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​Staff Picks: The Best Shows to Stream This Summer

Posted by Man Crates on


Over the summer months, when most shows hit their hiatus, you probably start searching for Instagram-worthy moments on the beach or on top of a mountain. But you still need some time to relax in air-conditioned luxury, surrounded by throw pillows and popcorn. To keep you covered all summer long, we polled Team Man Crates and have listed some of our favorite shows available for streaming right now. Load up your queue with the goodness below! (Note: There may be some NSFW language in some of these trailers, so proceed with caution.)


COMEDY

VEEP

WHO’S IN IT: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tony Hale, Anna Chlumsky, Reid Scott, Timothy Simons, Matt Walsh, Sufe Bradshaw, Gary Cole, Kevin Dunn, Sam Richardson

WHAT IT’S ABOUT: The nation’s first female vice president, Selina Meyer, is a skilled politician with a megawatt smile. She’s also an egomaniac with a biting tongue, surrounded by a team of misfits willing to betray their beliefs in exchange for a modicum of power—or at least the illusion of it. Join them as they (mostly unsuccessfully) navigate the game of politics.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING AROUND THE OFFICE: “Hands-down the funniest show on TV.” – Madeleine

WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH: Through six seasons, Veep is only getting better. Louis-Dreyfus is the star, but the other main characters provide more than their share of laughs. The reactions of her bag man Gary alone make this show worth your time.

WHERE TO WATCH: HBOGo


UNBREAKABLE KIMMY SCHMIDT

WHO'S IN IT: Ellie Kemper, Titus Burgess, Carol Kane, Jane Krakowski

WHAT IT’S ABOUT:We see the news stories every now and then, but what happens to former captives after they’re rescued? Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt imagines they’re thrilled to have the choice to eat candy for dinner, if they want.

After being kidnapped as a teenager by the leader of a doomsday cult, our now-adult heroine moves from small-town Indiana to embrace freedom in New York City. As you might expect, her transition back into society includes some hilarious bumps along the way.

The breakout hit of 2015 is still going strong—the third season dropped just last month.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING AROUND THE OFFICE: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt is hysterical, probably because it was created by Tina Fey.” – Mel

WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH: Ellie Kemper was delightful as Pam’s replacement on The Office, and her positively cheery performance as Kimmy Schmidt cements her status as an underrated national treasure.

WHERE TO WATCH: Netflix


DRAMA

AMERICAN GODS

WHO'S IN IT: Ricky Whittle, Ian McShane, Emily Browning, Crispin Glover, Pablo Schreiber

WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Based on the 2001 book of the same name, American Gods represents Starz’s early contribution to the growing genre of “visually stunning and slightly confusing supernatural thrillers, presumably with a huge payoff at the end.”

Towards the end of a three-year prison stint, Shadow Moon is released a few days early after his wife passes in an accident. On his way to her funeral, Shadow meets the mysterious Mr. Wednesday (general rule of thumb: characters with days for last names usually have some secrets), who recruits Shadow to be his bodyguard. The job is more than he bargained for—Mr. Wednesday pulled ol’ Shadow into a looming battle between old gods and new gods. Things get weird.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING AROUND THE OFFICE: "This could be the new Game of Thrones.” – Kristin

WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH: The main character’s name is Shadow Moon. If that doesn’t pique your interest, then perhaps nothing will.

WHERE TO WATCH: Starz


THE HANDMAID’S TALE

WHO’S IN IT: Elisabeth Moss, Joseph Fiennes, Yvonne Strahovski, Alexis Bledel, Madeline Brewer, Ann Dowd, O. T. Fagbenle, Max Minghella, Samira Wiley

WHAT IT’S ABOUT: In the not-so-distant future, environmental contamination resulting from civil war has rendered most women infertile. Those who can conceive are placed under the rule of impossibly strict male commanders for the sole purpose of bearing children for the husband and wife.

The Handmaid’s Tale shows this dystopia through the eyes of one unwilling Handmaid, Offred, as she struggles to escape the totalitarian Gilead (the former United States), reunite with her family and regain pieces of her old life.

WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH: The show expands on the original text by Margaret Atwood in all the right places, so even those in the “book is always better than the movie/show” crowd will be satisfied.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING AROUND THE OFFICE: “It has a really good cast, including Peggy from Mad Men!” – Nick

WHERE TO WATCH: Hulu


THE CROWN

WHO’S IN IT: Claire Foy, John Lithgow, Matt Smith, Vanessa Kirby, Eileen Atkins, Victoria Hamilton, Alex Jennings, Lia Williams

WHAT IT’S ABOUT: As ambitious as any Netflix Original series to date, The Crown plans to chronicle Queen Elizabeth’s 64 (!) years in power over the course of six seasons.After just one,the show has already captured a Golden Globe for “Best Drama.”

Beginning with the Queen’s marriage and unexpected rise to the throne at age 25, The Crown builds tenfold on our existing knowledge of the Royal Family, which is derived exclusively from that time we watched William and Kate’s wedding in 2011 on CNN. What pageantry!

