By Minna Xiao
Not sure how to fill the “Breaking Bad”-induced void in your life and desperately searching for the next binge-watching fix? Look no further: Here are five excellent TV shows you can rent from Green Library, just in time for midterm-season procrastination.
“The IT Crowd”
The third British sitcom created by Graham Linehan, “The IT Crowd” is what “The Big Bang Theory” could have been – if “TBBT” were any good. The half-hour comedy follows the workplace shenanigans of Roy and Maurice, the two geeky technicians of the fictional Reynholm Industries’ IT department, and their technologically inept boss, Jen, as the three try to navigate their personal and professional lives – often to hilariously ill-fated results.
This improvisational comedy is shot in an innovative format – the viewer only sees the characters interact through computer screens (think: Skype chats). The show follows the professional hijinks of Fiona Wallace (Lisa Kudrow), a self-proclaimed web therapist who offers three-minute sessions over the Internet. Kudrow, with her sharp, deadpan humor, is perfect as the gloriously narcissistic Fiona, who is far more interested in her own life than the troubles of her patients. “Web Therapy” also boasts a particularly impressive guest roster, including Meryl Streep as a “sexual orientation therapist,” Victor Garber as Fiona’s long-suffering and possibly gay husband and a handful of fellow Friends alumni.
“The Good Wife”
If you’re a fan of USA Network’s lawyer drama “Suits,” check out “The Good Wife,” CBS’s complexly layered and highly serialized legal and political drama. Darker and less sugar-coated, “The Good Wife” centers around Alicia Florrick (played by the mesmerizing, Emmy-winning Julianna Margulies), the wife of a disgraced State Attorney who returns to a career as a litigator following her husband’s sex scandal. There’s sex, crime, political intrigue and some excellent courtroom scenes – what more could you ask for?
“Freaks and Geeks”
The 1999 teen dramedy “Freaks and Geeks” was tragically cancelled after only one season, but the series has developed a devoted cult following in years since. It remains some of producer Judd Apatow’s best work. Set in 1980s Michigan suburbia, the coming-of-age story revolves around the lives of siblings Lindsay and Sam Weir as they navigate the ups and downs of high school. While subtle and poignant in its portrayal of the trials and tribulations of adolescence, “Freaks and Geeks” remains sharp and fully fleshed in its humor. The show also served as the first notable roles for some of today’s most well-known stars: Jason Segel, James Franco and Seth Rogen.
One of the few dwindling gems holding together NBC’s rapidly waning comedy lineup, “Community” tells the tale of an eclectic group of students who form a study group at a community college and become unlikely friends. Chockfull of meta-jokes and blink-and-you’ll-miss self-referential humor, “Community” is not for the casual viewer. Featuring extensive pop-culture homages, episodes ranging from “Advanced Dungeons and Dragons” to “The Politics of Human Sexuality” and hard-to-top cast chemistry, “Community” wields a brand of brilliantly eccentric humor. Stay tuned for the fifth season, which airs in January, to witness the return of series creator Dan Harmon at the helm.
Contact Minna Xiao at mxiao26 ‘at’ stanford.edu.