Summer TV Preview

Longer days, warm nights, grill-outs and pool parties can only mean one thing: It’s time for summer shows!

click to enlarge Game of Thrones premieres on July 16. - Photo: Courtesy HBO
Photo: Courtesy HBO
Game of Thrones premieres on July 16.

Longer days, warm nights, grill-outs and pool parties can only mean one thing: It’s time for summer shows! New series and seasons are rolling out across channels and platforms in the coming weeks, turning summer into a promising television season. Here are a few worth checking out.

Snowfall (Series Premiere, 10 p.m. Wednesday, FX) – The network’s newest drama focuses on the start of the 1980s crack epidemic and the players at the center of it: a Mexican crime family that shifts from selling weed to cocaine, an ambitious young man who sees opportunity in selling drugs in Los Angeles and a CIA operative working offthe- books to fund militants in Nicaragua. Snowfall is created by John Singleton (Boyz N the Hood) and Eric Amadio with Dave Andron (Justified).

Friends from College (Series Premiere, July 14, Netflix) – Nicholas Stoller (Forgetting Sarah Marshall, Neighbors) directs this comedy about a group of 30- and 40-something friends from Harvard who reunite in New York. There are hook-ups, breakups, makeups — classic dramedy fare. But it’s the cast, which includes Keegan-Michael Key, Fred Savage, Cobie Smulders, Nat Faxon and Billy Eichner, that makes this new offering a promising one.

Game of Thrones (Season Premiere, 9 p.m. July 16, HBO) – It may be summer in Cincinnati, but in Westeros, winter is here. What’s in store for the Houses Stark, Lannister, Targaryen, et. al.? Few details have been revealed, but we do know Daenerys is heading to Westeros for the first time, with Tyrion, Varys, Missandei and Grey Worm in her corner; Cersei has seized the Iron Throne, with Jaime and the zombified Mountain on her side; and as King in the North, Jon Snow prepares for the ultimate war — against the White Walkers.

This long-awaited seventh season comes in short with just seven episodes ahead of a final season of six (which may be delayed until 2019 — shame!). But that doesn’t mark the end of the Thrones saga — a reported four spinoffs are already in the works.

Insecure (Season Premiere, 10:30 p.m. July 23, HBO) — Issa Rae’s comedy — based on her popular web series Awkward Black Girl — was such a hit when it debuted last fall, we’re already getting another season this summer! The show offers a thoughtful, humor-packed exploration of the contemporary black female experience through the eyes of two college friends in their early 30s living in Los Angeles. Season 2 finds Issa dealing with the fallout of her breakup with Lawrence and entering the murky dating pool.

Room 104 (Series Premiere, 11:30 p.m. July 28, HBO) — Following the underrated dramedy Togetherness, the Duplass Brothers return to HBO with an anthology about the various guests who stay in a single motel room. Each episode features a different story and cast, which includes James Van Der Beek, Mae Whitman, Amy Landecker, Orlando Jones, Philip Baker Hall, Nat Wolff, Karan Soni and Poorna Jagannathan. Sounds like a promising complement to HBO’s pot-centered anthology High Maintenance.

The Sinner (Series Premiere, 10 p.m. Aug. 2, USA) — Based on the titular novel by Petra Hammesfahr, this crime drama centers on a young mom (Jessica Biel) who takes a murderous turn when she snaps into an inexplicable blind rage and the detective (Bill Pullman) obsessed with uncovering her motive. This is Biel’s first major TV role since her 7th Heaven days.

Bachelor in Paradise (Season Premiere, 8 p.m. Aug. 8, ABC) — Summer TV’s quintessential guilty pleasure returns amid major controversy. After a sexual assault was reported during filming, production was halted and the show was rumored to be cancelled indefinitely. After an internal investigation cleared the show and its team of misconduct, the dating competition is back on with a few changes (like a two-drink-per-hour maximum). It will be interesting to see how the typically campy, over-sexed show approaches the serious, timely issues of consent, binge drinking and so-called “slut-shaming.”

Broad City (Season Premiere, 10:30 p.m., Aug. 23, Comedy Central) —Abbi and Ilana are back! Who knows what may be in store for them.


CONTACT JAC KERN: @jackern

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