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This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

I watched 7 shows throughout the almost four months of Quarantine (don’t judge): a ranking from the ones that left me wanting more to the ones that garnered a “never again.” 

kimmy schmit tv gif
Netflix / Giphy
Starting strong with the one that made me sob the most and also the one gaining the title of first place is: “The Vampire Diaries.” 

Totally not kidding about the sobbing part either because this one’s a real tear jerker at times. To be honest, I had tried to watch this a year ago and barely got through the second episode before coming to the conclusion that it was not my cup of tea. The whole plot of vampires seemed completely tacky and overdone (see “Twilight” for reference), so I stopped watching and left it sitting in my queue on Netflix; until March that is. After scrolling endlessly through the repetitive selection of tv shows I had already seen, I landed back on “Vampire Diaries” and decided to give it another go. Definitely one of the best decisions I have ever made because this show was life changing, and I’m not even exaggerating. Okay, maybe a little, but the point still stands that this show was incredibly well made.

From the intricate plot, to the character development, to the constant love triangles – this show keeps you on your toes and never leaves you bored. I get exhausted with repetitive plot lines quite often and was worried how much you could milk out of two vampire brothers and a human girl. Spoiler alert: there’s A LOT! There’s eight seasons worth of drama, which seems like a lot of productive time being wasted into watching a show, however, I wish there was more! I fell in love with the Salvatore brothers, Stefan and Damon, who along with Elena act as the main characters in a saga about the countless struggles that come along with being immortal. Not to mention said brothers are probably the most attractive TV characters you will ever come across, along with the rest of the show’s roster. I have told everyone in my life from my best friend to my uncle to watch this show, and so far they have all (okay, maybe not my uncle, but I’m working on him!) raved about it and finished it within a week or two. If you like cliffhangers, plot twists, love triangles, and overall DRAMA to the max – “The Vampire Diaries” will be your new best friend.

elite, Netflix show
Next, we have the hot new Netflix Original, “Elite,” sliding into second place.

“Elite” is a Spanish, teen drama about the students who attend a prep school for the richest of the rich. It’s first season revolves around the murder of Mariana, one of the wealthy, but down-to-earth main characters that attend the school. The show uses the element of time-jumping between the present, where the other protagonists are being interrogated by a detective, and the past, where we see the dynamic and relationships of characters form. I am usually not one for murder-mystery shows as you can usually guess the killer within the first half-hour; however, “Elite” surpassed all expectations I had and was way more than a simple teen drama. Each character had their own detailed storyline that became even more unpredictable as the show progressed. I truly was left wondering who the killer was and was equally as shocked at the reveal – biggest plot twist of the century BTW. “Elite” has a more inclusive nature to it compared to other shows. It features Muslim, gay, and HIV positive characters. The show has had two seasons after the first and I can truly say they were just as good, if not better than the first season – which is typically, very hard to do. The next season is currently being filmed, but I don’t have as high hopes as many of the original cast members have chosen not to return. Also, for those worried about not understanding the show because it’s in Spanish, I would totally recommend English subtitles because that’s what I did. 

“Love, Victor” is taking my third place spot because it also took my heart.

This one was certainly more of an easier watch, despite it dealing with the hardships of being closeted in a Latinx family and new community. It tackles Victor, a high school age boy who is struggling with his sexuality, social stance, and the pressure being put on him by his family. I definitely felt the diverse cast better represented teenagers in today’s society, and also actually looked as if they could be attending high school. Most popularized teen/young adult TV shows typically tend to cast 30-year-olds as high school students which creates a less realistic environment, but “Love, Victor” opposes this norm. I will say they passed up the opportunity to include an actual gay actor as the lead, and once again picked another straight guy to play a role meant for someone else. Despite this obstacle, the show managed to display the toxic masculinity that the conservative, Hispanic culture produces. It puts a spotlight on the variation of social classes and the different treatment students receive if they are labeled as ‘poor.’ The show was able to juggle all these concepts and still maintain a lighthearted and comedic tone. I totally fell in love with the end couple that emerges at the season’s finale (no spoilers of course) and also the friendship between Victor and his best friend, Felix. I can’t wait to see what the next season brings as it left off on quite the cliff hanger!

This next one was more of a difficult watch, and not just because it was in Italian.

