TV shows to get into without wasting too much time

By Sarah Contreras

In the third week of school, the last thing any student needs is a new commitment.

Homework, essays, research, group work, extracurriculars…the list goes on and on. How are you supposed to find time to invest in a television show when you barely have time to eat and exercise?

The answer to this is, of course, quite easy. Find shows that do not require too much of a time commitment, but are worth the time you spend watching them.

Yes, “Mad Men” and “Breaking Bad” are brilliant. But when your time is precious, investing in five or more season-long shows just isn’t going to make the cut.

Below are six handpicked shows that are easy to digest and only have a few seasons on Netflix Instant. So open up your Netflix account and start watching, whether you’re relaxing, hanging with friends or just trying to get some work done while being entertained.

“Parks and Recreation”

This offbeat comedy is as sweet as it is satisfying. As a camera crew follows Leslie Knope, junior deputy of Pawnee, Indiana’s, Parks and Recreation department, on her journey to build a new park. Viewers will fall in love with Knope and her gang of lovable weirdos.

Whip-smart and hilarious, “Parks and Recreation” is a must-see for anyone up for quick doses of fun.

Netflix Length: Four seasons, with seasons one and three cut short (season five currently airing).

“The Walking Dead”

Zombies walk the earth and a group of humans struggle to stay alive in this series. Brutally gory, “The Walking Dead” ups the ante for television violence without becoming horror schlock.

The fight for life requires a certain level of death, and Officer Rick Grimes and company endeavor to remain physically human while also trying to retain their emotional humanity.

Though frustrating at times, the show is worth a shot for lovers of zombies and melodrama.

Length: Two seasons (season three currently airing).

“Arrested Development”

Perhaps the most popular show that nobody watched while it was on air, “Arrested Development” is a strange and necessary part of the modern comedy canon.

The overprivileged Bluth family has lost its money due to the patriarch’s misdeeds, and it’s up to Michael Bluth–middle brother and designated level-head–to keep everybody afloat.

Chock full of memorable quotes (“I blue myself,” “I’ve made a huge mistake!”), “Arrested Development” invites viewers into a world where absolutely nothing is taken seriously. Watch if you’re tired of not being in on the joke.

Length: Three seasons, each of varying length (new and final episodes due out in May on Netflix only).


Comedian Louis C.K. stars in this surprisingly poignant show. The show itself is an exaggerated version of C.K.’s life.

Touching on subjects like parenthood, aging, loneliness and navigating relationships, the show is highly emotional with touches of real-life raunchiness. Queue Louie when you want to laugh and think on your free nights.

Length: Two seasons (season three not yet available on Netflix).


Absurd to the nth degree, “Workaholics” is an era-appropriate show about the misadventures of three young men without a clue.

Join Adam, Blake and Anders on their wild rides through work and play. Outrageously funny and unexpectedly intelligent, “Workaholics” is a show that cannot be used as a distraction–it commands your full attention.

Watch with friends or put on as background noise for you next party. Just don’t be surprised when all eyes fall on the television.

Length: One season (season two not yet available and season three currently airing).

“This Emotional Life”

PBS’s three-part series about the complexities of human emotions is not only educational but enjoyable.

Exploring the science behind emotions like joy, fear and love, the series answers seemingly unanswerable questions and confirms emotional reasoning that you may already suspect goes on.

Throw an episode on while working on a lighter assignment–you’ll feel better about a few minutes of distraction if you’re learning something at the same time.

Length: Three one-hour episodes.