Summer TV Preview: Notable New & Returning Shows

  • Publish Date: May 7, 2015
  • Comments: ↓ 2 user comments

Below, we take a look at the notable new and returning shows premiering between now and Labor Day. Be sure to visit our frequently updated TV Premiere Calendar for a quick list of all announced TV premiere dates for 2015.

10 notable summer series (comedies and dramas)

NEW Another Period Watch clip
Comedy Central, June 23

There have been a number of solid reality show spoofs in the past few years (including Burning Love and Hotwives of Orlando, which returns for a second season later this year), but Comedy Central's Another Period takes the silliness to another level by transporting the setting to the beginning of the 20th century. Created by Riki Lindhome and Natasha Leggero (and produced by Ben Stiller), the series features the same upstairs/downstairs dynamic as Downton Abbey, though it is set in the mansion of a wealthy Rhode Island family. The top-notch cast includes Christina Hendricks, Michael Ian Black, Paget Brewster, David Wain, Brett Gelman, Jason Ritter, and David Koechner in addition to Lindhome and Leggero.

NEW Blunt Talk Watch trailer
Starz, tbd

Family Guy's Seth MacFarlane is 0-for-2 when it comes to live-action TV comedies. But Blunt Talk looks likely to succeed where The Winner and Dads failed. For one thing, Starz has already ordered a second season. So even if it is as awful as Dads (which is a scientific impossibility), you'll still get to see 20 episodes over two years. More encouraging is the name of the show's star: Patrick Stewart, who returns to regular series television for the first time since Star Trek: The Next Generation. He plays a hard-living British newscaster who moves to Los Angeles to host a nightly interview show on a cable news network. Jacki Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook) co-stars as his producer, while Adrian Scarborough (The King's Speech) plays his manservant and partner in debauchery. Richard Lewis, Dolly Wells (Doll & Em), Timm Sharp (Enlightened), Romany Malco, and Ed Begley, Jr. also star. And MacFarlane is only a producer; the series is actually written and created by Jonathan Ames (Bored to Death), and is also produced and directed by UK comedy veteran Tristram Shapeero (Peep Show, Brass Eye, Childrens Hospital).

NEW The Brink Watch trailer
HBO, June 21

Three very different men are all that stand between peace and World War 3 in this dark comedy that caps HBO's new summer Sunday lineup (following True Detective and fellow comedy newcomer Ballers). Tim Robbins plays the U.S. Secretary of State, Jack Black is a low-level foreign service officer, and Pablo Schreiber (best known as Orange Is the New Black's Pornstache) is a top naval fighter pilot, and together they must prevent the unthinkable after a rogue general seizes Pakistan's nuclear arsenal. Created by Weeds writer Roberto Benabib and his brother Kim, and directed by Jay Roach, the 10-episode series also stars Aasif Mandvi (The Daily Show), Carla Gugino, Esai Morales, Maribeth Monroe (Workaholics), Rob Brydon (The Trip), John Larroquette, and Geoff Pierson (Dexter).

NEW The Chris Gethard Show Watch trailer
Fusion | May 28

The self-described "most bizarre and often saddest talk show in New York City" makes the jump from public access television to the fledgling Fusion network (where, theoretically, it could be seen by more people, though we have yet to encounter a home that actually receives Fusion) for a 10-episode run beginning this May (delayed from its previously announced April start). Gethard originated his unusual mix of comedy, music, talk, embarrassment, human fishes, random and celebrity guests, and audience interaction live on stage at the Upright Citizens Brigade Theatre (where he attracted attention for stunts such as a successful Twitter campaign to get Diddy to stop by as a guest) before making the jump to live weekly television in 2011, where his show ran for over 150 episodes. Most of those episodes can still be watched on Gethard's YouTube channel (and Fusion has been airing some of them on Thursday nights).

NEW Grace & Frankie Watch trailer
Netflix, May 8

Streaming this Friday, the latest Netflix original series is a single-camera comedy that reunites Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda, two stars of the classic 1980 comedy 9 to 5. Here, they play long-time rivals who are forced into a closer friendship when their husbands (Martin Sheen, Sam Waterston) declare that they are in love with each other and plan to get married. Brooklyn Decker, June Diane Raphael, Baron Vaughn, and Ethan Embry also star—while Joe Morton, Craig T. Nelson, and Geoff Stults will recur—and the 13-episode series comes from Friends creator Marta Kauffman, along with Howard J. Morris (Home Improvement). Early reviews are generally good.

