Summer TV Preview 2019: ‘Pearson,’ ‘NOS4A2’ & More Must-See New Shows

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New summer
Isabella Vosmikova/USA; Dana Starbard/AMC; JoJo Whilden/SHOWTIME
Courtesy of Lifetime

American Princess

Fish-out-of-water fun!

Come hither and meet Upper East Side socialite Amanda Klein (Georgia Flood), who, on her wedding day, walks in on her fiancé (Max Ehrich) in a compromising position. Distraught, the runaway bride stumbles upon a Renaissance faire — and finds salvation.

“A personal trauma can lead you to things you wouldn’t normally be led to,” says creator Jamie Denbo, who based this bawdy comedy on her own experience with the “ren faire” world.

For Amanda, the community offers something foreign to her upper-crust upbringing: “She gets nonjudgment of every decision, good or bad,” Denbo says. She also gets passion — maybe with the actor known as Pizzle Humpsalot (Raising Hope‘s Lucas Neff)? Huzzah!

— Jim Halterman

Sunday, June 2, 9/8c, Lifetime

Dana Starbard/AMC


This vampire doesn’t suck blood — he sucks children’s souls

The 2013 horror novel by Joe Hill (Stephen King’s kid!) receives prestige-TV treatment in this lavish and fantastical adaptation. Zachary Quinto stars as Charlie Manx, a demonic immortal who feeds on the souls of kids he’s taken to a realm called Christmasland.

It’s a role that fed the actor’s own desire to, he says, “immerse myself in a character and disappear as much as I could.” Indeed, he’s barely recognizable beneath all the prosthetics, rotted teeth and stringy hair — a look partly created by Joel Harlow, the makeup wiz who transformed him into Star Trek‘s Spock.

Quinto hopes Manx’s connection to Vic McQueen (Ashleigh Cummings), a teen with supernatural abilities, will have viewers seeing more than just a villain. According to exec producer Jami O’Brien (Fear the Walking Dead), Manx “is evil, but he believes he’s doing the right thing.”

—Damian Holbrook

Sunday, June 2, 10/9c, AMC


Perpetual Grace, LTD.

Good actors do bad things

Who’s conning who? That’s what a pair of New Mexico con artists, self-styled pastor Byron “Pa” Brown (Oscar winner Ben Kingsley) and wife Lillian “Ma” Brown (two-time Oscar nominee Jacki Weaver), may wonder when they cross paths with slick grifter James (Westworld Emmy nominee Jimmi Simpson) in this noir drama.

“James is a great adversary because he’s an equal to them,” says Kingsley, who also points to fate’s key presence. “It’s an invisible character that guides everybody’s journey in plans that go horribly wrong.”

—Jim Halterman

Sunday, June 2, 10/9c, Epix

City On A Hill - Kevin Bacon, Aldis Hodge
Claire Folger/SHOWTIME

City on a Hill

Kevin Bacon and ’90s Boston make a potent pairing

A gritty character study set against the backdrop of Boston law enforcement in the early ’90s, City on a Hill lures Kevin Bacon back to TV. The Following alum stars as Jackie Rohr, a crooked FBI vet who butts heads with an idealistic DA (Aldis Hodge), even though both are hell-bent on bringing down the city’s rampant underworld.

“The dance between [them] goes on for the entire season,” says exec producer Tom Fontana (Homicide: Life on the Street). “At any given moment, you’re not sure who is winning and who is using who and for what reasons.”

More drama aces — Jonathan Tucker (Kingdom), Sarah Shahi (Person of Interest), Jill Hennessy (Law & Order) — round out the cast.

—Damian Holbrook

Sunday, June 16, 9/8c, Showtime

Grand Hotel - Roselyn Sánchez

Grand Hotel

A primetime soap about Miami vice

Fun in the sun can be a bit … juvenile. This sudsy drama from executive producer Eva Longoria — based on a Spanish telenovela and set in steamy Miami — is all about sin and skin.

The titular hotbed of upstairs-downstairs action is the Riviera Grand, a swanky family-owned hotel run by Santiago Mendoza (Demián Bichir). He recently married his widow’s best friend, Gigi (Devious Maids Roselyn Sánchez). That perceived transgression — plus his decision in the opener to sell the joint — fires up their unhappily blended offspring, who all have something to hide.

“There’s a lot of love, but a lot of secrets,” says Sánchez. “And that’s what makes it juicy.”

—Damian Holbrook

Monday, June 17, 10/9c, ABC


Reef Break

Without a Trace favorite Poppy Montgomery hits the beach

Ex–pro surfer (and sort of ex-thief) Cat Chambers (Poppy Montgomery) plays by her own rules as a fixer for the governor of stunning Reef Island in the Pacific. (In the action drama’s premiere, the wealthiest resident’s daughter is kidnapped.)

“Cat is a freewheeling outlaw who follows her conscience,” says exec producer Mark Rosner from the Queensland, Australia, set. “Because she is twice as sexy as your average heroine, she has two love interests.” Both in law enforcement, hmm…

—Kate Hahn

Thursday, June 20, 10/9c, ABC

101 - 1996

The Loudest Voice

Fox News mastermind Roger Ailes gets a seven-part bio

There’s nothing black and white — or red and blue — about this portrait of Roger Ailes (Russell Crowe), the late Fox News founder. Showtime’s limited series lionizes and damns in equal measure.

“We wanted to show who he was and why he did what he did,” exec producer Alex Metcalf says. “Roger was more interesting than most.”

