USA’s New Shows Want to Thrill You
USA has been edging away from its old “Blue Skies” persona for a few years now. Their just-announced upfront slate indicates the transformation is almost complete: The network’s two new summer dramas are leaning hard on the thriller angle—not unlike recent “meh” outing Dig (sorry Jason Isaacs)—in an effort to get Gen Y-ers to actually watch something on television, for goodness’ sake (to paraphrase USA President Chris McCumber).
Complications: June 18 (9/8c). Burn Notice‘s Matt Nix is back in the showrunner saddle, taking Jason O’Mara’s suburban doctor and plunking him in the middle of a gang war in the pilot.
Mr. Robot: June 24 (10/9c). A young IT grunt (Rami Malek) moonlights as a vigilante hacker and falls in with Christian Slater’s underground hacker group (think Anonymous) that’s trying to take down the company he’s supposed to be protecting. Also, Suburgatory‘s Carly Chaikin (Dalia!) shows up.
WWE SmackDown: USA is doubling (smack)down on wrestling after finally realizing it’s the most popular entity on the network, so starting in 2016 they’re taking SmackDown from sibling network Syfy and adding it to a collection that includes Monday Night Raw and Tough Enough.
Chrisley Knows Best: June 2 (9/8c). The surprise reality hit following magnetic oddball Todd Chrisley and his family comes back for an 18-episode third season, with 12 episodes airing this summer. (Todd is also getting his own talk show, and possibly a spinoff where he follows his kids to college.)
Royal Pains: June 2 (10/9c). You know the drill with this one by now: Hamptons, Hank trying to find what’s been missing from his life, ridiculous rich people, etc.
WWE Tough Enough: June 23 (8/7c). The venerable reality competition show that scouts new talent for the WWE is allegedly getting a makeover, with a new format that includes some live elements.
Suits: June 24 (9/8c). Season 5 starts out dealing with the aftermath of the Donna-Harvey professional split. The good news is, Donna avoided jail time. The bad news is that she’s working with Louis.
Graceland: June 25 (10/9c). Mike’s alive! Sort of. And while Briggs gets placed on a dangerous new mission and Charlie tries to hunt down the parties who almost killed her, the rest of the house tries to get back to normal.
Playing House: August 4 (10/9c). It’s something of a miracle that we’re even getting a second season of Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair’s delightful comedy. Even better, all the episodes will be available on VOD a week prior to their scheduled airing. Watching something on VOD counts more than regular DVR viewing, so this is a win-win proposition.