1. Graceland, USA, June 6 at 10 p.m.
Mike (Aaron Tveit!), an ace FBI rookie, gets placed in a snazzy beachfront group house of fellow law enforcement folk, all of whom are undercover agents of a sort (FBI, DEA, Customs). They are also good-looking. Daniel Sunjata plays a badass rogue FBI guy in contrast to Mike, the straitlaced newbie. Graceland is something new and darker for USA. I liked this pilot; let’s see where it goes.
2. Pretty Little Liars, ABC Family, June 11 at 8 p.m., will be paired with…
3. …new show Twisted, ABC Family, June 11 at 9 p.m.
If you held a gun to my head and tried to make me explain what is happening on Pretty Little Liars, you would have to kill me. Because honestly. Finnegan’s Wake is less confusing. Nevertheless, I will keep trying! Twisted is another ABC Family mystery, this time revolving around a guy: Sixteen-year-old Danny (Avan Jogia), who killed his aunt (!!!!), comes back to his hometown only to immediately become a suspect in another murder.
4. Magic City, Starz, June 14 at 9 p.m.
This drama — about a mobbed-up Miami hotel in 1959 — is gorgeous to look at, and there are things I really like about it. There are also things I find to be weak (there’s some affectless acting going on, from Jeffrey Dean Morgan’s lead character on down). And yet, I got sucked into the eight-episode first season, Morgan (RIP, Denny: never forget) grew on me, and I look forward to the second. Also, Danny Huston as the scary mob villain plays a sexual freak — a fact that caused some surprising larger plot twists!
5. True Blood, HBO, June 16 at 9 p.m.
Sigh. True Blood. I just can’t quit you. But you are almost 100% terrible at this point. Will you be better in the first season after creator Alan Ball left? A switch that then led to the new showrunner being fired midseason? I just answered my own question. See you June 16. xo
6. Inspector Lewis, PBS, June 16–30 at 9 p.m.
7. And after that run, Endeavour will start, PBS, July 7–28 at 9 p.m.
Fellow Masterpiece Mystery nerds and seekers of the Cozy Feeling! Lewis (Kevin Whately) and Hathaway (Laurence Fox) are back. And then, with Endeavour, so is Morse. Because Endeavour (with Shaun Evans as Morse) is the Inspector Morse prequel.
8. Under the Dome, CBS, June 24 at 10 p.m.
I’m so, so in with this one. From the Stephen King novel. A damn town ends up under a damn dome! Really good cast (Rachelle Lefevre from the Twilight movies, Dean Norris from Breaking Bad, Samantha Mathis from where-have-you-been-Samantha-Mathis, and others). And a really good story. It’s a 13-episode series that, if it does well, can continue. It’s adapted by Brian K. Vaughan (comics-guy-turned-screenwriter) and Neal Baer (of ER and Law & Order: SVU for many years). The pilot is great, I thought. Damn town. Damn dome.
9. Catfish, MTV, June 25 at 10 p.m.
Aren’t we all being catfished by watching this show? I can’t figure out what or how much is faked. But I do feel like they are the Manti Te’o to our gullible public. Or maybe they’re the guy who catfished Manti, and we’re Manti? Whatever! It’s not entirely real, is the point. But clearly people are into this show. And it is coming back for more.
10. Rizzoli & Isles, TNT, June 25 at 9 p.m.
Come for the Sapphic friendship of Jane Rizzoli (Angie Harmon) and Maura Isles (Sasha Alexander), leave with…well, that’s basically it. No, I’m kidding. This show has a nice pace to it, good mysteries, and a charming ensemble cast.
11. Big Brother, CBS, June 26 at 8 p.m.
I’m often thankful that I stopped watching Big Brother fairly early in its existence, because, frankly, I’m confident it would ruin my life now that it’s basically on 24 hours a day. I’m serious. It’s on CBS multiple times per week, you can look at the live feeds 24 hours a day on CBS.com, and TVGN will be showing the late-night “curated live feeds” (as the press release put it) Showtime used to broadcast. To my friends who do watch Big Brother: See you in September.
