Summer of TV Shows: 12 Shows to Watch This Summer 2016


The Spring semester is winding down. As finals are completed, everyone starts thinking the real questions of life: what am I supposed to do this summer? As college students, we usually don’t have the luxury to go on exciting summer trips around the world. For most of us, the greatest part of the Summer is lounging on the couch and napping all day. But in between naps, here are a few TV shows you might enjoy:

(New shows written in Italics)

1. Preacher (AMC)

May 22nd

Based on a comic by the same name, Preacher is one of the most anticipated shows of the summer. Produced by Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg (Pineapple Express, Superbad), Preacher  follows a small town Texas preacher, Jesse Custer, on a journey to find God. Throughout his journey, he meets a wide array of interesting characters and faces challenges to his faith and morals.

While fans of the comics remember Preacher for its dark and morbid scenes, the TV show is likely to take a much more tame approach. Nevertheless, this show should provide memorable characters (i.e. an Irish vampire, angels) and captivating storytelling throughout the Summer.

2. Wayward Pines (FOX)

May 25th

Based on novels by Blake Crouch, M. Night Shyamalan creates a mystery around a town that isn’t quite what it seems. Though the small town seems peaceful, viewers start to realize that there are dark secrets lying underneath the surface, and those secrets might be best left hidden.

Now on its second season, Wayward Pines successfully blended mystery and science fiction into a unique experience last year. But the story has taken a great deal of twists since the series premiere, the second season is likely to offer the same degree of lunacy. If you are looking for an elaborate story filled with shocks and awes, be sure to check this show out.

If you want to try to catch up with the first season, it is available to stream on Hulu.

3. Outcast (Cinemax)

June 3rd

Created by The Walking Dead‘s Robert Kirkman, Outcast tells the story of Kyle Barnes, a man whose life has been connected to demonic possessions. As an adult, Kyle goes on a journey to discover the source of these possessions and their connection to him. However, as he finds more answers to his questions, he begins to open doors that shouldn’t be opened.

Based on a comic by the same name, Outcast is looking to repeat the success of The Walking Dead with the help of Robert Kirkman. The premise based around demonic possessions can make for an intriguing story, and with Cinemax having already renewed the series for a second season without the first having premiered yet, the hype around Outcast is certainly prominent.

4. BrainDead (CBS)

June 13th

Starring Mary Elizabeth Winstead (10 Cloverfield Lane), BrainDead provides a quirky look at the U.S. government. With all the politicians in Washington D.C. acting a bit strangely (what’s new), a conspiracy is investigated about whether there are aliens inside the brains of politicians.

Billed as a political thriller, BrainDead feels more like a satirical comedy about the idiocy fascinating behavior of today’s politicians. With a cast that also includes the hilarious talent of Tony Shalhoub (Monk), this show is likely to provide audiences with laughs during this summer season.

5. Orange is the New Black (Netflix)

June 17th

Back for its fourth season, Orange is the New Black (OITNB) brings together an ensemble cast as the inmates of a minimum security women’s prison. The series follows the story of Piper Chapman’s time in prison, chronicling the insane and remarkable events that occur during her imprisonment.

There is that I can say about this show that isn’t already known. OITNB perfectly blends different elements of humor and drama to create a show that keeps all audiences either on the edge of their seat in anticipation, or falling back laughing at the hilarious hi jinks that ensue. If you haven’t had the opportunity to witness this wonderful series, I would highly recommend checking out the first few seasons on Netflix before the fourth season is released.

6. American Gothic (CBS)

June 22nd

Centered around a renowned Boston family, American Gothic sees a murder mystery unfold as this family begins to uncover the secrets behind their recently deceased patriarch. Discovering the deadly truth behind a string of murders, this family must now keep their eyes out for the existence of a potential accomplice.

While the premise may seem a bit unoriginal, for those who enjoy the intriguing discovery behind a murder mystery, this show will more than satisfy your craving. The creator promises a constant stream of twists with an astonishing ending, so be on the look out for this show.

7. BattleBots (ABC)

June 23rd

A revival of the old Comedy Central show, BattleBots brings together some of the most innovative groups of engineers as they put their robots to the test in an exhilarating, action-packed tournament for the crown of BattleBots champion.

