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Missing Your Favorite TV Shows This Summer? Here’s What to Watch Instead

Find the perfect off-season replacement (and learn how long it'll take to watch it)

For regular people, summertime is a happy time: full of sunshine and warmth and good feeling. But for diehard TV fans, the summer can get pretty bleak: all your favorite shows are off the air, and you start to feel like you’re just sitting around wondering why all the meaning has been sucked out of your life. Sure, you could go outside and get some fresh air, or even read a book or two — but that’s silly. Instead, you should spend this summer binge-watching shows that are similar to your favorites from the past year.

With that in mind, we’ve put together a guide to help satisfy your TV needs and tide you over until your shows come back on the air. Plan your binge-watching schedules accordingly.

  • If you’re missing Game of Thrones, watch Spartacus.

    Spartacus: War of the Damned

    Plenty of graphic violence, explicit sex and epic battle scenes — i.e., the key parts of Thrones you know you’re craving. There’s no Peter Dinklage, of course, but this will definitely hold you over. In fact, it might be even more bloody and salacious than Game of Thrones, if you can imagine that.

    Time commitment: Medium. There are only three seasons, but episodes are about an hour long.

    Where to watch: iTunes, Netflix (DVD only)

  • If you’re missing Modern Family, watch Trophy Wife.

    Trophy Wife
    Michael Ansell—ABC

    You still get the ragtag crew of weird but lovable family members and a steady supply of laughs, with a little less sappiness. Good if you want something cutesy but smart, entertaining and not mind-numbing.

    Time commitment: Low. There’s only one season and each episode is 22 minutes long, so you’ll breeze through it. (Note: don’t get too attached to this show, as it was cancelled and won’t get a second season.)

    Where to watch: Hulu Plus

  • If you’re missing Louie, watch Curb Your Enthusiasm.

    Curb Your Enthusiasm

    Like Louie, Curb centers on a fictionalized version of a famous comedian and often features a series of realistic vignettes, bucking the traditional sitcom format. If Louie makes you sometimes laugh till your stomach hurts and other times just cringe until your soul hurts, Curb is likely to have a similar effect.

    Time commitment: High. With eight seasons to get through, you’ll want to carve out a decent chunk of time if you plan to tackle the whole series.

    Where to watch: HBO Go

  • If you’re missing The Good Wife, watch Damages.

    Andrew McPherson—FX

    If you’re looking for another legal drama with a strong female lead, Damages should scratch your itch. Do beware: it’s a little more violent.

    Time commitment: Medium. The series has five seasons, but you’ll probably get so sucked in that you’ll fly through it.

    Where to watch: Netflix

  • If you’re missing Broad City, watch the original Broad City web episodes.

    Broad City
    Lane Savage—Comedy Central

    If you’re panicking about how long you have to wait until this hilarious new comedy returns for its second season, it’s worth the time to go back and see where it all started: as a very low-budget but super entertaining web series. These early episodes are less fleshed out, but the humor is still strong.

    Time commitment: Low. The episodes are just a few minutes long, so you’ll get through them all pretty quickly. There are some bloopers and extras to check out, too.

    Where to watch: Broadcitytheshow.com

  • If you’re missing House of Cards, watch 24.

    24: Live Another Day
    Greg Williams—Fox

    All the scandal and intrigue and twists — but at a faster pace. Instead of watching Frank Underwood slowly plan out his careful schemes, you’ll watch Jack Bauer taking on terrorists head-on.

    Time commitment: High. With just over 200 episodes, fully committing to 24 is no small task.

    Where to watch: iTunes, Netflix (DVD only)

  • If you’re missing Parks and Recreation, watch Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

    Brooklyn Nine-Nine
    Patrick Eccelsine—FOX

    Brooklyn Nine-Nine was created by Michael Schur and Dan Goor, both of whom worked extensively on Parks and Rec. The parallels are clear: a workplace comedy featuring an ensemble cast full of wacky weirdos; shenanigans ensue. But Brooklyn Nine-Nine is still finding its footing, and is likely to continue developing a distinct identity.

    Time commitment: Low. Just one season! (This one season was enough to earn the series the Golden Globe for Best Comedy Series.)

    Where to watch: Hulu Plus

  • If you’re missing True Detective, watch Rectify.

    Quantrell Colbert—SundanceTV

    Everyone seems to be talking about True Detective, but fewer people are talking about Rectify. This crime-focused drama shares a few key characteristics with True Detective: it’s character-driven, morally complex and moves at a kind of dreamy pace. But, like True Detective, it’s also thrilling and grabby and addictive.

    Time commitment: Low. The show is currently in its second season.

    Where to watch: Netflix for season one, iTunes for the current season

  • If you’re missing Bob’s Burgers, watch Home Movies.

    Home Movies
    Cartoon Network

    Like Bob’s Burgers, this show was the brainchild of animator and voice actor Loren Bouchard. You’ll notice some direct parallels — some of the characters are voiced by the same actors, for example — but you’ll come to appreciate both shows for their distinct sets of quirks.

    Time commitment: Medium. There are four seasons’ worth of episodes, but you’ll still enjoy the show if you pick and choose random episodes.

    Where to watch: YouTube, Adultswim.com, Netflix (DVD only)

  • If you’re missing Orange Is the New Black, watch Weeds.


    Both shows come from creator Jenji Kohan and center on wealthy, white female leads who commit crimes. Otherwise, though, there are plenty of difference in the shows’ humor, characters and plot lines. And if you already watched Weeds when it aired, it’s especially interesting to go back and compare it to Orange.

    Time commitment: High. Eight seasons, with just over 100 episodes. But you can do it. We have faith in you.

    Where to watch: Netflix

  • If you’re missing Mad Men, watch Masters of Sex.

    Masters of Sex

    They’re both period dramas that take place in the mid-20th century, so they’ve got a similar retro vibe. And as TIME pointed out when Masters of Sex wrapped up its first season, the show often plays out like a more feminism-minded Mad Men. So you get the mid-century hairstyles and costumes you crave, plus a tad more gender equality — and also, more nudity!

    Time commitment: Low. If you catch up on the first season quickly, you’ll be able to watch the second season — which just premiered on July 13 — in real time.

    Where to watch: iTunes, Showtime

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