Five Shows to Watch This Winter

It’s winter break, you guys. You know what that means, don’t you?

A month of repeats, that’s what.

 

Yes, as much as winter break signifies rest and rejuvenation for the college student population of America, it’s all about boredom and monotony in the television world. Sure, a few cable reality shows are still going on and the occasional scripted show, but for the most part, we’re out of luck until the first week of the new year at the earliest. But don’t fret, TV fans, as there is plenty of good stuff to tide you over during the blizzards and endless holiday specials.

Here are five shows that you would do well in catching up on/completing during the holiday break:

 

Freaks & Geeks (NBC)
How many episodes: 18
Who’s in it: James Franco, Busy Phillips, Seth Rogen, Linda Cardinelli, John Francis Daley, and Jason Segel, among others.
Why you should watch it: It’s a realistically raw depiction of high school (this time, set in 1980) with kids who actually look like they belong in high school and not an Abercrombie & Fitch catalog. There’s actual emotion, feeling, and thought behind the words; the characters don’t end up hugging one another at the end while a warm violin section crescendos upon each revelation and apology. They fight, scratch, and make tons of mistakes, but at the end of the day, the group bonds between the freaks and geeks are enough to where a look and simple gesture is all it takes to sew up a ripped friendship. Plus, it’s Judd Apatow at his most thoughtful and heartfelt.
How to watch it: DVD/Youtube

Archer (FX)
How many episodes: 10 (half hour)
Who’s in it: H. Jon Benjamin, Aisha Tyler, Jessica Walter, Chris Parnell, Jeffrey Tambor, and Judy Greer, among others.
Why you should watch it: This is one of those animated shows that you could really see transformed into a live action show without much trouble. A takeoff on the spy genre, it’s what happens when secret agents stop being polite and start hating working with one another. Sterling Archer is an incompetent boob but even at his worst, he’s a magnetic character who livens things up. With his sassy partner, alcoholic mother, and sexually deviant co-workers Pam, Cyril, and Cheryl Carol Carina Cristal Cheryl, Archer’s world is fast cars, faster women, and even faster dialogue. Also, if you don’t like this show, you’re in my daaaan-ja zoooooneeee.
How to watch it: Netflix Instant

 

Wonderfalls (FOX)
How many episodes: 13
Who’s in it: Caroline Dharvenas, Lee Pace, Katie Finneran, and Tyron Leitso, among others.
Why you should watch it: It’s about a droll underachiever who has plastic animals talk to her, giving her vague advice that she has to interpret and use in her everyday life. She has to deal with an uptight sister, some uncomfortable vulnerability brought about by a crush on a local bartender, and the small town claustrophobia that she has in working at a tourist novelty shop. It captures the frustration of being a post-grad quite wonderfully, balancing Jaye’s interactions with the trinkets with figuring out who she is in relation to her prestigious family. The explanation of why she got her powers may either be disappointing or very sweet (depending on your disposition), but the brilliantly funny journey is more than worth a few speed bumps.
How to watch it: DVD/Youtube

Outsourced (NBC)
How many episodes: 10 (half hour)
Who’s in it: Ben Rappaport, Sacha Dhawan, Rizwan Manji, Parvesh Cheena, and Anisha Nagarajan, among others.
Why you should watch: Yes, yes, I know, call me a heretic of the TV journalism world all you want, but this little fish-out-of-water comedy has grown by leaps and bounds since its iffy debut. Todd isn’t the borderline xenophobe that he’s been portrayed as (he’s never been malicious and comes off as more sheltered than anything), especially at the end of the show’s fall run where he’s made a noticeable transition from scared, clueless new guy to part of the team. The supporting cast is extremely charming and treated with respect, especially socially awkward but well meaning Gupta and timid Madhuri, but it’s mischievous Rajeev who steals every scene he’s in as Todd’s foil. It’s not reached its potential yet, as it leans too much on typical sitcom stuff, but when it’s “on”, it’s a joy to watch.
How to watch it: Hulu

 

The League (FX)
How many episodes: 19 (half hour)
Who’s in it: Paul Scheer, Nick Kroll, Nadine Vazquez, Mark Duplass, Jan Lajoie, Stephen Rannazzisi, and Katie Aselton, among others.
Why you should watch: It’s the bawdy, idiosyncratic brother of It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, so that automatically means a recommendation in my book. While there’s focus on the fantasy football aspect (tons of cameos from professional football players, episodes dedicated to the draft/championship), it’s made understandable enough to where non-players can easily grasp what’s going on and there are enough tangential storylines for sports-phobes to grasp onto when the conversation gets too into line-ups, draft picks, and ranking scores. The chemistry is natural and believable (I’ve heard that some/most of the dialogue is ad libbed) and the humor may not be highbrow but it’s consistently belly laugh worthy.
How to watch it: DVD/Hulu

 

Are you going to be watching anything during the break? If so, what are you watching?


One Response

  1. Magster December 14, 2010

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