In today’s era of streaming and binge watching, a specific time for less viewed/lower-quality TV no longer exists. Throughout television history, summer served as that unwatched three-month period. This is the season when families go on vacation and the major television networks air re-runs, celebrity-filled game shows, and sitcoms destined for cancellation.
However, with the onslaught of new and returning programming from streaming giants Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon – this summer looks to have a number of shows worth your time.
Whether it’s a returning favorite (Stranger Things, Big Little Lies), revival series (Veronica Mars), or a docu-series on Wu-Tang Clan – one of these 15 shows is sure to make it on your summer queue.
Dead To Me – May 3 (Netflix)
Dead To Me, a new dark comedy from Will Ferrell & Adam McKay’s Gloria Sanchez Productions, stars Christina Applegate as a widow desperate to solve her husband’s murder, while her new friend (Linda Cardellini) from support group hides a potential life-altering secret. And when the new friend moves in with her, “misery just found company.” The 10-episode series also stars James Marsden, Brandon Scott, and Ed Asner. Written by Liz Feldman (2 Broke Girls), the trailer paints a show equal parts comedy and suspense drama, similar to current hits like Barry and Ozark.
May 10 – Wu Tang: Of Mics and Men (Showtime)
After premiering the first two episodes at Sundance Film Festival, Sacha Jenkins’ four-part Wu-Tang Clan docuseries will air on Showtime throughout May. Spanning the iconic hip-hop group’s origins and ascension to 90s rap royalty – Wu Tang: Of Mics and Men tells the clan’s tale through rare behind-the-scenes and concert footage, as well as interviews with all nine living members (RZA, GZA, Inspectah Deck, Raekwon, U-God, Ghostface Killah, Method Man, Masta Killa, and Cappadonna). And for those left more ravenous for Wu-Tang content following the four-part docuseries, RZA is also writing and producing for Hulu, a 10-episode dramatic telling of the group’s 90s rise. If 2018 was the return of Queen, then 2019 is already shaping up to be the year of the Wu.
May 10 – Sneaky Pete (Amazon)
One of Amazon’s earliest original series success stories, Sneaky Pete returns this summer for it’s third season as the Giovanni Ribisi-starring drama spirals deeper towards the truth. Season three continues the story of Ribisi’s con man character as he assumes the identity of his former cellmate, unbeknownst to his estranged family. Accompanied by standout performances from Marin Ireland, Jane Adams, and the incomparable Margo Martindale – seasons 1 & 2 of Sneaky Pete are streaming on Amazon Prime Video in case you need to catch up or re-watch.
May 10 – The Society (Netflix)
From the co-creator of Party of Five comes this new YA drama for Netflix. Set up as a modern take on Lord of the Flies with supernatural elements, The Society introduces a group of teens living in a parallel version of their affluent New England town, void of all parents. What could possibly go wrong? In order to discover what happened to them and how to get back, the group must fight for and against each other to survive. The Society premieres in May and stars a group of young, new faces including Kathryn Newton (Gary Unmarried), Rachel Keller (Legion), and Gideon Adlon (Blockers).
May 17 – Catch-22 (Hulu)
Considered by many as one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century, Joseph Heller’s Catch-22 comes to Hulu as a six-episode limited series written by Luke Davies (Lion), directed by George Clooney, and starring Christopher Abbott (Girls). In the satirical World War II miniseries, Abbot plays US Army Air Forces B-25 bombardier John Yossarian as he and his fellow airmen struggle with continuing their military service while maintaining their own sanity. Kyle Chandler, Hugh Laurie, and George Clooney also star in this literary adaptation.
May 31 – Good Omens (Amazon)
This epic co-production between Amazon & BBC Two is the latest of Neil Gaiman’s graphic novels to be adapted for the screen (American Gods, Coraline). Adapted from the book, Good Omens: The Nice and Accurate Prophecies of Agnes Nutter, Witch – the six-episode series follows an angel (Michael Sheen) and a demon (David Tennant), in their attempt to prevent the coming of the antichrist and an impending clash between Heaven and Hell. The wild concept is only backed up by its incredible cast featuring stars of screen Jon Hamm, Michael McKean, Jack Whitehall, Nick Offerman, and narrated by Frances McDormand. All six episodes will be available to binge on Amazon starting May 31st.
May 31 – When They See Us (Netflix)
Oscar-nominated director, Ava DuVernay (Selma, A Wrinkle In Time), returns to Netflix following the success of her documentary, 13th, with a dramatic miniseries retelling the story of what has become known as the Central Park Five. For those unacquainted, in 1989 five teens from Harlem were convicted by the media and then by trial for the rape of a park jogger. The five boys would spend the next 5-15 years in prison for a crime they didn’t commit, ultimately leading to the convicted men suing New York City. Starring an impressive cast including Michael K. Williams, Vera Farmiga, John Leguizamo, Niecy Nash, and the now notorious Felicity Huffman – When They See Us aims to shine a spotlight on a story the country’s younger generation doesn’t know, and it’s older generation may have forgotten.
