By Devon Shuman, Senior Staff Writer
With classes wrapping up today, students have just one week of final exams and intense studying left before it's time to head home for the winter. While the warm days and clear skies of summer often pressure us to go outside, cold and snowy winters are the perfect justification to stay inside and do what we do best - binge-watch TV shows.
With that in mind, here are five new and upcoming shows to check out over Winter Break.
With its expert writing, brilliant acting and masterful use of setting, "Fargo" is one of the best series on TV.
Set in the same universe as the Coen brothers' Oscar-winning film of the same name, the psychological crime drama follows the cops and criminals in northern Minnesota and North Dakota. While the first season was set in present day, the second season jumps back to 1979 as a young Lou Solverson (father of Molly from season one), played by Patrick Wilson, investigates a case involving a local crime gang and a major mob syndicate.
With an all-star cast that includes Jesse Plemons, Kirsten Dunst, Ted Danson, and Nick Offerman, season two is consistently releasing perfect episodes of television every Monday. The season finale airs December 14, don't'cha know. If you've fallen behind, you can catch up on Hulu or FX.com.
"The Knick," Cinemax
One lesser known show, "The Knick" features Clive Owen as Dr. John W. Thackery, a cocaine- and opiate-addicted surgeon at New York's Knickerbocker Hospital in the early 1900's.
At a time when little was known about proper medicine and surgical procedures, going under the knife was an often fatal experience. Though emotionally turbulent, Thackery is nonetheless passionate, and is constantly pushing boundaries in an attempt to lower the Knick's mortality rate. Painting a grim, but beautifully realistic picture of life at the dawn of modern medicine, "The Knick" is worth a watch this winter break. The finale airs at 10 p.m., Dec. 18. Cinemax subscribers can catch up at Cinemax.com or Xfinity On Demand.
"F is For Family," Netflix
Any fan of Bill Burr knows that he can be more than a bit vulgar at times. He swears frequently, hates political correctness, and has no time for bulls***. Now, he's channeling all that anger through the perfect medium - an animated sitcom.
Based loosely on Burr's childhood, "F is for Family" focuses on a middle-class family in the 1970s, a time when society was much more lenient when it came to mild physical punishment, drinking and driving and leaving children unsupervised.
Netflix already proved it can produce top-of-the-line animated television with "BoJack Horseman," and, with Laura Dern and Justin Long lending their voices and Vince Vaughn executive producing, "F is For Family" will hopefully hold its own in the currently flourishing genre of adult animation.
The first season of "F is for Family" will be available to stream on Netflix starting Dec. 18.
"American Crime," ABC
Call me a hipster, but I generally detest anything produced by the major broadcast networks (CBS, ABC, NBC). I find that in order to get good ratings, their programs tend to neglect smart writing and storytelling so that they can appeal to a wider audience.
"American Crime" is the rare exception. Similar to "True Detective," "American Crime" ignores the overplayed tropes of the cop procedural genre and instead uses a crime investigation as a way to construct deep, complex characters and explore psychological themes.
While the first season of the anthology series followed the aftermath of a murder in Modesto, California, the second season focuses on a high school student in Indianapolis who accuses members of a championship basketball team of sexually assaulting him. With brilliant performances from Timothy Hutton and Felicity Huffman, "American Crime" is one of the best shows on a major network.
"American Crime" premieres at 10 pm, Jan. 6 on ABC.
"Angie Tribeca," TBS
Just as "American Crime" redefines the cop procedural drama, "Angie Tribeca" aims to parody it. Rashida Jones stars as the titular character, a 10-year veteran of the LAPD's RHCU (Really Heinous Crimes Unit). Along with her partner, Jay Geils (Hayes MacArthur), Tribeca investigates what TBS refers to as, "the most serious cases, from the murder of a ventriloquist to a rash of baker suicides."
Unfortunately, the trailer makes it seem that the comedy might, at times, lean more toward silly than witty. However, with guest stars such as Lisa Kudrow and Gary Cole, and with comedic all-stars Steve and Nancy Carell at the helm, "Angie Tribeca" is not a show to be overlooked.
"Angie Tribeca" will premiere with a 25-hour marathon starting at 9 pm, Jan. 17, on TBS.
Also, mark your calendars for the Golden Globes Jan. 10 and keep an eye out for some promising holiday specials such as Bill Murray's "A Very Murray Christmas" Dec. 4 on Netflix, and a special New Year's Day episode of "Sherlock."