This Memorial Day, you have plenty of media options. The weather in your part of the country might even be bearable outside, but even so, the extra free day this weekend is the perfect opportunity to check out a show that you’ve maybe never had the opportunity to try before. Take a chance on something new! If only so that people will stop nagging you about it.
AMC knows that you’re probably more focused on “Mad Men” this season, but maybe you’ve got room for something even more period-y and patriotic. Which is why, leading up to a new episode, the network is rerunning its new series “Turn,” covering the rise of Revolutionary spies during that part of history we like to call “Britain, go back to Britain.”
AVAILABLE: You can check out every aired episode of the season beginning Sunday, May 25th at 1:30pm on AMC.
Time to stop nodding vacantly every time your friends start talking about Rust Cohle. Time to understand what they mean when they reference “The Yellow King” knowingly. Time to watch “True Detective.” Do it for Matthew McConaughey. He deserves it.
AVAILABLE: HBO Go
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It’s okay if you’ve been hiding from your friends and family, for years, the fact that you’ve never actually watched David Simon’s brilliant follow-up to “The Wire.” This is a safe space. We don’t judge. But hey, you have a day off work, the acting is brilliant and the show slightly more upbeat than “The Wire” (sure, not saying much). Make yourself something with SoCo in it, and relax on the couch with some sweet southland jazz.
[Honorable mention: “The Wire.” You should also probably watch “The Wire.”]
AVAILABLE: HBO Go, Amazon Prime
If you got excited about “Turn” because of AMERICA, then “Call the Midwife” probably isn’t your jam for a number of reasons. But this charming British soap, set during the 1950s, is a very human look at the British class system, gender roles of the time, and also the basic fact of how they used to make babies. You’ll be fascinated by the nuances, just in time to fall in love with its plucky heroines.
AVAILABLE: Netflix Instant
This recommendation is for a person of discerning tastes: Specifically, tastes that fondly remember 1990s Vancouver-shot science fiction, and are maybe fascinated by time travel. This Canadian-based series drags a cop from the future into our present — the third season is currently airing on SyFy, but the first season of her attempts to return home make for some intriguing gritty sci-fi.
AVAILABLE: Netflix Instant
Still a young show, with three episodes aired as of this Sunday, “Penny Dreadful” still shows signs of being able to grab hold of the pop culture zeitgeist, either by virtue of its hot young cast (Josh Hartnett! Eva Green! Billie Piper!) or its Alan Moore-esque high concept premise, which blends together pop culture heroes and villains of the late 19th century. Don’t want to be mystified on Monday when you overhear your co-workers saying things like “And then Frankenstein said to Dorian Grey…”? This is your chance.
AVAILABLE: Showtime and Showtime On Demand
“Key and Peele”
This series is available through its second season on streaming services, and it’s impossible that you’ve been on the internet without seeing at least one of Keegan Michael Key and Jordan Peele’s brilliant sketches. (The easy money is on one of the installments of the East-West Bowl.)
But the way the show is constructed for broadcast is rather ingenious — the sketches tied together with some beautifully improvised bits between Key and Peele — and with each episode coming in at a sitcom-length 22 minutes, you’ll absorb a season without barely noticing. Except for the laughter, of course.
AVAILABLE: Comedy Central, Amazon Prime
“Don’t Trust the B In Apt. 23”
Oh, show, you were too good for this world. That’s the only sane way to approach the fact only two seasons of this smart, raunchy, bonkers sitcom exist. Bringing together one of the most random casts in history — professional goth Krysten Ritter, indie drama darling Dreama Walker, comedian/lunatic Eric Andre and James van der Beek as his own crazily charming self — “Don’t Trust the B” found its weird specific worldview quickly, and then went about subverting stereotypes, exploring female friendship, and getting the Beek a slot on “Dancing with the Stars.” It’s a show you might want to binge on — but given its cancelation, you might almost consider savoring it.
AVAILABLE: Netflix Instant
For those who were addicted to Timothy Olyphant in a hat on “Deadwood,” “Justified” is your methadone. The Elmore Leonard-inspired tales of a Kentucky bounty hunter living a cowboy’s life in modern times, “Justified” has a lot for you to catch up on, but its four available seasons of real drama with a breezy delivery offer real opportunity to charm.
AVAILABLE: Amazon Prime
This one is for the under-30 set, who have never sampled the groundbreaking 11 years of sitcom brilliance that go underappreciated today. But if it’s Memorial Day and you have nothing better to do, check out the first episode of Ted Danson and Rhea Perlman holding up the most famous bar in TV history. And then just try not watching episode two.
AVAILABLE: Hulu, Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime, Netflix, your heart (eventually)