Skip to main content

Looking for the best TV shows to watch during Summer break?  We’ve curated a list of the 10 best TV shows to watch and enjoy while relaxing this Summer.

The 10 best TV shows to watch while on Summer break

Summer is almost here, and we could not be readier for that sweet, sweet summer break. And sometimes – for those of us who are out of school, and who aren’t planning to take any time off work – that break is more metaphysical than it is literal. That’s right: we’re going on vacation… in our minds.

It may sound silly, but stick with us. When the sun is shining, and all we want is to sprawl on the sand with the ones we love, we like to switch up the media we consume. Yes, we are all familiar with the concept of beach reads, but how about beach TV?

Most of the time, we love a good drama – love feeling our heartrates accelerate as we wonder what terrible, knuckle-biting thing might happen next – but the summer has wanting to take it easy. And since many of our favorite hour-long shows are wrapping up in these next few weeks, this seems like a good moment to declare it: from here on out, we’re making the switch to funny, heartwarming, and happy shows – at least for the rest of the season.

 the 10 best TV shows to watch while relaxing this Summer 2023

And if you too have been looking for a little escape, we have some suggestions. These ten shows have all premiered (or released new seasons) in the last year, and they would all make perfect summer viewing. We are so grateful to these shows’ writers who have made it possible for all of us to experience summer break – no matter where we are, and what we’re doing.

The 10 best TV shows to watch while relaxing this Summer

1. Abbott Elementary

We’re sure you already know and love Abbott Elementary, but just in case you’ve been living under a rock: now’s the perfect time to catch up on what is, without a doubt, the best sitcom in years. Quinta Brunson’s Emmy-winning workplace comedy – set at an elementary school in Philadelphia – wrapped its sophomore season late last month, and we can’t wait to see what’s next. But in the meantime, time to revisit the hilarious and charming antics of this all-star cast – Brunson, Tyler James Williams, Janelle James, Lisa Ann Walter, and the one and only Sheryl Lee Ralph. We couldn’t imagine a better way to spend our summer.

2. XO, Kitty

We only have to wait a few more days until the premiere of XO Kitty, and we couldn’t be more excited. This is the latest addition to the Jenny Han Cinematic Universe (and really, there’s no world we’d rather live in), as well as a spin-off of To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before. This new series focuses on – who else – Lara Jean’s younger sister Kitty, who stole our hearts throughout the original film trilogy. In the new show, Kitty (played by Anna Cathcart) goes to school in Korea in order to be with her long-distance boyfriend Dae (Choi Min-young); but when she arrives on campus, she discovers that their relationship was not what she thought. Given how much we loved To All the Boys – and Han’s other series, The Summer I Turned Pretty – we feel confident that XO, Kitty will be a hit.

3. Great British Baking Show: Juniors

Though season seven of Great British Baking Show: Juniors aired more than a year ago in the UK, it was only recently made available to those of us in the US (thank you, Netflix). If you’re a fan of Great British Baking Show, Great British Baking Show: Juniors offers the same delightful dose of sweetness, except somehow even sweeter. Because in this case, the stars of the show are adorable (and talented!) little kids. And if you’re not a fan of Great British Baking Show… well, are you sure that happy summer television is for you?

the 10 best TV shows to watch while relaxing this Summer 2023

The 10 best TV shows to watch while relaxing this Summer 2023.

4. Somebody Somewhere

Somebody Somewhere is not just a wonderful summer show, but also one of the most wonderful shows in recent memory. Bridgett Everett plays Sam, a woman who returns to her small, Kansas hometown – where she has never fit in – to take care of her ailing sister. After her sister’s death, Sam takes comfort in a community of fellow outsiders – and in her love for a long-abandoned talent: singing. Though the show touches on some more serious themes, it’s always a pleasurable and heartwarming watch – and one of the best shows around.  Since the second season recently premiered, this could be the perfect time to give it a go.

5. Jury Duty

Whether or not you choose to make Jury Duty a part of your summer viewing, it’s worth having on your radar – because it definitely seems to be the next big thing. In a premise that may remind some of The Truman Show: a juror (Ronald Gladden) shows up for jury duty unaware that his summons was fake, and that everyone around him is an actor. And in case it’s not clear, we mean that Ronald Gladden really didn’t know that he was part of a TV show. Absurd? Maybe! Funny and unique? Definitely. If you haven’t yet given it a whirl, you should. You know you’re curious.

6. Schmigadoon!

Oh, Schmigadoon. It almost seems silly to recommend Schmigadoon – whose second season is called, Schmicago – because presumably, those who would love it have already seen it, and those who would not… should steer clear. But if you are a musical theater fan who has somehow missed this golden masterpiece, well, what have you been waiting for? Every episode is packed with theater references and addictive show tunes, plus all of your favorite Broadway stars. Among them, Cecily Strong, Keegan-Michael Key, Ariana DeBose, Aaron Tveit, Jane Krakowski, and Kristin Chenoweth.

7. Extraordinary Attorney Woo

Extraordinary Attorney Woo came to Netflix a little under a year ago, and if this delightful K-drama has somehow slipped past you, we’re thrilled to bring it to your attention.   The heartwarming show centers around a law firm in Seoul, where an autistic woman named Woo Young-woo (Park Eun-bin) is a recent hire. Though Woo’s neurodivergences at first make life difficult at the firm, she gradually becomes one of its greatest assets.  There are not a lot of television shows that offer authentic, nuanced portrayals of disability, and this one happens to be fantastic.

8. Queer Eye

Netflix’s Queer Eye has had hold of our hearts since it first premiered in 2018, and we are so glad that the new season arrived in time for summer vacation. Time with the Fab Five always sets our tired minds at ease, and the new season is as fabulous as always.  We know that there’s something extra relaxing about reality television, and when it’s Queer Eye, it’s the television equivalent of a day at the beach.

9. The Wonder Years

The Wonder Years’ reboot will finally premiere its second season this June, and we can’t wait. For those who missed season one, this is a remake of the popular 90’s television show – and even If you’re skeptical of reboots, you simply must give this one a try. The Wonder Years stars Dulé Hill and Saycon Sengbloh as the parents of Dean (Elisha Williams), a young boy growing up in Montgomery, Alabama in the 1960’s. The show is also narrated by Don Cheadle, who plays Dean as an adult. If you want a sweet show with a bit more gravitas than your average sitcom, The Wonder Years will more than satisfy.

10. Heartstopper

While it’s true that the new season of Heartstopper is not premiering until August, we still thought it deserved a mention here. After all, now you’ll have something to look forward to all season. Heartstopper – based on the books by Alice Oseman – was one of the runaway hits of last year, and we can’t wait to return to the world of Nick and Charlie. Heartstopper is everything: a coming-of-age story, a queer romance, and a tale of true, strong friendships. It’s happiness personified. And we’re lucky to get to return to it again this summer.

The 10 best TV shows to watch while on Summer break

Those are our recommendations, dear reader. Escape the heat with our edit of the 10 best network TV and streaming service shows to watch while relaxing this Summer 2023.

Abbie Martin Greenbaum

Abbie Martin Greenbaum is a writer, reader, and pop culture connoisseur, who loves storytelling, coffee, and dessert. Her work has also appeared in Playbill.