4 for the 4th: a rainy-day binge list

image: siliconrepublic.com

image: siliconrepublic.com

For those of you who are in the sunshine, happy 4th!  May you enjoy every moment of your fair/carnival/bbq/illicit fireworks-shooting-off-ness!  For those of us here in the rain?  Happy Binge Of July Weekend!  Here’s a list of stuff you can sink your eyeballs into, at least ’til the fireworks happen (either on TV or after the rain…)

Yeah, I could go with easy riffs like Game of Thrones, The Walking Dead and/or Orange Is The New Black.  But you’re already cool like that.  So here are four binge-worthy series that you may not have gotten a chance to get to yet.

1) Hannibal: if you’re a horror lover — or a fan of beautifully crafted visuals — you should be watching this.  Yes, this series will be ending with this season (at least on NBC…she said hopefully.  Hello, Hulu?)  But the story of Hannibal Lecter and his nemesis/BFF Will Graham is riveting stuff.  It’s gory, yes.  But watch this series now, and earn the right to be smug years from now when everyone bemoans the end of this visual masterpiece. [On Demand, Hulu]

2) Powers: a great comic, and an intriguing TV show.  Mash-up Men In Black, Heroes and Law & Order, and you’ve got the makings of a cool story.  Based on the excellent comic book series, Powers is about the Powers Division, a group of police officers whose job it is to keep power-enhanced humans in check.  There are “Heroes” (the good guys, or so their PR reps tell it) and “Powers” (bad guys, or indifferent ones), and Detective Christian Walker walks (yeah) the fine line between the two, as he used to be a Hero named Diamond before he lost his abilities.  [Playstation only, though the first episode is free to all on the Playstation website]

3) Grace and Frankie: like the Golden Girls?  Who doesn’t?  G&F follow two don’t-you-dare-ask-year-olds as they navigate their suddenly single status.  Why suddenly single?  Their husbands came out as gay.  And in love with each other.  As Grace and Frankie, Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin are a hoot, and have a great Odd Couple chemistry.  As their former husbands, Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston seem a bit too adorable, but as the season rolls on things settle in and feel a bit more real.  Come for Fonda tripping on peyote tea, stay for the excellent performances that lift up what could have been a cookie-cutter sitcom. [Netflix]

4) The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt: they alive, dammit!  It’s a miracle!  The theme song will be your summer earworm, and rightly so.  This story about “Mole Woman” Kimmy — kidnapped at 14 and forced to spend 15 years in a bunker with three other women — gets off the ground slowly (feel free to skip to episode 4 after the pilot, and then go back later for 2 & 3) but finds its feet in the hilarious episode 6.  Two words: Pinot Noir.  [Netflix]

Honorable Mentions: a few summer series that are gearing up.  [On Demand, but the first eps are free on Google Play]

* Scream: Not as good as the original movie, but what is?  Expect heads in hot-tubs, riffs on why TV can’t do slasher horror, and plenty of set-ups for the rest of the season. (bonus points for the cool soundtrack) [MTV]

* Zoo: a book that punked out at the end, but could be saved by a series format (read: TV could play out an ending that felt rushed in the book). Zoo brings Day of the Animals to the 21st Century. The first ep is intriguing, with just enough gravitas (and destruction) for me to give a look at episode 2 next week. [CBS]

* The Crimson Field: A cross between M*A*S*H and Call The Midwife, this series about WWI medics give you medical drama and a period piece.  Win! [PBS]

* The Jim Gaffigan Show: a great stand-up comic gets a show that mirrors his life.  Sound familiar?  That’s because this set-up usually works (see: Seinfeld, Louie). It works here.  Plus, Michael Ian Black! [TV Land]

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