One Month Until Real TV Returns: What Do You Need to Catch Up On?

No, I'm not talking about running. It's officially August, which means just one more month until fall TV season comes back with all of our favorites. I love Mad Men and Veep as much as the next person, but the summer TV schedule doesn't come close to fall, when nearly every night has multiple must-see shows. In case you've fallen behind, here are some of the shows you should catch up on while there's still time left. Most are available on Netflix, Amazon Instant, Hulu Plus, or iTunes.  Because being outside in the summer is so overrated. 

Get Ready for a Month of Marathoning

No, I'm not talking about running. It's officially August, which means just one more month until fall TV season comes back with all of our favorites. I love Mad Men and Veep as much as the next person, but the summer TV schedule doesn't come close to fall, when nearly every night has multiple must-see shows. In case you've fallen behind, here are some of the shows you should catch up on while there's still time left. Most are available on Netflix, Amazon Instant, Hulu Plus, or iTunes.  Because being outside in the summer is so overrated. 

'Parks and Recreation'

What have you been doing for the past five years? Parks and Rec proved in its second season that its way more than an Office clone — it's a comedy with a lot of heart and undoubtedly the best cast on television. There may be some upsetting news about the upcoming sixth season, but the excellent writers will still make this season another great one. Plus, it's one of the few smart comedies left on NBC now that The Office and 30 Rock are over. Image: NBC

'Scandal'

What do you even talk to other people about if you aren't watching Scandal? Its intense, soapy second season made it the show everybody was talking about, and you need to join the conversation before season three gets started. It's bound to be even sexier and more, well, scandalous. Image: ABC

'New Girl'

If you watched the 2011 premiere of Fox's "adorkable" sitcom and weren't impressed, give it a second chance. I promise it'll be worth it. The first season just got better and better as it went on, and the second still managed to top it. The plots have gotten more ridiculous and, as a result, funnier. Plus, there are always great guest stars and the ensemble is amazing together. (I swear Jake Johnson and Max Greenfield are competing to see who can make me laugh to the point of tears more.) Image: Fox

'Nashville'

Want to watch a legitimate soap opera without having to stay home from work? Nashville is the closest thing to a primetime soap you're going to get, and no, you don't need to be a fan of country music to enjoy it. You'll get hooked on Connie Britton's fading Rayna Jaymes and her crazy romantic life and the non-stop, ridiculous drama of Hayden Panettiere's spoiled, scheming Juliette Barnes. Image: ABC

'Parenthood'

NBC's family dramedy gained some new fans in its recent, excellent fourth season, thanks to a gripping breast cancer storyline and an amazing performance by Monica Potter. For those who started the show last season, go back and watch the first three seasons. While they may not have gotten as much attention, they were just as compelling and heartwarming. For everyone else, please watch this show. It's always on the brink of cancellation and deserves more seasons to come. Image: NBC

'Homeland'

The second season of Showtime's award-winning drama got a little too obsessed with big twists, but hopefully they'll have worked that out for the third. It was still fun as hell to watch, and it's hard to find better acting on a drama. Just give the show a chance. When you find yourself becoming annoyed with a character or storyline (i.e. Dana), just give it 10 minutes. You'll fall in love again. Image: Showtime

'Once Upon A Time'

It sounds strange, with pirates, princesses, fairies, werewolves and more, but Once Upon A Time is really fun. I won't pretend it's going to win an Emmy anytime soon, but if you want to watch something that will get you hooked, remind you of beloved childhood tales and keep you entertained every single week, it's Once. Each of its two seasons have brought more fairy tale characters into the fold, and they only add to the excitement. Oh and then there's the eye candy—so much eye candy. The third season is already set to add Tinkerbell, Jafar and Peter Pan, so I have high expectations. Image: ABC