I love meeting fellow TV buffs. I appreciate people who commit to plots, characters, and fandoms for (hopefully) multiple seasons. I have a nostalgic soft spot for days spent watching DVD box sets of the early seasons of “Gilmore Girls” and “Grey’s Anatomy” in one weekend. At the same time, I celebrate the continual evolution of the TV experience where I can live-tweet my reactions to the increasing level of crazy in “How to Get Away with Murder.”
ATX Television Festival is a mecca for TV aficionados. Whether you are behind the scenes, in front of the camera, or someone who just loves TV, this festival will take over your viewing schedule. Here are five shows to binge-watch before it takes place June 9-12.
Creator: Jessica Goldberg
Starring: Aaron Paul, Michelle Monaghan, Hugh Dancy
“The Path” is the cult drama that we didn’t know how badly we were missing. The show focuses on lovable, raspy-voiced Eddie (Aaron Paul) who is beginning to have doubts about the spiritual “movement” him and his family are involved in. Michelle Monaghan as Eddie’s wife, Sarah, is so believable as a devout believer it’s almost scary, although the “The Path” is decidedly a drama, not a horror. The first season finale of “The Path” premiered on Hulu in late May.
Creators: Marti Noxon, Sarah Gertrude Shapiro
Starring: Shiri Appleby, Constance Zimmer, Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman
“UnREAL” is addictive in the most satisfactory way. The series takes you behind the scenes of a fictional dating competition show called “Everlasting,” where the emotions are pre-packaged and the drama is expertly engineered. Shiri Appleby and Constance Zimmer are practically irreplaceable as the mastermind duo behind the show’s antics. The second season of “UnREAL” premiers on June 6 on Lifetime.
Creators: Silvio Horta, Fernando Gaitán
Starring: America Ferrera, Eric Mabius, Tony Plana, Ana Ortiz, Becki Newton, Michael Urie, Mark Indelicato, Vanessa Williams
Way back in 2006 when shows like “Desperate Housewives” and “CSI” were ruling the airwaves, a spunky, telenovela-esque comedy called “Ugly Betty” premiered on ABC. A talented and determined America Ferrera played Betty Suarez, an intelligent, upbeat assistant at a fashion magazine. The show’s fresh take on comedy and positive message about inner beauty resonated with viewers and paved the way for future offbeat dramedies like the popular “Jane the Virgin.” Catch the “Ugly Betty” cast at the show’s reunion on the closing night on Saturday, June 11.
Creator: Zander Lehmann
Starring: Michaela Watkins, Tommy Dewey, Tara Lynne Barr, Julie Berman, Nyasha Hatendi
“Casual” is a smart, thoughtful comedy with originality that is making waves in the slapstick humor TV trend. Centered around a recent divorcee who moves in with her brother with a teenage daughter in tow, “Casual” relies heavily on the brilliant cast and their undeniable chemistry (Michaela Watkins as Valerie is especially intriguing). The show’s humor is never forced. In other words, jokes for the sake of jokes are few and far between. And that is what makes “Casual” so refreshing. The second season of “Casual” premieres June 7 on Hulu.
Creator: Josh Schwartz
Starring: Mischa Barton, Adam Brody, Rachel Bilson, Ben McKenzie, Kelly Rowan, Peter Gallagher, Melinda Clarke
“California, here we come.” This undeniably essential teen drama set in Orange County in The CW’s glory years of the mid-2000’s is well worth the viewing time. This year’s ATX Fest will feature an in-depth conversation with the show’s creators followed by a script reading of the pilot with a “special guest cast.” If this goes anything like last year’s script reading of “Dawson’s Creek” where Mae Whitman hilariously played Dawson, crying face and all, we are in for a major treat.
Bonus new series: Search Party
Creators: Sarah-Violet Bliss, Charles Rogers
Starring: Alia Shawkat, Brandon Micheal Hall, John Reynolds, John Early, Meredith Hagner, Griffin Newman
Originality in TV is making a comeback. “Search Party” is a dark comedy about a group of twenty-somethings searching for a former acquaintance who has gone missing. The show premiered earlier this year at Austin’s SXSW Music, Interactive and Film Festival to positive reviews. I, for one, am glad to see a long-awaited main character recognition for Alia Shawkat’s brand of humor. Even though you can’t binge watch this one, add it to your ATX Fest agenda and/or keep it on your radar for its premiere on TBS later this year.
See a list of all the series that are going to be at this year’s festival here.
Are you attending this year’s ATX Festival? Tweet us what is on your agenda at @shuffleonline.