The best TV to binge-watch this summer

The Kansas City StarJuly 15, 2014 

I'm only on Season 3 of "The Walking Dead," and Daryl Dixon is already my favorite character.

As I slowly catch up, I'm desperately trying to keep social media from ruining my zombie love affair. Season 5 of the drama starts in October, so I'm binge-watching. On Monday, AMC released new photos, and an image of Daryl, gagged and bound, flooded my timelines. There's even a hashtag: #ifdaryldiesweriot. It doesn't look promising.

It's my fault I don't know what's happening. I'm tardy to the zombie party. Even my mama watches the hit series, but during the regular season my rotation of shows doesn't leave me room for much else. It's a Sunday show. That's the night I watch "Revenge," "Once Upon a Time" and "Homeland." Depending on the time of year, I might also be watching "Girls," "True Detective" or "House of Lies." It's a hardcore TV night.

Thank God for summer, when there's not a lot on TV. Three cheers for Netflix, iTunes, Amazon and On Demand. This is when I catch up on the pop culture favorites I've missed - "Orange Is the New Black," "Pretty Little Liars," "Bates Motel" and the like. I'm still not sold on the bloodthirsty "Game of Thrones," but I'm sure I will be by the time it returns to HBO next year.

What are you watching this summer?

A few more suggestions for the summertime small screen:

_"Sleepy Hollow." Kansas City Star TV critic Sara Smith (@SaraWatchesKC) says this drama is unapologetically silly and fun but still has its really scary moments. The show, centered on the mystery of the Headless Horseman, returns to Fox in September. It's fairly new, so you have only one season to catch up on. Bonus: Ichabod Crane is hot, and I like his chemistry with Abbie Mills. Find full episodes at Fox.com, iTunes, Amazon or On Demand.

_"The League." Adam Roberts, co-owner of Screenland Armour movie theater, loves this FXX comedy about old friends and frenemies in a fantasy football league. What's not to love about "parodying fantasy football with clever shenanigans"? Catch it on Netflix, iTunes and Amazon.

_"Mad Men." Fox 4 film critic Shawn Edwards (@sedwardskc) is catching up on this 1960s-set Emmy darling. Don Draper might be one of the top 10 most interesting characters on TV, Shawn says. And even though AMC split the final season, with half of it airing earlier this year and the rest returning next year, Shawn says it is worthy binge-watching. "I love the plot twists," he says, "but they happen so slowly. I am a huge fan of Madison Avenue and the advertising industry, so it's like attending an entertaining class." Find it on Netflix, Amazon and iTunes.

Another favorite of Shawn's is "Boardwalk Empire." This HBO drama returns for its fifth and final season in September, so you have just under two months to catch up on the misadventures of Enoch "Nucky" Thompson, king bootlegger of Atlantic City during Prohibition. Catch it on HBO Go or On Demand. "Sophisticated writing and stellar acting makes this show a must-watch," Shawn says.

Don't feel bad about spending hours lost in TV. I balance my couch potato ways by running a mile and eating a salad (so what if there's steak on top?) between binges. It works.

Jenee Osterheldt is a columnist at The Kansas City Star. This column was edited for use after its original publication date. To reach her, call (816) 234-4380 or send an e-mail to josterheldt@kcstar.com. She is on Facebook at facebook.com/jeneeinkc and on Twitter at twitter.com/jeneeinkc.

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