Highlights of the summer TV season
Here are some highlights of the summer TV season, where the biggest news — outside of "The Newsroom" on HBO and the return of "Dallas" — involves the end of the award-winning shows "The Closer," "Damages" and "Breaking Bad."
The New York Times
Tonight in Prime Time
The list of the new television shows arriving this summer is a long one, with perhaps the season's biggest news — outside of "The Newsroom" on HBO — involving award-winning shows on their final go-rounds: "The Closer," "Damages," "Breaking Bad."
In the wake of "Downton Abbey," many of the season's more interesting-sounding shows are British imports — but it isn't all Emmy winners and foreign accents; the summer also brings new shows starring Charlie Sheen, Bristol Palin and Snooki, as well as the return of "Dallas."
Here are some highlights (debut dates are subject to change):
"Thorne" (Encore, June 12). David Morrissey stars in this two-part crime drama from Britain's Sky satellite-TV network.
"Dallas" (TNT, June 13). Josh Henderson and Jesse Metcalfe play the squabbling sons of oilmen J.R. and Bobby Ewing in this revival of the hugely popular nighttime soap, back after a 21-year hiatus.
"Longmire" (A&E, Sundays). This contemporary Western stars Robert Taylor ("The Matrix") as a widowed frontier sheriff who looks and acts the part — when he's not using a French press.
"Saving Hope" (NBC, Thursdays). This Canadian show follows a big-deal surgeon (Michael Shanks) who lies in a coma after a taxi crash, but his spirit walks around the hospital.
"Bristol Palin: Life's a Tripp"(Lifetime, June 19). America's most famous pregnant teenager lets us in on her single-mom life in this reality series.
"Snooki & JWoww" (MTV, June 21). The Mutt and Jeff of "Jersey Shore," Jennifer Farley (JWoww) and Nicole Polizzi (Snooki), terrorize Atlantic City in this spinoff series.
"The Newsroom" (HBO, June 24). Aaron Sorkin returns to television with a 10-episode drama about — what else? — television. Jeff Daniels plays a cable-news anchor, with colleagues played by Emily Mortimer, Dev Patel, Sam Waterston and Jane Fonda.
"Anger Management" (FX, June 28). Charlie Sheen resurfaces, playing another funhouse-mirror version of himself: a former baseball player whose anger issues derailed his career; now he's a therapist. What could go wrong?
"Endeavour" (PBS, July 1). The new season of "Masterpiece Mystery!" begins with the pilot episode of a series that fans of British mysteries have been anticipating and dreading: the prequel to "Inspector Morse."
"The Closer" (TNT, July 9). The last season of one of the most successful dramas in cable history limps to an end with six final episodes. Kyra Sedgwick's Deputy Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson will say farewell on Aug. 13, immediately followed by the premiere of the spinoff "Major Crimes."
"Breaking Bad" (AMC, July 15). The story of Walter White, former high-school chemistry teacher turned meth cook turned murderer, enters its fifth and last season, though there's a catch: The "season" is divided into two eight-episode sections, and the second won't appear until next summer.
"Political Animals" (USA, July 15). This six-hour miniseries stars Sigourney Weaver as a former first lady and failed presidential candidate who is now secretary of state (don't call her Hillary).