Flavorwire’s Big-Ass Summer TV Preview

Comedy, drama, dramedy, and... er, robot wrestling: we've got you covered!

Summer TV used to be synonymous with re-runs, but that train has left the station. If you were hoping to use the season to play catch-up, you’ll have to work around the dozens of new and returning series premiering between May and August. For this summer preview, we’ve left off shows that have yet to confirm their premiere dates, like Season 3 of Halt and Catch Fire, AMC’s ’80s-set drama about the early days of personal computing, and Donald Glover’s new FX comedy Atlanta. But we’ve included a whopping 30 series you should keep your eye on this summer — whether you’re looking for a comedy fix, a meaty new drama, or the return of your favorite warm-weather reality show, we’ve got you covered.

COMEDY

May

5/20: Lady Dynamite (Netflix)

Maria Bamford’s first series is pretty much what you’d expect if you’ve seen her standup — one-of-a-kind and a little hard to describe. Bamford plays herself, and the show swings between different periods in her life as she attempts to get her shit together. Created by Arrested Development’s Mitch Hurwitz, Lady Dynamite is billed as a “mockumentary,” but it feels more like a surreal sitcom — not unlike Arrested Development, actually. Fans of Bamford’s standup will be pleased; newcomers may be slightly baffled.

5/31: Maya & Marty (NBC)

Definitely the summer series with the coolest origin story — it all began at the SNL40 anniversary show in 2015 — Maya & Marty is a live variety sketch show starring former SNL cast members Maya Rudolph and Martin Short, plus current cast member Kenan Thompson. NBC has experimented with other variety shows in the past, including the one-off Maya Rudolph Show in 2014. With SNL stuck in a years-long rut, here’s hoping Maya & Marty can help shake up live TV.

June

6/6: Angie Tribeca (TBS)

I’m a sucker for the silly slapstick of Angie Tribeca, the TBS sitcom created by Steve and Nancy Carell and starring Rashida Jones as a hapless LAPD detective — kind of like a hotter, younger, female version of Leslie Nielsen’s Frank Drebin from the Naked Gun movies. The second season premieres amid a big rebranding at TBS, focusing on a new slate of comedies that include Full Frontal with Samantha Bee, The Detour, and the upcoming Wrecked. Hopefully all that activity will help steer viewers toward Angie Tribeca.

6/7: Casual (Hulu)     

This funny, caustic Hulu original about modern dating stars the wonderful Michaela Watkins as a newly single mother who lives with her brother and teenage daughter. Watkins shines, and the first season had its moments, but I could do with more laughs and less clichéd angst in Season 2. I’ll be watching with the hope that the show ups the ante; there’s just too much competition in the high-wattage streaming game right now.

6/13: BrainDead (CBS)

 This new CBS series has a few things going for it: It comes from The Good Wife creators Robert and Michelle King (it got a straight-to-series order); it has a stellar cast, including Tony Shalhoub, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Nikki M. James, Danny Pino, and Johnny Ray Gill; and it’s about a perky young Hill staffer who arrives in Washington to discover that alien spawn have been feasting on the brains of congressmen. The Kings describe it as a cross between The West Wing and The Strain. Sold.

6/14: Wrecked (TBS) 

Another promising new TBS sitcom, Wrecked is a comedy version of Lost, charting the adventures of a group of passengers whose plane crashes on a remote island. The result is kind of like if Survivor were a half-hour comedy — there’s no sense of real danger and the greatest threat to the survivors’ safety is their own stupidity. 

6/17: Orange is the New Black (Netflix)

You got this one, right? I don’t need to explain why you should be watching the show that made us realize that Netflix meant business. The fourth season of Orange is the New Black finds the inmates of Litchfield living in a newly privatized prison, with some extra bunkmates. In the immortal words of Aleida, “It’s sardine time, bitches.”

July

7/12: Difficult People (Hulu)

Julie Klausner and Billy Eichner could read the dictionary together for half an hour and I’d probably enjoy it. In their Hulu comedy Difficult People, they play delightfully jaded New York comedians. In addition to series regulars James Urbaniak and Andrea Martin, the first season featured a parade of guest stars, including Amy Sedaris, Fred Armisen, Ana Gasteyer, Seth Meyers, and Kathy Najimy; no doubt Season 2 will feature even more.

7/17: Vice Principals (HBO)

 I’m particularly excited for the latest collaboration between Eastbound and Down creator Jody Hill and its star, Danny McBride. Hill and McBride created Vice Principals, a dark new HBO comedy starring McBride and Walton Goggins as rivals vying for the position of VP at a South Carolina high school. “Get back to class, you savages!” I’ve missed you, Danny McBride! (Also, Busy Phillips!) 

August

8/31: You’re the Worst (FX) 

The first season of this spiky rom-com flew below the radar, but by Season 2, viewers were on board with the misadventures of Gretchen and Jimmy, two commitment-phobic Los Angelenos who hook up at a wedding and decide to make a go of it. The last season went to a dark place, delving into Gretchen’s depression, but it ended on a sweet note, with the two of them finally saying the “L” word. But don’t worry, we’re not about to skip ahead to their wedding day: Season 3 will pick up right where Season 2 left off.

Next up: Drama