When Caitlin McFarland and Emily Gipson founded the ATX Television Festival in 2012, they knew there was some great TV out there, but they didn’t think it was being fully celebrated.
“We didn’t see it in the festival landscape the way that we wanted to. And so we created this sort of TV camp for grown-ups, if you will,” McFarland told Texas Standard.
Back then, they were relying on digital video recorders to capture their favorite shows. Now, there’s a proliferation of TV options available the old way and through streaming.
“‘House of Cards’ was just about to stream on Netflix. It was the first original show that was going to be on a streaming service. And now, 10 years later, that’s all we have,” Gipson said.
But that means it’s also easy to miss something.
“It’s hard given our job to say this, but I do somewhat think there’s too much,” McFarland said. “There’s just this overwhelming amount.”
That’s why McFarland and Gipson have made it part of their mission to share some of their current favorite shows.
Here’s what they recommend watching now:
– “Upload,” Amazon Prime Video: McFarland is currently watching season 2.
– “The Dropout,” HULU: McFarland says she’s also “obsessed” with this show, that dramatizes the real-life story of Theranos founder, and convicted fraudster, Elizabeth Holmes. Liz Heldens, who wrote and produced for “Friday Night Lights,” is executive producer of this show. McFarland says “The Dropout” stands out among the other shows out now about disgraced tech company founders.
– “Atlanta,” FX/HULU: It has been four years since the last episode aired, and stars the show’s creator, Donald Glover. Gipson recommends watching the latest season, which premiered at SXSW.
“It’s just a great show that people are talking about, but I feel like they may miss that it’s coming back because there’s so much else happening,” she said.
– “The Circus,” Showtime: This show, which airs on Showtime on Sundays, distills the week’s news in 30 minutes.
– “Welcome to Flatch,” FOX: This documentary-style scripted show has a “Parks and Recreation” feel to it, Gipson says.
“It’s light and it’s fun, and just has a good, small-town feeling,” she said.
– “Somebody Somewhere,” HBO Max: Another enjoyable, 30-minute watch that Gipson says brings viewers “a little brightness.”
After two years of virtual-only festivals, this year’s ATX TV Fest will be a hybrid event, and it runs June 2-5. Attendees can by passes to attend in person or virtually. And the festival includes screenings, Q&As and cast reunions for shows like “Scrubs” and “Parenthood.”
“We’re kind of fan and industry mix, and we get super insider. But we just celebrate the medium,” McFarland said. “Discover some new things, but celebrate some of our old favorites, and hopefully do so over a margarita or Topo Chico.”