May 19, 2023 | ARTS & ENTERTAINMENT | By Charlotte Maley

Next week, campus will face one of its emptiest times of year as the majority of students leave for a much-anticipated summer break. After a full semester on the Block Plan, it’s completely understandable if you hit a slump, not knowing what to do with any newfound free time.

Even if you are a person working a full-time job or doing an intensive internship this summer, chances are you’ll be looking for a relaxing distraction. To quell any anxieties of anticipated boredom, I’m here to provide you with the most tasteful and entertaining television recommendations that will not disappoint. Whether you like soapy love stories or disturbing and gore-filled social commentary, I’ll help you find what you’re looking for. 

For starters, allow me to recommend the most universally beloved show that I’ve ever watched. When I tell you that I was in a Groome shuttle on the way to the airport where every single passenger, of all ages and backgrounds, had seen and loved the show, I’m not lying. Even the driver had claimed to have seen it twice over.

The short series, “1883,” which aired its one and only season in 2021 on Paramount+, is an action packed and beautifully shot western-based show set in, you guessed it, 1883. The show follows a charismatic family and a small colony of immigrants as they depart on a wagon train expedition from Texas to the Pacific Northwest in pursuit of a better life.

I have to say, if you have ever wondered how on earth a little horseback ride across the prairie could kill so many people, this show will do for you what the Oregon Trail video game in the 90’s did for so many Millennials. Additionally, if you’re struggling to fall back in love with Colorado after a dry and depressing winter, the shots taken of this region throughout the series will absolutely do the trick.

“1883” is an epic love story, historical drama, and blood-pressure-accelerating action series where the main character doesn’t even…shave her armpits (crazy for the 1880s, I’m guessing.) If you get sad when you finish it in one day, you could always watch its successive shows “1923” and “Yellowstone.”  

The second must watch is for an arguably more niche audience. I only recommend it for those that like to be spooked. “Yellowjackets,” a Showtime original that scored a 100% on Rotten Tomatoes’ Tomatometer in its first season, is without a doubt one of my favorite television shows of all time.

I’ve seen the first season four times, all the way through, in a dedicated attempt to get friends and family to see it. The less you know, the better, but I’ll try to get you hooked with this; the show follows a girls’ soccer team, trying to survive in uncharted terrain after their plane crashes. Just watch the first scene of the first episode, and from there you won’t be able to stop.

It’s as though “Lord of the Flies” met “Pretty Little Liars” and spawned an even more addictive yet philosophically interesting baby. It’s a crime that most people don’t know about this show, and I promise that even if you must get a Showtime subscription just to watch “Yellowjackets,”you won’t regret it. 

My third recommendation is for those of you that want to watch “Yellowjackets,” but only have Netflix and can’t handle too much spookiness. “The Society,” which is also best seen without too much preview, is about a high school class that departs on a school trip, only to return to a completely deserted town with no way out. In order to survive, the students must form a new social order and navigate politics of their new “small town” until they figure out how to escape or, at the very least, figure out what’s happened to them.

“The Society” is dark, enticing, brilliant, and the perfect all-night binge watching show on a stormy summer night. Although it’s undeniably incredible, the show wasn’t renewed for a second season due to COVID-19, despite ending on a robust cliffhanger. Do not let that dissuade you from watching it, though. 

Finally, the last recommendation is for anyone that just needs a good laugh. Not necessarily bingeable, but definitely hilarious and educational, “Cunk on Earth” is a mockumentary series following Philomena Cunk on her expedition to unpack human history.

In an Ali G type fashion, the character, played by the fabulous Diane Morgan, interviews actual historians in a manner that leaves them baffled. If you want to watch a woman deadpan ask a scholar if the British Empire was “evil like it was in Star Wars,” then you’re in luck. It’s a ridiculously silly series that, according to Vulture, is “deceptively smart.” Fair warning, however, that sometimes it’s hard to tell when something is factual and when it’s just a joke. “Cunk on Earth” is best watched with a cup of tea and a history buff at your side.  

Although summer is allegedly the season of free time, not all of us will be chilling day and night on sandy beaches near glassy oceans. In light of that, all of these shows are two seasons or less, and are barely a time commitment. I promise not only that each of these shows are worth your attention, but that finishing them won’t be a burden. If you can’t pick one, just start at the top, and make your way down the list. You won’t regret it.  

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