The summer 2019 movie season is looking extraordinarily bleak. With the exception of Avengers: Endgame (which came out so early it probably shouldn't even be referred to as a summer movie), just about every major movie on the slate this summer is an awful sequel or reboot that has either flopped horribly already, like Dark Phoenix and Men in Black: International, or is destined to tank, like the Angry Birds sequel no one asked for. Sure, Toy Story 4 looks solid but, you know, exception proves the rule or whatever. If only MoviePass hadn't imploded so spectacularly last year—no one should have to pay full price for any of these mediocre movies.
But worry not, everybody—this doesn't mean we're at a loss for good things to keep us inside and distracted while the sun's out. The theaters may be full of trash, but there is an almost unending glut of fantastic shows coming out now. And since all movies suck right now, this is the perfect time to get caught up on TV, right?
So in honor of this heinous movie season, we here at VICE have taken it upon ourselves to put together a helpful list of all the excellent TV you should be beaming into your eyeholes this summer. Now you never have to go outside!
First thing's first: If you haven't watched Chernobyl yet, it's time to rectify that immediately. HBO's stunning miniseries is a masterclass in storytelling and its attention to historical accuracy and detail is almost impossibly meticulous—regardless of what Russia has to say about it. There's a reason why the show is currently the highest-rated TV series of all time. Besides, how else are you going to keep up with the cursed Chernobyl and Friends crossover memes?
The first season of Phoebe Waller-Bridge's show Fleabag was an acidic, pitch-black comedy about sex, loneliness, and a very specific brand of 21st-century ennui. But if you thought season one was a gut punch, season two is an emotional two-by-four upside your head. The new string of episodes, which are currently streaming on Amazon, are flawless and make as good as case as any that Waller-Bridge is unparalleled in the current landscape of TV auteurs. Plus, there's the hot priest. Just watch it.
Too Old to Die Young
OK, Chernobyl and Fleabag are both easy recommendations that just about anybody can watch and love, but Nicholas Winding Refn's new 13-hour Amazon neo-noir is, uh, different. This is not a show for everyone. It is weird, slow, off-putting, and basically dares you to hate it every step of the way—but it's also entirely singular and unique. Amazon gave the Drive and Neon Demon director free rein to just go fully wild and, man, he really did. The obvious comparison that everybody's making is to David Lynch's 2017 Twin Peaks sequel series, Twin Peaks: The Return, but that parallel is really only in strangeness only, since whatever plot you can glean from Too Old to Die Young shares little to nothing with Twin Peaks. Is the show good? Is it terrible? It's honestly hard to tell. But what is clear is that it's like nothing else you'll see all year.
If Too Old to Die Young isn't your thing—and for most people, it isn't—but maybe the third season of Stranger Things is more your speed. The show's look may be getting a big-budget makeover and its cast may be turning into teenagers who play in goofy bands or host questionable prank shows, but Stranger Things is still consistently Stranger Things, and when the new season hits Netflix on July 4, you know what you're getting, for better or worse.
On Becoming a God in Central Florida
Kirsten Dunst's show about a woman who starts scamming people with a pyramid scheme has had a rocky life so far—it was originally in development at AMC before moving to YouTube, where it went to series and then got dropped. Thankfully, Showtime has picked it up and will release the thing on August 25, because the first trailer looks extremely promising. Give us more scam content, please. We need more scams.
Why were the trailers for Succession's first season so bad? Did HBO intentionally make the show look like another Billions-style drama about rich people scheming on purpose, just to confuse us? Because it is so, so, so much more than that. It was one of the funniest shows on TV in 2018, and we're all still laughing about the "closed loop system," half a year later. Season two is supposed to drop at the end of the summer. August can't come soon enough.
Actually, Just Watch Everything on HBO
HBO's 2019 lineup is stacked. Los Espookys is transcendently weird, Big Little Lies came back, so did Barry and Veep, and Danny McBride's upcoming show The Righteous Gemstones seems amazing. Watchmen isn't coming until fall, so you can't exactly watch it this summer—but get ready, because that one is gearing up to be a massive hit. Everything on HBO right now is great.
Wait, Maybe Not Everything
Can we all just collectively agree to forget about the final season of Game of Thrones? We've moved on from that one. Don't revisit it, OK? Let's leave it in the past where it belongs.
In any case, there's still a ton of great TV shows out there, so now you never have to set foot in another movie theater again this summer (unless it's maybe to go get terrified by Midsommar). Enjoy.