Hannibal
NBC, June 4

Stream previous season:
Prime iTunes

Quite possibly the only current NBC show that critics actually like—and they like it quite a bit—Hannibal hasn't found much of an audience over its first two seasons, though the few viewers it does have are die-hard fans. As a result, the network has shifted it to the summer for its third season, which could prove to be a canny move—or the serial killer drama's undoing. Hannibal's third season will jump ahead over a year, move away from the past seasons' killer-of-the-week formula, feature several episodes set in Italy, and partially incorporate storylines from the novels Red Dragon and Hannibal Rising, including the addition of new characters like Francis Dolarhyde/Tooth Fairy (Richard Armitage) and Lady Murasaki (Tao Okamoto). Michael Pitt will not be back (though his character will, played by actor Joe Anderson), but despite also appearing as a regular on ABC's Black-ish, co-star Laurence Fishburne will return in a somewhat smaller role, while Gillian Anderson will see her part expanded. Several episodes will be directed by Vincenzo Natali (Splice) and Neil Marshall (The Descent).

Orange Is the New Black Watch trailer
Netflix, June 12

Stream previous season:
Netflix

The acclaimed drama series (yes, drama, its new official genre for Emmy purposes) returns for a 13-episode third season will feature "faith" as a theme and include a new inmate based loosely on Martha Stewart. Adrienne C. Moore (Black Cindy), Dascha Polanco (Dayanara Diaz), and Samira Wiley (Poussey) have been promoted to regulars, while newcomers include Mary Steenburgen, Mike Birbiglia, Ruby Rose, and Blair Brown (Fringe). Lori Petty, who appeared briefly last season, will return for several episodes. However, Jason Biggs (Larry), Lorraine Toussaint (Vee), and Pablo Schreiber (Pornstache) will not appear in the upcoming season. As it did last year, Netflix has already renewed the series prior to the start of the season.

Review
Comedy Central, tbd

Stream previous season:
Prime iTunes Hulu+

Most critics would assign five stars to last year's standout debut season of Andy Daly's series, which proved, among other things, that there is such a thing as too many pancakes. Daly returns as life experience reviewer Forrest MacNeil, and while the network has been tight-lipped about the new season (other than announcing a nonspecific "summer" premiere date), there have been encouraging tweets from Daly, such as this: "I don't think you're prepared for how good season 2 of Review is going to be."

True Detective Watch trailer
HBO, June 21

Stream previous season:
Amazon iTunes

As promised, season 2 of HBO's hit drama anthology will share nothing in common with the acclaimed first season aside from a title and the presence of creator Nic Pizzolatto, who again writes every episode. The eight episodes will take place in Southern California, where the investigation of a "bizarre murder" uncovers a "web of conspiracy and betrayal." Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn, Rachel McAdams, and Taylor Kitsch head a cast that will also feature Rick Springfield, Emily Rios (Breaking Bad), C.S. Lee (Dexter), and Kelly Reilly. Directing duties will be shared this season, and while season 1's Cary Joji Fukunaga will not be back, new directors will include Justin Lin (Fast & Furious 6).

NEW Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp Watch trailer
Netflix, July 17

Stream the original movie:
Amazon iTunes Netflix

Set during the last day of a Maine summer camp in 1981, the comedy film Wet Hot American Summer made little impression with critics and grossed less than $300,000 upon its 2001 release, but it went on to develop quite the cult following in the ensuing years—enough so that it is now being revived as an 8-episode Netflix miniseries. Joining the massive—and surprisingly star-studded—returning cast (which includes Amy Poehler, Bradley Cooper, Janeane Garofalo, Paul Rudd, Michael Ian Black, Elizabeth Banks, Ken Marino, Judah Friedlander, and David Hyde Pierce, to name a few) are newcomers including Jon Hamm, Jason Schwartzman, Chris Pine, Paul Scheer, and Kristen Wiig (again, to name but a few). And, yes, that title isn't lying; the new series is actually a prequel to the original, which makes those stars now way, way, way too old for their parts. If all goes well, there could be more WHAS to come; David Wain (who returns to write and direct the miniseries along with fellow State alum Michael Showalter) has already expressed interest in continuing the series.

