I love TV. When people say they hate television or have those, “Kill Your TV” stickers on their car, I think to myself – we’ll never be friends. There are actually a handful of television shows that I care for more than I care for most people. Like, if I had to choose between saving the last viewable collection of Buffy the Vampire Slayer episodes or Rand Paul from a fire… ehhhhhhhhhhhhhhh?
So, having said that I hope you know that you can trust me when I tell you to spend your summer catching up on the following shows and exciting new(ish) characters you might have missed during the 2012/2013 television season.
1. The Americans (FX) – Available on iTunes
What’s it about? A couple of deep cover Soviet spies, living as a typical American family during the height of the Cold War in the early 1980s.
Reasons to watch: 80s nostalgia, anti-heroism, relentless spy-thriller action, complicated relationships, disguises, great soundtrack, sexy secrets, isn’t sexist, isn’t racist, isn’t homophobic, family drama, smart writing, great acting, disguises, espionage, did I say disguises?
Standout character: I love Elizabeth (Keri Russell) and Philip (Matthew Rhys) Jennings so, so much. Elizabeth is probably the most complex female character on television since Starbuck on Battlestar Galactica. She’s fierce. She’s good at her job. She’s a true believer in her cause, which comes into conflict when she actually begins to care for the partner she was thrown together with so many years ago. Keri Russell is amazing in this role. I was skeptical because…Felicity, but she brings great complexity and empathy to a sometimes completely unsympathetic character.
2. Elementary (CBS) – Available on iTunes
What’s it about? Modern Sherlock Holmes is a recovering drug addict in New York. He and his sober companion, Dr. Joan Watson solve crimes and become BFF.
Reasons to watch: Formulaic mystery dramas are fun, the acting (at least by the two leads; Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu) is great, both Holmes and Watson’s wardrobes, gorgeous platonic friendship, isn’t sexist, isn’t racist or homophobic.
Standout character: Joan Watson. At first it seemed that this show was content to pat itself on the back for gender swapping a beloved character and leaving it at that, but over the course of season 1, Joan finds her calling as a special investigator and becomes an integral hero.
What’s it about? Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) is a high-profile, Washington D.C. “fixer.” She and her team fix scandal-y stuff for politicians. Also – she’s having an affair with the president. DUN DUN DUNNNNNN
Reasons to watch: Sexy secrets, fun formula, good ensemble cast, Guillermo Diaz!, Kerry Washington, isn’t sexist, racist or homophobic, mindless fun, entertaining, soapy
Standout character: Kerry Washington is the first woman of color to play the lead in a network drama since the year I was born (1974). That means that despite the soapy nature of the show, it’s an important one. Additionally, Olivia is a great and complex character. She’s brilliant, compassionate and flawed. Also, Kerry Washington is the prettiest woman in the world.