Summer Preview: 21 New Shows to Watch This Season
With a slew of new shows premiering in June, July, and August, you might find yourself camped out in front of the television instead of out in the sun. Here, our guide to the 21 new series that will have you basking in the air-conditioning this season.
Monday, June 1
With imaginary friends like these, who needs enemies? On ABC’s chilling new drama—inspired by Ray Bradbury’s sci-fi short story “Zero Hour” and executive produced by Steven Spielberg—an invisible force named Drill has begun secretly buddying up to children, convincing them to be his playmate. Unfortunately for the future of humankind, he’s not exactly keen on lighthearted rounds of Candy Land. When Drill recruits his little pals, many of whom just happen to be the offspring of government officials, the games end in bloodshed…and worse. But exactly who and what is this mysterious entity, and what’s his ultimate objective? Here, we lay out an introduction to the central players of the creepy series.
The ugly truths behind reality TV are unmasked in UnReal, a new scripted series that documents life behind the scenes of a fictional dating-competition show called Everlasting. This inside look at the genre has more in common with the tone of HBO’s The Newsroom—and a level of raunchiness that would make even Amy Schumer blush. “Lifetime told us they wanted a premium-cable, dark show,” says cocreator Marti Noxon (Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce). “They said, ‘We will tell you if you’ve gone too far.’ So we sat down and brainstormed the most shocking things.” Read more about the shocks and screen-stealers here.
Tuesday, June 2
9/8c, ABC Family
The dead tell no tales, but their memories sure do in the new crime procedural Stitchers, about a secret group’s mind-bending approach to homicide investigations. Emma Ishta stars as Kirsten, a brilliant Caltech student recruited into the “Stitchers” program, a covert federal agency that uses a complex bioelectrical system to insert a living consciousness into the memories of the recently departed to see how they died. Here, we get a sneak peek at the magic behind the mind-tech.
Tuesday, June 16
Ashley Tisdale stars in this comedy that follows a misfit group of former classmates working in a barbershop.
Multibillionaire Ivan Turing (Matthew Modine) persuades Dr. Carolyn Tyler (Jennifer Beals), who just lost her son, to help him discover scientific evidence proving the afterlife exists.
Thursday, June 18
The Astronaut Wives Club
They had the right stuff, and then some. The Astronaut Wives Club, based on the dishy bestseller by Lily Koppel, claims to tell the real story of the women married to the astronauts in NASA’s Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo programs—not the sanitized version of their lives chronicled in Life magazine and other government-controlled accounts of the day. “These women were the first reality stars,” says executive producer Stephanie Savage (Gossip Girl). “They became world-famous—even fashion icons—but nobody helped them deal with the media, especially the tabloid journalism that was just rearing its head in the ’60s. They were basically thrown to the sharks.”
But what great bait! The starry cast includes (from left) Zoe Boyle (Downton Abbey), Azure Parsons (Salem), Erin Cummings (Spartacus), JoAnna Garcia Swisher (Once Upon a Time), Dominique McElligott (Hell on Wheels), Yvonne Strahovski (Dexter), and Odette Annable (Banshee). “Seeing your man go into space was a terrifying experience,” Savage says. “No one but another astronaut’s wife could truly relate, and it resulted in the most fantastic friendships.” —Michael Logan
Jason O’Mara (Terra Nova) stars as John Ellison, an Atlanta emergency room doctor still mourning his young daughter’s death from leukemia. In the pilot, John rushes to help an injured boy after a drive-by shooting. When the assailants return to finish the job, John instinctively grabs a gun and kills one of them—becoming the kid’s de facto protector amid a gang war. The inspiration for the show came from two real-life experiences for executive producer Matt Nix.
Sunday, June 21
Dwayne “the Rock” Johnson is going for a television touchdown in the new HBO comedy Ballers. The professional wrestler turned actor plays Spencer Strasmore, a retired NFL all-star who kicks off the next phase of his career as a financial adviser. Together with his boss, Joe (Rob Corddry), Spencer navigates glitzy Miami hot spots and mentors a variety of troubled football players, including veteran wide receiver Ricky (John David Washington). “We’ve created a platform that honors athletes and the amazing things they do,” Johnson says. “But we also pull the curtain back, so you get to see things you usually don’t in today’s pro sports.”
The series, from Entourage executive producers Mark Wahlberg and Stephen Levinson, also features a slew of real-life NFL stars, including the Pittsburgh Steelers’ Antonio Brown and the New York Giants’ Victor Cruz. “Sure, sometimes it’s all about the bling, the cars, the chicks, and all the crazy parties,” Johnson says. “But it still comes down to the hard work they all put in.” —Rob Moynihan
Friday, June 19
The future, as seen in Killjoys, is a dark, hopeless, frightening mess. But it’s also pretty damn funny. The new 10-episode series, from Lost Girl creator Michelle Lovretta, follows three sexy, smartass bounty hunters—a lady boss and a pair of brothers—as they chase intergalactic baddies in the Quad, a star system that’s on the verge of a deadly class war. Consider it Simon & Simon (plus one) in space, with more wisecracks. Lovretta and Luke Macfarlane tell us more about making dystopia sexy.
Sunday, June 21
Tim Robbins stars as Secretary of State Walter Larson, tasked with keeping a Pakistani crisis under control with the help of a strange Foreign Service officer (Jack Black) and a Navy fighter pilot (Pablo Schreiber).
