The NBA season ended two nights ago with the Warriors closing out the Cleveland Cavaliers in five games, and the night before, the NHL season ended with the Pittsburgh Penguins winning it all for the second straight year. Now, the MLB is the only sport to get sports fans through the summer and to our beloved NFL this fall. So, how should you spend your TV-watching time until then? Here is our completely spoiler-free summer television viewing guide.
Game of Thrones
When: Sunday nights at 9PM ET on HBO, starting July 16th and ending August 27th
They say save the best for last, but this is so important that we need to have it lead things off. Game of Thrones has just two more seasons to go, and people who haven’t yet taken the plunge still have over a month to watch 60 hours (6 seasons) worth of television and catch up with the greatest TV series of all-time. I was hesitant at first to watch a show with dragons and ice zombies (I am not a fantasy fan, I never even watched Lord of the Rings or Harry Potter), but the fantasy element in Game of Thrones just takes a great story to another level.
If you don’t have an HBO subscription, you can get a free, one-month trial and then you’ll probably be willing to spend whatever it takes to watch Season 7 of Game of Thrones. It’s that good, and is the perfect show to start for football fans because it ends on the last Sunday of August and will basically carry you right into the NFL season. I’ve been telling everyone I know to watch, but if you decide to not join the rest of the realm in watching Game of Thrones just yet, I would at least stay off Twitter on Sunday nights while it is on because people are ruthless when it comes to spoilers.
When: Wednesday nights at 10PM ET on FX, ending on June 21st
I don’t want to question anyone’s binge-watching ability, but it’ll probably be impossible to catch up with Fargo before the season finale next week. The hit FX series is on its third season, but the storylines are only loosely connected from season to season. Still, there are some overlapping characters, so I would highly recommend watching the first two seasons before just hopping into Season 3. Fargo is based on the movie Fargo (1996), but it stands on its own (and is better than the movie, in my opinion). If you love dark comedy, awesome bad guys, and a lot of snow, Fargo is for you.
Better Call Saul
When: Monday nights at 10PM ET on AMC, ending on June 19th
Well, if catching up to Fargo by next Wednesday is impossible, I don’t know what catching up to Better Call Saul by Monday would be. The prequel about Breaking Bad’s Saul Goodman somehow brings the same drama as Walter White’s story did, even though we know Jimmy McGill (Goodman’s real name) is never in any real danger because he is alive in Breaking Bad, which by the way, is a prerequisite for watching Better Call Saul and is right up there with Game of Thrones as the best show ever. Anyone who is a stranger to Breaking Bad can watch all five seasons on Netflix, and anyone who was a BB fan but hasn’t yet watched BCS should watch Saul Goodman’s origin story.
All or Nothing: A Season with the Los Angeles Rams
When: on Amazon Prime starting June 30th
All or Nothing was a surprise show that started last summer with the Arizona Cardinals as the focus, and the second season will feature the Rams in their first season back in LA. Presented by NFL Films, All or Nothing is basically an extended version of Hard Knocks that continues into the regular season and through the end of the year. It’s close as to which show is better, but All or Nothing could have the edge because it gives viewers a deeper look and winning and losing actually matters, unlike the preseason, where it is basically all position battles that bring the drama.
Hard Knocks: Training Camp with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers
When: Tuesday nights at 10PM ET on HBO, starting August 8th and ending September 5th
Alright, so I just said All or Nothing could have the edge over Hard Knocks, but for this particular summer, I am more excited for an inside look at the Buccaneers. I’ll definitely be watching All or Nothing—and I’m sure it will be great—but perhaps I am feeling a little Rams fatigue after they were just on Hard Knocks. The Bucs are an up-and-coming team with some big personalities, including quarterback Jameis Winston, so it will be fun to watch them go through training camp and the preseason.
Floyd Mayweather v. Conor McGregor
When: TBD [UPDATE: Editor’s Note: This article was quite prescient, as Mayweather and McGregor announced they will be fighting on August 26th]
Rumors are really picking up for this fight to happen, and it sounds like it eventually will. August 26th has been talked about as a potential date for the bout, but it might be moved to the fall if not. No matter when it is, the fight should happen, as there is just too much money on the table for Mayweather and McGregor to not come to some sort of agreement. Whenever the fight happens, the circus leading up to it will be insane, and the press conferences will be hilarious, must-see TV.
TV shows that are still on that you should watch: Ballers, The Americans, Mr. Robot, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Westworld, True Detective, Arrested Development
TV shows that have ended that you should watch: The Sopranos, The Office (US), Breaking Bad, Sons of Anarchy, Parks and Recreation, Entourage