College is a wonderful time in one’s life. You get to sleep pretty much whenever you want, your parents likely pay your “rent,” and your school cafeteria has a waffle and a salad bar. Side-by-side!
You also get to learn things, which is great, but I’m more focused on furthering your television education. Some of my favorite nights at NYU involved curling up with my friends with an episode of — well, you’ll find out in a second — and (controversial statement alert) sometimes you can learn just as much from binging an entire season of “The Wire” as you can from a textbook.
Bonding over a shared love of the boob tube can also help you connect with your floormates — an essential part of the college experience — so below we’ve gathered the 14 shows that are required viewing for your precious time at Uni. Binge responsibly!
This is the show I watched with my best friends in college, and even if you were spoiled on the ending, the journey is entirely worth it — especially when you get to shout out theories with your best friends/lose your s–t at the major moments. (Not Penny’s Boat!!)
2. “Gilmore Girls”
Rory and Lorelai make all the mistakes so we don’t have to. Also, nothing says freshman year of college quite like a newfound appreciation for the small town you came from, and heading to Stars Hollow is the absolute best way to go home without actually going home.
For NYC college students — especially NYU, or “UNY” as they called it on the show — this one’s a must. You might think it’s dated, but huge dorm rooms aside, we all felt a bit like Felicity during our first year studying in the big apple. Also, it will teach you to avoid that Astor Place hair cuttery til the day you die.
4. “Veronica Mars”
Required viewing for all of humanity.
5. “Adventure Time”
For those late nights when you just want to curl up with your floormates and laugh at some pure, delightful quirk.
Also “Freaks and Geeks,” but Judd Apatow’s latter effort was a gem. It replaced your standard college cliche problems with real life problems, like the dreaded Freshman Fifteen. (Some sound advice: Just because your dorm cafeteria has a waffle bar right next to the make-your-own-pizza oven doesn’t mean you should go for both every day.) It also starred future “Sons of Anarchy” hunk-monster Charlie Hunnam, which never hurts.
7. “Arrested Development”
If you want to know all of the coolest inside jokes on television, check out one of the best, gone-before-its-time sitcoms of all time. Not only because it will bring your friendship group closer when you all do the chicken dance together, but also because your future bosses/coworkers of the Millennial generation will immediately like you much better than your non-Banana Stand frequenting cohorts.
8. “The Sopranos”
Ah, and now we get to the serious stuff. You learn a lot from books in college, but I’d argue any day that you can learn just as much about people from watching the hits of television’s Golden Age. The show that kicked off this Golden Age, “The Sopranos,” is still one of television’s best offerings, and also makes for great research paper material. Unless you’re like, a math major. (And if so, why are you reading this listicle? You have math things to do!)
9. “The Wire”
Once you’re done with corrupt New Jersey, head on down to corrupt Baltimore for one of the best television series of all time. If anything, it will teach you and your new friends to never go to convenience stores.
10. “Breaking Bad”
I mean, duh. If you don’t watch this, you’ll hearing “wait, you HAVEN’T watched ‘Breaking Bad’?” for the rest of eternity. Just do it, already.
11. “Buffy the Vampire Slayer”
True, Buffy’s best seasons were during her high school years — and the college years barely focused on college at all — but being a teen drama doesn’t take away from the fact that Joss Whedon created one of the most fascinating cult classics of all time. Also, the episodes are always fun, funny, and utterly binge-worthy.
12. “The Vampire Diaries”
For less serious, pure sexy vampire fare, look no further than “The Vampire Diaries.” You can catch up in time for the series’ upcoming sixth season, and you and your friends can start to break apart due to differences in opinion re: Stefan versus Damon.
13. “Twin Peaks”
The cult classic to end all classics. You’ll want to visit David Lynch’s strange and beautiful town until the end of time, which actually kind of sucks because it only lasted a couple of seasons. Still, if you want to look cool and in-the-know in your arts classes, this is the way to go.
14. “Gossip Girl”
You know you love it. XOXO.