There are some television shows that can turn the heat outside into just a momentary discomfort.
Whatever you're into, there's a TV show and an app for that. Stream on.
The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling was a real thing, a wrestling league for women that put a pin on the map of pop culture. This show tells a (not real?) story of an actress (Alison Brie) looking for her big break. Instead, she ends up part of a fly-from-the-ropes series that showcases women fighting in their own way for equality. Marc Maron co-stars in the Netflix original.
Oh, so now you want to know what all the fuss is about? Well, Hulu's got you covered starting with Season 1, episode 1 of this drama from Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson. Don't let the pedigree allow you to easily dismiss Power. Fiddy has released some fine-enough films; though it must be said expectations were low, I was pleasantly surprised by Dead Man Running (2009, R, 92 mins.). And in this, he's responsible for some television that's more than fine. In Power, drug maestro and family man James "Ghost" St. Patrick (Omari Hardwick) wants to go legitimate with his nightclub. Except his partner really isn't about that life. And then, his ex-girlfriend shows up; of course, she's not what she seems. There are layers. And then there are layers on layers. Season 4 just began on Starz. Don't stay behind.
'Dear White People'
Netflix finally cracked the code on how long a show needs to be to make it optimal binge-watching without encroaching on your habits, such as going to the bathroom. OK, more a need than a habit, but you get the idea. It also helps that this satire's pace matches. And so do the zingers from which no one demographic group is immune. Dear White People, almost too broad as a film, is reborn as an extremely watchable television show about the lives, such as they are, of black students on an Ivy League campus that purports to be inclusive.
These vampires are particularly virulent, in every way. They've chosen current-day New York City to infect the world with their age-old "disease." Our heroes lead a pocket of resistance, which may actually be too strong a word for this rag-tag group ostensibly led by a former Centers for Disease Control and Prevention doctor, his son in tow; an older gentleman who owns a pawnshop and a trusty cane; and a hacker. At turns intriguing, intense and disgusting, one episode leads into the next until you finally get to this, its final season that started on FX on July 16. Stream it on Hulu.
Marvel's 'Luke Cage,' 'Jessica Jones' and 'Daredevil'
There's the high-flying Marvel Cinematic Universe, and then there are the Netflix ground-level heroes. Daredevil is a blind lawyer by day and a red-suited daredevil with heightened senses by night. Jessica Jones is a private eye with some private issues. Luke Cage is a bulletproof black man trying to take care of his Harlem. They're all getting together in August for The Defenders. Catch up with their very real, very superhuman struggles on Netflix. (To be clear, you should watch Iron Fist, too, just because. He's in their number.)
For those who remember Barney Miller, this show's for you. This is a cop show in that mold: an irreverent comedy with real take-downs of street-level criminals. There's little to no procedure here. If anything, this precinct bucks the system in myriad ways. Many of the laughs come from the precinct's primary denizens, which include never-miss Detective Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg, wisely letting the ensemble be what it is). He has a Stan in his own department, with which he often partners. There's an overreaching assistant, a fawning employee, a father figure or two and some detectives who seem to eat more than they solve crimes. It all goes down easy. And then they have the nerve to have comedic gems Terry Crews and Andre Braugher (also a dramatic gem) and do a crossover with New Girl. Good times. Stream on Hulu.
There are more than eight reasons to watch and catch up on Empire. Everything about this show is over the top: the clothes, the story lines, the characters and the music. It can all veer into cacophony and sometimes take on too much at once. But it's pure escapism — except when it hits on hot-button social issues. And it isn't afraid to do that. Taraji P. Henson has created one of the small screen's most indelible characters; she's Alexis Carrington if the Dynasty doyenne had spent 17 years in jail for her man's crimes. Ruthless. Charming. Angry. And dressed up. All. The. Time. Stream it on the Fox app or on Hulu.
Not many series can reboot as much as Archer has and still remain watchable, much less open-mouth funny. Sterling Malory Archer (middle named after his mother) is the "world's most dangerous spy" — and the world's most vain one, too. He works for his mother in an organization that competes with other spies and tries to take down dangerous criminals in their own special way. Archer may sometimes be more concerned with the different shades of black in his wardrobe, but that's when the rest of his crew picks up the slack. And there's no shortage of that. This voice cast is unparalleled: H. Jon Benjamin voices Archer, and Jessica Walter is perfect as his mother. Aisha Tyler, Amber Nash, Judy Greer, Chris Parnell and Lucky Yates are darn near perfect, too, as the rest of the inner sanctum. Stream it from the first season on Hulu. Or set your DVR to FXX or FX and make your own stream.
Idris Elba, far afield from his usual dapper Don or mystical being or "DJ Big Driis" but right in his wheelhouse, won a Golden Globe in 2012 for his portrayal of John Luther. The BBC's Luther is at once a character study of the conflicted detective with a crumbling personal life, much of it by his own hand, and a gripping crime drama. And it's Elba at his finest. That in itself is a reason to binge. Each of the four available seasons is as short or shorter and as satisfying as the first.
Remember the 2013 movie about the garden snail who wins the Indy 500? Well, Netflix has an original series. It's after the victory, and Turbo and his Fast Action Stunt Team are still fast — on the track and with a quip. Follow their lives in the city built just for them. Someone learns a lesson nearly every episode, and you'll learn one, too: that snails can be fast, and funny.