For anyone interested in a fun, thrilling competition show that involves robots tearing each other apart, this is the show for you. After being revived last year, BattleBots has reignited its fans and established itself as one of the most fascinating shows of the summer. You aren’t gonna want to miss this.

8. Vice Principals (HBO)

July 17th

Created by and starring Danny McBride (Eastbound & Down), Vice Principals is an upcoming HBO comedy show about two vice principals battling for the soon-to-be vacant principal position. While dealing with issues in their personal lives, Neal Gamby (Danny McBride) and Lee Russell (Walton Goggins) will do anything to outwit the other and prove that they are the better candidate for the promotion.

With the hilarious success of Eastbound & Down, HBO’s second venture with Danny McBride looks to find continued success with this adult comedy. Taking advantage of the freedom that HBO gives, Vice Principals is likely to give a large dose of uproarious humor throughout this season.

9. Degrassi: Next Class (Netflix)

July 22nd

If you are searching for teenage melodrama, look no further than Degrassi: Next Class. Based in a fictional Toronto high school, Degrassi tackles the many hardships of being a teenager. From topics as typical as dating and getting good grades to deep, emotional struggles of depression and suicide, Degrassi places a much needed spotlight on today’s youth.

Degrassi has existed for decades, spanning many generations of teens. The newest iteration of this show covers the Generation Z teens. Although many of us in college may not fully relate to the problems that these teens have, the issues that are discussed are still relevant in many parts of society, and Degrassi provides an excellent platform to start those tough conversations.

10. The Get Down (Netflix)

August 12th

Created by Baz Luhrmann (The Great Gatsby), The Get Down takes a look at the lives of those in 1970s New York. With the city on the brink of bankruptcy, the youth living in the Bronx struggle with gangs, oppression, and poverty, but also find themselves in the middle of a musical revolution, as Hip-Hop, Disco, and Punk are born from this struggle.

Baz Luhrmann has always been known for his unique, musical style, and this project is a excellent showcase of that style. Creating a setting filled with music and drama, The Get Down has the feel of a show that an audience can immerse themselves into, and discover a world truly distinct and and remarkable. With a core of young talent and rounded out by exceptional actors in Jimmy Smits and Giancarlo Esposito, The Get Down is one to keep in mind when August comes rolling in.

11. The Strain (FX)

August 28th

Created by Guillermo Del Toro (Hellboy, Pan’s Labyrinth), The Strain showcases a new look at a classic horror monster. With a virus spreading throughout New York, thousands of people begin to die. But their bodies continue to live, as they become blood-sucking creatures of the night. It is up to CDC Dr. Ephraim Goodweather and his team to discover the cause of this outbreak and prevent the potential apocalypse.

Del Toro’s experience with the horror genre is well respected, and The Strain only continues to show just how creative the director can be. By giving a different spin on the original “vampire”, this show re-examines the potential dangers of a fatal disease spreading across the world. With creative monsters and fun action, The Strain  is worth a viewing or two.

The first season (and soon the second season) of The Strain are available on Hulu.

12. Halt and Catch Fire (AMC)

Unknown

In the early 1980s, computers evolved from office machines to personal appliances. Halt and Catch Fire explores this “personal computer boom” through the eyes of two men, Joe MacMillan and Gordon Clark, as they attempt to claim their piece of the American dream. However, they soon find out that achieving this dream is much harder than either of them thought.

As the spiritual successor to Mad MenHalt and Catch Fire delves into the relationships between these partners, as well as their workers around them. Add in the 1980s setting and excellent performances from the show’s leads, and you have an endearing look at the struggle to capture success in business. Having existed for two seasons already, Halt and Catch Fire has been a critical success, but not so much a commercial one. Perhaps a new wave of fans can help this show reach its potential.

The first two seasons of Halt and Catch Fire are available on Netflix.

 

It is very possible that you might have the opportunity to take exciting trip this summer. Or perhaps you are too busy watching the Summer Olympics in Rio. Either way, if you have the opportunity, make sure to give these shows a try this summer. Hopefully, you find them to be the highlight of your break before classes come back around.

Have any other shows that people should watch this summer? Tell me about them in the comments.

