Wednesday, 1 June 2016

Summer 2016: What will I be watching?

Edit: Halt and Catch Fire and Terriers, both of which I somehow managed to leave off my list, have been added below.

There was once a time when the summer slate of television consisted purely of reruns and the runts of the litter, the shows that networks didn't want to air in a fall slot but needed to burn off somewhere. That's no longer the case, and the TV season is no longer September to May. It's all year round. Summer is no longer a dead zone, with a slew of popular and critically acclaimed shows now airing in those four months.

For a TV fan, things have never been better. Or worse, depending on how you look at it. There's an endless amount of programming, which means that there will rarely - if ever - be a time where there's nothing to watch. But it also means that it's easy to become inundated with the choice; the prospect of having only two or three shows to keep up with, while perhaps slightly boring, is much better than trying to watch upwards of a couple of dozen a week, particularly if you lead a busy life.

I fall into the former group, both in the past months of "regular season" TV and summer programming. For the past two months or so, I've been watching only seven or eight shows per week due to a busy "real life" that involves the run-up to exams (my last of which is on June 15); over the summer, I only have Mr. Robot, Outcast and Preacher that I currently envisage watching weekly, along with Game of Thrones, Person of Interest and 12 Monkeys that overlap into June and July.

So while recently, I've been watching about as much as I can handle, moving into my three month break (yes, I get three months off after June 15), I need to find something to fill the gap. While I'll strive to try out anything new that premieres in that time, I will need more to watch.

Currently, I have a list of 27 shows that I intend to try and watch in the summer months (in alphabetical order):

30 Rock, Almost Human, Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Deutschland 83, Difficult People, Fortitude, Halt and Catch Fire, Hannibal, Justified, Love, Master of None, Mom, Orange is the New Black, Sense8, Sherlock, Silicon Valley, Strike Back, Terriers, The Carmichael Show, The Middle, The Night Manager, The Shield, Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Underground, UnREAL, Veep, Vikings, Wentworth and You're the Worst.

That's a lot of television, and doesn't include shows that I temporarily dropped in the past few months - the aforementioned and excellent 12 Monkeys, Fear the Walking Dead, Agents of SHIELD among others - in favour of spending time doing other, more important, things. That means a whole bunch of other shows are going to get binge-watched!

At present, my plan is to watch those shows in order of how few episodes they have (though that may translate to: Which shows can I get through quickest? Watching the two seasons of You're the Worst, for instance, will take me less time than watching nine 90-minute Sherlock episodes, so the FXX comedy may end up taking priority between those two) in order to get through as many as I can. That will likely vary on occasion, in part due to me wanting to watch a certain show sooner because I'm more intrigued by it than another, and in part because some of these shows return during the summer months (UnREAL and Orange is the New Black are both back this month).

But why should you care? Well, because I'll be keeping track of my progress on each and every one of my binges here on the blog. For some shows, I'll do season-by-season write-ups; others I'll discuss in full once I catch up in full - but I intend to write about all of them, both so I can branch out to writing about as many shows as possible, and to just be writing in general.

As yet, I'm not sure what will be first up. My initial plan was to begin with The Night Manager, given its length, but with UnREAL returning on June 6, I may end up starting there.

While all this is going on, you can find me, as always, on Twitter, and over at SpoilerTV, where I'll be hosting two of our annual competitions: The Episode Competition, where we try to find the fans' favourite episode of the past 12 months, and the Series Competition, where we look for the fans' favourite show at present. The nomination period for the Episode Competition is now open, so go over and get your votes in, while the Series tournament will likely begin in late July.

What will everyone else be watching in the summer? Is there anything that you would recommend to me that isn't listed above? And any suggestions on which of the above shows to watch first? Hit the comments with your thoughts.

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