first sight. Throughout the series, Josh interacts with best friend Tom (Thomas Ward) and his psycho girlfriend Niamh (Nikita Leigh-Pritchard); suicidal “mum” Rose (Debra Lawrance); needy/clueless dad Alan (David Roberts) and his foul-mouthed but compassionate girlfriend Mae (Renee Lim); and various other oddball characters. Please Like Me’s first two seasons are available to stream, and if you like coming-of-age comedies, painfully awkward incidents and surprisingly poignant messages, you’ll finish this series in one sitting.
Where to watch: Hulu, mylifetimetv.com
On paper, UnReal’s premise—the goings-on behind the scenes at a reality dating show, a la The Bachelor—sounds like a terrible idea. But in execution, UnReal is one of the best TV shows nobody watched in its first season. Executive producer Quinn King (Constance Zimmer) runs the dating show, Everlasting, with an iron fist, but has a (somewhat) soft spot in her heart for brilliant assistant producer Rachel Goldberg (Shiri Appleby), who is recovering from a nervous breakdown caused by working on the show and manipulating people to get good TV. Rachel wrestles with her guilty conscience for making the women on the show look horrible, while Quinn decides she wants more than just a years-long affair with married Everlasting creator Chet Wilton (Craig Bierko). Meanwhile, hottie bachelor Adam Cromwell (Freddie Stroma) can’t keep his pants zipped, and a gaggle of beautiful, smart women devolve into desperate, needy-ex-girlfriend types.
The Hotwives of Orlando/The Hotwives of Las Vegas
Where to watch: Hulu
The Hotwives of Orlando (Season 1) and The Hotwives of Las Vegas (Season 2) take the insane antics of Bravo’s Real Housewives series and amplify them by 100. Starring a cast of talented comediennes and actresses, including Casey Wilson, Andrea Savage, Tymberlee Hill, Angela Kinsey, and guest stars such as Joey McIntyre, Weird Al Yankovic and Horatio Sanz, Hotwives doesn’t bother to go for realism or any kind of seriousness. Various stories include the ladies having a party to celebrate the end of their friendship; a woman losing her cool every time someone says “calm down;” a woman hoping against hope that her husband is dying; and others.
Grace and Frankie
Where to watch: Netflix
Grace and Frankie is basically a postmodern Odd Couple. The elegant Grace (Jane Fonda) and the hippie Frankie (Lily Tomlin) move in together after learning their husbands (played by Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston) are lovers and have been living fabulously gay lives for 20 years. The women attempt to connect with their grown kids, all of whom have major problems (Ethan Embry is particularly good as recovering addict Coyote, as is June Diane Raphael as single-and-bitter Brianna). Grace and Frankie is not a sitcom, and can occasionally be a little downbeat, but strong performances and interesting stories make this an easy show to watch all at once.
About a Boy
Where to watch: Netflix
This adaptation of Nick Hornby’s novel and the subsequent film of the same name lasted but two seasons on NBC, which is a shame—it’s charming, funny and sweet, with a very appealing cast. David Walton stars as Will Freeman, an overgrown bachelor who slowly begins growing up when Fiona (Minnie Driver) and her quirky 11-year-old son Marcus (Benjamin Stockham) move in next door. The show avoids the typical romantic comedy-style “will they/won’t they” between the Will and Fiona characters and wisely focuses on the friendship between Will and Marcus. Will learns about responsibility, Fiona learns to lighten up and Marcus has a big brother/father figure for the first time in his life. Cute stuff!
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