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Parched for TV? 12 streaming shows to get you through the hot summer

Whether it’s taking a dip in a local watering hole, playing 18 holes, or maxing and relaxing in the shade with a favorite beverage, summer is a great time for frolicking outdoors. However, you can only frolic for so long, and for some regions of the country, it’s just too damn hot out there. If your summer is more centered around an air-conditioned living room then a trek in the sweltering heat, the season of sun can be a great time to catch up on some good ole’ TV.

But for those of us who don’t have cable – or are just tired of the same old choices on Netflix – it can be hard to find new programming to keep the entertainment popping. Luckily, TV has no off season these days, and there’s plenty of choices to explore if you know where to look. To keep you entertained, we’ve put together this list of the best new content you can access on the cheap, as well as anticipated new programming that will soon make its debut.

All of our choices require a subscription to either Hulu, Netflix, or Amazon Prime, but even with all of those services combined, it’s still cheaper than cable. Check out our list below, and enjoy!

Under the Dome Season 2 (Amazon Instant)

The entire town is trapped under a huge, magical snow globe. It sounds pretty strange — and it really is — but with a Stephen King novel as inspiration, production by Steven Spielberg, and ‘Hank’ from Breaking Bad, UTD has become a hit for CBS. If you’re on board with this somewhat campy tour of oddities (and also have a subscription to Amazon Prime) you’re in luck, as the entire season will make its way to Amazon Instant — season 2 premiered on June 30th, and airs on Amazon’s service in the usual delayed release fashion. If you haven’t checked it out yet, all of Season 1 is also loaded and ready for launch from the service right now.

Extant (Amazon Instant)

Speaking of Mr. Spielberg, his production company Amblin Television released another new Sci-fi show for CBS this summer, as well. The intriguing new series stars Halle Berry as an astronaut returning from space whose experience will lead to events that will “change the course of human history.” The show premiered to solid reviews on July 9th, and each episode will make its way to Amazon Instant four days after it airs in prime time. And hey … Halle Berry.

Deadbeat (Hulu Plus)

As Monty Python would say, “And now for something completely different.” Love it or hate it, there’s nothing quite like Deadbeat, the original series from Hulu. Equal parts Ghost Whisperer and Half Baked, Deadbeat follows a stoner with no money and no prospects – but he can talk to dead people. Mix in plenty of bong hits and ridiculous storylines, and hilarity ensues. Season 1 premiered in April and is available on Hulu now; season 2 has already been ordered up. If you don’t mind goofy punchlines that you can see from a mile away, this show might be worth a look.

Wipeout Season 7 (Hulu Plus)

There’s not much to say about this series; it’s just people getting smacked in the head and falling into huge pools of water. But we just…can’t…look away. If you’ve ever seen the obstacle course phenomenon, America Ninja Warrior, this ain’t it. But it is fairly entertaining to watch a long and consistent series of fails. No need to catch up on previous seasons here, just sit back and enjoy the action.

American Ninja Warrior Season 6 (Hulu Plus)

What’s so interesting about watching a brutal, virtually insurmountable feat? We’re not sure, but somebody’s enjoying it, as the test of all physical tests keeps coming back for more. The show — and its physically daunting Mt. Midoriyama obstacle course — take on a throng of competitors, from the super-fit challengers who fight to the end, to the wannabes who fall in during the first five seconds. It’s another branch of escapist television, and it’s pretty fun to check out.

Orange is the New Black Season 2 (Netflix)

Season 2 of the Netflix original premiered in June, just in time for a summer binge. Provided you didn’t burn through it in the first 12 hours, OITNB is a great way to waste a few long summer days. The show has earned critical acclaim for its unique brand of dark prison humor, and it also recently received a whole mess of nods for the Emmys this year. In true Netflix form, you can see the whole series from start to finish, following Piper Chapman’s strange journey through the gritty prison underground, shared by a wild cast of characters.

Rookie Blue Season 5 (Hulu Plus)

Who knew this show had four seasons under its belt? We admit it was news to us, but the series from ABC and Canadian Global about the trials and tribulations of five young Toronto police officers is still going strong. Unfortunately, there’s nowhere to catch up on the first four seasons for free, but if you’re already into the action, the kick-off of Season five is ready for viewing from the season premiere on Hulu Plus now.

Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee Season 2 (Crackle)

What’s the best way to spend semi-retirement after creating the most successful sitcom of all time? We think the title says it all. Follow Jerry Seinfeld with some of the country’s best comedians as they B.S. about comedy and the minutia of life over coffee and in fine automobiles. It’s hilarious, and a great way to see some of your favorite stars in a setting that’s as relaxed as TV gets.

WWE Monday Night Raw (Hulu Plus)

So you dig wrestling, huh? Ok, that’s a thing. And if you have enough beers and love a mix of drama and scripted violence, there’s no place to watch it like WWE Monday Night Raw. In fact, there may be no place to watch it anywhere else, period. Whether it’s your main thing, or your guilty pleasure, somebody’s watching this stuff, as the show is reportedly “the longest running episodic television show in history.” You can check out 90 minute full episodes of the action on Hulu Plus now.

Coming Soon


Welcome to Sweden (Hulu Plus)

One of the most anticipated new shows of the summer, this single-camera sitcom produced by Amy Poehler and starring her brother Greg, is about a young accountant who moves to Sweden after falling for a Swedish girl. The show premiered in Sweden in March, and is getting rave reviews. It will make its way to Hulu shortly after its July 11th airdate.

The Hotwives of Orlando (Hulu Plus)

Can’t stand the opulence and ridiculous drama of the Real Housewives? Neither could the producers of this Hulu original, which – if we’re to go by the freaking hilarious trailers – proceeds to skewer the genre to no end. You’ll likely notice a few familiar faces in the talented cast, including Casey Wilson (Bride Wars, Julie and Julia), Angela Kinsey (The Office), and Kristen Schaal (Bob’s Burgers, Flight of the Conchords). We’re not sure if the all-out comedic parody can go the distance, but we’re intrigued to find out.


The Killing Season 4 (Netflix – August 1)

Like so many shows that are too good to catch the mainstream (Arrested Development, Party Down), The Killing was killed itself – twice. But diehard fans brought it back for the second time as a Netflix original. Sure, the show never quite re-captured the magic of the obsessive and labyrinthine first case, but the electric dynamics between the uber-tough female cop played by Mireille Enos, and Joel Kinnaman’s former meth-head sleuth with super-keen instincts makes this series nearly impossible to put down. In the now-standard Web format, the entire four seasons will be live at once, so get ready to binge.

Quickdraw Season 2 (Hulu Plus – August 7)

The Wild West is no place for the timid, but it does seem to be a ripe background for spoof comedy these days. This largely unscripted Hulu original offered a hefty batch of laughs with its first installment, and Hulu showed faith in the series (or lack of other choices) by bringing it back for round two.

Those are our top choices for how to waste away these long summer days. Now you truly have no excuse to go outdoors – but we hope you will at least a few times, anyway. Either way, enjoy this fresh batch of choices to throw onto the binge pile, and stay tuned for more.

Editors' Recommendations

Ryan Waniata
Former Digital Trends Contributor
Ryan Waniata is a multi-year veteran of the digital media industry, a lover of all things tech, audio, and TV, and a…
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