Summer TV: 62 new shows
A list of series premiering between May 27 and Labor Day.
Los Angeles Times
Summer season! Once you taxed us with nothing more unmissable than “Dean Martin Presents the Golddiggers in London.” Now, as if to prove something to the fall, winter and spring, you’re all, like, here’s Halle Berry presented by Steven Spielberg; Clive Owen in a series directed entirely by Steven Soderbergh; a Guillermo del Toro vampire thing; Ian McKellen and Derek Jacobi in a sitcom.
And when you ease off on the quality, you overrun us with quantity. Have a heart! Take a vacation!
Here are only some of the new series premiering between now and Labor Day.
Tuesday, May 27
“The Night Shift” (NBC): Doctors with issues stay up late, fighting bureaucratic indifference to deliver the kind of health care only the hard-partying and battle-trained can give. Sample dialogue: “Did you not learn anything from being kicked out of the Army?”
“The Wil Wheaton Project” (Syfy): Former “Star Trek: The Next Generation” designated teen comments on the week in genre, games, green screen.
Friday, May 30
“Crossbones” (NBC): John Malkovich is a white-bearded Blackbeard in a philosophical pirate show from Neil Cross (“Luther”).
Saturday, May 31
“Sing Your Face Off” (ABC): Not literally. Jon Lovitz, Lisa Rinna, Sebastian Bach and others are coached and dressed to simulate iconic stars of song. Debbie Gibson and Darrell Hammond (hold on, I am imagining them as a couple) sit in judgment; John Barrowman is thine goodly host.
Sunday, June 1
“Halt and Catch Fire” (AMC): Period tale finds Lee Pace and Scoot McNairy hacking their way into the computer business in the early 1980s, so there’s your soundtrack. Steve Wozniak has stated his approval.
Monday, June 2
“Copycat” (MTV): Citizen-singers go tonsil to tonsil with their best impressions of singers you know.
“WebHeads” (Nickelodeon): Carlos PenaVega (“Big Time Rush”) hosts an Internet-themed game show for kids, featuring stunts and slime.
“Ladies of London” (Bravo): A cast of mostly American women keep Britain classy. You know the drill.
Tuesday, June 3
“Famous in 12” (The CW): In this TMZ-sprung self-fulfilling prophecy — or “social experiment,” as the network puckishly calls it — a family of nobodies will attempt to become a family of somebodies by starring in a reality show about a family of nobodies attempting to become somebodies.
“Siberian Cut” (Discovery): American loggers in Russia. Why is this not called “Cold War”?
Wednesday, June 4
“Jennifer Falls” (TV Land): TV Land goes boldly into the late 20th century by fielding its first single-camera comedy. Jaime Pressly stars as an ex-executive living with her mother (Jessica Walter) and working in a bar for her brother (“My Name Is Earl” cast mate Ethan Suplee). Not necessarily a metaphor for starring in a sitcom on TV Land.
“Untying the Knot” (Bravo): Divorcing couples divvy it up in yet another Bravo show about rich people and their ways.
“The Message” (BET): Witness-filled documentary series charts 40 years of hip-hop. (And you don’t stop.)
Saturday, June 7
“Power” (Starz): “Good Wife” vet Courtney Kemp Agboh created this series about a New York City drug lord (Omari Hardwick) trying to go legit in the nightclub business, possibly not as easy as it sounds. 50 Cent, wearing his Curtis Jackson suit, is an executive producer.
“Kid President: Declaration of Awesome” (Hub): Small-fry inspirational-comical YouTube speaker Robby Novak gets a TV series. (He has no actual executive powers, but he has met the real president.)
Monday, June 9
“Murder in the First” (TNT): Taye Diggs and Kathleen Robertson are San Francisco homicide detectives on a seasonlong case; Tom Felton (little Draco Malfoy) is a Silicon Valley panjandrum, involved.
Tuesday, June 10
“Chasing Life” (ABC Family): A young reporter learns she has cancer in a series adapted from Mexico’s “Terminales.”
Wednesday, June 11
“Big Smo” (A&E): Eponymous Tennessee “hick-hop” artist allows the cameras of reality to follow him around, just another down-home family man with a recording contract.
