What the Hell Is There to Watch This Summer?
Ugh. I hate summer. I hate the mosquitos, the unbearable heat, the increased risk of skin cancer, and oh yeah, the fact that nothing good is on TV.
Fall TV is like Thanksgiving dinner–you spend all year looking forward to the delicious goodness that people spent all day working to prepare so lovingly, and when it’s done right, it doesn’t disappoint. Meanwhile, summer TV is like the leftovers after Thanksgiving dinner. Occasionally, there is good stuff–like leftover pie or unfinished sweet potatoes–but it’s mostly composed stuff you don’t really want to eat but you have to since your mom refuses to cook anything new until there’s more room in the fridge.
What is it with me and food? Man, am I hungry or something?
Anyway, I have looked at the summer schedule, and I will give my ratings on whether it’s the type of dish you should eat right away or bury in the back of the fridge. Yeah, let me get a snack as I write this.
Grace and Frankie (Netflix)
Premiere Date: May 8th
Description: When Grace (Jane Fonda) and Frankie (Lily Tomlin) find out that their husbands Robert and Sol (played by Martin Sheen and Sam Waterson, respectively) are gay–and for each other–the two women’s lives are turned upside down. Despite being polar opposites–Frankie is a free spirited bohemian while Grace is a buttoned-up perfectionist–the two women move in together and try to help each other figure out what to do with their rest of their lives. ‘Cause, you know, they’re reaching the end of them.
Observations: As much as I love seeing Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin onscreen together, I feel like the real story is about Robert and Sol finally being able to express their love for each other. I mean, I know their coming out is a shock for Grace and Frankie, but it’s kinda irritating how Robert and Sol’s families make the whole situation about them. In the first episode, Robert’s daughter (played Brooklyn Decker) even wails about how she doesn’t know how to explain Grandpa’s gay to her kids.
Way to be sensitive there. Guess you won’t be rolling out the rainbow flag any time soon.
Nevertheless, it’s got a star-studded cast, hilarious one liners, and touching moments as well. However, there’s only 13 of these half hour episodes so you have to be careful not to binge watch too fast or else you’ll be left with wanting more that isn’t there.
Rating: Warm apple pie with ice cream. Delicious and leaves you wanting more.
Wayward Pines (Fox)
Premiere Date:May 14th
Description: Based on the trilogy by Blake Crouch, Secret Service Agent Ethan Burke (Matt Dillon) is on a mission to investigate the disappearance of two fellow agents, one of whom is his ex lover (Carla Gugino). He stumbles upon the strange town of Wayward Pines, Idaho, where all the town residents seem to be keeping secrets. And not fun cutesy secrets like the recipe to Ma’s homemade apple pie but secrets like how they are all trapped in some weird sci-fi experiment that’s a cross between The Truman Show and The Twilight Zone.
Observations: Having M. Night Shyamalan’s name on your product stopped being a good sign in 2006, but the critics are already praising it. Maybe Shyamalan got his groove back in television and since we do need something to tide us over until the real Twin Peaks gets back on Showtime, it’s worth a shot. However, if there’s a kid claiming to see dead people or a horribly inaccurate adaptation of an anime, get out while you can. After all, you don’t have to watch the show to enjoy the recaps!
Rating: Gas station sushi. Risky, but it might turn out okay.
Premiere Date: May 21
Description: After a mysterious disease wipes out any resident over the age of 21 in the small town of Pretty Lake, pregnant Wiley (Jeanette McCurdy) and other town residents are forcibly put into government quarantine and struggle to…survive? Cope? Find someone to explain to them how to cook something that’s not ramen? I don’t know, every description of the show I try to find is super vague.
Observations: Not only is the premise super vague, the show only has six episodes and strangely enough, they’re not going to be available for binge viewing. Netflix has decided to air new episodes of Between on a weekly basis. Yeah, like I’m going to be waiting every week for a new episode of a mediocre sci-fi series whose biggest star is that chick from Nickelodeon when I could binge watch…literally anything else.
Rating: Your aunt’s terrible tuna casserole. Bury it in the back of the fridge and forget about it.
Premiere Date: May 28
Description: Set in 1967, tough-as-nails police sergeant Sam Hodiak (David Duchovny) is asked to investigate a missing person case involving Emma Karn (Emma Dumont) with the help of fellow officer Brian Shafe (Grey Damon). Little do they know, Emma Karn has been recruited by the infamous Charles Manson to join his Family as they go a crime spree of murder and theft.
Observations: First of all, I am going to be extremely disappointed if they never use the actual “Age of Aquarius” song at least once in this series. But seriously, the return of Agent Mulder? A 60s setting to help us with our Mad Men withdrawal? Although the trailers don’t indicate that they’ll have the same level of attention to costume. For God’s sake, Grey Damon has a 2006 Zac Efron haircut! However, having the Charles Manson hook makes me interested how they’ll portray the charismatic serial killer.
