As we TV fans already know quite well, the summer is the one time of the year that tends to be unquestionably slower than any other part of the year for original television programming. As a huge TV fan myself, I know it often becomes a challenge to find many quality original shows to watch over the summer (especially scripted shows as I personally am not a fan of reality TV at all), but there are often a few hidden gems to be discovered each year, not only in new shows finally seeing the light of day over the summer schedule, but also a number of shows which have become returning favorites that I find myself looking forward to each year once summer time starts nearing and the fall programs start wrapping. Therefore, I’ve compiled a list of 10 noteworthy shows airing this summer that I think are more than worth a watch, for those looking for some quality shows to fill some quiet summer nights. Hit the jump to check out my 10 selections compiled of both new and returning shows, all airing this summer and all highly recommended. I’d also love to hear any comments or suggestions others may have regarding quality summer shows they think are well worth checking out, so please also make sure to leave your ideas and suggestions in the comments section below.
*Please note that Season/Series premiere dates are the dates currently listed for the shows and are subject to change.
Gang Related (Currently Airing Thursdays on Fox)
‘Gang Related’ is an action packed cop/crime series from Chris Morgan (writer of Fast & Furious 3-7) which is a surprisingly dark, intense and intriguing series. It tells the story of a man, who after being raised by a crime family as one of their own after his parents death, joins the LAPD in a gang task force in order to pass along inside information to the family. After his partner and friend is brutally murdered, he begins to question everything he is doing. The series stars a number of talented individuals and familiar faces, including Terry O’Quinn, Jay Hernandez, Cliff Curtis, RZA, Sung Kang, Jay Karnes and many more. While only a few episodes have aired so far, ‘Gang Related’ has already won me over and I would definitely recommend giving it a shot.
Falling Skies: (Season 4 Premieres June 22nd on TNT)
‘Falling Skies’ continues to be one of the most anticipated shows of the summer for me every year and I was thrilled to hear that the upcoming fourth season had been signed for 12 episodes this year, as opposed to the standard 10 episode order of the previous three seasons. The series follows a group of survivors in the aftermath of an alien invasion who have formed their own group and community in order to both survive and fight back against these intruders. ‘Falling Skies’ features impressive performances from Noah Wyle, Will Patton and a number of others. It is an action packed, intense and emotional series with impressive effects to boot, and it only continues to get better and better with each season. ‘Falling Skies’ gets one of my highest recommendations.
Hell On Wheels: (Season 4 Premieres August 2nd on AMC)
‘Hell on Wheels’ follows a number of unique characters revolving around the building of the railroad, post-civil war era. While I’m not often a huge fan of period pieces, occasionally they are so fantastically executed that I can’t resist and find myself absolutely loving them, ‘Hell On Wheels’ is without question one of these exceptions. The series also includes a number of incredible performances, including Anson Mount & Common as well as a number of others who are at the very top of their game here. The series’ fourth season will also be the first season to consist of 13 episodes, with the previous three season orders consisting of 10 episodes each, so that’s just another wonderful bonus and I highly recommend giving this show a shot if you haven’t already.
Undateable: (Currently Airing Thursdays on NBC)
While I’ve seen a number of critics apparently speaking quite poorly of this show, due in large part to supposed lack of originality, I personally (along with my girlfriend and at least a couple other people I know) absolutely love it and find it surprisingly hilarious. It may not have an amazing amount of original ideas, while I can’t speak for others I can say that when looking for a sitcom, what I want most is to be laughing and enjoying myself. On that level, this show certainly delivers, in addition to taking the opposite route of so many sitcoms and actually having events occur in a speedy manner as opposed to dragging them out for painfully excessive amounts of time. If you’re looking for lots of laughs and just a downright good time, I’d recommend giving ‘Undateable’ a shot, it’s currently airing two new episodes every Thursday night on NBC.
