By Sam Bertschmann
For those of us not traveling to a luxurious location after the end of winter term, spring break is a great time to get reacquainted with our couches and watch excessive amounts of television. If you find that during vacation you can no longer keep up with the Kardashians, I suggest you give an or all of these shows a try.
Arrested Development, Fox
With the much-anticipated fourth season set to stream exclusively on Netflix this May, now is the perfect time to meet the Bluths if you haven’t already. Mitchell Hurwitz’s groundbreaking comedy documents the efforts of good-guy Michael Bluth (Jason Bateman) to keep his dysfunctional family—including Michael Cera as his awkward son, George Michael, and Will Arnett as his misogynistic older brother, Gob—together after his father, George Sr. (Jeffrey Tambor), is arrested for fraud in the pilot episode. Rumor has it that the new season—airing seven years after the show’s initial cancellation—will be followed by a feature film. Taste the happy.
Boy Meets World, ABC
Disney recently announced plans for a sequel to Michael Jacobs’ treasured ‘90s sitcom entitled Girl Meets World, which is rumored to air as early as this fall. The new series will star Rowan Blanchard as Riley Matthews, daughter of Cory (Ben Savage) and Topanga (Danielle Fishel), but so far Shawn (Rider Strong), Eric (Will Friedle) and all other beloved characters from the original series have not announced plans to return. Nevertheless, spring break provides ample time to catch up with Cory and the gang and seek the sage advice of Mr. Feeny (William Daniels).
Downton Abbey, PBS
This acclaimed British drama has gained a huge following in the U.S., and for good reason. Julian Fellows’ series chronicles the lives of the aristocratic Crawley family and their eclectic servants through major national conflicts of the time, such as World War I, also exploring the family’s pressing domestic woes: inheritance complications, marriage and forbidden affairs, to name a few. Maggie Smith steals the show as the Dowager Countess and Crawley family matriarch. Keep a hefty box of tissues handy for the show’s tear-jerking third season.
Matt LeBlanc stars as an exaggerated version of himself in this raunchy comedy. His character in the show is hilariously miscast as the lead of the dumbed-down American remake of a much smarter British series created by frustrated married writers Sean and Beverly Lincoln (Stephen Mangan and Tamsin Greig, respectively). The dynamic between these three characters fuels much of the show’s comedic brilliance. Developed by Jeffrey Klarik and Friends co-creator David Crane, Episodes offers a delightfully satiric take on Hollywood and the modern television industry. The third season is set to air this summer.
Commonly labeled a grittier, more realistic Sex and the City, Lena Dunham’s Girls provides an often hilarious and often depressing look at the lives of four girls in their early 20s struggling to get their lives together. Dunham stars as self-centered writer Hannah Horvath, alongside Allison Williams as the manipulative Marnie, Jemima Kirke as the unpredictable Jessa, and Zosia Mamet as the fast-talking Shoshanna. The sharp dialogue is a major selling point for the show, even if it does suggest that dark times lie ahead for students approaching graduation.
Howard Gordon and Alex Gansa’s addictive thriller has won nearly every major award for which it has been nominated since its 2011 premiere, including well-deserved acting accolades for the series’ leads, Claire Danes and Damian Lewis. Homeland follows bipolar CIA officer Carrie Mathison (Danes) as she attempts to uncover the truth about recently freed prisoner of war Sargent Nicholas Brody (Lewis), whom she suspects is working for al-Qaeda. Each new episode brings intense and unexpected twists and turns, and I have grown more obsessed with this show than Carrie is with Brody.
Mad Men, AMC
April 7 marks the return of Don Draper (Jon Hamm) and the rest of the Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce crew with the premiere of Mad Men’s sixth and penultimate season. Matthew Weiner’s critically beloved drama provides a compelling look at the New York advertising world in the 1960s, and also examines the tumultuous national and cultural landscapes of the time. Fix yourself an Old Fashioned (just kidding) and try to count how many affairs Don has had over the years (hint: it’s more than 10).
The Mindy Project, Fox
Created by The Office’s Kelly Kapoor herself, Mindy Kaling’s new workplace comedy has become one of my weekly favorites this year. Kaling plays bubbly, rom-com obsessed OB/GYN Mindy Lahiri, and her supporting cast provides a wacky office dynamic. The Mindy Project also features a host of entertaining guest stars, including Allison Williams, Seth Rogen and Kaling’s Office cast mates Ed Helms, BJ Novak and Ellie Kemper.
The Newsroom, HBO
This smart, quippy drama, created by veteran writer and producer Aaron Sorkin, rewrites recent journalistic history as the fictional News Night, hosted by the surly Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels), and copes with dwindling ratings and complicated office politics and romances. Returning in June, The Newsroom features some of Sorkin’s most clever writing to date, and the supporting cast (Emily Mortimer, Sam Waterston, Allison Pill and Dev Patel) adds even more fun to the show.