Rating: Fancy artisanal pizza Seems generic at first, but special toppings make it stand out.
Premiere Date: June 1
Description: Based on the award-winning short film Sequin Raze, UnReal follows Rachel Goldberg, a staff member on a popular The Bachelor-esque reality dating competition, whose job is to try to incite the most outrageous footage from the bitchy contestants for her demanding producer Quinn King (Constance Zimmer). Unfortunately, manipulating people for ratings is taking a toll on Rachel, and being attracted to the season’s bachelor Adam Cromwell (Freddie Stroma) isn’t helping either.
Observations: We all know most reality show drama is manufactured and UnReal seems like it’d be an awful but mesmerizing inside look how a reality TV show runs. If you’re not already sick of The Bachelorette, which is already on air this summer (and in recaps!), UnReal could be added to your DVR as a supplement.
Rating: Those sugary sweet cookies from the grocery store. You know they’re bad for you, but it’s worth it anyway.
The Whispers (ABC)
Premiere Date: June 1
Description: Based on the 1951 Ray Bradbury short story “Zero Hour,” paranormal forces are subtly manipulating children to kill the adults and take over the world. FBI Agent Claire Bennigan (Lily Rabe) leads the investigation and discovers that aliens are using the children to help with their invasion. Only time will tell if they can be stopped.
Observations: Now I am paranoid and wondering if my childhood imaginary friend Nadine wasn’t trying to convince me to kill my family. Anyway, Lily Rabe is a solid actress, and I am interested to see how she’s is going to fight off invisible aliens who are manipulating children who could easily be knocked down with a rough shove. But honestly, there’s been so many horror sci-fi shows this summer that unless it proves to be extremely stellar, it could just get lost in the mix.
Rating: A ham sandwich with your favorite chips. Seems boring at first but it might just hit the spot.
The Astronaut Wives Club (ABC)
Premiere Date: June 18th
Description: Based on the novel Astronaut Wives Club: A True Story, the show will focus on a group of husbands whose wives are firefighters. I’m kidding–it’s literally about the wives of the astronauts as the Space Age was taking off in the 1960s. The wives bond over their personal tragedies and successes as they find themselves being thrust into the spotlight.
Observation: Another show attempting to fulfill our Mad Men void, although this one doesn’t seem to have enough compelling drama to hold attention.
Rating: Meat loaf. It’s okay, but you’d rather have something else.
Mr. Robot (USA)
Premiere Date: June 24
Description: Elliot (Rami Malek) is an anti-social Manhattan cyber security specialist who gets recruited to use his hacking skills by an anarchist only known as Mr. Robot (Christian Slater) who wants to take down corporate America. However, Elliot must be careful not to get caught by his target E Corporation before they figure out who he is.
Observations: The description is pretty vague, but the trailer makes it seem like this will be a thrilling drama with a lot of twists and turns especially when you’re not sure if Mr. Robot is trustworthy–or even if Elliot is. I wish there were a little more information about the show so there is more to get excited about besides Christian Slater’s return to television, but I guess we’ll have to wait until the episodes actually air to actually get hooked.
Rating: Grilled chicken and vegetables. It’s good for you to eat and you know you’ll enjoy it.
Premiere Date: July 16th
Description: A documentary crew following Johnny Rock (Denis Leary), the former lead singer of the fictional 90s rock band The Heathens, who is trying to reunite the band for his last shot at stardom and repair his relationship with his family with hilarious results. John Corbett, Elizabeth Gillies, Bobby Kelly and Elaine Hendrix also guest star as Johnny’s previous band mates and family.
Observations: The official trailer for the show hasn’t been released, but the 20-second clips that FX has released so far show Denis Leary hasn’t lost his comedic timing and the Johnny Rock character is right within his wheelhouse. However, we should wait until longer clips are released to decide if the show is worth watching every week.
Rating: Super hot soup. You should wait a little bit before digging in.
Sharknado 3: Oh Hello No!(SyFy)
Premiere Date: July 22
Description: More tornadoes filled with sharks hit Washington, D.C., and Orlando, Florida. What else do you need to know?
Observations: It’s not a TV series, but it is something fun to watch this summer. Sharknado is unapologetically campy and scientifically inaccurate, and looking at the cast list–Bo Derek, Frankie Muniz, Mark Cuban, David Hasselhoff, Chris Jericho and Jerry Springer are expected to make appearances–makes me want to tune in even more. Plot? What plot? I just want to know what on earth David Hasselhoff is going to do about a shark tornado.
Rating: Double cheeseburger and fries. Absolutely no nutritional value but who cares? And the Hoff will be there to eat any you spill on the floor.