Wednesday, June 24
Domo arigato, Mr. Robot. USA’s high-tech new thriller tells the story of a computer wiz named Elliot (Rami Malek), who spends his days as an engineer at a cyber-security firm and his nights as an intrepid hacker. His talent catches the eye of the eccentric “Mr. Robot” (Christian Slater, far right, with Malek), the leader of an underground society of hackers determined to cripple the corporations Elliot works to protect.
“There was this growing frustration over the years seeing all these movies and shows about hacking that got it wrong,” says creator and executive producer Sam Esmail, a self-proclaimed tech nerd. “We don’t water down the lingo or spoon-feed our audience.”
The show’s heart lies in the relationship between Mr. Robot and Elliot, who suffers from debilitating social anxiety and begins to open up to the world around him, thanks to his new mentor. “Christian channels that anarchist, darker character that he used to play back in the day,” Esmail says. “If you were a fan of Pump Up the Volume or Heathers, you’re going to be excited to see this.” —Rob Moynihan
Sunday, June 28
The Hawkins family purchases a mysterious, and possibly dangerous, humanoid robot to help around the house in this British sci-fi thriller.
Tuesday, June 30
Sorry, Ghostface, but you are so 1996. The mass murderer in the new series Scream—inspired by the Wes Craven horror film of the same name—has a different face. “As scary as the mask was when people first saw Scream nearly 20 years ago, it has become a parody of itself,” explains Jill Blotevogel, an executive producer along with Craven. “Just as the Cylons were updated for [the remake of] Battlestar Galactica, our killer’s disguise has been updated.”
So, too, has the story, which ditches Neve Campbell’s heroine, Sydney Prescott, and the Woodsboro setting for Lakewood, a small town being terrorized by a maniac who has an ax to grind—at times literally—with the locals (played by Alpha House’s Willa Fitzgerald and Arrow’s Bex Taylor-Klaus, among others). But fans of the original need not worry, as there will be some similarities. “The show has a killer who embraces technology, lots of self-referential humor, and a beautiful cast of characters,” says Blotevogel. “Any of them might be a killer…or become a victim.” Pro tip, Lakewood citizens: Don’t answer any phones. —Damian Holbrook
The world may end with neither a bang nor a whimper, but a vicious meow. The premise of the 13-episode series, based on a bestselling sci-fi novel co-written by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge, is that an impending animal apocalypse may threaten the survival of the human race, unless a team of experts can figure out how to stop Earth’s critters from going on murderous rampages. And no species is exempt from these sudden, inexplicable homicidal urges. Executive producer Michael Katleman tells us more about portraying a world where people aren’t guaranteed their spot at the top of the food chain.
Thursday, July 16
Denis Leary stars as Johnny Rock, the aging lead singer of the Heathens, a fictional early-’90s rock band that never quite lived up to its potential. Leary—who, in addition to creating, writing, and producing, is also writing and performing original music for the series—tells us about the show’s origins, his own flirtations with rock ‘n’ roll, and that time he shared a cigarette with David Bowie.
Monday, August 3
9:30/8:30c, The CW
Well, that’s gonna be awkward. In this new series, Nate (Josh Zuckerman) learns his best pal (Nathaniel Buzolic) is dating his mom (Krista Allen).
Wednesday, August 5
The Carmichael Show
Loretta Devine and David Alan Grier return to TV as opinionated parents in this family sitcom inspired by comedian Jerrod Carmichael’s life.
The Office vet Craig Robinson returns to NBC as a struggling Chicago musician who begins substitute teaching at his old high school in an attempt to win back the affection of former fling Victoria (Meagan Good). Robinson tells us more about his past life as a teacher and his castmates’ musical talents.
Wednesday, August 12
Kevin From Work
8:30/7:30c, ABC Family
Rom-com or HR nightmare? Noah Reid and Paige Spara star in a workplace comedy about a good guy who makes the really bad decision to get honest with his office crush.
At least it’s not the Borg! Patrick Stewart stars as a cable-news personality fighting a terrible threat: his show’s cancellation. We get a first look at Stewart in action on the set.
Tuesday, August 25
Actor-writer-director Edward Burns plays Terry Muldoon, a father of three and a plainclothes cop in the NYPD Public Morals Division. His team polices prostitution, boozing, illegal card games, and after-hours partying, which are run in Terry’s Hell’s Kitchen neighborhood by gruff Irish kingpin Joe Patton (Brian Dennehy). Terry’s squad, which includes his cousin Sean (Austin Stowell), doesn’t exactly fight these crimes; instead they regulate them, getting favors in return. But then Sean’s dad, Mr. O (Timothy Hutton), who runs numbers for the mob, makes a big mistake. Enter Patton’s son, Rusty (Neal McDonough), a psychopath with a hair-trigger temper. “Because of Rusty, Patton’s life keeps getting more complicated and it jeopardizes his legitimate businesses,” Burns explains. “And now there’s a turf war.” Adds Aaron Lubin, Burns’s longtime producing partner, “Our show, in many respects, is a family drama dressed up like a crime drama.” The team tells us more about how the show came to air and mixing the dark and ominous with the fun and exciting.
WANT MORE TO WATCH? Here, our look at 7 streaming series coming to your computer this summer.