12. Dexter, Showtime, June 30 at 9 p.m., leading into…
13. …Ray Donovan, Showtime, June 30 at 10 p.m.
Even if you think you don’t have room in your heart for another antihero or tough-guy show, you still will want to check out Liev Schreiber in Ray Donovan: It is good. Oh, and? Dexter begins its final season! The show has had its ups and downs, but to me, it’s been mostly ups. We now take Michael C. Hall’s performance for granted, but let’s remember that it was not only transformative for him as an actor, but he did what didn’t seem possible before this show premiered in October 2006: He made serial killer Dexter lovable.
14. The Bridge, FX, July 10 at 10 p.m.
I haven’t yet watched the pilot for this show yet. But I am still confident that it will be good. My evidence: 1) Most FX dramas are good. 2) It is based on much-praised Danish/Swedish source material. 3) Diane Kruger and Demián Bechir are in it, and both of them are excellent and deserve to be better known.
15. Camp, NBC, July 10 at 10 p.m.
What the hell is this show? Rachel Griffiths plays a camp director? It was filmed in Australia? What? I will watch at least one episode to see what in the world this is. Because, like I said, Rachel Griffiths is in it.
16. Orange Is the New Black, Netflix, July 11
The latest Netflix original series should be a good one. It’s based on Piper Kerman’s memoir (disclosure! I know Piper a little bit) about a privileged white woman who goes to prison, and it was adapted by Weeds creator Jenji Kohan. Taylor Schilling stars as Piper. All 13 episodes will appear on July 11.
17. The Newsroom, HBO, July 14 at 10 p.m.
I’m admitting it right here: I have really missed The Newsroom! I described my conflicted feelings about the show in our year in hate-watching roundup, if you’d like to see. In summary: I cannot wait to be fascinated/annoyed again by the Aaron Sorkin show.
18. Covert Affairs, USA, July 16 at 9 p.m., which will be followed by…
19. …Suits, USA, July 16 at 10 p.m.
I know I should watch Suits, but people, there are only so many hours in the day. I will catch up sometime. In the meanwhile, both of these USA shows return for their new seasons (Season 4 for Covert Affairs, Season 3 for Suits).
20. Web Therapy, July 23, Showtime at 11 p.m.
This improvised comedy, created by Lisa Kudrow, Dan Bucatinsky, and Don Roos, is only nominally on Showtime — it exists more on the internet. Wherever it is, it really is so, so funny. Read Louis Peitzman’s ode to its greatness here.
21. Broadchurch, BBC America, Aug. 7 at 10 p.m.
This eight-episode ITV murder mystery was huge in the U.K. earlier this year, and my Daily Beast friend Jace Lacob has been raving about this show for months. (He was literally raving; it was sort of scary, you guys.) But does anything sound better than this show, with David Tennant as a detective investigating the death of an 11-year-old in a coastal town? We already know it’s great from its Downton Abbey–sized ratings. (Read only the headline of that if you click on it: I’m scared there are spoilers.) Cannot wait.
22. The White Queen, Starz, Aug. 10 at 9 p.m.
This show is based on the best-selling Philippa Gregory novel and looks like a costume drama spectacle with lots of history that I don’t know and actors like Max Irons (son of Jeremy) and James Frain and Janet McTeer. I don’t really know what I mean either. It’s a compliment, though.
23. Breaking Bad, AMC, Aug. 11 at 9 p.m.
The best show on television — IMO! — will begin its eight-episode final run on Aug. 11. I wrote a little bit about Breaking Bad last week (and posted two clips from the first half of Season 5), if you care to read about how excited and devastated I am about the show ending.
24. And that leads into Low Winter Sun, AMC, Aug. 11 at 10 p.m.
I saw the 2006 British miniseries that this drama, now set in Detroit (and filmed there too), is based on, and I remember it being very good. Mark Strong will reprise his lead role as a detective who gets caught up in a criminal mess of his own.