Thursday, June 19
“Masterpiece Mystery: The Escape Artist” (PBS/KCTS): David Tennant and Ashley Jensen wear their own accents in a dark thriller about a Scottish barrister who finds himself in need of a defense attorney.
“Seven Deadly Sins” (Showtime): Morgan Spurlock, who ate himself fat for you in “Super Size Me,” revisits gluttony and gets acquainted with lust, greed, sloth, pride, sneezy and dopey in this documentary anthology.
“Funniest Wins” (TBS): Cross-genre comedy competition hosted by Damon Wayans. It’s not just about stand-up anymore.
“Dominion” (Syfy): More summertime post-apocalypse, with angels. A sequel to the 2010 movie “Legion.”
Saturday, June 21
“Almost Royal” (BBC America): Sacha Baron Cohen-style prankumentary in which pretend aristocrats (Ed Gamble, Amy Hoggart) tour the USA: “Is the Playboy Mansion where that old man lives with his daughters?”
Sunday, June 22
“Brazil With Michael Palin” (PBS/KCTS): The peripatetic Python takes the measure of the nation. Piranha sashimi in Episode 4.
“Rising Star” (ABC): Real-time voting and a 30-foot-high curtain are the hooks in the summer’s thousandth singing competition. Josh Groban, Brad Paisley, Kesha and Ludacris are the stars who’ll make you ask, “Do they really need this thing?”
“The Musketeers” (BBC America): The swashbuckling French Four, as per Dumas père. (More or less.) Forthcoming Twelfth Doctor Who Peter Capaldi plays Cardinal Richelieu.
“The Last Ship” (TNT): Michael Bay, the American Antonioni, proffers this tale of global pandemic. Trailers portend exploding helicopters, raised voices, ice, a ship.
Tuesday, June 24
“Tyrant” (FX): Middle East-set thriller in which a dictator’s son brings his American family home to visit at precisely the wrong time.
“Motor City Masters” (truTV): “Project Runway” with cars. Or “Top Chef” with cars. Anyway, cars!
Wednesday, June 25
“Taxi Brooklyn” (NBC): The Luc Besson “Taxi” franchise goes small screen. Chyler Leigh is a New York police detective with a suspended license; Jacky Ido is a man with a cab. Must I spell it out?
“Young & Hungry” (ABC Family): Emily Osment is a personal chef to tech millionaire Jonathan Sadowski in a comedy about those people who are ruining San Francisco.
“Mystery Girls” (ABC Family): Former TV co-stars Tori Spelling and Jennie Garth (“Beverly Hills, 90210”) play former TV co-stars — turned detective.
Friday, June 27
“Girl Meets World” (Disney Channel): Long-awaited follow-up to 1990s tent-pole “Boy Meets World” focuses on the preteen daughter (Rowan Blanchard) of your old friends Cory and Topanga (Ben Savage and Danielle Fishel, still). Expect next sequel sometime around 2028.
Sunday, June 29
“Reckless” (CBS): Hot cops and lawyers show, with a South Carolina setting. Feel the humidity.
“Vicious” (PBS/KCTS): Derek Jacobi and Ian McKellen in a multicamera sitcom as a bickering gay couple in a half-century relationship. These men have played Hamlet. (And Lear.)
“The Leftovers” (HBO): Damon Lindelof is behind this drama in which 2 percent of the world’s population suddenly disappears. Liv Tyler, Christopher Eccleston and Justin Theroux are among those left behind.
Tuesday, July 8
“Finding Carter” (MTV): Kathryn Prescott plays a young woman who learns that she was kidnapped as a child. Well, there are problems.
Wednesday, July 9
“Extant” (CBS): In this Steven Spielberg production, Halle Berry is an astronaut who returns home pregnant after a year alone in space. Her other child, apparently, is a robot.
Thursday, July 10
“Welcome to Sweden” (NBC): Amy Poehler’s brother, Greg, stars as a man who moves to Sweden for love in a sitcom based on himself. Illeana Douglas and Patrick Duffy play his parents. Sister Amy, Will Ferrell, Gene Simmons and Aubrey Plaza poke their heads in to say hello.
“Working the Engels” (NBC): Andrea Martin of “SCTV” and Broadway fame plays a woman running her late husband’s law firm. The first Canadian-American half-hour sitcom, reportedly, which you are free to call progress.
