What’s on TV right now? Nearly everything, it turns out.
A recent survey found that nearly 500 original scripted series were released in 2018, a staggering number that doesn’t include the hundreds of reality shows, sporting events, and news programs on viewers’ screens.
But infinite choice also brings decision fatigue. How much time have you spent flipping through channels or scrolling through Netflix without committing to a program?
We won’t pretend that the following list of shows is the end-all, be-all for programs to watch; attempting to produce an all-encompassing viewer guide in the streaming era is a fool’s errand. Instead, we’ve curated a list of shows that spans genres and platforms, with the only similarity between them being that each one has a local connection of some sort.
If you’re looking to take a break from the heat and get your binge-watch on, here are 10 shows Bostonians should know about.
(Note: Some of the trailers embedded below are NSFW.)
Of the two animated comedies starring Worcester native H. Jon Benjamin (the other being Fox’s “Bob’s Burgers”), “Archer” is the more formatively daring of the pair. Creator Adam Reed has reimagined the show numerous times during its 10-season run, taking the employees of a spy agency and turning them into drug runners (season 5), sending them back to the 1920s (season 8), and in the current season, “Archer 1999,” sending them to space. If you’ve never watched the show before, it’s worth catching a few episodes from earlier seasons so that you’ll understand the dense web of callbacks and in-jokes.
How to Watch: “Archer” airs Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on FXX, while earlier episodes from this season are available on demand. Seasons 1 through 10 are available on Hulu.
“Big Mouth” is a ribald animated comedy about puberty that features cartoon genitalia, masturbation jokes, and unspeakable acts involving sentient couch cushions and literal “hormone monsters.” It’s also extremely funny, and offers more honesty and compassion about sex education than you’ll find in most public schools. Featuring a deep cast that includes Nick Kroll (“Sausage Party”), John Mulaney (“Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse”), Milton native Jenny Slate (“The Secret Life of Pets”) and Nahant native Jason Mantzoukas (“The League”), you can catch the first two seasons on Netflix before it returns for a third, likely to debut in the fall.
How to Watch: “Big Mouth” is available to stream on Netflix.
Season two of the Stephen King anthology series is currently filming in Massachusetts, and features stars like Lizzy Caplan (“Mean Girls”), Tim Robbins (“The Shawshank Redemption”), Elsie Fisher (“Eighth Grade”), and Barkhad Abdi (“Captain Phillips”). In the meantime, you can catch up on season one of the show, which was filmed in Ayer-Devens, Concord, Grafton, Lancaster, Orange, and Tyngsborough, and follows numerous characters in the fictional town of Castle Rock who will be familiar to fans of the King universe.
How to watch: “Castle Rock” is available to stream on Hulu.
“City on a Hill”
Showtime’s crime drama about 1990s Boston may be a work of fiction, but there are a number of real-life people and events that drive the show’s narrative, which centers around an FBI investigator (Kevin Bacon, “Footloose”) and an assistant district attorney (Aldis Hodge, “Hidden Figures”) teaming up to take down a gang of armored car robbers. While the show hasn’t been renewed for a second season yet, producer Ben Affleck and creator/producer Chuck MacLean hope to do for Boston what “The Wire” did for Baltimore over the course of at least five seasons.
How to Watch: New episodes of “City on a Hill” air Sundays at 9 p.m., while prior episodes are available on demand.
“I Think You Should Leave”
Short on time? With only six episodes that run around 16 to 17 minutes each, you can watch this entire sketch series from former “Saturday Night Live” writer-performer Tim Robinson and former “SNL” writer Zach Kanin (a Newton native and former Harvard Lampoon president) in less time than it takes to watch most movies. “I Think You Should Leave” finds humor in the absurd, and leans heavily on protagonists who will go push well past the point of comfort before admitting that they’re wrong. It’s no surprise that the show has been called the “funniest Netflix show ever” and the “funniest show of 2019” by critics.
How to Watch: “I Think You Should Leave” is available to stream on Netflix.
The Fox cooking show held auditions in Boston last summer, so it makes sense that a few of the chefs enduring the withering criticism of Gordon Ramsay this season as they compete for a $250,000 grand prize are from around here. One local contestant, North End carpenter turned culinary whiz Kenny Palazzolo, has been eliminated. But another, 2019 Harvard grad and Rhode Island native Nick DiGiovanni, still has his apron on.
How to watch: New episodes of “MasterChef” air on FOX Wednesdays and Thursdays at 8 p.m., while prior episodes are available on demand.
Cross “Lord of the Flies” with an upper-class Connecticut suburb and you’ve got “The Society,” which follows a group of teens who suddenly find their town completely devoid of adults. The youngsters must suddenly fend for themselves in a suburban survival of the fittest. While the show is set in Connecticut, it was primarily filmed in Massachusetts, with shooting taking place in Ayer, Bolton, Carlisle, Concord, Devens, Grafton, Groton, Harvard, Lancaster, Lexington, and Sterling.
How to Watch: “The Society” is available to stream on Netflix.
With the third season of this ’80s sci-fi/horror series debuting July 4, “Stranger Things” is undoubtedly a top binge-watch choice of the moment. The residents of Hawkins, Indiana, once again find themselves dealing with a demonic force from another dimension, and they must deal with government cover-ups on the side. One of the season’s highlights is the pairing of has-been Steve Harrington (Newburyport native Joe Keery) and Dustin Henderson (Gaten Matarazzo) as they attempt to track shady Russian mobsters from the comfy confines of a nautical-themed ice cream shop in the mall called Scoops Ahoy.
How to Watch: “Stranger Things” is available to stream on Netflix.
On the other end of the spectrum from “I Think You Should Leave” is “Supernatural,” a show that has been running for so long that it predates the CW, the network it airs on. Centered around two demon-hunting brothers played by Jared Padalecki (“Gilmore Girls”) and Jensen Ackles (“My Bloody Valentine”), the show also features Boston native Misha Collins (“Girl, Interrupted”) as an angel who resurrected the brothers from Hell in season 4 and has remained an ally ever since. “Supernatural” will begin its 15th and final season in October, which gives just three months for catching up on 307 episodes.
How to Watch: Seasons 1 to 14 of “Supernatural” are available to stream on Netflix.
Wahlburgers the restaurant chain continues to grow, but after 10 seasons, “Wahlburgers” the TV show will come to an end this summer. In a season that has already seen former Yankees slugger Alex Rodriguez work a shift in one of the restaurants and the Wahlberg family tailgate with former Patriots Matt Light and Troy Brown, expect more surprises in the coming weeks.
How to Watch: New episodes air on A&E Wednesdays at 8 p.m., while prior episodes are available on demand.