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8 TV Shows You Should Be Watching Right Now

Need some recommendations for your summer viewing? Here are a few shows perfect for binge-watching

BBC AMERICA; Craig Blankenhorn/SHOWTIME; Linda Kallerus

The days of the Big Five broadcast networks monopolizing prime-time are long gone. But while the loosening grip has (thankfully) given viewers juicy new fare like AMC's The Walking Dead, IFC's Portlandia and HBO's True Detective, it has also opened the floodgates for an overwhelming number of shows to tune in to and keep track of – some good, plenty bad, and a select few that have taken their time to find their footing and flourish. The latter, unfortunately, can sometimes get lost among the abundance of programming coming at you from the networks, basic- and premium-cable outlets, and the growing number of online-streaming behemoths. 

10 TV Showrunners You Should Know

Lucky for you, we watch everything so that you don't have to — and we have a few recommendations for your between-seasons viewing. As summer rolls in and the TV schedule semi-cools off, now's the perfect time to binge-watch these eight shows you may have only heard or read about, or that may have flown under your radar altogether. They may be critically praised shows teetering on the brink of cancellation, cult comedies whose appeal are broader than you think, or densely plotted dramas that deserve a bigger audience than they're currently getting. But they are all worth your time. By Katy Kroll

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‘The Americans’

Already a critical darling, The Americans just needs to conquer, well, Americans themselves. While the FX series, starring Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys, has drawn positive reviews, it hasn't done quite so well in the ratings – though thankfully, it's been picked up for a third season. Set during the 1980s Cold War, the period drama was created and produced by former CIA agent Joe Weisberg, focusing on two Soviet agents masquerading as a married couple in Washington, D.C. The fast-paced spy-vs-spy thriller will leave you wondering which "Americans" you should root for – the embedded Russians or the born-and-bred FBI spooks in hot pursuit. Nail, meet biting. 

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‘Archer’

Easily one of the sharpest animated shows currently on TV, Adam Reed's parody of James Bond-ish alpha-masculinity has long had a fervent fanbase — and frankly, it deserves a bigger one. After four seasons of spoofing espionage movies, Reed and co. decided to take a hard left turn and unleashed Archer Vice: a one-off seasonal spinoff, of sorts, that has reinvigorated the animated FX series by shaking up the plot and having the characters resort to a life of crime in order to cash in. (Imagine if 007 suddenly Tron-ed himself into a game of Grand Theft Auto, and you're almost there.) Drugs, gangs and a rogue country singer take over the storyline, but the show remains stylistically intact. Season Six will return to the old, familiar format, but now's the time to catch up. 

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‘Broad City’

Forget Girls – that's so 2012. The new go-to, girl-power series is Comedy Central's Broad City, a grittier, more slacker-centric take on sex, friendship and twentysomethings making their way through New York City's concrete jungle. Revolving around two 4/20-friendly BFFs (Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer), the show was spawned from an Upright Citizens Brigade sketch that went on to become a popular web series. Spearheaded by executive producer Amy Poehler, the show's first season slowly but surely started to catch fire by the time its finale aired, thanks to surreal-to-ridiculous bits like this. It should really begin to stretch its legs during Season Two, due some time later this year.

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‘Brooklyn Nine-Nine’

The rookie Fox show seemingly came out of nowhere this year at the Golden Globes, winning best comedy series over the likes of The Big Bang Theory and Modern Family and earning star Andy Samberg a Best Actor trophy. You could practically hear a million simultaneous spit-takes echo across Ammerica, but trust us:  It deserved the statuette. Created by the team behind NBC's Parks and Recreation, Brooklyn Nine-Nine takes a satirical stab at the ever-popular police procedural, leaving viewers with plenty of off-color one-liners to drop at the office the next day. Typical water-cooler fare: "Eyes closed, head first, can't lose!" In fact, there's no better description on how to approach this must-see show than that. 

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‘Hannibal’

Boldly gory and visually stunning for prime-time, NBC's reimaging of The Silence of Lambs is a delectable delight for those who can stomach it. Hugh Dancy plays an FBI agent who befriends forensic psychiatrist Hannibal Lecter (played by Danish actor Mads Mikkelsen) – before he started pairing human organs with fava beans and a bottle of chianti. It's a little bit Dexter, a little bit The Blacklist, and a whole lot of fun. Plus, who can resist the return of Gillian "Agent Scully" Anderson as Lecter's psychotherapist – and all those delicious puns? It just barely avoided getting the heave-ho from NBC's schedule, getting a last-miniute reprieve and an order for at least one more season. Catch it as soon as you can.

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‘Masters of Sex’

Human sexuality pioneers and real-life couple Dr. William Masters (Michael Sheen) and Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan) fuel this critically acclaimed Showtime series about the research team who helped spark the sexual revolution of the '60s. In the vein of Mad Men, this premium-cable gem is stylishly nostalgic (right down to the well-coifed hair and seamed stockings) but really pivots on smart, sexy performances and nuanced, interlocking storylines. Most people have probably read more think pieces on Masters then have seen episodes of it, but while things definitely get steamy, it's not just a show about sex – love, jealousy, office politics and even familial obligations all come into play. The second season starts on July 13th, so get cracking.

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‘The Mindy Project’

Mindy Kaling helped goose The Office along as perpetually lovesick Kelly Kapoor before landing her own show – the underrated (and poorly named) The Mindy Project. This smart variation on the workplace sitcom follows Kaling's "Mindy Lahiri," an OB/GYN trying to balance her personal and professional life amid a band of misfit co-workers and an endless parade of suitors. Can comparisons be made to her previous gig? Sure. But this "project" – now heading into its third season – puts Kaling center stage. Still needy and neurotic, there's a more grown-up feel to the show, beyond the actress sporting a stethoscope and lab coat. Get ready to dig in, as Kaling's confidence and comedic chops grow more consistent each season.  

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‘Orphan Black’

You may not have caught up yet with fast-paced, Canadian sci-fi series about clones that airs on BBC America in the United States. But you've probably heard about its star Tatiana Maslany, who is tasked with playing a sextet of different characters, each with their own unique mannerisms, personalities and skills. From an upper-middle class soccer mom to a trained assassin, Maslany gives not one mesmerizing performance but six – sometimes playing complex scenes against numerous versions of herself. (And we haven't even mentioned Jordan Gavaris, who nails the sidekick/guy Friday role.) While the show is steeped in science fiction, there's nothing supernatural about it – the characters are grounded in reality, which makes it all the more engaging.