Spotlight: 10 new sci-fi, fantasy, and horror shows

NEW Dark Matter Watch trailer
Syfy, June 12

Based on the Dark Horse-published graphic novel by former Stargate writers Joseph Mallozzi and Paul Mullie, the 13-episode Dark Matter is set in outer space, where a the crew of a derelict spacecraft awaken with no memory of who they are or why they are on board. There, they must learn to work together to survive against numerous threats. The mostly Canadian cast features a few Syfy vets, including Anthony Lemke (Lost Girl), Zoie Palmer (Lost Girl), and Roger Cross (Continuum), while Wil Wheaton will also have a recurring role.

NEW Fear the Walking Dead Watch trailer
AMC, tbd

A companion series to AMC's massive hit The Walking Dead from that show's creator, Robert Kirkman, Fear is set in Los Angeles and begins (as did the parent series) at the very beginning of the outbreak. Kim Dickens (Deadwood), Cliff Curtis (Gang Related), Frank Dillane (Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince), Elizabeth Rodriguez (Orange Is the New Black), and Alycia Debnam-Carey (Into the Woods) head the cast, while Sons of Anarchy writer Dave Erickson serves as co-creator and showrunner. Though just six episodes will air this summer (likely beginning in July or August), a second season has already been ordered for 2016.

NEW Humans
AMC, tbd June

Once planned as an Xbox exclusive series, this British-American co-production (it will air on Channel 4 in the UK) is adapted from the Swedish sci-fi series Real Humans by Spooks writers Sam Vincent and Jonathan Brackley. Threading together multiple storylines, Humans takes place in an alternate version of the present day where the latest must-have gadget is "Synth," a human-like robotic servant. One story thread centers on a widower (William Hurt, in his first regular TV role since Damages) who becomes increasingly attached to his synth (Will Tudor, Game of Thrones), whom he treats as his own son. Another looks at a woman (Katherine Parkinson, The IT Crowd) who brings a synth into her family home in the hopes of aiding her struggling marriage, only to suffer those dreaded unintended consequences that come with every scary new technology.

NEW Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell Watch trailer
BBC America, June 13

First announced in 2013 and finally arriving this summer, this seven-episode historical fantasy series is based on Susanna Clarke's acclaimed best-seller of the same name. The story takes place in an alternate version of the early 19th century in which magic is real, though it has been so long since anyone has successfully performed it that the public has ceased believing in it. That changes when a reclusive magician name Mr. Norrell (Eddie Marsan) begins to stun the world with his feats. Bertie Carvel plays the younger, more daring Jonathan Strange, who becomes Norrell's pupil and eventual rival. The book, which took a decade to write, weighs in at nearly 800 pages and contains hundreds of footnotes. The TV version's producers, however, have promised that their version is a somewhat less scholarly, faster-paced, and more dramatic take on the story.

NEW Killjoys Watch trailer
Syfy, June 19

Another space-set summer series for Syfy (which seems to be making up for years of neglecting sci-fi in a hurry), Killjoys comes from Lost Girl creator Michelle Lovretta and centers on a trio of interplanetary bounty hunters who are sworn to remain neutral even as the solar system around them is on the verge of civil war. The cast is led by Aaron Ashmore (Warehouse 13, Veronica Mars).

NEW Scream Watch trailer
MTV, June 30

MTV's new 10-episode horror series (recently advanced from October to June) is based on Wes Craven's 1996 film of the same name, which went on to spawn three sequels. Craven will serve as one of the producers for the series, but running the show is Jill Blotevogel (Eureka, Harper's Island). There have already been several casting changes, but starring is Bex Taylor-Klaus (Arrow), along with Willa Fitzgerald (Alpha House) and Jason Wiles (Third Watch). Bella Thorne will also appear in the opener.

