1) Shameless – Available on Netflix – Maybe best for Group 2 and up…If you’re a fan of raunchy, romantic, brutally honest, dramatic comedy, the Gallaghers are the family for you. The series takes place in Chicago’s South Side. Fiona, a ruthlessly determined protagonist in her mid-twenties, keeps her rather rambunctious family held together. The show follows the Gallagher kids, their out-of-whack parents who usually aren’t around, and their well-meaning but insane neighbors, Kev and V. Favorite Character: Lip Gallagher (short for Phillip) is the second oldest Gallagher child and he is a definite heartthrob. He is not just an abnormally beautiful specimen – he is loyal, funny, kind, and incredibly intelligent.
2) Stranger Things – Available on Netflix – I don’t know a single person who has seen this show and not loved it. This simultaneously insanely dramatic and wonderfully comedic series follows the journey of Elle or “Eleven” and her adorable little friends: Mike, Dustin, Lucas, and Will. There is a mystical world known as “The Upside Down” involved, as well as terrifying creatures, magic, and a lot of just normal high school/middle school drama. You’ll be scared but you’ll also just admire the brilliance of it while you’re laughing/screaming/awwing. Favorite Character: I mean, I think it’s a tie between Elle and Dustin. Elle is fierce, funny, and lovable, and Dustin is just SO funny. Every time he talks in Season 2 is just fantastic.
3) Scandal – Available on Netflix and Hulu – Oh Scandal. Sigh. The name says it all. It is supposedly a political show…by that I mean, the White House and people who work there are involved. Olivia Pope, the protagonist, is Chief of Staff to the President, Mellie Grant, and she is also head of B-613, a group that participates in a lot of shady activity under the President’s nose. This show is extraordinarily intense, there is a lot of romance involved, and there are some “politics” involved but not really because it’s so ridiculously over the top. (That’s why it’s entertaining.) Favorite Character: I think Eli Pope, Olivia’s dad is my favorite character. His lines are so well-written – he speaks so eloquently, and often entirely in metaphors. He’s also a very complex character to figure out – you can never really tell if he’s supposed to be good or bad.
4) Black Mirror – Netflix – Wow. I just saw the first episode of this series and it’s already SO good! The premise of the show is a futuristic society in which social media has literally become equivalent to the worth of a human – the monetary worth. It’s a world where you are rated out of five stars after every interaction, and essentially, what people think of you directly translates to your worth. It’s a world where your social and financial status is always at stake and you are constantly being judged; it’s actually just a more emphasized version of the present to make us realize the implications of social media, and where we could be headed. I don’t have a favorite character since I’ve only seen one episode, but this show is definitely on my list for break!! I love shows that truly are art, and make you think a lot.
5) Star – Available on Hulu – Recommended for Group 2 and up…If you love music, sisterhood, and social justice, you will definitely love this dramatic series. Star, Simone, and Alexandra are all in a band together, living in Atlanta, GA. They are struggling to make it big in the music industry while also addressing all of their deep personal, emotional, and family conflicts. There is some really cool R&B music and some really strong, raw, complicated characters. Favorite Character: I think Alexandra is my favorite character because (this may be a personal bias) she writes all of the songs for the group, and she also has the best voice of all of them in my opinion. She is creative, caring, and down-to-earth.