Wilfred: (The 4th & Final Season Premieres June 25th on FXX)
The story of a boy and his neighbor’s dog, or an Australian man as a dog suit, but of course only Ryan sees him that way. The US adaption of ‘Wilfred’ is a fantastic show that not only provides lot of laughs, but also some heartbreak and real heart too. Elijah Wood is superb as always in the lead role of Ryan and if you haven’t yet had the pleasure of this series, I would definitely recommend giving it a whirl. For the fellow fans out there, make sure to tune in on June 25th when the fourth and final 10 episode season begins with two back to back episodes, on a new night and channel, moving to the recently developed FXX.
Ray Donovan: (Season 2 Premieres July 13th on Showtime)
I’ll admit that I was already pretty much sold on this show well before it began, simply due to the fact that Liev Schreiber (who I’m personally a huge fan of) portrays the title role. After now having seen what the first season can deliver, I could not possibly be more excited for the second season this July and if you haven’t heard of ‘Ray Donovan’ or haven’t had the chance to check the series out, I highly urge you to do so, you almost surely won’t regret it.
The Bridge: (Season 2 Premieres July 9th on FX)
The US version of ‘The Bridge’ is based on the Danish/Swedish series and is yet another fantastic series from FX, one station in which it is a very rare occurrence that I don’t find myself absolutely loving a show of theirs once giving it a shot. As a gigantic fan of Matthew Lillard for decades, I was thrilled to see him as a guest start and even more excited to see him become an integral and recurring role on the show. Diane Kruger and Demián Bichir are phenomenal in the two lead roles and the rest of the cast is impressive as well. This is one intense and incredibly well done series that I wouldn’t hesitate to recommend.
Under The Dome: (Season 2 Premieres June 30th on CBS)
Based on the phenomenal novel by Stephen King, the series ‘Under The Dome’ takes the basic ideas and (most of) the characters from King’s novel, but then takes things in a very different direction. Fortunately, as opposed to many failed attempts at such an approach with other book-to-screen adaptations, it works very well here. I (personally a huge fan of the novel) was thoroughly satisfied with the first season and it’s quite a treat to have read the book and still not be at all certain just where things are headed on the show. Obviously King approves of the route the series is taking as well, considering he has been announced as the writer for the season two premiere. ‘Under The Dome’ is intense, compelling, mind-blowing and consistently exciting, therefore is another show I would highly recommend.
Franklin & Bash: (Season 4 Premieres August 13th on TNT)
If I had to pick a show to call my favorite summer show, it would have to be the ever fantastic ‘Franklin & Bash’ which is making its way back to TNT for its fourth season this August. While the previous seasons have premiered far earlier in the summer, I’m just thrilled that it’s still around, coming back for a fourth season at all. The series stars Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Breckin Meyer in the title roles, portraying two goofy best friends and lawyers whose methods in the courtroom are anything but conventional. While the series is indeed focused around a law firm and court hearings, it plays things off in such an original, hilarious and just flat out fun way that even for someone such as me who generally despises court drama’s and the like, I simply cannot get enough of this show. If you’re still not sold, it also features Malcolm McDowell as a regular in an absolutely hilarious role as the owner of the law firm Franklin and Bash are employed at. This show gets my top recommendation as far as summer shows go, don’t you dare miss out on it.
The Strain: (Series Premiere’s July 13th on FX)
While normally I would never do something as crazy as recommending a show that I have never seen more than a promo for, but the upcoming vampire series ‘The Strain’ is an exception to the rule for me. The reason for this particular exception is that the series is based on a trilogy of novels by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan which could not be more outstanding. Add to that the fact that Del Toro and Hogan are developing and heavily involved with the show themselves (Del Toro also directs the pilot), I figure it is a very safe bet that the show will hold up, and if it’s even a tenth of what the books were, it will be a series that is absolutely not to be missed. With the writers of the novels behind the series, I’d be very shocked if it was anything short of amazing so make sure you tune in on July 13th when it premieres on FX.