NEW Sense8 Watch trailer
Netflix, June 5

The streaming service's first sci-fi series (unless you count Daredevil) is also the first TV project from Andy and Lana Wachowski (who last gave us Jupiter Ascending), teaming here with Babylon 5 creator J. Michael Straczynski. Their ambitious 10-episode series, which streams in its entirety on June 5th, centers on eight strangers scattered across the globe—each exactly the same age but coming from different cultures and ethnicities—whose minds become telepathically linked after a tragic event, and who then find themselves hunted by an evil organization led by one Mr. Whispers. (If you aren't already prepared for just how crazy this show could be, note that, among other things, the Wachowskis filmed live human births for one episode, while another may feature a "psychic orgy.") The series was shot on location in places as varied as Iceland, Mexico, India, South Korea, and Kenya, and boasts a huge ensemble cast featuring (among others) Daryl Hannah and Naveen Andrews (Lost). The creators have already mapped out a story stretching across 5 seasons, though Netflix hasn't yet committed to anything but this first season.

NEW Wayward Pines Watch trailer
Fox, May 14

The Wachowskis aren't the only slumping filmmakers turning to TV to halt a recent critical slide. Wayward Pines marks the first small-screen project from M. Night Shyamalan, whose name is synonymous with the phrase "critical slide." (In a surprise twist, however, early reviews for Pines are mostly good.) Sounding a bit like a Twin Peaks knock-off, this long-delayed 10-episode "event series" is adapted from Blake Crouch's novel Pines (and its sequels) by The Playboy Club creator Chad Hodge and is set in a seemingly idyllic small town in the Pacific Northwest, where a Secret Service agent (Matt Dillon) begins a missing persons investigation that quickly turns creepy and sinister. The strong cast also features Melissa Leo, Toby Jones, Juliette Lewis, Terrence Howard, Carla Gugino, Reed Diamond, Shannyn Sossamon, Hope Davis, and Justin Kirk.

NEW The Whispers
ABC, June 1

A year ago, when it announced its new programming for the 2014-15 season, ABC gladly revealed the premise for The Whispers (both in its marketing materials and in the screeners it distributed to critics and advertisers), but it has since adopted the unusual strategy of unrevealing it: the network now wants it to be a secret that viewers don't find out until well into the first season. (Apparently, network execs are unaware that Google exists—or that any TV viewer may have ever read Ray Bradbury's short story "Zero Hour," upon which the series is based.) So let's just say that multiple children suddenly have what they think is an imaginary friend named Drill, and Drill is telling them to do some very impolite things to adults. The adaptation comes from Under the Dome writer Soo Hugh (and is produced by Steven Spielberg), and the cast features Lily Rabe, Barry Sloane, and Milo Ventimiglia.

NEW Zoo
CBS, June 30

Yet another adaptation, CBS's latest summer sci-fi series is based on James Patterson's 2012 novel about a global pandemic that causes animals of all kinds to launch violent attacks against humans. James Wolk (Mad Men, The Crazy Ones) heads a cast that also includes Kristen Connolly (House of Cards), Nonso Anozie (Game of Thrones), Billy Burke (Twilight), and Geoff Stults (Enlisted).

Other new and returning shows of note

NEW Aquarius Trailer
NBC, May 28.
New 1960s-set drama from John McNamara (Profit) stars David Duchovny as an L.A. cop whose missing-persons investigation leads him into the web of a small-time cult leader named Charles Manson (Gethin Anthony, best known as Game of Thrones' Renly Baratheon). In an unprecedented move for a broadcast series, all 13 episodes will become available to stream immediately on NBC.com (and the NBC app) following the two-hour premiere on May 28.

NEW The Astronaut Wives Club
ABC, June 18.
Originally expected to air last summer, this adaptation of Lily Koppel's nonfiction book focuses on the wives of America's astronauts in the 1960s (though it expands on Koppel's account to also include the Gemini and Apollo space programs). Adapted by Stephanie Savage (Gossip Girl), the 10-episode series stars JoAnna Garcia Swisher (Once Upon a Time), Odette Annable (House), Desmond Harrington (Dexter), Joel Johnstone (The Newsroom), and Kenneth Mitchell (Jericho). Lone Scherfig (An Education) directs the pilot.

NEW Ballers Trailer
HBO, June 21.
It's Entourage meets Arli$$ (ideally, a bit better than that sounds) as HBO's new sports comedy centers on current and former professional football players in Miami. Dwayne Johnson (in his first regular TV role) and Rob Corddry head the cast, while Peter Berg (Friday Night Lights) directs the pilot and serves as a producer alongside Entourage's Mark Wahlberg.

