In June, television gave us a handful of great season and series premieres, from Orange Is the New Black to The Leftovers. Not to be outdone, July is also coming in full force. There is the return of some Comedy Central favorites, premieres of vampire and post-apocalyptic dramas, and even some silly guilty pleasures. Here are the ten TV events to keep on your radar this July.
Drunk History, the show in which drunk people narrate some historical event (often screwing up the details) while actors reenact the tale, is pure silliness that somehow works. But it’s Nathan For You, which airs after at 10:30 PM, that has my vote for last year’s best new comedy series. The episodes I’ve seen from Season 2 are awkward and funny, and Nathan Fielder — now best known for his Dumb Starbucks prank — is a comedian you need to keep your eyes on.
Historically, NBC hasn’t had the best luck with its summer sitcoms (Friends With Benefits, Save Me, Best Friends Forever, etc. were all canceled), which doesn’t bode well for the two sitcoms the network is burning off in July. There is Welcome to Sweden, the Amy Poehler-produced fish-out-of-water sitcom, and Working the Engels, a law firm comedy starring Andrea Martin. There’s potential in both, but we’ll have to see how each plays out.
Last month, we saw how great a Netflix series can be with Season 2 of Orange Is the New Black. This month, we get the opposite in Eli Roth’s Hemlock Grove. The horror series got a few positive reviews, but for the most part it was panned. Its awfulness is a bit fascinating, though, if you’re in need of something ridiculous to binge-watch.
July 13: Masters of Sex Season 2 Premieres on Showtime
Season 1 of Masters of Sex was amazing — and it’s even better upon re-watch — so Season 2 has a lot to live up to. But I have faith that the show’s writers will keep up the high quality for this 12-episode season, one that seems to take place more in various bedrooms than in the lab.
FX had a great year of programming — Fargo and The Americans immediately come to mind — and are introducing two new dramas this summer. The first, Tyrant, was unfortunately disappointing. The second will be The Strain, a vampire drama from Guillermo del Toro. Will it make up for Tyrant? Doesn’t seem too likely, but it’s definitely promising. And hey, FX is removing the gross billboards!
If The Strain doesn’t work for you, FX also has two comedies premiering. You’re The Worst, from Weeds writer Stephen Falk, centers on two dysfunctional and self-destructive people who end up in a relationship that is probably dysfunctional and self-destructive. But first is the better-sounding Married, which stars two incredibly funny and unfortunately underrated favorites: Judy Greer and Nat Faxon.
Dating Naked is the VH1 reality show that is exactly what it sounds like: strangers go on three dates together while completely nude. It sounds awful, desperate, and pointless, but we’re all going to watch it.
I’m just as surprised as you are that a Lifetime TV show is one of my most anticipated premieres of the entire summer, but it’s so intriguing! The Lottery is similar to Children of Men (and is even created by the film’s screenwriter). It’s a thriller that takes place in an alternate future where women can no longer have children. A national lottery decides who gets to carry the only 100 embryos that have been successfully fertilized.
WGN has had middling success with its first attempt at scripted programming, Salem. The show isn’t great, but it has attracted enough attention to gain a second season. WGN’s second scripted show, Manhattan, is about the Manhattan project and the race to build the first atomic bomb. It’s already gotten great reviews (and already has a creative advertising gimmick: propaganda posters), so it may become the surprise success of the summer.
What better way to end the month than with this campy sequel to a completely absurd movie? It’s not cinematic greatness, but it certainly doesn’t claim to be. July is long and hot. Reward yourself by gleefully watching Mark McGrath battle tornadoes full of sharks.