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The Lowdown on 14 Shows

Summertime used to be a wasteland filled with reruns. Now that the networks are competing for advertising dollars year-round, and now that on-demand services are creating new and inventive shows no matter the time of year, you can become hooked on a lot of cool new shows. Not only that, but quite a few favorites are returning for new seasons. Here are profiles on 14 series, nine of which are premiering their first seasons and five are returning.

NEW SHOWS

 

The Astronaut Wives Clubtv-preview_Astronaut-Wives-Club

This show was originally scheduled to premiere in 2013, but various changes pushed it back to this year. Based on the Lily Koppel book of the same name, a group of women in the 1960s are united due to their husbands’ unique jobs. Look for Tampa native Joanna Garcia, who you may remember from Reba. Premieres June 18 on ABC.

 

 

Ballerstv-preview_ballers

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson transitions from movies to television in this dramedy which follows the lives of current and former pro athletes, the people who breathlessly report on their lives, and the people who love them. Produced by Mark Wahlberg. Premieres June 21 on HBO.

 

 

 

Anothtv-preview_another-perioder Period

Natasha Leggero and Riki Lindholme star in a comedy about two debutantes in turn-of-the-20th-century Rhode Island, who only care about their looks and becoming famous. It was a lot more difficult to be so vapid back then…the Kardashians would not have been able to fit in! Premieres June 23 on Comedy Central.

 

Mr. Robottv-preview_mr-robot

This summer is filled with shows about technology, but this one stands out from the rest. Christian Slater stars as the titular Mr. Robot, a manipulative anarchist who preys upon a talented computer programmer with low self-worth with the intent of recruiting him into a hacking ring. Premieres June 24 on USA.

 

Screamtv-preview_scream

The Scream movie franchise makes the move to television with this series, which begins with a YouTube video that causes problems for a teenage girl and threatens to dredge up the murderous past of a sleepy small town. Wes Craven returns to produce the franchise’s newest update. Premieres June 30 on MTV.

 

Zootv-preview_zoo

Based on the novel by James Patterson, the main premise of Zoo is the rush to prevent a possible animal uprising on Earth. A zoologist in Africa must figure out why animals are attacking humans at such a high rate before the human race is truly in danger. Premieres June 30 on CBS.

 

Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camptv-preview_american-summer

A prequel to the 2001 cult film, this series boasts over two dozen well-respected comedians all coming together to make perhaps one of the funniest sitcoms you’re going to see all year, featuring the talents of Amy Poehler, Janeane Garofalo, and Molly Shannon, among others. Premieres all eight episodes July 31 on Netflix.

 

A Wicked Offertv-preview_wicked-offer

This is a game show that can be funny or not-so-much, depending on who’s the butt of the joke. People compete to win cash prizes by completing secret tasks and playing jokes on family, friends, and even innocent bystanders. The more they can get away with, the more they win. Premieres August 5 on The CW.

 

Blunt Talktv-preview_blunt-talk

Advice always sounds better with a British accent, but do those people really know what they’re doing? Patrick Stewart stars in this series as a journalist who moves over to America to host a moralizing talk show, despite the fact that he barely has his own life together. Produced by Seth MacFarlane. Premieres August 22 on Starz.

 

RETURNING FAVORITES

 

True Detectivetv-preview_true-detective

One of the most impressive programs on television is returning for a second season. This season’s story is set in California and revolves around a police officer who stumbles upon a crime scene and is enveloped in an investigation and lots of intrigue. Premieres June 21 on HBO.

 

Big Brothertv-preview_big-brother

Big Brother is one of those dependable shows that always feels familiar. The show is so paint-by-numbers that you can predict which challenges will be played each week, but each season’s cast is so different that you can’t predict what the players’ next moves will be. Premieres June 24 on CBS.

 

Extanttv-preview_Extant

Originally planned as a stand-alone miniseries, Extant was so popular that CBS brought it back for another season. Last we left astronaut Molly Woods (Halle Berry), unexpectedly pregnant with an alien baby, Ethan (Pierce Gagnon) sacrificed himself so she could live. Now what’s next? Premieres July 1 on CBS.

 

Masters of Sextv-preview_masters-of-sex

Fast forward to 1966. The country is going through a social revolution and that does include changes in sexual attitudes. Now Masters and Johnson can share more of their findings without having to deal with a scandal afterwards. Watch for Allison Janney, who returns this season. Premieres July 12 on Showtime.

 

Playing Housetv-preview_Playing-House

This series was one of last year’s sleeper hits. Maggie and Emma, best friends forever, continue to raise Maggie’s baby, all the while having to deal with drama from Maggie’s family and her ex-husband. Premieres August 4 on USA, with each episode available for viewing one week earlier on-demand.

Did you read our summer movie preview and our arts and entertainment preview