You Are Now Entering Shondaland: Binge at Your Own Risk

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You know you’ve made it in TV when you’ve got three shows on the air, a stable of talented actors and actresses, and you’re basically a household name. Enter: Shonda Rhimes, the woman behind three of the hottest shows on television. It all started with Grey’s Anatomy, where the world was introduced to Meredith Grey, McDreamy and more juicy backstage drama than anyone could conceivably keep up with. Since then, “Shondaland” has taken over TV, with her strong female characters and compulsively watchable stories. Here are the three Shonda shows you should be bingeing—and one book!—to keep you occupied before the season premieres next week.


Oh, Scandal. You complete me. Even when your storylines are ridiculously over the top, and the will-they-or-won’t-they romances (of which there are several) keep dangling promises that never fully deliver, I’m still devoted to you. I’m firmly in camp Sexy President, just for the record. Sure, he’s married and pretty manipulative, BUT THAT CLOSET SCENE! These two could light fires with that chemistry. And Olivia Pope is the most badass fixer in all of Washington, never losing her cool even when kidnapped by an evil vice president. It’s a pretty tangled web at this point, but I can’t wait to see what new insane adventures the gang gets up to in Season 5.

Grey’s Anatomy

I’m not going to lie: I’m pretty fed up with this show. But before the 12th season airs with a—spoiler alert!—dead McDreamy and an even-more-depressed Meredith (yay!), take this chance to binge on the first few seasons. Remember how good it was in the beginning? Before airplane crashes and car crashes and ferry crashes turned it into melodramatic soup? OK, so maybe it was always melodramatic soup—but it used to be fun melodrama, and pretty heart wrenching as well. McDreamy’s secret wife! Izzie and Denny’s heartbreaking romance! Meredith is Christina’s person! This show used to be so great. Let’s all binge and remember the good times.

How to Get Away with Murder

This might be the best show that I’m not actually watching. Rhimes is the executive producer this time, bringing us Viola Davis as Annalise Keating, a criminal defense attorney and a professor who teaches a class she likes to call “How to Get Away with Murder.” Every year, she picks her top students to become her interns. They’re only supposed to learn the law but no one counted on the murders, suspicions and lies. Everything I hear about this show is amazing, from Davis’ performance to the signature Rhimes twisted storylines. We should binge this one together before Season 2 airs on September 24.

Recommended reading:

Year of Yes: How to Dance it Out, Stand in the Sun, and Be Your Own Person, Shonda Rhimes (Simon & Schuster; November 10, 2015)

In June it was announced that Rhimes is writing her first book, a nonfiction self-help/memoir, where she chronicles her year of saying “yes.” Based on a challenge from her sister, Rhimes spent one year agreeing to anything she was asked—and the results were transformative. Now she’s teaching readers how to embrace the power of “yes” as well and I personally can’t think of anyone better to take advice from. I can’t wait for the book’s November 10 release.


Rachel Carter grew up surrounded by trees and snow and mountains. She graduated from the University of Vermont and Columbia University, where she received her MFA in nonfiction writing. She is the author of the So Close to You series with Harperteen. These days you can find her working on her next novel in the woods of Vermont.

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