Now that Game of Thrones is over and Supernatural and Blacklist are on hiatus, are you…lost? Or are you, perhaps, trying to put off some miserable summer task like mowing the lawn? Could it be that you miss Blockbuster for their epic staff recommendation wall?
If you answered yes to any (or all) of these questions, then we are here to help. Welcome to a new feature here at Nerds and Beyond. Think of this as your monthly one-stop shop for all the best nerdy recommendations your little nerdy heart desires. After all, we’re a staff filled with nerds of every flavor, so if you want to know what television show or movie will keep you glued to your couch, downing energy drinks as you binge, chances are at least one of us has got you covered.
This month’s Staff Picks: Not only is June the month of weddings and family vacations, but it holds the distinction for having the longest day of the year (at least in the Northern Hemisphere). For those of you who’d rather enjoy those longer daytime minutes in the comfort of A/C instead of under the blazing hot sun, we bring you our staff picks for best television shows and movies about summertime activities.
Harper’s Island was a mini-series from 2009 centering around a destination wedding. The intent was to air a different murder mystery each year, but sadly, it never got past this first season. Don’t let that stop you from watching this thrilling murder mystery. The show stars Christoper Gorham (Covert Affairs, Ugly Betty) and Elaine Cassidy (Disco Pigs, The Others) as an engaged couple who’ve planned to hold their wedding on Harper’s Island, which happens to be the scene of a grisly murder seven years prior. That’s not a big deal until wedding guests start dying, too.
I watched this show because I was a huge fan of Gorham from his Jake 2.0 and Odyssey 5 days. Not only was he awesome in this, but the entire ensemble cast was fantastic and definitely worked well together. (Did I mention that everyone’s favorite surrogate father, Bobby Singer, AKA Jim Beaver, plays the sheriff in the show?) Now, I won’t give away the ending, but I will say that I found the show to be very entertaining and I was guessing, then re-guessing, then changing my mind back to the first suspect, then guessing again as I watched. With only thirteen episodes, it’s an easy binge that doesn’t have too much gore, but a lot of opportunity to stretch your whodunnit muscles until the very end.
Harper’s Island would be a great show for: fans of murder mysteries, wannabe detectives, wedding coordinators, and Bridezillas. Stream it on Amazon Prime.
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants (2005)
This movie follows four best friends — Tibby (Amber Tamblyn), Lena (Alexis Bledel), Carmen (America Ferrera), and Bridget (Blake Lively) — as they get ready to spend their first summer apart. While out shopping, they find a pair of jeans that somehow, even though they have different body types, fits them all correctly. They decide to mail and share these magical pants while on their summer adventures.
I loved this movie because it is a coming of age story; each teen has to face and make decisions that are closer to adulthood than they are. It shows you what can happen when you do some self-discovery and see the importance of family and friendship. I enjoyed the movie because it is about growth.
This is also based on a five-part bestselling young adult novel series written by Ann Brashares.
The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants would be an excellent movie for: fans of Gilmore Girls, This is Us, Ugly Betty, and Jane the Virgin. You can watch it on Netflix.
Mamma Mia! and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again
Mamma Mia! is a musical that uses songs from the ’70s band ABBA. The first movie follows Sophie (Amanda Seyfried) as she searches for her dad, because she wants him to walk her down the aisle at her wedding. Her mother, Donna (Meryl Streep), is attempting to run a hotel that seems to always be falling apart. The second movie focuses moreso on Donna’s exciting past, along with Sophie working on the reopening of the hotel.
I really enjoyed these movies since I am a big fan of ’70s and ’80s music. It is always fun to be able to sing along with songs you had heard many times before. Both movies are also comedies which is a favorite movie genre of mine.
Mamma Mia! and Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again would be of interest to those who enjoy romantic comedies and ABBA. The first movie is available on Netflix, and the second is on HBO Go.
