TV Guide: 2015 Summer Recommendations

For a while, people used to say that Summer Television was weak on options…Reality shows, Major League Baseball, and a handful of decent premium channel programs…

Thanks to networks like FX, AMC and streaming platforms like Netflix, that simply is not the case anymore.

Tyrion & Jamie Lannister

We’ll go network by network with premiere dates, but first…

Now Playing

Netflix

Grace and Frankie

Grace and Frankie

Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Sam Waterston, Martin Sheen

Very entertaining and original. The love-square (get it, because there’s 4 of them?) between the award winning acting veterans and Sorkin TV alums is an excellent watch for those who want what’s next after The Odd Couple and Modern Family…and Sam Waterston is adorable.

The Chef’s Table

Chef's Table

If you need inspiration to play around in the kitchen, ideas for a new a restaurant to checkout, or need a docu-series to make you hungry, this is the one for you. Beautiful cinematography, moving music selection, and I highly recommend pouring a glass of wine while you watch.

HBO/HBO GO (streaming)

Game of Thrones

Thrones S5

Peter Dinklage, Lena Heady, Kit Harrington, Sophie Turner, Emilia Clarke

Believe it or not, some people haven’t watched this show yet…The 5th season has been slow, and even offensive at times, but there are a lot of power moves being made that seem to be leading to fireworks!…Or Dragons fire, whatever your preference is.

Silicon Valley

Silicon Valley S2

Thomas Middleditch, TJ Miller, Martin Starr, Kumail Nanjiani, Zach Woods

From the beautifully messed up mind of Beavis & Butthead/Office Space creator Mike Judge, Silicon Valley is a breath of fresh air to comedy television. If you’ve ever worked for a startup or in tech, you’ll actually be able to relate. If not, you’ll just laugh your ass off.

Veep

Veep S4

Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Anna Chlumsky, Matt Walsh, Tony Hale

I have to admit, I’m catching up on this show myself…but I get why people like it. It’s that mix of Curb Your Enthusiasm, Arrested Development, and MAYBE Seinfeld kind of humor (not West Wing by any degree)…and House fans should be interested in Hugh Laurie being included in the fourth season.

Showtime/Showtime Anytime (streaming)

Penny Dreadful

Timothy Dalton, Eva Green, Josh Hartnett, Harry Treadaway

Are you one of those people who hate-watched True Blood all the way through but feel like there’s now a void where monsters, drama, and sex used to be? This show’s for you…Josh Hartnett’s acting chops are on full display. Eva Green will haunt your dreams (in good ways and bad), and it’s terrifyingly elegant.

Happyish

Happyish S1

Steve Coogan, Kathryn Hahn, Bradley Whitford

All honesty, I plan to check this show out this holiday weekend to see what’s up. The cast is stellar but could have been as Phillip Seymour Hoffman was set to play the lead.

AMC

TURN: Washington’s Spies

TURN Season 2

Jamie Bell, Seth Numrich, Daniel Henshall, Heather Lind

I liked when the show was just called “TURN”, but it’s still very good and gripping. You don’t have to be a history buff (although it doesn’t hurt if you are) to appreciate this spy story. The chess game between Great Britain, the colony rebels, and their counter intelligence “divisions” is too much to not get caught up in…and at times you forget who you’re rooting for.

FX

The Comedians

The Comedians S1

Billy Crystal, Josh Gad, Stephnie Weir 

I’m not totally sure what the hype was on this show before it premiered, but I am very sure The Comedians has met it. As themselves, Billy Crystal and Josh Gad are natural and hilarious…like in real life. The guest appearances and cameos are top-notch as well.

Louie

Louie S5

Louis C.K., Pamela Adlon

I may have stepped away from Louie for a little bit, but then I came back for season 5 and I didn’t miss a thing. I think that’s the beauty of this show. Maybe someday it will play in reruns on every network like Seinfeld and Friends….nawwwww.

