1. “Wet Hot American Summer: 10 Years Later” (available August 4)
Why Should I Watch It? Because you can’t resist. The core cast of “Wet Hot American Summer” is as irresistible as a cast can get, including Amy Poehler, Paul Rudd, David Hyde Pierce, Christopher Meloni, Elizabeth Banks, Molly Shannon, H. Jon Benjamin, and Ken Marino. Throw in the new members who joined up for Netflix’s prequel season — Kristen Wiig, Josh Charles, Chris Pine, Lake Bell — and this is a comedy dream team. The only problem facing creators (and actors) David Wain and Michael Showalter is finding enough time to highlight each and every one of their talented team, especially with even more actor additions for “10 Years Later” (like Adam Scott!).
Best Episode: Time proved to be a bit of factor in “First Day of Camp”: There were too many characters, and the script tried too hard to tie them into the original film’s story. “10 Years Later” doesn’t have that problem, casually tossing in new characters (with the bluntness of TV’s most overt meta comedy) and swapping out missing faces with new actors to keep the story humming. But to get to the point: Episode 4, co-written by “Search Party” co-creator Sarah Violet-Bliss, is the best episode because H. Jon Benjamin’s Can of Mixed Vegetables gets a sex scene.
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2. “Marvel’s The Defenders” Season 1 (available August 18)
Why Should I Watch It? Because you can’t resist. Unlike the aforementioned “Wet Hot” sequel, “Marvel’s The Defenders” demands you watch it in order to track the shows you’re already watching: “Daredevil,” “Jessica Jones,” “Luke Cage,” and — God help you — “Iron Fist.” Sure, you could skip it and still track “Jessica Jones” Season 2, but there will be bits and pieces you won’t appreciate the same way as if you saw the group unite in “The Defenders.” Hopefully, “The Defenders” is rewarding on its own. But you have to watch if you’re keeping up with any of the four other shows (or if you want a glimpse of J.J. anytime soon).
Best Episode: Well, we’ve only seen Episode 1 (thanks Comic-Con!), but hopefully one of the seven remaining episodes is better. Early complaints cite an annoying delay in getting the group of superheroes together, and, considering the whole point of the new series is watching these four stars work together, it seems safe to assume it will improve once they all sit down for some shawarma.
3. “Disjointed” Part 1 (available August 25)
Why Should I Watch It? Keeping with the grand tradition of “The Ranch,” “Disjointed” is a multi-cam, laugh track-enhanced comedy from the mind of mega-producer Chuck Lorre. Like Lorre’s other Netflix sitcom, “Disjointed” will be released in “parts” instead of seasons: Part 1, consisting of the first 10 episodes, hits August 25, and Part 2 of Season 1 will come out later. But I’m sorry. You asked why you should watch it, and that answer is far simpler than distinguishes TV terminology: Kathy Bates is a weed dealer in charge of three “budtenders” at her own Los Angeles weed dispensary, and the official summary from Netflix states, “All of them are more or less constantly high.” Kathy Bates, constantly high: What else do you need to know?
Best Episode: We haven’t seen it yet. Netflix hasn’t even released any official stills, let alone a real trailer or press screeners. But whichever episode features Bates at her highest state, that will be the winner.
4. “The Good Place” Season 1 (available August 25)
Why Should I Watch It? If you haven’t seen it yet, “The Good Place” is about to become your new favorite show (or at least the show you won’t shut up about at parties). A better binge than weekly watching experience, Michael Schur’s journey to the afterlife hosts as many creative innovations as it does unexpected secrets. More of both are unearthed as the show goes along, but guiding you through it all with the casual ease of a true TV star is Kristen Bell, as a would-be-resident of “The Bad Place” who accidentally ended up in heaven and needs to map out a morally sound way to stay there. Bell and co-star Ted Danson are as charming as you’d expect, and the new faces they help introduce match their legendary co-stars’ high bar, including William Jackson Harper and D’Arcy Carden.
Best Episode: As my IndieWire colleague Steve Greene said in our list of 2017’s Best TV Episodes (So Far): “With almost six months to process it, this episode remains nothing short of a minor miracle.” We won’t say any more, for fear of spoiling a season best seen blind, but trust that the finale is even more impactful than you expect. And for those of you who’ve already watched, it’s worth a second look.