NEW Between Trailer
Netflix, May 21.
Former Nickelodeon star Jennette McCurdy (Sam & Cat) heads the cast of this Canadian thriller about a town quarantined after a mysterious virus wipes out everyone over the age of 21. (Presumably, that does wonders for the CW's ratings.) New episodes will air weekly for six weeks rather than the traditional all-at-once Netflix formula.

NEW The Carmichael Show Trailer
NBC, August 5.
This six-episode comedy series finds comedian Jerrod Carmichael playing a version of himself, while David Alan Grier and Loretta Devine co-star as his parents. Carmichael co-created the show with Nick Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall).

NEW Clipped Trailer
TBS, June 16.
A Boston barbershop is the setting for the latest sitcom from Max Mutchnick and David Kohan (Will and Grace). Ashley Tisdale, Lauren Lapkus, George Wendt, Mike Castle, and Matt Cook star.

NEW Complications Trailer
USA, June 18.
USA's new drama series from Burn Notice creator Matt Nix stars Jason O'Mara as a disillusioned doctor who, shortly after his own daughter dies, intervenes in a drive-by shooting to save a young boy's life. The gangsters who were targeting the kid aren't too pleased, leading to some—you guessed it—complications in the doctor's life.

NEW Dates
CW, July 9.
Each episode of this British comedic anthology series focuses on a first date between two people who have met via an online dating service, with most of the cast changing from week to week.

Stream previous season:
Amazon iTunes

Defiance
Syfy, June 12.
Lee Tergesen (The Americans) is among the cast additions for the show's 3rd season, which premieres with a special two-hour episode.

NEW Deutschland 83
Sundance, June 17.
Created by American writer Anna Winger and her German TV producer husband Joerg Winger, this eight-episode Cold War spy thriller centers on an East German spy who is serving in the West German army. (Think The Americans, but lighter in tone and a bit soapier.) It will be the first German-language series ever broadcast on American television.

Stream previous season:
Prime

Extant
CBS, July 1.
The summer sci-fi series starring Halle Berry returns for a second season that will feature a number of casting changes, including the additions of David Morrissey (The Walking Dead) and Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Grey’s Anatomy). In fact, other than Berry, only Pierce Gagnon and Grace Gummer will return from last season, though Goran Visnjic and Camryn Manheim should appear in a few episodes. The series will also be under the guidance of new showrunners this year in the form of Elizabeth Kruger and Craig Shapiro (both from Necessary Roughness).

Stream previous season:
Prime iTunes TNT

Falling Skies
TNT, June 28.
This fifth season of the Noah Wyle-starring sci-fi series will be the show's last. Expect to find out why the aliens invaded Earth, among other reveals.

NEW Golan the Insatiable
Fox, May 31.
Six-episode revival of the animated short (now expanded to 30 minutes and airing Sundays at 9:30p) that previously aired as part of Fox's Animation Domination HD in 2013 adds Rob Riggle and Aubrey Plaza to the voice cast.

Stream previous season:
Amazon iTunes Netflix

Halt & Catch Fire Trailer Clip
AMC, May 31.
Critics had some reservations about the first season of AMC's 1980s-set tech culture drama—they found the writing inconsistent and felt the show as a whole was trying too hard to be another Mad Men—but there were aspects they liked, especially the supporting performances by Scoot McNairy, Kerry Bishé, and Toby Huss. Showrunner Jonathan Lisco (Southland) and crew will have a chance to build on what worked in season 1 when the series returns later this month for the first of 10 new episodes.

NEW The Jim Gaffigan Show Trailer
TV Land, tbd.
Originally developed for CBS but eventually picked up by TV Land, this sitcom finds the stand-up comic playing a version of himself as he balances being a husband, father of five, and working comedian. Ashley Williams (How I Met Your Mother), Adam Goldberg, and Michael Ian Black also star.

Stream previous season:
Amazon iTunes

Key & Peele Clip
Comedy Central, July 8.
The acclaimed sketch comedy series shifts to the summer for its fifth season.