Louie headshake

Coming soon…

CBS

Under The Dome

Head's Will Roll

Dean Norris, Mike Vogel, Rachelle Lefevre, Alexander Koch

WHY!? WHY WAS THIS SHOW RENEWED!?…Because jerks like me got suckered into watching the first episode, which led to the whole first season, which led to the even weirder second season…It’s really dumb, but every episode ends with a cliffhanger that makes you curious of what’s next.

Season 3 Premiere: Thursday, June 25th – 8:00 PM CT

Zoo

Zoo S1

James Wolk, Nonso Anozie, Billy Burke, Nora Arnezeder

“We really want the whole world to fear their schnauzers,” said producer Scott Rosenberg. This adaptation from James Patterson has animals everywhere turning on humankind…I say NOPE, but you might be interested. There will be blood. At least Bob Benson’s in it.

…which may be how I feel about Zoo.

Season 1 Premiere: Tuesday, June 31st – 8:00 CT

NBC

Hannibal

Hannibal - Season 1

Mads Mikkelsen, Hugh Dancy, Caroline Dhavernas, Gillian Anderson

If there is a show I’m looking forward to returning the most, it’s Hannibal. This is the show you wish Dexter was in the final two seasons. It’s 1,000 times gorier than you would have ever expected to find on network television yet so elegant. And it’s visually the coolest thing you could find on a Friday night, but now NBC will run it on Thursdays.

Season 3 Premiere: Thursday, June 4th – 9:00 PM CT

Aquarius

Aquarius NBC

David Duchovny, Claire Holt, Emma Dumont, Gethin Anthony

David Duchovny returns to network television on the same channel and evening as his X-Files partner, Gillian Anderson. While Anderson’s character will be married to a serial killer (Hannibal), Duchovny will be hunting a famous one…Charles Manson

Season 1 Premiere: Thursday, May 28th – 8:00 PM CT

Mr. Robinson

Mr Robinson NBC

Craig Robinson, Tim Bagley, Peri Gilpin

NBC has been on quite the comedy slump after The Office and Parks and Recreation went off the air. So they give Office alum Craig Robinson his own show as a middle school music teacher…The show is called Mr. Robinson, yet his character’s name is Craig Rice…Okay.

Season 1 Premiere Date: Wednesday, August 5th – 8:00 PM CT

ABC

The Whispers

LILY RABE, KYLE HARRISON BREITKOPF

Lily Rabe, Barry Sloane, Milo Ventimiglia

Lily Rabe is starting to fit well in horror and suspense TV shows. The American Horror Story actress now has to deal with possessed creepy children and a mysterious force that threatens all of humanity…Nothing too dramatic.

Season 1 Premiere: Monday, June 1st – 9:01 PM CT

The Astronaut Wives Club

Astronaut Wives Club

Yvonne Strahovski, Odette Annabelle, Evan Handler, Desmond Harrington 

With Mad Men now off the air, The Astronaut Wives Club fills in as the new 60’s period piece. Astronauts were America’s heroes during that time, which makes this look at the women who stood by them, watched them launch, and waited for them to land safely all the more intriguing. And more Yvonne Strahovski is never a bad thing.

Season 1 Premiere: Thursday, June 18th – 7:00 PM

USA

Mr. Robot

Mr Robot

Rami Malek, Christian Slater

Following the very recent and very famous Sony hack, USA produces a TV show about hacking…Super antisocial Rami Malek is recruited by an anarchist named ‘Mr. Robot’, and connects with people through hacking them.

Season 1 Premiere: Wednesday, June 24th – 9:00 PM

Complications

Complications - Pilot

Jason O’Mara, Jessica Szohr

Jason O’Mara plays a doctor who is reeling from the death of his daughter, starts a gang war trying to save someone from a drive-by shooting, and it carries over to his hospital…Yep, complications.

Season 1 Premiere: Thursday, June 18th – 8:00 PM

TNT

The Last Ship

The Last Ship

Eric Dane, Rhona Mitra, Adam Baldwin, 

I really didn’t know how far they could stretch a show where everyone on Earth is dying from a pandemic, except those on US Naval ship…but it IS very entertaining.

