Good luck trying to resist this back to school watchlist

These are the shows that will get you through the semester.

Matthew Santiago, Freelance Writer

This is Us

If you want to cry tears of joy before crying tears of pain from the stresses of college, be sure to check out “This is Us.” As network television is bombarded with mediocrity, “This is Us” stands among the best out there due to the relatable and emotional performances of the ensemble cast. With each episode, the show touches on relatable topics such as alcoholism, obesity and adoption, which only brings us back to our own moments of joy and vulnerability.

Viewers connect sincerely with the characters in “This is Us” because they face familiar struggles and bear relatable problems, but they always find a way to do the right thing. Through the quality acting, immersive storytelling and familiar characters, this magnificent show ultimately calls us to be the best versions of ourselves, despite the struggles we face. The first two seasons are available to stream now on Hulu. Season three begins airing late September.

Friday Night Lights

Although this series concluded in 2011, “Friday Night Lights” is a classic that gets you in the mood for football season. The show is centered largely around football, but it is ultimately the characters that draw you in. All the personal struggles each one faces make you want to cheer for their endeavors. The show does not hold back, as it allows characters to fail over and over. The balance between school and personal life is difficult and in this series, the characters are given hope for a successful future. FNL is an underdog story for all students to enjoy. The entire series can be found both on Hulu and Amazon Prime.

Mr. Robot

“Mr. Robot” is one of the most intelligent shows on TV. This drama calls you to question morality by injecting characters into situations where it seems nobody will be content whether or not they are successful in their endeavors. This show follows a hacker named Elliot, portrayed by Rami Malek, who struggles to make connections with people because of his social anxiety. The show presents well rounded, fully realized characters plagued by personal demons. As the show progresses, the characters often blur the line between good and evil as they deal with the positive and negative consequences of the decisions they make. This show is engaging and entertaining, forcing you to determine what is right, what is wrong and what is reality. The first two seasons are available on Amazon Prime.

Dear White People

Although this show can be aggressive with its messages, “Dear White People” actively challenges its audience to think about how they act around people. As we return to school, we should be mindful of what we say in front of others and consider other people’s experiences. One of the brilliant techniques this show practices is the ability to view from many character’s perspectives. Each episode focuses on a different character, and we get to view how he or she sees the world. Each character is well-written and the struggles they face are relatable. The first two seasons are all available on Netflix.

On my Block

If you love the kids from “Stranger Things,” this show may hold you over until their third season. “On My Block” focuses on five kids entering high school, presenting a modern, genuine interpretation of the struggles high school students face. The show deals with mature topics like gang violence and child abandonment but is charming with how it approaches relationships among the characters and cultural topics, such as how children who were born in America handle having immigrant parents. It is an easy binge and leaves you wanting more by the end. The first season is available on Netflix.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend

You need to be watching “Crazy Ex-Girlfriend.” This musical dark comedy focuses on Rebecca Bunch, portrayed by Rachel Bloom, a lawyer who quits her job in New York to pursue a relationship with a guy she hasn’t seen in 10 years in West Covina, California. The show is not important because we get to see a girl making a daring decision to pursue her ex, but because the show analyzes why she makes that decision, forcing the viewer to think how we can be so quick to judge the many people in our lives. There are points in the show where Rebecca makes selfish decisions that hurt those around her, evolving her into more of an anti-hero. The writers intentionally want the viewers not to “like” Rebecca, but to understand why she makes those decisions.

The writers trust that viewers will understand that while Rebecca’s actions may be flawed, her motives are in the right place. The audience is always treated as if they know about the subject matter and are asked to think more critically about it. Never have I ever seen a more accurate depiction of someone feeling lonely and depressed. Although, it is one of the lowest rated series on The CW’s lineup, “Crazy Ex Girlfriend” is a delightful introspective experience. All three seasons are available on Netflix, and the fourth and final season will air on The CW this October.

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