Summer a perfect time for binge watching

Grant Beltrami, Staff writer

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With summer fast approaching, those students who are not overly burdened by actual work or fun summer activities are probably looking forward to relaxing and doing some hardcore binge watching.

I think it is safe to say that if you have not yet watched “Game of Thrones,” “Breaking Bad,” or “Arrested Development” than you are not going to be persuaded by a random article.

However, I have four recommendations that may have slipped under the radar for a lot of people.

First off is the crime thriller “Fargo.” It has three seasons, each of which is its own self-contained story.

Season one tells the story of cold-blooded killer Lorne Malvo, and Lester Nygaard, an average joe pushed to his limits.

Season two follows Ed and Peggy Blumquist, a young couple who get mixed up in a turf war between big-city mobsters and a local crime family.

The third season tells the story of Nikki Swango, a con artist, and her parole officer Emmit Stussy. The two form an unlikely romantic relationship and seek to steal a fortune from his brothers business, which has been taken over by a murderous Russian gangster.

The beauty of “Fargo” across all three seasons is how it gives a small-town feeling to high-level crime. I’m not sure if it’s the cinematography, the dialogue, the setting, or some combination of those and other factors, but it feels real.

There are no giant explosions, no one-in-a-million shots and no daring rescues or crazy plot twists.

The stories are extraordinary, yet completely plausible. The show does not hide anything from the audience. You see the events unfold from all perspectives.

Although “Fargo” is pretty dark, it finds room for a solid amount of comedy.

The nature of the events, the bleakness of the town and the mundane nature of the characters’ day-to-day lives create the perfect environment for dark, wry humor that illustrates how ill-prepared the characters, on all sides of the conflicts, are for what unfolds.

My second recommendation, “You’re the Worst,” is a dram-rom-com about two incredibly toxic individuals.

Jimmy Shive-Overly, a hypercritical, burnt out one-book novelist, played by Chris Geere, and Gretchen Cutler, an irresponsible and impudent music publicist played by Aya Cash.

The two begin their relationship with a drunken, one-night fling, during which they endear themselves to one another by bonding over mutual hates and revealing terrible things they’ve done in their pasts.

The couple hits it off, but decides to enter into a ‘friends with benefits’ type situation because they have both become cynical about love.

What follows is the story of two people who deserve each other, in the negative sense, and the ways they constantly self-sabotage their relationship to avoid the commitment they fear.

“You’re the Worst” is one of the few comedies out there that makes you care deeply about what happens to the characters.

It kills me inside each time Gretchen and Jimmy fight. The story and characters have enough depth that the show could stand alone as a drama.

In turn, the humor is good enough that “You’re the Worst” would be enjoyable without any real plot. Luckily, the show offers both with no compromises and has kept me watching for all four seasons.

Were you hoping for a show with a little more excitement? For all your sex and violence needs, look no further than “Banshee.”

The action drama follows Lucas Hood, an ex-con, who, while contemplating how to win back his now-married girlfriend and partner in crime, gets caught up in a bar fight that kills the town’s new sheriff.

Hood, played by Antony Starr, manages to assume the identity of the sheriff and attempts to impose his own brand of rough justice on the extremely corrupt town of Banshee, Pennsylvania.

I can’t recommend “Banshee” enough. It may take two or three episodes to get hooked but it is worth it.

Each character seems to be built from a cliché but with a few minor tweaks.

My favorite character is Kai Proctor, the excommunicated Amish businessman gangster who is always sharply dressed, but not afraid to do his own dirty work.

Despite everything about the show being just a teensy bit over the top, it boasts strong characters and a compelling story.

After all, everyone loves a little extra cheese.

Where “Banshee” sets itself apart is in its fight scenes. They are better than any show, or movie, I have ever seen.

If you don’t mind a spoiler, or Mortal Combat-style fatalities, pop “Burton v. Nola” into YouTube for one of the best.

My final recommendation is a sci-fi mystery comedy set in modern time. It’s hard to explain properly, so I won’t try too hard.

“Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency” is bizarre in all the right ways.

Have you read the greatest book of all time, “Hitchikers Guide to the Galaxy?” “Dirk Gently’s” is a lot like that. After all, it is based on another book by the same author, Douglas Adams.

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