What Shows to Watch Depending on Your Summer Mood


Feeling dramatic, or silly, or even hungry? We’ve got the perfect show for you to binge.

Summer means spending time outside and enjoying the fresh air…but it also sometimes means sitting in a dark, air-conditioned room binge-watching an addictive new series. Do you fantasize about fantasy? I’ve got you covered. Are you quivering for a new comedy? Not a problem! Even for those of you looking to holler at a new horror show, you’ll easily find a new favorite among this list. Keep reading for some of the best shows to watch this summer.

If you’re desperate for a funny summer show

Hacks on HBO Max

Have I mentioned how deep and slightly weird my love for Jean Smart is? I’ve always loved her because she’s a great actress (did you know she voiced the mom in the hit Disney channel original cartoon, Kim Possible?) and seems like a genuinely good person (did you know she adopted her 18-month-old daughter when she was 57?!) but to take this in a different direction, I need to point out that in Hacks, Jean Smart is hot. And not that “hot for an older woman” BS people use to qualify their admiration for anyone in Hollywood who isn’t a teenager. 

Oh sorry, did you want to know what the show is about? Queen Jean plays Deborah Vance, a well-established comedian with a cushy Las Vegas residency. When Deborah learns that her residency might be taken over by the Pentatonix (God forbid!), she reluctantly enlists the help of a whiny and ungrateful 25-year-old comedy “influencer” to help spice up her set. Hilarity ensues. As does hotness. 

If you need a sci-fi summer show

Sweet Tooth on Netflix

Sweet Tooth is a show that sounds a little dumb on first description: A plague kills a ton of people, and at the same time, babies start being born as half-animal hybrids. But like its name implies, Sweet Tooth is actually an absolute treat. It takes place years after the plague and ensuing crumble of civilization, and follows a little hybrid boy named Gus, who is 50 percent deer and 100 percent adorable, as he teams up with a giant former football player named Jepp to try to find his mom. This is one that the whole family can watch together (as long as nobody is offended by the occasional curse word). 

If you have a flair for drama series  

Dirty John Season Two on Netflix

Now before you start saying to me, “wait, but Dirty John season one ended with our titular character stabbed to death by his stepdaughter. Where else could they possibly go with this?” understand that Dirty John Season Two is a totally different story with totally different characters (none of whom are named John, which completely confused my mother). 

Season Two stars Amanda Peet and Christian Slater in The Betty Broderick Story, which is based on a real murder case. It’s got that Lifetime Original Movie style that I’m always chasing — sort of soapy and surprising in a way that will have you saying, “wait…these were real people?!”

Want more Jean Smart? Check out Season One.

If you’re lookin’ for a scary summer show 

Black Summer on Netflix 

I am an absolute sucker for a zombie flick, so a zombie TV series? Sign me up! Did I just have to Google “How is Black Summer different from The Walking Dead,” even though I’ve watched both of these shows? Maybe. But for one, the zombies move a lot faster in Black Summer. Also there are approximately one billion characters, so people you grow mildly attached to are getting killed off all the time. Regardless, if you’re a fan of the genre, you’re going to love this show, which just dropped Season Two. The conclusion I’ve drawn from watching both shows is that if there were, in fact, a zombie apocalypse, I would be promptly slaughtered.  

If you’re hungry for a food show this summer 

High on the Hog on Netflix

If you’re looking for a simple cooking show, you’ve come to the wrong place. Based on the book by Dr. Jessica B. Harris and hosted by Stephen Satterfield, High on the Hog is part history lesson, part travel show, and part celebration of Black excellence, all against a backdrop of gorgeous, mouthwatering dishes. Starting in Benin, West Africa, Satterfield traces African American cuisine’s rich and complicated journey to show how it shaped America’s culinary present. The show is beautifully shot, wonderfully informative, and filled with delightful characters. From barbeque to mac and cheese to ice cream, the show opened my eyes to the true origins of so many of the foods I think of as being traditional “American fare.” 

If you want a little glamour with your heatwave 

Halston on Netflix

Did you happen to catch Liza Minelli performing her one woman show live in NYC in 1972? If not, just flip your TV remote over to the new Ryan Murphy series Halston, which follows the meteoric rise and tragic fall of one of New York’s most talented fashion designers, to see actress Krysta Rodriguez embody Liza in a way that will knock your socks off. If you’ve missed the big city night life, you can get a big ole dose of it right from your La-Z-Boy with Halston. It’s got booze! It’s got drugs! It’s got orgies and runway shows and Bianca Jagger on a white horse in the middle of Studio 54! It’s even got Bette Midler’s daughter Sophie Von Haselberg playing a bridge-and-tunnel groupie who gets stuck in an air vent! Once you’ve finished the series you’ll be so exhausted it’ll feel like you were there, without having to suffer the hangover.