Sunday, July 13
“Game of Crowns” (Bravo): Real housewives of beauty pageants.
“The Strain” (FX): Guillermo del Toro co-created (and directs the initial episodes of) this vampirism-as-virus story; Corey Stoll is the CDC man on the case in the city that conveniently never sleeps. David Bradley and Sean Astin are in it; Carlton Cuse (“Lost”) runs the show.
Monday, July 14
“Backpackers” (The CW): Best buds Ryan and Brandon (Noah Reid and Dillon Casey) travel the world in search of Ryan’s fiancée. Not a reality series, though you could totally sell that.
“Seed” (The CW): Slacker sperm donor meets the families. Also not a reality series, either, but you could totally sell that too.
Tuesday, July 15
“The Hotwives of Orlando” (Hulu): Casey Wilson, Angela Kinsey and Kristen Schaal converge in Paul Scheer’s intentionally funny re-creation of one of those Bravo things.
“Matador” (El Rey): “I Spy,” with a soccer star (Gabriel Luna) instead of a tennis bum as the secret agent. Network head Robert Rodriguez directs the first episode.
Wednesday, July 16
“The Divide” (WE tv): Richard LaGravenese (“Behind the Candelabra”) pens the first scripted series from WE tv (you were waiting for this, I know) wherein case worker Marin Ireland and D.A. Damon Gupton tangle over a death-row inmate.
Thursday, July 17
“Married” (FX): Life-is-tough comedy promisingly cast: Nat Faxon, Judy Greer, Jenny Slate, Brett Gelman.
“You’re the Worst” (FX): Aya Cash and Chris Geere are horrible people in love.
“Rush” (USA): “Ray Donovan” meets “Royal Pains.” Tom Ellis is a Hollywood doctor — “renegade physician,” it says here — who swoops in discreetly and expensively when Hollywood bigwigs come down with things they can’t go to Cedar’s for.
“Satisfaction” (USA): Troubled-relationship drama picks up Matt Passmore from “The Glades,” marries him to Stephanie Szostak. But for how long?
Tuesday, July 22
“Food Fighters” (NBC): The reputation of home cooking is at stake as amateur chefs go spatula-to-spatula against pros. Money is involved.
Sunday, July 27
“Manhattan” (WGN): Manhattan is the project and Los Alamos the place in this birth-of-the-bomb period piece, another hot science series from Sam Shaw (“Masters of Sex”). The second original from WGN America, a corporate cousin of the Los Angeles Times.
Wednesday, July 30
“Penn & Teller: Fool Us” (The CW): Other magicians attempt to baffle Penn & Teller. It happens sometimes.
Thursday, July 31
“The Honourable Woman” (Sundance): Maggie Gyllenhaal, Stephen Rea, Lindsay Duncan and Janet McTeer in a BBC-produced sprawling international spy thriller, written and directed by Hugo Blick (“Marion and Geoff”).
“The Quest” (ABC): LARPing (live action role-playing) gets a game show. I see heads exploding over this.
Friday, Aug. 1
“Masters of Illusion” (The CW): Dean Cain magically reappears on television as the host of The CW’s other magic-themed summer series.
Monday, Aug. 4
“Bachelor in Paradise” (ABC): “Bachelor Pad” on an island.
Friday, Aug. 8
“The Knick” (Cinemax): Steven Soderbergh, who has apparently retired from movies to make television shows, directs the whole of this turn-of-the-20th century hospital drama. Clive Owen, with a caterpillar on his lip, is the surgeon at the center of it.
Saturday, Aug. 9
“Outlander” (Starz): Time traveling romance with Caitriona Balfe as a World War II army nurse who finds herself in Scotland in 1743, like you do, and married in both eras. (That is probably legal, I’m thinking.) Ronald D. Moore adapts Diana Gabaldon’s best-selling novels.
Wednesday, Aug. 13
“Legends” (TNT): Sean Bean may be confused as an FBI agent with a literal identity crisis, but at least they won’t be killing him off in the first season.
Sunday, Aug. 24
“Breathless” (PBS/KCTS): The conflicted swinging spirits of “Mad Men,” “Masters of Sex” and “The Hour” converge on this series set in the gynecology department of a London hospital in 1961, back before we knew what we know now.