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING AROUND THE OFFICE: “I’m fascinated by English royalty. The Crown didn’t disappoint.“ – Celina

WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH: Don’t let the fancy hats fool you: Queen Elizabeth II is an under-the-radar badass.

WHERE TO WATCH: Netflix


HOUSE OF CARDS

WHO’S IN IT: Kevin Spacey, Robin Wright, Michael Kelly, Kate Mara, Corey Stoll, Mahershala Ali

WHAT IT’S ABOUT: If politics is a game of chess, Frank Underwood is the Deep Blue computer in 1997.

An unfulfilled promise from the president triggers Frank’s ruthless quest for power. To describe his level of manipulation as “shady backroom dealings” is putting it mildly. We’re talking deceit, surveillance, bribery, revenge and, you know, the occasional grisly murder.

Season five just released May 30, and the stakes are higher than ever.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING AROUND THE OFFICE: “Netflix’s first original series is still one of its best.” – Dave

WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH: It’s all the drama of political theater without any of the real-world outcomes.

WHERE TO WATCH: Netflix


TRUE CRIME

THE KEEPERS

WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Netflix’s first major true crime docu-series, Making A Murderer, was a bona fide phenomenon at the end of 2015. Many people are saying The Keepers is even more engrossing.

The series investigates the murder of 26-year-old Sister Catherine Cesnik in 1970 through the eyes of her former students in Baltimore. Now retired, the women who admired Sister Catherine search for clues about her killing—and the horrifying reasons for a potential cover-up—by reconnecting with classmates and journalists on social media. As one of the amateur investigators says, “We probably have more information than any police officer or detective has had on this case—ever.”

WHAT OUR STAFF SAYS: “A look back at a major church cover up. Very chilling stuff.” – Joey

WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH: Because you got goosebumps just from watching the trailer. And with just seven hour-long episodes, you can probably knock it out in a day. One long, very unproductive day.

WHERE TO WATCH: Netflix


SPECIALS

HASSAN MINHAJ: HOMECOMING KING

WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Fresh off hosting this year’s White House Correspondent’s Dinner, the 31-year-old Daily Show correspondent delivers something a little different than the traditional stand-up comedy routine. Through stories of high school embarrassment, marrying someone of another religion, and his big break in show business, Minhaj opens his window into life in Davis, California (where the special was filmed) as the son of Indian immigrants. The tales are just as hilarious as they are endearing.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING AROUND THE OFFICE:“ I’d never heard of Hassan before, but he’s got another fan now. I also really liked Ali Wong’s Netflix special.” – Kevin

WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH: It’s funny, sure, but Minhaj is so open with his storytelling that after an hour you’ll feel like you know more about him than you do some of your real-life acquaintances.

WHERE TO WATCH: Netflix


DESIGN

ABSTRACT: THE ART OF DESIGN

WHAT IT’S ABOUT: In-depth profiles of eight of the world’s premier tastemakers and visionaries in design, including legendary Tinker Hatfield (who made this) and wunderkind Bjarke Ingels (who made this).

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING AROUND THE OFFICE: “We work in a very creative environment, so it’s inspiring to see how other innovators think.” – Garrett

WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH: With episodes about designers of architecture, digital media, cars, illustrations, theater stages, sneakers, photographs, and homes, there’s something for everyone in this series.

WHERE TO WATCH: Netflix

GRAND DESIGNS

WHAT IT’S ABOUT: American home renovation shows usually go something like this: Couple wants a nicer house à show hosts encounter minor problem which is blown way out of proportion à problem is quickly solved à cosmetic finishing touches à couple (and in my case, viewer) cries tears of joy at the big reveal.

That’s all well and good, but if you’ve seen one you’ve seen them all. Grand Designs takes this genre to another level, diving into the history of each property, the owner’s inspiration, and intricate details of construction.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING AROUND THE OFFICE: Grand Design is INCREDIBLE. Amazing home design show that is dramatically different in format then the standard U.S. home design shows.” – Brittany

WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH: As the show’s title implies, the finished products are truly spectacular, each one different than the last. Plus, it’s British and the host wears blazers with jeans, so you’ll feel more sophisticated just watching it. It might even inspire some building innovation at your place.

WHERE TO WATCH: Netflix


TRAVEL

AN IDIOT ABROAD

WHO’S IN IT: Karl Pilkington, Ricky Gervais, Stephen Merchant

WHAT IT’S ABOUT: Exactly what the title says. An idiot goes abroad.

Ricky Gervais’ friend Karl Pilkington has absolutely no interest in foreign cuisine, unfamiliar religions or non-British culture in general. Naturally, Ricky sends Karl around the world—alone—and laughs on the other end of the phone when Karl calls him to complain every night. It’s hysterical.

WHAT THEY’RE SAYING AROUND THE OFFICE: “Classic Gervais. He sends Karl out to some of the craziest places to capture the comedy of one fish-out-of-water experience after another.” – Laura

WHY YOU SHOULD WATCH: Karl is incredibly crass and immature, so his behavior will make you feel better about your own missteps in fish-out-of-water situations.

WHERE TO WATCH: Netflix, Hulu