Welcome to summer. The weather is hotter, the drinks colder and you have a lot more free time. In pop culture land, this means blockbuster movie franchises, music festivals and often mediocre television.
Every summer we get the deluge of super-hero epics, many of which are often sequels. This year, we’ve already had Captain America: The Winter Soldier and The Amazing Spider Man 2, the latter of which is currently second at the box office, behind the frat-house comedy Neighbors. Later in May, there will be X-Men: Days of Future Past and in June Transformers: Age of Extinction, although I’m only excited for the former. Other sequels include the animated Viking tale How to Train Your Dragon 2 and 22 Jump Street, the follow-up to 2012’s police comedy 21 Jump Street. One non-franchise film that is neither sequel nor super-hero is The Fault in Our Stars. Based on the bestselling John Green novel of the same name, the film, out June 6, is already poised to be a hit.
If summer is prime movie season, the same doesn’t apply to television. Apparently we all want to get out of our houses and head to the movie theater instead of sitting inside watching TV. That must be why most of this year’s mega hit series have finished their current seasons. Never fear, many of these shows can be added to your Netflix binge-watch list. If you’ve somehow never watched Breaking Bad or Orange is the New Black, then the internet is your perfect TV watching medium for this summer. But, if you enjoy watching weekly TV as it airs, the summer can be lacking in choices. Reality fare such as America’s Got Talent or anything on Bravo gets tedious after a while. This is why, somehow, I’ve turned to unlikely networks MTV and ABC Family for my summer guilty pleasures. Newcomer Faking It joins MTV’s small roster of original scripted shows and is a surprising early standout. With its seemingly trite plot that revolves around a pair of high school best friends who pretend to be lesbians in order to gain popularity, the show has a surprising amount of humor and heart that most teenage comedies are lacking. ABC Family’s The Fosters, last summer’s hit about a blended family, is returning this summer for its second season, bringing the same drama and twists while still feeling like a comforting escape.
If you get bored of watching things on screens and want some live entertainment, summer is the prime time for music festivals. Depending on where you are in the country, there are tons of choices. From Boston Calling, with Jack Johnson and Death Cab for Cutie included in the lineup, to The Governor’s Ball in New York City which features Outkast, Vampire Weekend and Phoenix, the east coast will definitely be rocking. If you are near Chicago, the city has both Pitchfork and Lollapalooza to choose from. There’s also Bonnaroo in Tennessee, which boasts the odd range from Kanye West to Elton John, and Austin City Limits, with Eminem, Foster the People and Pearl Jam among others.
So get your pop culture and entertainment fixes while you can because school will start again soon enough. Get out and enjoy the weather, superheroes, festival music and whatever else is on your pop culture radar.