The saga is familiar: In 1996 Ailes sought to create a conservative niche in the cable news space by launching Fox News (the premiere chronicles the launch). His power and influence grew — until anchor Gretchen Carlson (Naomi Watts) came forward in 2016 with sexual harassment allegations. (Ailes’s wife, Beth, played by an unrecognizable Sienna Miller, stood by him through the scandal and his death a year later.)

“By the end Gretchen becomes a primary character,” Metcalf says. “As a title, The Loudest Voice speaks to Fox News’ presence in the landscape, Roger’s presence at Fox News, and Gretchen once her concerns are heard. It made really powerful sense to us.”

—Ingela Ratledge

Sunday, June 30, 10/9c, Showtime

Pearson - Gina Torres
Isabella Vosmikova/USA


The Suits spinoff takes a sharp look at Jessica’s new life in the Windy City

Having left the well-pressed world of Suits, legal powerhouse Jessica Pearson (Gina Torres) is back and taking on the world of Chicago’s dirty politics. And like Pearson, Torres is a total boss.

“It was actually my idea. I brought it to them,” says the actress, who’s exec producing along with Suits‘ Aaron Korsh and Daniel Arkin.

While Pearson bears similar pacing and the sly wit of her previous series, this new gig — working as a fixer for the ethically questionable mayor of Chicago (Morgan Spector) — allows for a more realized Jessica: She reconnects with her Windy City family and tangles with city hall colleagues who aren’t intimidated by the onetime New York City legend.

“She hasn’t played chess with these people before,” explains Torres. “So she’s going to win some and she’s going to lose some, and that’s something that we don’t often see happen with Jessica.”

—Damian Holbrook

Wednesday, July 17, 10/9c, USA Network

Amazon Prime Video

The Boys

What happens when superheroes lose their way?

Look, another comic-book tale about unlikely heroes! Which is a good thing, really. This time, it’s the titular team from Garth Ennis’s irreverent 2006-2008 series, with Jack Quaid (Vinyl), Karl Urban (Star Trek) and Karen Fukuhara (Suicide Squad) as members of a secret CIA group tasked with policing a band of corrupt costumed crusaders led by Banshee’s Antony Stark and Gossip Girl’s Chace Crawford. Think the Avengers gone really wrong.

—Damian Holbrook

Friday, July 26, Prime Video

Four Weddings and A Funeral
Jay Maidment/Hulu

Four Weddings and a Funeral

A classic rom-com revisited

Here come the brides — not to mention well-placed acerbic jabs, snappy patter, and (we hope) a declaration of love in the rain.

A quarter century after the big-screen Four Weddings, a new circle of friends — primarily American this time — hit the event circuit in this 10-episode Hulu series from exec producer Mindy Kaling. (Game of ThronesNathalie Emmanuel leads the cast.) The pals reunite in London for a wedding, where a bombshell announcement leads to yearlong aftershocks.

“We thought it would be presumptuous to write the show from an English POV,” exec producer Matt Warburton (Kaling’s collaborator on The Mindy Project) says of the U.K. setting. “But we hired British writers to help us, so the [local] characters don’t sound like 19th-century chimney sweeps.”

P.S. The film’s Andie MacDowell appears!

—Mara Reinstein

Wednesday, July 31, Hulu


David Makes Man

Or, to be young, gifted, and black

You may be overwhelmed by the sky-high hopes you have for 14-year-old David (Akili McDowell), an exceptional student whose academic ambitions are at odds with the dangerous South Florida streets of this drama from Oscar-winning writer Tarell Alvin McCraney (Moonlight).

Between drug dealers in his community and teachers, David “has an enormous amount of pressure put upon him,” says exec producer Dee Harris-Lawrence. But he does all he can “to stay three steps ahead.”

John Russell

Wednesday, August 14, 10/9c, OWN

A Call from the Past
David Dolsen/Crown Media

When Hope Calls

One good early 20th-century yarn deserves another!

From the “olde tyme” world of Hallmark Channel’s When Calls the Heart comes this streaming spinoff centering around sisters Lillian (Morgan Kohan) and Grace (Jocelyn Hudon). In last year’s When Calls Christmas special, they passed through Hope Valley en route to Brookfield, a northwestern cattle town where they were planning to open an orphanage. (Orphans themselves, the two were just reunited.)

Now, they’re up and running, “building relationships with the community and each other,” exec producer Alfonso Moreno says. And with suitors. One hint from Moreno: “We have Mounties in all our shows!”

—Ingela Ratledge

Friday, August 30, Hallmark Movies Now

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Fall TV may be over and midseason shows are ending, but that doesn’t mean you’re out of things to watch.

There’s a slew of new series coming this summer — and the addition of original shows on streaming services adds to that list — including spinoffs like Pearson and When Hope Calls and a classic romantic comedy revisited in Four Weddings and a Funeral.

TV News Roundup: 'Suits' and Spinoff Set Premiere Dates, Michael Chiklis Returns to TV & MoreSee Also

TV News Roundup: 'Suits' and Spinoff Set Premiere Dates, Michael Chiklis Returns to TV & More

Plus, 'Big Mouth' Season 3's star-studded cast additions, Jaden Smith to play Kanye West (?!) on Showtime, and more.

If soapy shows are more your flavor, ABC has you covered with Grand Hotel, and if you’re a fan of horror, check out AMC’s NOS4A2.

Click through the gallery above for our inside scoop on the new series coming to TV this summer.