Summer is the perfect season to keep your TV off and enjoy the warm weather of the great outdoors.
Well… it used to be. May was once the month when all TV series wrapped up for the season, giving us a break from the tube until September. But now, even with a ton of our faves wrapping up until fall this week, there all kinds of series returning ― and some new ones debuting ― tempting us to stay indoors with the A/C on all summer long.
Fortunately, the TV gods have blessed us with DVR, meaning we can enjoy our favorite shows no matter how busy our summer plans make us. So go ahead, enjoy the sunshine, then catch up with TV at your leisure. In the next month or so, a few big shows will be ending for good while we get to say "hello again" to one of our very favorite sitcoms after a seven-year hiatus.
Want to see what’s on deck?
1. True Blood (HBO, Season Six)
Premieres: June 16
True Blood is trying something new for its long-awaited sixth season ― absolutely no gore and definitely no nudity. (Yeah, right.) Okay, actually, Season Six looks just as bloody and naked as ever, with humans now waging war on vampires. Though seem feel the Southern gothic jumped the shark a while back ― a show about vampires rapidly added shape-shifters, werewolves, maenads, fairies, witches, and such ― others are chomping at the bit more of this addictive horror soap (and its red-hot cast). Are you one of them?
2. Pretty Little Liars (ABC Family, Season Four)
Premieres: June 11
Those gorgeous petite deceivers return for more mystery and scandal in Rosewood. The identity of “A” may have been revealed a while back but that doesn’t mean there are no more secrets left to uncover. A is now targeting Hanna and a mystery woman in a black veil has been spotted in the teasers. What happens from there? Well, we’d be lying if we said we had any idea…
3. Dexter (Showtime, Season Eight ― Final Season)
Premieres: June 30
This summer, we say goodbye to the most lovable serial killer of them all! Dexter is one of those shows that left its buzz-worthy status behind a few seasons back and likely should have ended a season or two before it did, but that doesn’t mean there won’t be a few surprises up Dexter’s bloody sleeve. A teaser for the show has Dexter contemplating what he’ll leave behind as his legacy ― and given the number of people he’s killed, it’s bound to be a doozy. If you already checked out of Dexter, maybe it's time to tune back in?
4. Arrested Development (Netflix, Season Four)
Premieres: May 26
No need to DVR this one ― that’s impossible, actually, because it’s not even on TV. After a three-season run on Fox in the mid-2000s, the beloved comedy heads over to Netflix with the complete cast intact, despite the fact that many are much bigger stars now than they were seven years ago. While this new Season Four may be a one-off, rumors of an Arrested Development movie persist (but are unconfirmed)... so, frankly, we’re not sure when or if we’ll see more of the Bluths ― so savor them while you can! A ton of fan favorite guest stars are confirmed to return for the comedy event of the summer. Seriously, if you're not yet an Arrested Development fan, now’s your chance to get familiar ― the old episodes are on Netflix already! You don’t want to be left out of the conversation that will strike up immediately after the full Season Four goes up on Netflix. Trust us. Would we steer you wrong?
5. Teen Wolf (MTV, Season Three)
Premieres: June 3
We return to the teenage werewolf shenanigans four months after the end of Season Two, with new villains introduced in the form of an Alpha pack and plenty of human-scale drama between all our favorite characters, too. Before things get tense, the characters will have time to get back to (relatively) normal teenage lives, but expect things to go pretty dark and broody pretty quickly. (As tends to happen when you change into a monstrous creature every full moon.)
6. The Newsroom (HBO, Season Two)
Premieres: July 14
Aaron Sorkin’s newest series set in ― you guessed it ― a newsroom experienced a very mixed reception when it debuted last summer, with many finding it a little outdated in its approach to the rapidly-changing field of journalism. (Oddly, the show is set in the near past rather than the present.) This season will find the team led by Jeff Daniels reporting on Occupy Wall Street and the 2012 election, as well as engaging in the sharp banter Sorkin is known for. With a likable roster of supporting actors including Emily Mortimer, Dev Patel, Allison Pill, and Olivia Munn, there’s definitely reason to tune in while it’s still relatively early in the show’s run.