Wet Hot American Summer, Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp, and Wet Hot American Summer: Ten Years Later
Ok, so I’m sure by now everyone has heard of the iconic, absurdist send up of 70s and 80s summer camp comedies that is Wet Hot American Summer. Directed by David Wain (The State), it originally came out all the way back in 2001 and stars Paul Rudd, Elizabeth Banks, Michael Showalter, Bradley Cooper, Amy Poehler, and many, many more. Set in 1981, it follows a group of counselors 0n their last day of camp as they fall in (and out) of love and try to complete all of their unfinished business. It’s totally bonkers and a film I return to over and over again — especially once summer rolls around.
WHAS: First Day of Camp is an 8-episode Netflix series that came out in 2015 and, as the title suggests, follows the same counselors and campers on the first of summer. Filmed fifteen years later, much of the comedy purposefully stems from knowing how the summer ends, and from the fact that all of the lead actors are much much older.
WHAS: Ten Years Later (2017), was the follow-up 8-episode series produced for Netflix and, as the title suggests, is based around the 10-year reunion of the counselors of Camp Firewood. Set in 1991, Ten Years Later is a send up of everything 90s.
I was a huge fan of The State, and every iteration of WHAS holds a special, wacky, insane place in my heart. If you love absurdist, buck wild comedy that takes every situation (or 80s homage) to its most insane conclusion, then strap yourself in for the wettest, hottest, most American summer and binge away! All of them are available to stream on Netflix.
Nothing says summer more than the USA Network television series Psych. Set in beautiful, sunny Santa Barbara, California, the show revolves around a fake psychic detective named Shawn Spencer (James Roday) and his best friend and colleague, Burton Guster (Dulé Hill). Under the guidance of Chief Vick (Kirtsen Nelson), Shawn and Gus often work with detectives Carlton Lassiter (Timothy Omundson) and Juliet O’Hara (Maggie Lawson), much to Lassie’s chagrin. Moreover, Shawn often gets help from his Hawaiian shirt-clad father, Henry Spencer (Corbin Bernsen), who is retired from the Santa Barbara Police Department. Through flashbacks to Shawn’s childhood, we see Henry teach him valuable lessons that help him solve cases today. Supernatural fans might also recognize the eccentric coroner, Woody, who is played by Kurt Fuller.
The show goes way beyond the sunshine, piers, cases, and rad 80s references. Being a fake psychic detective means antics often ensue. Expect a lot of humor with this one! Even the more serious episodes are filled with comedic moments to lighten the episode. Also expect episodes to reference some awesome classics like Twin Peaks, Clue, Hitchcock, Friday the 13th, and more. The show has also had some amazing guest stars, including Kenan Thompson, Jaleel White, Rachael Leigh Cook, Ray Wise, Cybil Shepherd, Jimmi Simpson, Cary Elwes, Ally Sheedy, and even Curt Smith from the band Tears for Fears, and Supernatural’s Rob Benedict.
If you love a hilarious comedy, a summer atmosphere, nostalgia, and a good mystery, Psych is the show to binge. All seasons, the musical, and the movie are available on Amazon.
When Tim turns 21 years old, he finds out he can time travel. His father tells him that all the men in his family are able to time travel, and he’s now old enough to be let in on the secret. Though the movie is mostly set in London, I am recommending this movie for summer viewing, because there are parts on the Cornwell Coast (where the main character’s family lives) and there is a wedding. This movie is filled with love, but it’s not just a love story about a couple. It is a love story about family, friends, and life. I fall in love with this movie a little more each time I watch it, and it is one of my all time favorites.
The movie stars Domhnall Gleeson as Tim. You may recognize him as Bill Weasley from Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows movies parts 1 and 2, and as General Hux from Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force, and Star Wars: The Last Jedi. Rachel McAdams plays his love interest Mary, and you may recognize her from The Notebook, Mean Girls, and Dr. Strange.
You would enjoy this movie if you love romantic comedies and time travel. This movie is available on Netflix.