“Baby” is a Netflix Original that takes place in one of the wealthiest neighborhoods in Italy, where Chiara, the protagonist, attends an elite high school with her friends. Within the first few episodes, she befriends the mysterious, outcast Ludovica and together they embark into the dangerous world of prostitution. The show is loosely based on the true story of two young girls in Italy, one rich and one poor, who were discovered to be working as prostitutes. The story became famously known as “The Baby Squillo” Case, which translates to baby prostitute in English – hence the name of the show. It takes a look into the dark world of exploiting young girls into sex work and the down-right, disgusting men who take advantage of them. Although the girls have different reasons for why they get into prostitution, they quickly realize it is not as glamorous as they thought. Chiara and Ludovica struggle with keeping their two lives of school and work separate, as they navigate pimps, clients, and their relationships with loved ones. As the seasons progress (there are 2 so far, but they just released the 3rd!), romantic relationships bloom and we see the characters grow into themselves even more. I enjoyed the show’s heavier plot line and was constantly holding my breath waiting for what was next to come. For sure would say watch if you are looking for a darker twist on the lives of teenagers and are interested in this type of content!

Deciding which one came next was certainly tricky, but I have to give it to “All American.” 

For starters, I would like to thank all the Tik Toks that people made about this show that prompted me to watch it. I feel like this was definitely a quarantine-must for a lot of people and it ended up gaining quite the publicity. It was inspired by the real life story of Spencer Paysinger, an NFL player who went from having nothing to everything. In the show we see the main character, Spencer James, become the star of the Beverly Hills High football team and the issues that arise from his new position on the team and in the lives of his classmates. The show tackles major issues of racism, gang violence, drug abuse, and mental health problems that the students of Beverly High face in their day-to-day lives. Spencer is constantly torn between his home in Crenshaw Heights and his future in Beverly Hills, which plays out throughout the show’s two seasons. I felt the show was a very raw and emotional look into the complicated lives of teens in general, even if Spencer’s situation was more unique. It raised awareness for social issues in accordance with racial bias and conveyed what it was like to be a teen of color in America. I thoroughly enjoyed the show, my only issue was the storyline often got repetitive or dragged out longer than seemed necessary. Other than that, it was a great watch across the board and reached a wide audience from football fans to drama TV addicts.

In second to last, we have quarantine’s most prized possession: “Outer Banks.” 

I can totally understand the hype around the show, as the vibes and atmosphere it provided were quite honestly just fun and chill. It reminded me a lot of a surfer, beached-out version of Scooby-Doo because of the four characters and the central plot of a mystery being solved. I’m sure most everyone has heard what it’s all about by now, but if you were late to the party here’s the rundown: our main character, John B. (don’t ask why he goes by the middle initial, everybody is just as confused), and his three best friends JJ, Kiara, and Pope –also known as the Pogues– set out to find his missing father. Add in an ongoing war between the two sides of the island (the Pogues vs. the Kooks), a forbidden romance amid a love triangle, a treasure hunt for gold, messed up parents, and lots more drama and then you have “Outer Banks.” I watched this mid-quarantine when the weather still could’ve passed for Antarctic temperatures, and the summer FOMO was real! It was a light-hearted and exciting show that brought you into the world of the Pogues and made you feel like you were going on an adventure with them. The only reason that it’s so far down on my list is solely because its competitors were unmatched. I cannot wait to see what season two brings for this show and would recommend it if you’re already missing the summer weather like me.

Dun dun dun, in last place we have “Hart Of Dixie”.

I know you’re probably wondering: “WTF is that show, I’ve never even heard of it???”. And you’d be right to think that because it’s basically unheard of and never talked about. You can find it on Netflix and I’m sure you have even passed over it a few times, but never clicked on it to watch. *Sigh* Honestly, I think it was the extreme amounts of boredom in my life that finally made me open up my laptop and sit through four seasons of this show. It was an okay show, nothing more and nothing less. It follows Dr. Zoe Hart as she is fired from her residency position in New York and takes up a stranger’s offer to work for him in Bluebell, Alabama. Only when she gets there does she find out that the stranger has passed away and left her his practice. Oh, and he was also her secret father. Yup, her mother had an affair and the guy she thought was her dad for all these years, found out and abandoned Zoe. As the show progresses and settles into a routine, new dilemmas arise in the form of (another) secret affair, a love rectangle (?), and an ongoing rivalry between Zoe and the other town doctor. If you’re looking for an easy watch or something to play in the background while you work, “Hart Of Dixie” is the show for you. There’s just nothing that makes it stand out against the other shows, which is why I’ve placed it last on my list.

In conclusion, I have way too much time on my hands and watch an absurd amount of television shows. But seriously, any of the shows I have listed are watch-worthy and would certainly recommend giving a try at least once! Okay now bye, I got to go watch the third season of “Baby”.

HONORABLE MENTIONS (shows that didn’t make the cut): “Virgin River” and “Too Hot To Handle”

Contributors from the University of Massachusetts Amherst