Stream previous season:
Amazon iTunes Hulu+

The Last Ship Trailer
TNT, June 21.
The Michael Bay-produced post-apocalyptic drama returns for a second season. Need to catch up? The first season was recently added to Hulu.

Stream previous season:
Amazon iTunes

Maron Trailer
IFC, May 14.
Guest stars for this third season of podcaster/comedian Marc Maron's eponymous series include Patton Oswalt, Ken Marino, Whitney Cummings, Andy Dick, Mary Lynn Rajskub, and Maria Bamford.

Stream previous season:
Amazon iTunes

Married
FX, July 16.
The lesser of FX's two comedies that debuted last summer (with critics greatly preferring You're the Worst, though Married was not without its fans) returns first, with 13 new episodes kicking off in July. Stars Judy Greer, Nat Faxon, Brett Gelman, and Jenny Slate all return (along with recurring guests like Paul Reiser), though Slate will appear less frequently as she develops her own new comedy series that could come to FX next season. Helping to fill the gap is new regular Sarah Burns (Enlightened).

Stream previous season:
Amazon iTunes

Masters of Sex
Showtime, July 12.
Showtime's period drama was not as consistently strong last year as it was in its debut season, according to critics, but it returns this summer for a third season that jumps ahead to an eventful 1966, when Masters and Johnson finally go public with their study. Josh Charles (The Good Wife) joins the drama in a major recurring role as an executive in the scent industry who seeks out the duo's expertise on desire. Also joining the cast is Isabelle Fuhrman (The Hunger Games), while Maggie Grace (Lost) will guest, and season 1 semi-regulars Heléne Yorke and Allison Janney will also return after sitting out all and most (respectively) of last season.

NEW Mr. Robinson Trailer
NBC, August 5. This long-gestating sitcom (which has been in development since 2013, and has switched formats from single- to multi-camera) stars The Office's Craig Robinson as a struggling musician who takes a job as a high school music teacher. Peri Gilpin (Frasier), Spencer Grammer, Meagan Good, and Brandon T. Jackson co-star, and brothers Mark and Robb Cullen (FX's Lucky) serve as producers. NBC committed to just six episodes.

NEW Mr. Robot Trailer
USA, June 24. No, it's not a sci-fi show; instead, USA's latest drama centers on an underground computer hacker group. Christian Slater and Rami Malek head the cast, while Niels Arden Oplev (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) directs the pilot. Look for that first episode—which received a very strong reception when it debuted at SXSW earlier this year—to stream early via VOD, Hulu, Amazon, and a dozen other websites on May 27th.

NEW Odd Mom Out
Bravo, June 8. Bravo's second scripted series (and first half-hour comedy) comes from writer/star Jill Kargman and follows a group of wealthy mothers in New York's Upper East Side. Joanna Cassidy and Abby Elliott also star.

Stream previous season:
Amazon iTunes

Playing House
USA, August 4.
USA's under-the-radar comedy about best friends who try to raise a baby together returns for a second season that will feature an unusual strategy in which each episode will premiere on VOD services a week before it airs on television. Creators/stars Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham (who return, along with co-star Keegan Michael Key) can also be heard on their new Earwolf podcast Womp It Up!, a Comedy Bang! Bang! spin-off.

NEW Poldark Trailer
PBS, June 21. Set in the late 1700s, PBS's latest British drama import is based on the first two Poldark novels by Winston Graham and stars Aidan Turner (The Hobbit). (The novels were previously adapted into a BBC series in the 1970s.) A second season has already been ordered in the UK.

NEW Proof Trailer
TNT, June 16. In this supernatural TNT drama series, Jennifer Beals stars as a troubled doctor who, while dealing with the loss of her son and the breakup of her marriage, begins investigating the prospect of an afterlife and reincarnation (and other death-related phenomena) at the request of a dying tech billionaire (Matthew Modine).

NEW Public Morals
TNT, August 25. TNT's 10-episode period crime drama from writer/director/star Edward Burns (The Brothers McMullen) follows the NYPD's Vice Division in the 1960s. Joining Burns in the cast are Michael Rapaport and Elizabeth Masucci (The Americans), while Brian Dennehy and Neal McDonough will recur.

