Smash Up Magazine

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Sometimes, I don't do anything.

Sometimes you just want to sit on your butt and watch TV. Here are some lazy-Sunday shows that are not only entertaining, but will engage your brain and keep you from verging into couch potato territory! 😴 💤

DRAMA

When We Rise - A new show about the decades-long fight for gay rights. It address a lot of factors outside of sexuality like race, gender, family, and agism. It's extremely well crafted and informative, probably because it's based on the real life journey of several of its main characters who advised the storytelling. Watch it on ABC or Hulu.

This is Us - It's made me cry twice and tear up over and over again. Not because it's necessarily sad, but because of it's seamless hopefulness. The Pearson family draws you in to its blended reality and reflects gently on all the different ways our lives intertwine. It's precious; I save it for quiet weekend mornings. Watch it on NBC or Hulu.

The West Wing - A political drama is probably the last thing you want to bother with right now, but in a backward way, it actually gave me hope. It follows the administration of  Josiah Bartlet (Martin Sheen), Democratic president. He wrestles believably with all the political matters presidents are faced with on a minute-to-minute basis. I avoided it for a long time because I thought it'd be dry, but I found myself rooting for all the members of his cabinet and their individual stories. It uses creator Aaron Sorkin's tell-tale "walk and talk" style of dialogue where a lot goes on in one drawn out camera take, but I didn't find it overbearing. Watch all seven seasons on Netflix.

The Path - Aaron Paul (the kid from Breaking Bad who called everyone a bitch) produces and acts in this introspective drama on cults and the subtle damage they inflict on their followers. It's soft and quiet--don't expect anything wild. But the way they are able to act that delicate power structure and control without slapping you in the face is really stunning. It's very human. Aaron Paul has got chops! A Hulu Original.

Wentworth - The Australian "Orange is the New Black." I don't know which one aired first, but I actually prefer Wentworth because it doesn't try to force points on race or women. I don't know what the culture of Australia is like, but I'm willing to bet because it's more naturally integrated, Wentworth is more believably able to add women of color, age, background, and sexual-orientation without preaching. It's gripping and feels about as realistic as I'd imagine it would feel since I've never been in prison. Watch it on Netflix.

The Fosters - It's cute! It's a teen-oriented family drama about a colorful blended family with two moms (Teri Polo and Sheri Saum). It deals with a range of coming-of-age topics like sex, race, friends, and family with love and reflection, always returning to the unbreakable bond of family that holds everything together. Watch it on Netflix.

COMEDY

Speechless - Stars Minnie Driver as Maya DiMeo, along with her family, specifically her son JJ who has cerebral palsy.  Speechless walks right up to stereotypes of all kinds and and karate chops them to the ground. It's full of dialogue that whips both insight and humor, poking fun at itself but in the same turn making the viewer look at physical disability in a new way. Watch it on ABC or Hulu.

Mike Birbiglia - Thank God for Jokes. A Netflix comedy special with comedian Mike Birbiglia (This American Life, Trainwreck, Don't Think Twice). I've been a fan of his for a long time. His humor is one big clumsy body movement, like tripping over your own feet. He's highly self-aware of his awkwardness and ties overarching points together while still moving jauntily through an absurd life. Watch it on Netflix.

THRILLER

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Black Mirror - A modern Twilight Zone. It deals with a world in which technology has advanced to such a precise level that it's integrated into, sometimes, our very flesh. You won't even have to suspend you disbelief. Black Mirror zeroes in on the razor's edge we are on when technology and humanity merge. In a series of cautionary stand-alone episodes, you're reminded of what could happen when we trade our privacy and safety for the immediacy of tech. Watch it on Netflix.