We recently ran a piece about the “10 Movies Every College Student Should See” which is well worth the read. Shameless promotion of other Edge material aside, it inspired me to come up with a list of all the current TV programming that college students (and anyone else) should be watching. I’ve focused on shows that are currently still airing, or in the case of Netflix shows, recently released in full. I’ve kept the list to a brief 5 because lets be honest, TV shows are a big commitment. Even 10 half hour episodes is a lot of time to spend on TV for the discerning college viewer. So in no particular order, here are the 5 shows every college student should be watching right now.
Ash vs Evil Dead
This one is only available on Starz, but they put the first episode up online for free so it’s worth checking out. The show is a continuation of the cult classic “Evil Dead” series of horror films. Just like its film predecessors, it’s wickedly funny but also still pretty darn terrifying. Bruce Campbell, now almost 60, still can still play the part of the hero well (with jokes about his age throughout of course). It’s his perfect mix of crotchety middle-aged man and bonified action star that really sells this show. It’s a fun show, provided you don’t mind (often comically) excessive amounts of blood.
You can find this one on FX. It’s yet another show based on a movie, but this one only loosely takes inspiration from the movie by the Cohen brothers (although they are producers on the show). Season 1 was a critical success and had a star-studded cast. Season 2, which is past its mid-season mark, made the choice to jump back in time to the 70’s and hire an entirely new star-studded cast (which includes the aforementioned Bruce Campbell as Ronald Reagan). The time jump is great because it means you don’t need to see season 1 to watch season 2, although I still highly recommend it based on it’s own merit. “Fargo” is built around the idea of people from the Midwest committing terrible and violent deeds all while maintaining their trademark politeness. The second season is a masterpiece of television and worth the admittedly large commitment of 50 minutes a week .
Nathan for You
This Comedy Central reality series is in its 3rd season and it’s gloriously uncomfortable to watch. Nathan Fielder finds struggling businesses and gives them horrible and often absurd (though not always ineffective) advice. The show hinges on his terribly awkward interactions with literally every human being and is one of the more creative comedic shows out there right now. The ideas he creates border on high concept art one moment and slapstick insanity the next. If you’re not sold, the clips from the show are all on YouTube. I recommend starting with “Dumb Starbucks.” The perk of this being a reality show is that you can watch in any order you want. Although one of the great payoffs of this show is watching as more and more of his ideas slowly start to become successes despite (or maybe because of) the fact that they get more elaborate and insane.
Master of None
Aziz Ansari has been taking over television for some time now. This Netflix series written, produced and starred in by him is his most ambitious work to date. For the creation of a famous TV comedian, it’s surprisingly dramatic, but it still contains a fair share of comedic moments as well. “Master of None” is semi-biographical in that it contains many stories from Aziz’s life and his own parents play his parents on the show but the characters and events are for the most part fictional. All in all, it comes across as very genuine and I can safely say I haven’t really seen anything like it on TV in recent memory. All the episodes are up on Netflix right now so you could binge watch them all at once.
Superheroes are everywhere. While Marvel owns the big screens, DC has been winning at the TV game recently. Shows like this, “The Flash” and “Arrow” have all been very successful with fans. Even the casual superhero fan can appreciate this show. Although this is a Batman-less Batman prequel (if you don’t count young Bruce Wayne), it still manages to be very compelling. The focus, in the absence of the Batman, is on the villains and their backstories as well as a young Commissioner Gordon trying to keep order. This one is still only in it’s second season so it’s a great time to get started without having to do too much catching up.