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16 Summer Shows To Fill The Space In Your Heart (And Your DVR)

By Joanna Robinson | Lists | May 30, 2013 |

By Joanna Robinson | Lists | May 30, 2013 |

“The Fall” - Available Now On Netflix
The Good: If your Gillian Anderson yen wasn’t sated by her recent appearance on “Hannibal,” then this is the “X-Files” methadone for you. Anderson plays a police officer in Northern Ireland investigating a string of murders. The show already aired in the UK and has been renewed for a second season.
The Bad: Though it was BBC 2’s highest rated drama launch in eight years, the show has drawn inevitable comparisons to Helen Mirren’s “Prime Suspect.” As Maria Bello and her parade of hats already proved, it’s impossible to recapture that kind of lightning in a bottle, but I, for one, am delighted to see Anderson try.
The Duration: 5 episodes

“The Killing” - June 2nd on AMC
The Good: Well, first of all, we’ve left the case of Rosie Larson behind. So that’s a good start. The plot of Season 3 takes place a year after the last season ended and the only two returning actors are the leads Joel Kinnaman and Mireille Enos. Joining them? Peter Sarsgaard and Elias Koteas among others. Which means, damnit, after I swore to give it up, I’ll have to start watching again.
The Bad: Do I have to tell you? Do I really have to remind you about the end of Season 1 and ALL of Season 2? I didn’t think so.
The Duration: 12 episodes

“Graceland” - June 6th on USA
The Good: The leads Aaron Tveitt (Les Miserables) and Daniel Sunjata (“Rescue Me”) are recognizable, likable faces. That already puts them ahead of the throngs of likable, indistinguishable faces currently populating USA’s “White Collar Suits Pains” world. Tveitt, in particular, is a hugely popular theatrical talent and I’m actually a little surprised he’s taking the USA cash-out this early in his career.
The Bad: The plot (a group of comely undercover agents from different branches of law enforcement are picked to live in a house and have their lives taped. Find out what happens when people stop being poli-) is thin.
The Duration: 10 episodes

“In The Flesh” - June 6th-8th on BBC America
The Good: On the other hand, the plot for this tight, three episode mini-series sounds amazing. “Set in the fictional village of Roarton (Lancashire, England) after The Rising, in which teenager Kieren Walker was re-animated along with thousands of people who died in the year 2009. After months of rehabilitation and medication, the zombies (now referred to as partially deceased syndrome (PDS) patients by the government, but commonly known as “rotters”) are judged ready to return to their homes and families. They are given cosmetics and contact lenses to conceal their decayed appearance, and must maintain a strict programme of medication to avoid going “rabid” again. Many are haunted by returning memories of the atrocities they committed while rabid. In the extremist village of Roarton, PDS sufferers face prejudice from the villagers upon their return.”
The Bad: If you’re looking for a fun and gory substitute for “The Walking Dead,” you’re barking up the wrong allegorical tree.
The Duration: 3 episodes

“True Blood” - June 16th on HBO
The Good: Um? Vampire Pam? And Lafayette? And that’s about it. Oh! The theme song’s good.
The Bad: Pretty much everything else. But what sexy, sticky, enjoyable bad it is. Did I have other options for an image here? Well. I did. And I didn’t.
The Duration: 10 episodes

“Under The Dome” - June 24th on CBS
The Good: I once spent an amazing summer slowly watching and loving the crap out of the 1994 miniseries made of “The Stand.” As such, I have weakness for Stephen King TV projects. The book this particular project was based on was not the strongest King effort, but they had me at “Breaking Bad“‘s Dean Norris, and I’ll stick around for the rest.
The Bad: All the other miniseries that have been made out of Stephen King books. Even “The Stand” which was, in retrospect, terrible.
The Duration: 13 episodes

“Ray Donovan” - June 30th on Showtime
The Good: Liev Schrieber, Liev Schrieber, Liev Schrieber. I’d watch him read a telephone book. Liev Schrieber plays a “fixer” for the rich and famous whose life gets flipped, turned upside down when his However, he experiences his own problems when his father, Mickey Donovan (Jon Voight), is unexpectedly released from prison. Another mark in its favor? The show is from one of the “Southland” creators.
The Bad: I haven’t seen or heard any downsides yet.
The Duration: 10 episodes