Stream previous season:
iTunes

Ray Donovan
Showtime, July 12.
Showtime's Jon Voight/Liev Schreiber drama series returns for a third season without creator Ann Biderman, who has stepped down as showrunner. Joining the cast this year are Ian McShane (Deadwood) and Katie Holmes.

Stream previous season:
Adult Swim Amazon iTunes Hulu+

Rick and Morty
Adult Swim, tbd.
Season two of the animated cult sci-fi/comedy hit from Dan Harmon (Community) and Justin Roiland (Adventure Time) is still on track to debut this summer, if its creators' repeated claims on social media are to be believed. Guests in the upcoming 10-episode season are expected to include Jim Rash, Stephen Colbert, and Werner Herzog (!). You can also expect a Rick & Morty comic book in the near future.

NEW Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll
FX, July 16. Though FX recently canceled the Denis Leary-created comedy Sirens after two seasons, Leary is already returning to the network with another comedy that he will also star in. Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll finds the comedian playing an aging former rock star who attempts to get his old band back together 25 years after they fizzled out following the release of their one and only album. John Corbett co-stars. Expect plenty of cameos from actual rockers, including Dave Grohl and Greg Dulli.

MOVIE Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!
Syfy, July 22. While it may not have the craziest premise of any Syfy summer movie (we're looking at you, Lavalantula), Syfy's third Sharknado film does boast big-name talent, as long as you define most of those words loosely. Joining returning stars Ian Ziering and Tara Reid are newcomers such as Bo Derek, David Hasselhoff, Mark Cuban, Frankie Muniz, Jerry Springer, and Ann Coulter. The location shifts to Florida and Washington, D.C. (presumably because even returning screenwriter Thunder Levin couldn't come up with a plausible way to have it rain sharks in Chicago).

NEW Significant Mother
CW, August 3. Yes, it's that rarest of TV happenings: a CW sitcom. (There are actually two this summer, with Dates being the other.) And it's one in which Portland restaurateur Nate (Josh Zuckerman) discovers that his roommate is dating his recently separated mother (Krista Allen) even as her husband (Jonathan Silverman) tries to win her back.

MINISERIES The Spoils Before Dying Trailer
IFC, July 8. A sequel to last year's miniseries spoof The Spoils of Babylon, Dying is once again "based on a novel" by author and wine enthusiast Eric Jonrosh (Will Ferrell). Set in the "seedy underbelly" of L.A.'s jazz scene in the 1950s, the new six-episode comedy (airing across three consecutive nights) stars Michael Kenneth Williams (The Wire), Kristen Wiig, Haley Joel Osment, Maya Rudolph, Michael Sheen, Val Kilmer, Andy Daly, Tim Meadows, Chris Parnell, Marc Evan Jackson, and more familiar faces.

Stream previous season:
Amazon iTunes

The Strain Trailer
FX, tbd.
Max Charles (the kid in American Sniper who wasn't a robot) replaces Ben Hyland as the son to Corey Stoll's Dr. Goodweather in season 2 of Guillermo del Toro's vampire thriller.

Strike Back
Cinemax, July 31.
Cinemax's action series (a co-production with the UK's BSkyB) about an elite British counterterrorism unit will wrap things up with this summer's fourth and final season, which was delayed a year due to an injury to star Sullivan Stapleton.

Stream previous season:
Amazon iTunes

Survivor's Remorse
Starz, tbd.
The LeBron James-produced basketball comedy earned nothing but praise from critics when it debuted last year, and is expected to return for an expanded second season this summer.

MINISERIES Texas Rising
History, May 25. Directed by Roland Joffé (The Killing Fields), History Channel's eight-hour miniseries chronicles the Texas Revolution. Bill Paxton, Brendan Fraser, Ray Liotta, and Kris Kristofferson head a huge ensemble cast that also includes Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Thomas Jane, Michael Rapaport, Crispin Glover, Chad Michael Murray, and Jeff Fahey. The first episode will also screen in movie theaters one week early.

MINISERIES Tut Trailer
Spike, July 19. This rare scripted miniseries from Spike stars Ben Kingsley in a three-night, six-hour look at the life of the ancient Egyptian Pharaoh Tutankhamun (best known to you and Steve Martin as King Tut).

