[Editor’s note: Your devoted Flavorwire team is taking Memorial Day off, but we’ve left you with some of our favorite summer-related features that you may have missed the first time around. This post originally ran May 9, 2012. Enjoy!]
Sweeps month is upon us, TV fans, and while that means all our favorite shows will spend the next few weeks trying to top each other with standout episodes, it also means we’ve got to say good-bye to many of them until September. But never fear — the summer television season is never as fallow as it seems. Beginning this month, a slew of new series, old favorites, and guilty pleasures will premiere to fill the hole in our TV schedule left by the network fare that’s about to go on hiatus. We’ve listed ten of our most anticipated shows of the summer, from Breaking Bad to a revived Dallas, after the jump; be sure to add yours in the comments.
America’s Got Talent Premieres: May 14th at 8pm, NBC
True confession: We tried to watch America’s Got Talent when it debut, back in 2006, and couldn’t get through a single full episode. What makes this season different is Howard Stern, who’s replacing Piers Morgan as a judge. Although we’re not big fans and are sure Stern has been told to tone it down for NBC, we do enjoy watching loose cannons on live, massively popular television shows, and we can’t help but hope for some NSFPT (not safe for prime-time) moments.
Pretty Little Liars Premieres: June 5th at 8pm, ABC Family
Yes, yes, it’s an ABC Family teen drama. But shows like The Killing could learn a lot from the way this high-school murder mystery ended its second season. While the finale featured a big, satisfying reveal that also actually made sense, it also included the kind of world-expanding cliffhanger that will ensure the story doesn’t run out of steam. After less than three months of hiatus, we couldn’t be more curious about what’s in store on Pretty Little Liars Season 3.
True Blood Premieres: June 10th at 9pm, HBO
If you haven’t been watching the millions of True Blood Season 5 promos HBO has unleashed over the past three months, here’s the short version: Terry’s got a gun pointed at him, Russell Edgington is most definitely back, Pam’s face seems to be back to normal, and everyone is freaking out. Every new season of this show is sillier than the last, but we love our soapy, summer vampire pulp and wouldn’t want it any other way.
Dallas Premieres: June 13th at 9pm, TNT
Speaking of soaps, how likely is a present-day continuation of super-popular ’80s drama Dallas to be watchable? We’d say the odds are against it, but fans of the campy original will surely want to tune in and see what Patrick Duffy’s been up to since 1991 (besides starring in Step by Step, of course).
The Newsroom Premieres: June 24th at 10pm, HBO
Unlike the Dallas reboot, The Newsroom is the kind of show TV snobs lie awake at night fantasizing about. Created by Aaron Sorkin, airing on HBO, and starring the likes of Jeff Daniels, Emily Mortimer, Dev Patel, and Alison Pill, it’s set in the fast-paced and controversy-baiting world of cable news. Early trailers, combined with what we know about Sorkin’s style, suggest that we’re in for something like BBC hit The Hour, set in present-day America and packed full of witty dialogue. So, yeah, we’re counting down the days till June 24th.
Awkward Premieres: June 28th at 10:30pm, MTV
Amid countless Jersey Shore spin-offs and half-assed attempts at hipstersploitation (yes, I Just Want My Pants Back, we’re looking at you), MTV managed to do something right. In the wake of a failed adaptation of the controversial and excellent UK teen drama Skins, they came up with a high-school comedy that actually works, capturing the titular awkwardness of those years in a way that resonates across generations. We’ve got high hopes for Season 2, but even if it doesn’t live up to them, Awkward will still be the best show on MTV.
Louie Premieres: June 28th at 10:30pm, FX
Louis CK may be both the smartest and the funniest comedian on TV. So far, he’s brought us two seasons of self-deprecating, death-obsessed humor that’s never afraid to cross lines of good taste. CK has basically been a one-man production team until recently, when he hired Woody Allen’s longtime collaborator, Susan E. Morse, to assume editing duties. Even if that news, combined with the Manhattan-inspired trailer above, doesn’t imply an especially Allen-esque season to come, we’re sure we’ll be happy with whatever CK has in store.
Web Therapy Premieres: July 2nd at 11pm, Showtime
Have you been sleeping on this very funny series that started out online and is about to kick off its second season on Showtime? We don’t blame you, because it hasn’t been getting too much publicity, but now that you know about Web Therapy, you’d better start catching up in time for July’s premiere. The series stars the wonderful Lisa Kudrow as Fiona Wallice, a therapist who conducts her comically abbreviated sessions via iChat. Past seasons have featured an impressive cast of guest analysands, and the upcoming one is no exception: Meryl Streep, Conan O’Brien, and many other boldface names are slated to appear.
Breaking Bad Premieres: Sometime in July, AMC
Well, we’ll have had almost a year to get that grisly image from the Season 4 finale — you know which one — out of our heads by the time Breaking Bad premieres in a few months. While we don’t know much about what’s in store for Walter and Jesse in the show’s fifth and final season, Aaron Paul promises in the sneak peek above that it will be “hands down the craziest one yet.” Considering what we have to compare that to, now seems as good a time as any to start preparing ourselves.
Alphas Premieres: Date and time TBA, Syfy
Even if you missed the debut season of this new superhero series, you won’t have any trouble hopping right into the action. Here’s what you need to know: David Strathairn plays Dr. Lee Rosen, a neuroscientist who oversees a team of “alphas” working with the FBI in New York City who have fantastic abilities — like extreme strength and the ability to tap into airborne data streams — that come with downsides — like extreme exhaustion and autism. If you’re a fan of X-Men or Heroes, then you’re already familiar with what happens next. Threatened by their powers, certain humans in these mutants’ lives want them locked away in a secure location; meanwhile all that they want is an existence that approaches normal. This isn’t a show that’s trying to break new ground in the genre, but it’s action-packed good fun that feels particularly suited to the summer months.