Season 2 Premiere – Sunday, June 21st – 8:00 PM (2 hours)

FX

Tyrant

Tyrant S2

I found Tyrant to be one of the great TV surprises of last summer. It’s a roller coaster of suspense and power plays with a corrupt family run government in the Middle East…You could compare the Al-Fayeeds to the Lannisters from Game of Thrones, but even more dysfunctional.

Season 2 Premiere: Tuesday, June 16th – 9:00 PM CT

Sex & Drugs & Rock & Roll

Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll

Denis Leary, John Corbett, Elizabeth Gillies

I don’t know if this show will be any good or not, but Denis Leary as a washed up rockstar in an FX comedy is something worth rolling the dice on.

Season 1 Premiere: Thursday, July 16th – 9:00 PM

The Strain

The Strain S2

Corey Stoll, Mia Maestro, Kevin Durand

Guillermo del Toro’s brutal and original take on vampires is like nothing else. Along with TyrantThe Strain was another great surprise from last summer and was one of the best new TV shows as well.

Season 2 Premiere: Sunday, July 12th – 9:00 PM CT

HBO

True Detective

True Detective S2

Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn, Rachel McAdams, Taylor Kitsch

The long awaited follow up to Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson’s incredible first season is almost here. A new cast, a new crime, a new location…but let’s hope for the same dark and great writing that made the first so successful.

Season 2 Premiere: Sunday, June 21st – 8:00 PM CT

Ballers

Ballers S1

Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Rob Corddry, Omar Benson Miller

The hardest working man in showbiz, The Rock, has a new TV show about life after pro sports and “what’s next”. It feels like a beefed up sequel to Entourage but that’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Season 1 Premiere: Sunday, June 21st – 9:00 CT

The Brink

The Brink HBO

Jack Black, Tim Robbins, Aasif Mandvi, Pablo Schreiber

Have you noticed how AMC has been running Shawshank Redemption like crazy lately? That may be because of this Tim Robbins dark comedy about diplomacy to prevent World War 3…Yeah, that doesn’t seem too dramatic or anything…

Season 1 Premiere: Sunday, June 21st – 9:30 CT

Showtime

Ray Donovan

Ray Donovan S3

Liev Schreiber, John Voight, Dash Mihok, Eddie Marsan

Everyone has their show that not everyone watches…This one is mine. Liev Schreiber is a badass as Ray Donovan, leading one of the best casts you’ll find on TV. The show also adds Ian McShane and Katie Holmes for season 3, which will be very interesting to see play out.

Season 3 Premiere: Sunday, July 12th – 8:00 PM CT

Masters of Sex

Masters of Sex S3

Michael Sheen, Lizzy Caplan

I have been meaning to get caught up on this show. It’s remarkably smart and sexy. And if you’re drawn to period pieces and the pop culture of the past, it’s hard not to be intrigued.

Season 3 Premiere: Sunday, July 12th – 9:00 PM CT

Netflix

Orange is the New Black

OITNB S3

Taylor Schilling, Kate Mulgrew, Natasha Lyonne, Uzo Aduba

Loved how season 2 ended and it has my psyched to see what’s next…What I’m not psyched for is more Piper and Alex drama, because that’s what it all seems to be. I do look forward to how everyone else’s stories progress.

Season 3 Premiere: Friday, June 12th

Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp

Wet Hot American Summer Netflix

Paul Rudd, Bradley Cooper, Amy Poehler, Christopher Meloni

It’s a prequel, so I don’t think you have to have seen the classic film…but you should anyway. The cast is stellar and they have added Jon Hamm, John Slattery, Jason Schwartzman, Richard Schiff and Josh Charles. It’s going to be ridiculous…ridiculously good.

Premiere: Friday, July 17th 

BoJack Horseman

BoJack Horseman

Will Arnett, Aaron Paul, Allison Brie

This show is dumb. Really dumb. But it’s the kind of show that once you pop, you just can’t stop. Yes, BoJack Horseman is the Pringles of TV shows. You’re welcome.

Season 2 Premiere: Friday, July 12th 

Did I miss anything? What TV shows are you looking forward to the most? Let me know on Twitter @Mike_PiFF03.

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