Summertime is pretty rough for television, but these shows fill the void until fall.
1. Suits - I started watching this show when it first began because of Gabriel Macht, but I stayed because of Patrick J. Adams. I love him. The show was on a repetitive cycle of "will Mike get caught?", for 3 seasons but surprisingly flipped the plot upside down with its 4th season and I am loving every minute of it. It went from a "guilty pleasure" summer show to a legitimate nail-biting drama within a few episodes. Everyone on the show is above par; and, even though she is a straight up copy of Joan from Mad Men, Donna (Sarah Rafferty) steals every episode. It's not a show you can just jump right into, because it's the relationships and tensions between the characters that make the show so intense, so if you are looking to binge watch something this summer, I suggest you watch this show from the beginning.
2. Orange is the New Black - Probably the only non- "guilty pleasure" show on the list (and by that, I mean it's critically praised, as well). I absolutely loved the first season of this show, as I expected to (it's from Jenji Kohan - the creator of Weeds, a show that's in my top 20 favorite shows of all time). The entire cast is flawless, and several deserve Emmy nominations for their work (Taylor Schilling, Taryn Manning, Uzo Aduba, Kate Mulgrew, and Samira Wiley just to name a few...). The second season isn't as good as the first season, but it's a hard season of television to live up to. There is more focus on the supporting characters, which at times, can be amazing (Morello's story and Miss Rosa's chemo trips), but we lose Piper's "outsider looking in" status. As for Piper, she's a bit tougher and more cynical, as she adjusts to her new life in prison, but we still do get that glimpse of fear, when she is threatened with a transfer. If you judge it on its own and not in comparison to season 1 (it's hard, I know), season 2 is still a great season of television - funny, emotional, honest and, once again, filled with amazing performances (Yael Stone, Barbara Rosenblat and Danielle Brooks stand out most this season, for me). The episodes fly by - easy summer binge television.
3. Rookie Blue - This is a pretty simple show: rookie cops solve crimes. However, with the show entering its 5th season (HOLY SHIT, REALLY?!), the "regular" cast members are no longer rookies (but they still solve crimes). It's not a show you need to watch from the beginning, nor do you really have to pay much attention. The crimes are way over the top, and the amount of times one of the main characters is in danger is practically embarrassing. Plus, there is no consistency (one cop gets shot in the neck and 2 episodes later she doesn't even have a scar). However, it's amusing - the banter between the characters is written really well, and the relationships feel real. Plus, I really like Missy Peregrym (she was Andi in Reaper). She is able to display a nice balance of tomboy cop and feminine sensitivity (and she is stunning). The rest of the cast is enjoyable to watch, too - although some character traits are inconsistent. Overall, I think the show is fun and easy - and sometimes, that's just what I'm in the mood for.
4. Hank Med - Okay, the show is really called Royal Pains, but seriously how awful is that title? This is another show that one can jump in at anytime. You just need to know that the main guy is a doctor who makes house calls to rich people in the Hamptons. Divya is his intelligent and beautiful assistant. His brother (the sassy one) helps run his business and is engaged to the beautiful blond. The other awkward guy is another doctor (he spends every episode just being as awkward as humanely possible...I love it). That's it. Every episode is a new "case", in which the doctor saves a life. I watch it mostly for Divya - sure, she's smart and gorgeous but truth be told, I love her for her accessories. Anyway, as repetitive as it is, it's still a perfect summer show - especially all of the gorgeous shots of the beaches. Who knew the beaches in Long Island are so beautiful? (They're not - those are all private ones; the public ones are just as shit as the Jersey Shore beaches. Sorry, I'm a west coast beach snob).
5. Wilfred - There is no other way to describe this show other than fucking weird. It just gets weirder with every episode. It's a bit of dark humor, as it's about a manic depressive who imagines his neighbor's dog is a person in a dog costume, mixed with laugh-out-loud humor, mixed with "did they really just do that?" shock-value humor. When it first aired, I really didn't like the actor that played the dog - I found his comedic timing off and his accent a bit annoying, but he has grown on me. It's a show that will never be described as "dull" or "predictable" because I honestly have no idea where the story is going or how it will end, but I keep watching out of sheer intrigue. Also, if you're a fan, and you're wondering why you're DVR didn't record it, it's because it's moved to the new FXX network.