Creator: Sarah Streicher
Cast: Sophia Ali, Shannon Berry, Jenna Clause, Reign Edwards, Mia Healey, Helena Howard, Erana James, Sarah Pidgeon, David Sullivan, Troy Winbush, Rachel Griffiths
“Being a teenage girl in normal-ass America — that was the real living hell” is the thesis statement for a show that’s easy to describe as “teen girl Lost,” but builds upon its premise to create a truly addictive blend of mystery, drama, comedy, and fear. There are plenty of familiar flavors in this stew crafted by creator Sarah Streicher and executive producer Amy B. Harris, but also some spicy surprises — and the combination really works.
Things ostensibly begin when eight girls, brought together by a promised “Dawn of Eve” female empowerment retreat in Hawaii, meet disaster when their private plane flight goes awry. The survivors wake up just offshore from a deserted island, where they’ll struggle to survive the elements with a limited number of resources, while also grappling with their respective pasts as well as the mysteries surrounding them. By the end of Season 1, many of those mysteries have been replaced by new ones, making us all the more grateful that it’s been renewed for a Season 2. – Liz Shannon Miller
Creator: Dan Harmon
Cast: Joel McHale, Donald Glover, Alison Brie, Chevy Chase, Danny Pudi, Yvette Nicole Brown, Gillian Jacobs, Jim Rash, Ken Jeong, John Oliver
One of the best comedy shows of the 21st century, Dan Harmon’s Community is an inventive, emotional act of meta sitcom storytelling that defies any easy categorizing and qualification. The basic set-up follows the odd-ensemble students of Greendale, an increasingly ridiculous community college, where the study group bonds and embarks on increasingly ridiculous misadventures. But it’s so much funnier, weirder, and more heartfelt than you’d expect, the genre-bending meta-narratives that made Harmon’s animated sci-fi Rick and Morty such a celebrated success on full display.
It’s one of the most touching shows out there about finding your people, delivers some of the highest laugh-a-minute payoff in comedy TV, and it embraces the full range of its talented team to skip from genre-to-genre without flinching. Community had the Russo Brothers before the MCU, Community did Meow-Meow beans before Black Mirror did ‘Downfall’, and it highlighted Donald Glover’s polymath gifts long before Childish Gambino became a household name. Fortunately, Netflix now has all six seasons so it’s the perfect time to catch up (or re-watch for the umpteenth time). But if six seasons is too big of a commitment and you don’t know where to start, head over to Greg’s fantastic rundown of the best Community episodes. – Haleigh Foutch
Creator: David Shore
Cast: Hugh Laurie, Lisa Edelstein, Omar Epps, Robert Sean Leonard, Jennifer Morrison, Jesse Spencer, Peter Jacobson, Kal Penn, Olivia Wilde, Amber Tamblyn, Odette Annable, Charlyne Yi
Look, it’s not lupus. Unless it is. You never know. But Dr. Gregory House (Hugh Laurie) does. The long-running medical drama convinced millions of Americans for years that a) Laurie was American and b) that that weird symptom they might have could be the beginning of a intricate medical mystery. While the show’s episodic structure gives it the comforting feel of a classic procedural, what makes House an enduring property is Laurie’s stunning performance as the titular disabled grumpypants, as well as his relationships with his co-workers, especially dean of medicine Dr. Lisa Cuddy (Lisa Edelstein) and Dr. Watson-esque best friend Dr. James Wilson (Robert Sean Leonard) — yes, there are Sherlock Holmes parallels to be made here. But did Sherlock Holmes ever rap with special guest star Lin-Manuel Miranda? Sir Arthur Conan Doyle would never dare. – Liz Shannon Miller