5/22: Preacher (AMC)
The latest DC comic to get a small-screen adaptation, Preacher is about a small-town Texas preacher (Dominic Cooper) with a strange and mystifying superpower, courtesy of a sort of demon (or angel?) that’s possessed his body. Preacher should be at least a little funny, considering its executive producers are Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg — the writing team behind Superbad, Pineapple Express, and This Is the End — plus Breaking Bad writer Sam Catlin.
6/1: Cleverman (Sundance)
From the New-Zealand-set Top of the Lake to the French series The Returned to the pan-European The Last Panthers, Sundance likes its drama global. Its latest series, the genre thriller Cleverman, is an Australian/New Zealand co-production (it was commissioned by ABC Australia’s Indigenous Department) set in the very near future, where super-fast creatures from ancient mythology called “Hairypeople” have reemerged and are immediately blamed for a string of murders. Cleverman stars Australian actor Hunter Page-Lochard and Game of Thrones’ Iain Glen (Jorah, a.k.a. Lord Friendzone).
6/5: Feed the Beast (AMC)
This AMC original is about two besties from the Bronx, Tommy and Dion (David Schwimmer and Jim Sturgess), who fulfill their dream of opening a restaurant on their home turf. With Tommy still grieving the loss of his wife, who died a year earlier in a hit-and-run, and Dion fresh out of prison, their plan to open an upscale eatery in the Bronx is met with skepticism. Judging from the trailer, Feed the Beast looks like a cross between The Sopranos and Top Chef; there are flashes of violence and the only woman we see appears to be ready to take off her clothes, but there are also food-porny glimpses of shrimp sautéing in pans and glasses of wine being carefully sniffed.
6/6: UnREAL (Lifetime)
“We don’t solve problems,” Rachel says in the Season 2 trailer for UnREAL, “we make them and point cameras at them.” The first season of UnREAL, last summer’s hit about the backstage machinations of a Bachelor-esque reality dating show, exposed the manipulation, lying, and soul crushing behind the scenes of Everlasting. The second season raises the stakes: Rachel (Shiri Appleby) has been promoted, for one thing, and for the first time, the show has cast a black man as the new “suitor” — which the real Bachelor has so far failed to do in its 20-season-long run.
6/21: Greenleaf (OWN)
This new drama from Oprah’s network is centered on a predominantly black mega-church in Memphis and the family that owns it. Greenleaf follows Grace Greenleaf (Merle Dandridge), who returns home after two decades away when her sister dies under mysterious circumstances. Creator Craig Wright has a long history producing meaty dramas like Six Feet Under, Lost, and Brothers & Sisters, which bodes well for this juicy-looking family saga.
6/21: Queen of the South (USA)
Like Lifetime, the USA Network had a surprise hit on its hands last summer with Mr. Robot; this summer, they have Queen of the South, a new series about the drug wars based on the best-selling 2002 novel by Arturo Pérez-Reverte. Brazilian actress Alice Braga stars as Teresa Mendoza, who leaves Mexico after her drug-dealer boyfriend is murdered — and winds up in the States, working to bring down the leader of the trafficking ring she’s just fled.
6/26: Roadies (Showtime)
If Roadies is half as entertaining as Tenacious D’s “Roadie,” I’ll be satisfied. An ode to the people who “brought you the show, but you will never know,” Roadies looks like it may be the show for those of us who were disappointed by Vinyl (so, all of us). Judging by the trailer, Roadies promises a blend of drama, spectacle, and heart. Centred on the crew of an arena-touring band, the series boasts an impressive cast, including Luke Wilson, Carla Gugino, and Imogen Poots. Oh, and it’s Cameron Crowe’s first foray into TV.
7/10: The Night Of (HBO)
Last summer, Show Me a Hero, the HBO miniseries about the fight for public housing in 1980s and ’90s Yonkers, aired to great acclaim. It appears the cable giant is hoping to recreate the magic with The Night Of, an eight-episode series about a fictional murder case in New York City starring John Turturro and Riz Ahmed that promises to take an unrelenting look at the criminal justice system in general and Riker’s Island in particular.
7/13: Mr. Robot (USA)
Mr. Robot took the summer of 2015 by storm: An ambitious, slippery series about hacker Elliot Alderman (Rami Malek), the show returns for a highly anticipated second season in July. We don’t know much about Season 2 yet, but the Season 1 finale pointed us in the direction of the mysterious, gender-shifting Whiterose, a Chinese-American transgender hacker who is shown briefly at the end of the first season, with the implication that she may know Elliot is behind the financial meltdown triggered by a cybersecurity hack.
8/12: The Get Down (Netflix)
The Get Down better live up to the hype, because we’ve been hearing about this Netflix original from Baz Luhrmann and Shawn Ryan for over a year. To be fair, it does sound pretty great: A musical drama set during the birth of hip-hop in 1970s Bronx, The Get Down features a cast of largely unknown actors, which is appropriate considering most of them are playing young, talented upstarts. I’m trying really hard not to knock Vinyl yet again, but the show’s trailer indicates that The Get Down may just be everything that series was not. Ok, I’m not trying that hard.
Next up: Unscripted