June 2 – NOS4A2 (AMC)
As our list’s first and only featured show on basic cable, this June AMC will unleash NOS4A2 – a supernatural drama based on the novel by Joe Hill. The 10-episode first season stars Zachary Quinto (Star Trek, American Horror Story) as Charlie Manx, an immortal man who lives off the souls of children, and introduces newcomer Ashleigh Cummings as a young woman with the special ability to track Manx. A potential perfect pairing for AMC’s tent pole series, The Walking Dead – NOS4A2 aspires to blend horror and drama similar to successful premium cable shows like True Blood and Penny Dreadful.
June 5 – The Handmaid’s Tale (Hulu)
The show that launched Hulu into the awards circuit and cemented the streamer as a major player alongside Netflix and Amazon is back for season three. Considered by many as the most depressing show on television, The Handmaid’s Tale returns for 13 new episodes that further expand Margaret Atwood’s dystopian future in which a Second American Civil War has resulted in an oppressive society where fertile women (Handmaids) are reduced to childbearing slaves. But as Offred, our Red Habit-wearing protagonist says in the new trailer, “They should have never given us uniforms if they didn’t want us to be an army.”
June 9 – Big Little Lies (HBO)
Following the universal success of Big Little Lies, HBO immediately began figuring out how to expand the novel-based limited series into a second season. While director Jean-Marc Vallee will not be returning, David E. Kelley scripted all seven episodes of the second season based off of Liane Moriarty’s new novella. And as for the Oscar and Emmy-winning cast, they’re all back for more Monterey murder mystery, plus one. That’s right, in addition to Reese Witherspoon, Nicole Kidman, Shailene Woodley, Laura Dern, and Zoe Kravitz all reprising their roles, Meryl Streep has been tapped to play the mother of Alexander Skarsgard’s character. Suffice to say, season two will be as hotly anticipated as season one’s revelatory finale.
June 14 – Too Old To Die Young (Amazon)
Eight years after the cinematic achievement of Drive, Nicolas Winding Refn is dipping his toes in the television/streaming waters with his first series, Too Old To Die Young. The 10-episode Amazon show stars Miles Teller (Whiplash) as a cop grieving his partner, while constantly finding himself backed into a corner. Whether it’s hit men, youth gangs, the Yakuza, the Mexican cartel, or the Russian mob – Teller’s character must maneuver the crime underworld while avoiding the same fate as his partner. Too Old To Die Young co-stars Billy Baldwin, Jena Malone, and John Hawkes in a dark, neon-lit world, fans of Nicolas Winding Refn have come to know and love.
June 16 – Euphoria (HBO)
With a plotline nearly identical to the beloved British teen drama, Skins – HBO’s first foray into the genre garners the auspices for success. Described as “a group of high school students… [navigating] drugs, sex, identity, trauma, social media, love and friendship,” Euphoria is both produced and stars actors who grew up in front of the camera. Executive produced by Drake and starring Zendaya, Euphoria will be much darker than Degrassi and Shake It Up. Co-starring a large cast of young, up-and-comers including Storm Reid (A Wrinkle In Time), Maude Apatow (Girls, This Is 40), and Algee Smith (The Hate U Give) – Euphoria will either bring a younger audience to HBO, or have adults across the country wondering if this is actually what high school’s like today?!
July 4 – Stranger Things (Netflix)
America’s favorite supernatural 80s pastiche is back this 4th of July for a new season. Stranger Things 3 picks back up around mid-1985 in the now infamous, fictional town of Hawkins, Indiana – home to the parallel dimension, the Upside Down. And as seen in the trailer above, the whole Party (Mike, Dustin, Lucas, Will, Max, and Eleven) is back. Not to mention a few new and old friends. Same kids, same town, new adventure. With the end of season two wrapping up the series’ initial story arc, Stranger Things 3 has the chance to really take some new risks in broadening the show’s world.
July 26 – Veronica Mars (Hulu)
In the wake of the boom that was TV show revivals (Will & Grace, The X-Files, Roseanne), we find one gone-too-soon cult classic on our summer viewing list. Even though Veronica Mars was cancelled twelve years ago, the show’s three seasons have become popular on streaming platforms, in addition to the 2014 film. So it wasn’t a huge surprise when Hulu commissioned an eight-episode revival of the Kristen Bell dramedy. Creator Rob Thomas has said that the miniseries will return to the show’s “So-Cal noir roots” as the case involves a serial killer in Neptune preying on spring breakers.
TBD – Power (STARZ)
While the details on the sixth season of Power are incredibly scarce, it is set to premiere in summer 2019. As one of Starz’s most popular shows, both critically and ratings-wise, its fans are ravenous for answers. What’s next for Ghost and Tommy? Is Angela dead, or just shot? Will 50 Cent be making any appearances from the grave on the show? Fans of Power will just have to wait, as we still don’t even have a trailer for the new season. So when it comes to Power, the questions certainly outweigh the answers – which I imagine is just how the show’s creators like it.