Well television fans, we are on the cusp of new and returning summer programming. There was a time not so long ago that summer TV was a wasteland of reruns, celebrity reality TV, one-off game shows and shows that had no hope of ever making the fall lineup. My, how times have changed! Well….actually we still have all of those but the original programming is leaps and bounds ahead of previous summers. Let’s take a look at 4 must see shows from May through August along with a couple wild card programs that don’t have an official air date thrown in for good measure.
I’ll admit I am a sucker for a good cooking competition show. Gordon Ramsey returns to find America’s best amateur home cook in Fox’s Masterchef. The new season begins on May 20th but without fan favorite judge, General Zod…I mean Joe Bastianich. Christina Tosi is the new kid on the block bringing some feminine flair to the panel. Crazy mystery box challenges and pressure tests will ensue and a new champion will emerge. The new show to watch in the month of May will be the David Duchovny vehicle Aquarius, debuting on NBC May 28th. Set against the backdrop of late 1960’s Los Angeles, Aquarius follows Detective Sam Hodiak (Duchovny) as he investigates the abduction and possible homicide of a 16-year-old girl. He soon realizes that the girl has become a disciple of a bunch of drifters led by a charismatic madman. Charles Manson.
The most anticipated premiere in June is HBO’s second season of True Detective, HBO’s anthology series which airs on June 21st. This season will center around Detective Ray Velcoro (Colin Farrell) and is joined by an all-star cast that includes Vince Vaughn and Rachel McAdams. But I can’t wait for the third season of the cult following Hannibal which returns June 4th on NBC. Mads Mikkelsen brings Hannibal to life with a jaw dropping performance. The cannibalistic doctor is on the run in Europe with Bedelia Du Maurier (Gillian Anderson). Trying to blend into society by working at the Palazzo Capponi museum, Hannibal finds his usual cravings come to bear once again. The first two seasons were must-see television, there is no reason to believe that the third season will show any let down.
While I am sure that Sharknado will be a ratings bonanza for the Sci Fi Channel on July 22nd the real deal for July will be Showtime’s Masters of Sex. The season 3 premiere airs on July 12th and continues the story of Dr. William Masters (Michael Sheen) and Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan) as they move forward with their research of human sexuality at Washington University in St. Louis. We last left Bill & Virginia trying to get their research televised only to have their work derailed by the competition. Season 3 will highlight Virginia’s impending divorce and will also spell the end to the hotel suite trysts that her and Bill have engaged in and put their relationship out in the open. July 17th will also see the season of Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp coming to Netflix. The prequel to the iconic 2001 film will tell the tale of how the campers came together and sports an A list cast including Paul Rudd and Janeane Garofalo.
Late summer brings a halt to most of the more attractive titles but one that caught my eye for August is Mr. Robinson. NBC is giving a limited 6 episode run to Craig Robinson, the hilarious comedian from such films as Hot Tub Time Machine, This is the End and of course television’s The Office. Here he plays a struggling musician who takes on a job as a substitute music teacher. He tries to juggle his dream with paying the bills while under the watchful eye of the school Principal (Peri Gilpin) and trying to win the heart of the attractive English teacher (Meagan Good) Mr. Robinson will debut August 5th.
The 2 aces in the hole are Fear The Walking Dead, the AMC companion show to the cable network’s mega hit The Walking Dead and FX network’s vampire thriller The Strain. Fear the Walking Dead will tell the tale of the infection from a West Coast point of view. Travis (Cliff Curtis) and Madison (Kim Dickens) are two divorced school teachers that plan to marry each other when the outbreak occurs. What will set this drama apart from its parent show is that the drama will focus on families coming together in the most extreme scenario as opposed to a bunch of strangers slowly becoming a group.
The Strain enters its second season opening up shortly after the Master escaped. Ephraim (Corey Stoll) and his gang along with Gus (Miguel Gomez) agree to join The Ancients, a counsel of vampires that are looking to stop the Master as well for going rogue. Season 2 will see an expanded role for Gus as a vampire hunter and will showcase Ephraim’s infected estranged wife Kelly (Natalie Brown) as she becomes the Master’s new right hand.
Summer is for lovers. So snuggle up on the couch with your favorite person or pet and enjoy everything that the networks have to offer!