We are well on our way into the month of September, and that means that back to school season is upon us. Target has been stocked with the newest school supplies for months now, and while new sixth graders excitedly choose themed notebooks (I couldn’t resist picking out some ‘Where’s Waldo’ ones for myself), the new high school graduates hound the dorm décor section, picking up twinkle lights, twin XL sheet sets, and mini fridges to adorn their new shoebox size homes at a college where they will spend their next four years. When I went off to college, five years ago (to live in my own little shoebox), it was my DVD collection that I brought with me that proved to provide the most comfort in my first years away from home. While it has been noted that college shows don’t generally do as well on television as high school programs, these five shows deserve a spot in every college student’s television repertoire:
Favorite Episode - 01X01: "Pilot"
Felicity, created by J.J. Abrams and Matt Reeves, premiered on the WB in 1998 and put Keri Russell on the map, as a high school graduate who makes a momentous last minute decision to attend NYU after learning that the boy she has harbored a secret crush on, Ben, will be attending school there. While her motivation for making such a rash decision seems poor at the outset, it ends up leading to her reclaiming her sense of identity from her parents, who have always expected her to live her life in a particular way. Despite the fact that this show is over 15 years old, the dilemmas that Felicity and her friends face (both lighthearted and heavy) continue to be relatable for current generations. More importantly, it evokes 90s nostalgia in the best way possible.
Favorite Episode – 01X12: “The Great Cappie”
As someone who was in a sorority, Greek holds a very special place in my heart when I look back on my college experience. DVDs of the show were gifted to me by my mom when I first joined my sorority, and provided endless hours of entertainment for my friends and I on lazy Sundays when we were fighting massive hangovers. The show is sweet and the characters lovable. Even if you have no ties to greek life, the show still resonates through the perspective of Rusty, who is completely new to the world, and slowly begins to gain his footing over the course of four seasons.
Favorite ‘College’ Episode – 04X06: “An Affair to Remember”
As I’ve written about before, Gilmore Girls was my go-to for motivation to study in college, and even became the subject of my final research paper. I’ve seen the college episodes more times than I can count, and watching them now makes me ridiculously nostalgic for cold rainy winter days holed up in the library with my film notes and a huge cup of coffee. At the time it wasn’t fun as much as it was stressful and required, but from time to time I miss the deadlines and the rush of adrenaline when it came time to get things done. Plus, Gilmore Girls finally comes to Netflix on Oct. 1, so it’s the perfect time to discover the brilliance that is Lorelai and Rory Gilmore if you haven’t already.
The Best Years
Favorite Episode: 02X05: “Destiny”
The Best Years was a Canadian show that ran on ‘Noggin’ during my final year of high school, and quickly became a favorite, as I got ready to head off to college myself. The show is a ‘teen drama’ that chronicles the college life of (former foster kid) Samantha Best, and her friends in Boston. It’s a cheesy take on the college experience, but also will get you psyched about dorm décor and a new roommate, so it’s worth a watch.
Favorite Episode: 01X01: “Prototype”
The follow up to Freaks and Geeks, Undeclared takes the same relatable approach to the trials of high school and applies it to college. The show follows college freshman Steve Karp and his dorm-mates as they embark on one of the greatest experiences of their lives. However, unfortunately for Steve, his lonely and recently divorced father is tagging along for the ride. Like its predecessor, Undeclared features a bunch of actors (including Charlie Hunnam, Seth Rogen, and Jason Segel) in “before they were famous” roles, and is light heartedly entertaining.