“The Bridge” - July 10th on FX
The Good: The lovely and talented Diane Kruger joins the ranks of jaw-clenching lady detectives in this remake of a Swedish/Danish collaborative drama. Set along the Texas/Mexico border the show follows the efforts of US and Mexican law enforcement to catch a serial killer.
The Bad: Kruger, who is unmistakably German, will be playing a Texan. That should be fun. Hey, Joel Kinnaman pulled it off so my fingers are crossed for Kruger.
The Duration: 13 episodes

“Camp” - July 10th on NBC
The Good: Rachel Griffiths. I adore her. I even endured two seasons of “Brothers and Sisters” for her. The show is a workplace comedy set at a Summer Camp and has a very “Parks & Recreation” vibe.
The Bad: The fact that NBC only ordered ten episodes and pushed the show into the summer doesn’t exactly scream “I HAVE CONFIDENCE IN THIS PROJECT.”
The Duration: 10 episodes

“Orange Is The New Black” - July 11th on Netflix
The Good: From Jenji Kohan, the creator of “Weeds,” this Netflix original comedy based on the book of the same name chronicles one woman’s year in prison. Likely Kohan will mine the same “genteel fish out of water” material she used to effectively in the first few seasons of “Weeds.” And that could be fun.
The Bad: The Netflix Original programming has been hit and miss. Well, hits and “Hemlock Grove.” So we’ll see.
The Duration: 13 episodes

“The Newsroom” - July 14th on HBO
The Good: Chris Messina? Liking Olivia Munn again for a second time? The 2012 election? Karl Rove? Occupy Wall Street? The Drink Every Time Alison Pill Falls Down Or Runs Into Something Game?
The Bad: Ohhhh, the bloviating, I suppose. But I like that.
The Duration: 10 episodes
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“Broadchurch” - August 7th on BBC America
The Good: Well, Tennant, obviously. They had you at Tennant. But his co-lead, Olivia Colman, is something of a hot commodity currently in England having won two BAFTAs this year. (Anglophiles and actual Anglos will recognize Colman from “Rev,” “Green Wing” and, of course, “Peep Show.”) “Doctor Who” fanatics should also note that Arthur Darvill (Rory) has a strong supporting role. The plot? It’s a sleepy seaside murder mystery. The stuff of Miss Marple mysteries. But the fine cast and reportedly shocking ending (NO SPOILERS) make it a must watch.
The Bad: The fact that the UK has already seen it and we haven’t means your spoiler risk is QUITE high. Earmuffs, my dears.
The Duration: 8 episodes

“The White Queen” - August 10th on STARZ
The Good: Finally, a Corset and Crown drama focusing on the ladies. This political intrigue is set against The War Of The Roses and is based on Philippa Gregory’s very popular historical novels. Also, this show was produced by the BBC so you’re not likely to see “Spartacus”-level nudity.
The Bad: Alas, this show was produced by the BBC so you’re not likely to see “Spartacus”-level nudity.
The Duration: 10 episodes

“Low Winter Sun” - August 11th on AMC
The Good: This is a US remake of a popular English series and the reliably grim Mark Strong starred in both. The show co-stars Lennie James, and is about “murder, deception, revenge and corruption that starts with the murder of a cop by fellow Detroit detective.”
The Bad: I really haven’t heard any.
The Duration: 10 episodes

“Breaking Bad” - August 11th on AMC
The Good: This is the best goddamn show on American television.
The Bad: It’s almost over.
The Duration: 8 episodes

“Luther” - September 3-6th on BBC America
The Good: Look who’s back. I missed her so.
The Bad: It’s only four episodes.
The Duration: 4 episodes

Honorable Mentions: “Copper,” “Wilfred,” “Mistresses,” “Burn Notice,” “Pretty Little Liars,” “Royal Pains,” “Franklin & Bash,” and “Dexter.”