Stream previous season:
Amazon iTunes

Tyrant Trailer
FX, June 16.
One of the few FX drama series not to impress critics upon its debut, Tyrant nevertheless found enough of an audience for its story of an American family caught up in Middle Eastern politics to score a second season. In fact, season 2 will be expanded to 13 episodes.

NEW UnReal
Lifetime, June 1. Created by Marti Noxon (Buffy the Vampire Slayer) and based on Sarah Gertrude Shapiro's short film Sequin Raze, this scripted drama series is set behind the scenes of a dating competition show. Shiri Appleby (Girls), Constance Zimmer (House of Cards), and Craig Bierko (Damages) star.

Stream previous season:
Amazon iTunes Hulu

Welcome to Sweden
NBC, July 19.
The Greg Poehler summer sitcom returns for a second season of Poehler's fish-out-of-water adventures in Sweden. Neve Campbell will join the cast in a recurring role.

Stream previous season:
Amazon iTunes

You're the Worst
FXX, tbd.
Though critics weren't gung ho at first, this edgy relationship comedy from former Weeds writer Stephen Falk quickly won them over during its first-season run last summer on FX, eventually becoming one of the most acclaimed new shows of the year. The series will move to sister network FXX for its expanded sophomore season of 13 episodes, which is expected to debut this summer (though the network has yet to confirm a start date). The premiere will pick up just a few weeks after the events of last year's finale, with Jimmy (Chris Geere) and Gretchen (Aya Cash) now living together.

What will you be watching?

Do any of these summer shows sound good to you? Let us know what you'll be watching in the comments section below, and make sure to visit our TV Premiere Calendar for a list of all upcoming TV premieres.

 

Comments (2)

  • martinex  

    Relatively free of the pressure of Fall TV ratings the summer schedule has proved to be far more interesting than the fall as TV producers seem free to take chances that may have never been green lighted in October.

  • cristane  

    As usual, much thanks for this. Easily my favorite feature on the website.

New in Metacritic Reports

What Our Users Are Talking About

  1. /feature/movies-and-tv-shows-delayed-by-coronavirus Image
    List of Movies, TV Shows, Videogames, and Albums Postponed by the Coronavirus
    March 16, 2020 - 1 comment
    1. LamontRaymond : Damn, you're good at this type of thing. thanks! Read »
  2. /feature/game-publisher-rankings-for-2019-releases Image
    Metacritic's 10th Annual Game Publisher Rankings
    March 10, 2020 - 5 comments
    1. kcamfork : So I wonder what the rankings are considering Square Enix did NOT actually publish Dragon Quest XI S: Echoes of an... Read »
    2. YodaCracker : 3rd place: Nintendo 7th place: Microsoft 22nd place: Sony Yikes for PlayStation! That’s pretty embarrassing. Read »
    3. morrish : to clarify, as an example, this scoring system ranks a publisher with one very good game above someone that puts out... Read »
    4. LamontRaymond : Talk about upsets! Who would have ever thought 505 Games would be publisher of the year? Read »
    5. MGTSLT : Congratulations 505 Games on this incredible achievement Read »
  3. /feature/user-poll-results-best-of-2019 Image
    Metacritic Users Pick the Best of 2019 (and the Decade)
    January 9, 2020 - 11 comments
    1. ty92 : My favourite TV Shows of the Last Decade Spartacus - the first season Blood and Sand was incredible Vikings -... Read »
  4. /feature/critics-pick-top-10-best-albums-of-2018 Image
    Best of 2018: Music Critic Top Ten Lists
    November 26, 2018 - 22 comments
    1. VictoriaMcGlori : Silver Wheel by Adey Bell should really be on this list.  As one listener described, "Adey Bell's soaring,... Read »
  5. /feature/new-free-games-playstation-xbox-pc-switch Image
    This Month's Free Games
    February 25, 2020 - 15 comments
    1. ItsAllOgre5 : Where are the game publisher rankings for 2019? The other years got publisher rankings. Read »
  6. /feature/tv-premiere-dates Image
    2020 Spring/Summer TV Premiere Calendar
    February 26, 2020 - 222 comments
    1. convoyofbeef : Babylon Berlin premieres on Sunday, March 1 in the U.S. (Netflix) Read »