7. Breaking Bad (AMC, Season Five Part Two ― Final Season)
Premieres: August 11
Sigh. While we originally thought we’d get the final eight episodes of Breaking Bad in July like last year, we actually have to wait an extra month for the conclusion of last year’s cliffhanger. The finale left us with Hank on the toilet ― not normally the location for a major plot twist, but it just so happened to be where Walt’s DEA agent brother-in-law finally put the pieces together and realized that the elusive drug kingpin Heisenberg has been right under his nose all along. Now, one way or another, we’ll see the showdown we’ve been waiting for from the beginning, along with plenty of fallout from everything else that’s going wrong for the White family and friends. Breaking Bad’s conclusion will be the must-see TV event of the summer. If not the year. If not the decade. If not… ever.
8. Keeping Up With The Kardashians (E!, Season Eight)
Premieres: June 2
Let’s face it ― we don’t need Keeping Up With The Kardashians to keep up with the Kardashians. Anyone with eyes and an internet connection can’t miss up-to-the-minute briefs on who went shopping where and how each of them stays in shape despite a hectic schedule (and other crucial topics). Also: how hard is it to keep up with a pregnant lady? However, this season adds a little something extra to the mix with Kim carrying Kanye West’s baby and receiving all kinds of flack for how she’s handling (or, actually, ignoring) her pregnancy, carrying on like there’s not a fresh little fame monster growing inside her. Could this be the series’ most popular season yet? Well, you might as well watch it, since you're going to hear about it anyway.
And in case those returning shows don't keep you busy enough, there are a handful of new ones that sound enticing too...
9. The Fosters (ABC Family)
Premieres: June 3
The conveniently-named Foster family is home to both biological and adoptive children in this drama executive produced by Jennifer Lopez. The clan is multiethnic and the parents are a lesbian couple, so there’s diversity to spare here as ABC Family continues to push the boundaries of what would have been considered traditional “family fare” a decade ago. But how long until we see a J.Lo cameo?
10. Devious Maids (Lifetime)
Premieres: June 23
Hmm… what does this title remind us of? Desperate Housewives, perhaps? That’s no accident, since this Lifetime show comes from Marc Cherry, the creator of that juicy ABC primetime soap, and is executive produced by Eva Longoria. Like Housewives, it also stars five desperate ― we mean devious ― women in a domestic environment who, this time, aren’t so privileged. And guess what? Someone dies in the first episode. Anyone who misses Desperate Housewives should clearly tune in for this, since it seems to be following that formula to a T. What’s next? Diabolical Landscapers? Duplicitous Piano Teachers? This could seriously be an ongoing thing for decades!
11. Family Tree (HBO)
Premieres: May 12
It is what it sounds like ― only funnier. Girls and Bridesmaids star Chris O’Dowd plays a man hunting down his family heritage, which doesn’t exactly sound riveting until you realize this show comes from the eccentric mind of Christopher Guest, who gave us brilliant mockumentaries like Waiting For Guffman and Best In Show. Expect plenty of awkward humor and possibly a cameo or two from the roster of hilarious actors who always pop in his material, like Michael McKean and Fred Willard. (And maybe Parker Posey and Catherine O’Hara someday? Please?)
12. Under The Dome (CBS)
Premieres: June 24
Stephen King, the literary master of suspense, brings us another trippy premise with this series about a mysterious dome that suddenly appears over a small Maine town, cutting them off from the rest of the world. The cast includes Breaking Bad’s Dean Norris as a politician and used car salesman (troubling combination there), Scream 4’s Britt Robertson as an aspiring nurse, and Supernatural’s Colin Ford as a teen whose parents get trapped outside the bubble. It’s a pretty intriguing scenario, and quite likely a better-than-average stab at Lost-style suspense.
Which summer show are you most looking forward to?