Summer time used to mean an extended break from original TV programming. This is no longer the case.
Now that streaming TV has become mainstream, and networks no longer need to rely upon old-fashioned scheduling systems, our summer watch-lists will keep growing and growing.
So with that in mind, here is a look at the best streaming summer TV of 2014, and a lesson in how you can stream any of these shows, no matter where in the world you happen to be!
Best New Streaming TV Shows Summer of 2014
The Leftovers – Let’s start with a couple of new ones from HBO. After all, they’re working very hard to promote this one: cryptic trailers, posters, and commercials have abounded for these last few months. Though we’d like to think we’re not too susceptible to aggressive ad campaigns, the pedigree behind The Leftovers makes it pretty irresistible: author Tom Perrotta (Election, Little Children) and Damon Lindelof (Lost) as co-creators, a cast that includes Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman, and Christopher Eccleston, and a pilot directed by Peter Berg. That the story – about a town of people that are left behind after a global rapture – is genuinely intriguing is just a bonus.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver – Here’s one that hit the ground running: though Last Week Tonight with John Oliver shares a lot with Mr. Oliver’s old stomping grounds (The Daily Show), this show has consistently been an attention-getter since its recent debut, thanks to insightful, hilarious commentary, and HBO’s willingness to achieve virality by releasing these shows online. Don’t be one of the few who misses out.
Showtime on Demand
Masters of Sex (Season 2) – One of the best surprises of the past TV season has quickly returned. We won’t spoil it for you if you haven’t caught up on the first season, but Masters of Sex has thus far proven itself to be a remarkably poignant examination of the lives of those who pioneered studies on sexual science during a not-so-forgiving time. It’s also a great showcase for terrific performances from Lizzy Caplan, Allison Janney, Beau Bridges, and especially Martin Sheen as the deeply repressed doctor Bill Masters.
Penny Dreadful – Admittedly, this one just wrapped up its first season, but the beauty of Showtime on Demand is that you can call these episodes up and watch ’em all in a row. Ah, binge-streaming. Anyway, this twisted, macabre series weaves together some of history’s most iconic villains, and has some terrific actors who are no strangers to acting malevolent on hand (Eva Green, Timothy Dalton) to assist in carrying the premise.
BoJack Horseman – Netflix has proved to be a strong competitor to not only programming offered by basic cable channels, but to the giants of HBO and Showtime as well (like 2014 seasons 2’s of political thriller House of Cards or prison dramedy Orange is the New Black. BoJack Horseman is Netflix’s latest venture into original programming, an adult-oriented animated series about a drunk horse (Will Arnett), his feline ex-girlfriend (Amy Sedaris), and human best friend (Aaron Paul). While BoJack has a promising cast, adult oriented cartoons seem to either be great or… not so great. Will the show develop a cult following à la The Life and Times of Tim or disappear from the public consciousness like Comedy Central’s Lil’ Bush? Start streaming on August 22nd to find out!
Nathan for You (Season 2) – Maybe you didn’t catch Nathan for You‘s first season, which featured series star Nathan Fielder offering horrendous marketing advice to businesses, but you’ve surely heard about “Dumb Starbucks”; that’s Fielder. We recommend catching up on the first season, but we’re mostly psyched to see what kind of demented stunts this true original has up his sleeve in season two.
Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee – Simple in title and execution, Jerry Seinfeld”s Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee is basically a visual podcast. All you need to know is in that title: Jerry Seinfeld picks up a famous comedian friend in a new car that they get to try out for the day, then they go get some coffee. Maybe you don’t need to see every last one, but when the guest is good (Louis CK, Patton Oswalt, Todd Barry), it’s a joy to watch.
Channel 4 UK- 4oD
8 Out of 10 Cats – Of course, not all of the best summer shows will be coming from US-based channels and streaming services. The UK will be offering some interesting programming as well, including Channel 4’s 8 Out of 10 Cats, which includes British comedian Jimmy Carr hosting a panel based on opinion polls. If you would like to see a group of British comics bicker over UFOs, Reincarnation, Justin Bieber, and Star Wars, look no further than Channel 4 on Demand.
Watch the Best Streaming Summer TV From Anywhere With a VPN
Of course, if you’re in a country that doesn’t offer HBO Go, Showtime on Demand, 4oD, Hulu Plus, Crackle, or even Netflix, you might think you have to pull some pretty complicated tricks to enjoy the shows mentioned above. But don’t worry: watching these shows from outside of the US (or UK, for 4oD’s sake) is easier than you’d think.
All you need to do is subscribe to a VPN. A VPN service, or Virtual Private Network service, is a subscription-based service that serves the dual purpose of protecting your valuable online information and allowing you to access geographically restricted material on the web.
Want to watch Netflix from China? Log in to your VPN, and pick a US-based IP address, effectively tricking your computer into believing it’s in America. Same trick applies if you’re in the US and want to watch British web programming. Log in and pick a server in the country that suits you.
We here at FlashRouters are affiliated with an increasingly lengthy list of VPN service providers. Some of the most popular VPN providers include PrivateInternetAccess, SaferVPN, and IPVanish. However, there are many VPNs that can be supported by FlashRouters. That said, any VPN on our official supported provider list will be able to provide you with the IP addresses you so desire.
If you are looking to check out Hulu programs like Nathan For You from abroad, your best bet would be to subscribe to a SmartDNS service like Smart DNS Proxy, as Hulu has been cracking down on VPN use for several months now. SmartDNS is an alternative to VPN that does not provide the added security, but can allow you to unblock specific programming.
Get a VPN-Friendly FlashRouter!
But wait, don’t go running off to subscribe to a VPN just yet! If you’re going to want to have the most fluid VPN experience imaginable, then you’ll need a FlashRouter.
At FlashRouters, we are committed to offering routers to our customers that excel in every conceivable way. That’s why we take already powerful devices and replace their stock firmware with DD-WRT or Tomato firmware. These replacement firmwares boost a routers functionality, power, speed, versatility, and on and on.
And if that was all we had to offer, it would be enough to recommend a FlashRouter, but a FlashRouter is also a tremendously handy device for VPN users. Subscribe to any VPN on our supported provider list, and your FlashRouter will arrive, ready to work with your VPN right out of the box! No tricky installation processes are needed when you have a FlashRouter on your side.
Better yet, hold on to your old router, and try out our popular dual router setup, which allows you to have a dedicated VPN router and a dedicated local router that you can easily switch between.
There’s no way to go wrong if you’re ordering a FlashRouter, but we’d recommend checking out our recent Best DD-WRT Routers of 2014 list. Or maybe our best-sellers of 2014 (so far) list has just the right router for you on it. Though we hate to play favorites, we have to admit that the Netgear R7000 Nighthawk DD-WRT FlashRouter is gaining us new fans all of the time, and with a 1 GHz Broadcom CPU and 1900 Mbps Wireless-AC speeds, it’s easy to see why. The Asus RT-AC66U DD-WRT FlashRouter is another powerful router that frequently tops our best sellers lists. If you are looking for more of an economy model, the Netgear WNDR3700 provides solid Wireless-N speeds with a 680 MHz processor for less than $200.