Once upon a time, summer was a place where networks dumped the worst of their worst shows amid a sea of re-runs. But today, summer is a place where some of the most dynamic television programming can be found. However, none of the previous seasons have felt as stacked to the brim with potentially great new series like this year seems to be.
The following TV shows are presented in order of premiere date.
Starring Entourage’s Constance Zimmer, UnREAL takes place on the part of a fictional Bachelor-type show where the real drama unfolds… behind the scenes. Following a successful roll-out of the pilot’s first nine minutes - and praise from critics who've already watched screeners - it’s starting to become clear UnREAL is something special. So, yes, it seems it’s time to give Lifetime a chance to try and become the next FX, Cinemax and AMC.
The latest original series roll-out from Netflix, Sense8, is a serialized drama about eight strangers who suddenly find themselves emotionally and mentally connected following the events of a tragic death. Co-created by Babylon 5’s J. Michael Straczynski and The Wachowskis (who also directed the pilot episode), Sense8 has a lot going for it in terms of creative power, and it’s those names alone that are the driving force for why it’s worth a watch when it releases next week.
While he may have had a quiet release earlier this year with a co-creator credit on The Comedians, Burn Notice creator Matt Nix will make his triumphant return to dramatic television with his new show, Complications. Starring Jason O'Mara, the drama follows an ER doctor that finds himself in the middle of a gang war after saving an innocent child in the aftermath of a drive-by shooting. While its trailers have been somewhat light on plot description, they’ve been interesting enough to make audiences want to see more,. The added bonus of the show being the return of Matt Nix to USA is why this is one to be watching this summer.
The newest cross-production between the U.S. and Canada, Killjoys is the classic kind of pulpy science fiction audiences love. Set in a fictional galaxy known as The Quad, the series follows a society on the brink of an interplanetary war. In this society, there are three bounty hunters living an impartial life in an attempt to chase down various deadly warrants. Distant galaxies, action and it’s a new show from the studio behind Orphan Black (Temple Street). What’s not to love?
With Entourage set to make a splash at the box office, HBO is obviously looking for its next dude-bro based series, and it seems they may have found it in the form of Ballers. Starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Ballers follows a former NFL player looking to revamp his personal and professional life. It’s got The Rock, it’s got a classic Entourage vibe, it’s got Rob Corddry. So yeah, we’ll be watching this one.
A bit of an offbeat selection, The Brink is a new comedy starring Jack Black, Tim Robins and Aasif Mandvi in a story about the United States trying to prevent a global conflict taking place amid the chaos of a geopolitical crisis. Sure, it sounds like an odd idea for a comedy, but the trailers have been pretty solid thus far, and the cast alone makes this one worth recommending.
Anchored by an award-worthy performance from Rami Malek, Mr. Robot is, quite possibly, the best new show coming of the summer. Following the story of a computer hacker tasked with the mission of taking down the company he works for as a cyber security consultant by a mysterious black hat hacker known only as Mr. Robot (Christian Slater), the series has the potential to be something great. But you won’t have to take our word for it as USA has already made the pilot available for viewers to watch ahead of the series premiere.
Another cross-country production – this time between The U.S. and U.K. – Humans is a new drama from AMC about a world where the latest must-have gadget is a lifelike robot servant known as a Synth. Of course, if it has to do with robot servants, it seems pretty obvious that they don’t plan on remaining servants for long. Who doesn’t love a little singularity action with their July 4th cook-outs?
The main reason this one’s making the list is out of a place of curiosity. MTV already proved once that it’s capable of the impossible when it turned Teen Wolf into a legitimate supernatural drama with a rabid fan base not seen since, well, Supernatural. Given that, we have to wonder if they can make lightning strike twice with their series adaptation of Scream. Fingers are crossed for the best, but hope is currently at a place of cautious optimism.
Featuring Denis Leary’s first return to the small screen since the conclusion of Rescue Me, Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll follows the adventures of a rocker well past his prime as he attempts to find fame once again. Denis Leary and FX go together like Shawn Ryan and FX. If they’re teaming up, we’re tuning in. Leary has serious chops when allowed to roam free (as already proven by the recently canceled Sirens, where he served as co-creator and executive producer), so a chance to see that dynamic on TV again is something more than welcomed.
Wet Hot American Summer
What can be said about this one that hasn’t already been said? After nearly a decade-and-a-half since the release of the original 2001 film, Wet Hot American Summer is getting a sequel in the form of a Netflix original series. Featuring a cast of heavy hitters including Bradley Cooper, Janeane Garofalo, Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Elizabeth Banks, and David Hyde-Pierce, it's hard to find a reason this one isn’t worth watching, just for the sake of seeing whether or not the creative team actually managed to pull it off.
To close out the summer, Starz is taking viewers on what they hope is a five-year (or more) mission with the man, the myth, the legend that is Patrick Stewart in the form of a new comedy where the former Star Trek star plays a British newscaster that transitions to America to host a talk show. Blunt Talk features a foul-mouthed, drug-taking Stewart and an executive producer credit belonging to Seth MacFarlane. Yes, this will be one crazy way to close out the summer season come August.
Fear The Walking Dead
While there are rumors floating around that AMC is setting the premiere of its spinoff to The Walking Dead for August, we still can't confirm when the new show will be starting beyond saying "it's coming this summer." However, it gets a spot on the list regardless because, no matter how many ways we find ourselves poking at the sometimes problematic original series, it can't be denied that it's still one of the most popular shows on television, and it will be interesting to see if its singular premise of a zombie apocalypse can be extended into a multi-series franchise.
The most important thing to notice about this list is, save for the exceptions of Wet Hot American Summer, Scream, Humans and Fear The Walking Dead, few of these shows are based on existing IP or past franchises. These are all wholly original ideas – which is something this past fall and spring felt very devoid of. This year, summer is giving the traditional season a serious run for its money, and that’s totally fine because we’re going to need some major entertainment to go along with our A/C-assisted time spent at home during the coming heat waves.
Which of the series above do you plan on watching? Are there any we missed? Let us know in the comments below.