Albert is a dj with KSSU

 

5 Great TV Shows You Probably Aren’t Watching


TV

Some of the highest rated, or most culturally significant television shows in history were nearly unwatched at one point. Breaking Bad, one of the greatest shows of all time, premiered with only 1.4 million viewers in the United States, growing to 10.8 million for its series finale. The Office was nearly cancelled after the first season due to a small viewership. Some gems were even lost due to low viewers (Firefly, anyone?). Here are 5 shows that I think should be watched before it might be too late:

Hannibal

1. Hannibal (NBC)

Synopsis: “Jack Crawford, head of the Behavioral Science Unit of the FBI, seeks out special investigator Will Graham to help solve various murder cases across the Maryland area. Graham has a special ability to assume the point of view of a killer, as well as empathize with them. This ability, while it saves lives, has a haunting affect on Graham. In some cases, Graham’s fearful mind can lead to distortion of reality. Jack assigns a psychiatrist to Will Graham to help him cope with the work he does.

The psychiatrist: Dr. Hannibal Lecter. Known to his colleagues as a brilliant mind and praised doctor, but known to no one as The Chesapeake Ripper, the most wanted serial killer in recent years. As Jack, Will, and Hannibal develop a friendship, Hannibal uses his position to not only play dangerous games with the FBI, but break down Will’s mental state. The question is… Why?

The series begins a prequel to Red Dragon, but will later shift as a retelling of the complete Hannibal Lecter story.” (IMDb.com)

Why It Is Great: Hannibal is a horror show, infused with a psychological drama, masquerading as a police procedural. The acting is top notch, and the story always keeps you on your toes. The violence is quite graphic (especially for network television), but with a wonderfully compelling script and special effects that amazingly fuse gore and beauty into a singular entity, you may very likely find yourself mesmerized by these horrendous acts of cruelty.

Why Nobody Is Watching: As you may guess, the violence can be over barring for most, overshadowing the excellent show underneath. Combined with a detrimental time slot (Fridays, 10pm), Hannibal has been toeing the line between survival and cancellation, many times leaning towards the latter. After two seasons, Hannibal has caught stride along with the attention of TV critics, but networks don’t keep shows for good reviews alone. Hannibal needs more viewers if it is to thrive as it should.

# of Seasons and Where To Binge Watch: 2 seasons. Season 1 can be seen on Amazon Prime for free, with Season 2 coming soon.

Start of Next Season: Early 2015 (Unofficial)

Fargo

2. Fargo (FX)

Synopsis: An original adaptation of the Academy Award®-winning feature film, Fargo features an all-new “true crime” story and follows a new case and new characters, all entrenched in the trademark humor, murder and “Minnesota nice” that made the film an enduring classic. Oscar® winner Billy Bob Thornton stars as “Lorne Malvo,” a rootless, manipulative man who meets and forever changes the life of small town insurance salesman “Lester Nygaard,” played by BAFTA Award® winner and Emmy®-nominated Martin Freeman. Colin Hanks plays Duluth Police Deputy “Gus Grimly,” a single dad who must choose between his own personal safety and his duty as a policeman when he comes face-to-face with a killer. Allison Tolman also stars as “Molly Solverson,” an ambitious Bemidji deputy. (FX.com)

Why It Is Great: For anyone who has seen the original film, Fargo is proof that you can recapture the magic of an original work in a “reboot”. Fargo is a wonderful blend of dark humor and odd twists. The acting is absolutely phenomenal, leading Fargo to be nominated for multiple awards, including two Emmy nominations for “Outstanding Lead Actor In A Miniseries Or A Movie”. The story is always fun to explore, and the style and characters are wonderfully quirky, keeping audiences entertained from episode to episode.

Why Nobody Is Watching: Despite a cult following, the cultural significance of Fargo has certainly thinned since the original film’s release in 1996. The network knew this, The Coen Brothers who were the creators of the film knew this, everyone knew this, which is likely why nobody expected the TV show to be successful. With an excellent script penned by Noah Hawley, FX and the Coen Brothers decided to create a single 10 episode season of Fargo, and be done with it. Once that single season garnered universal praise from critics as well as multiple award nominations and wins, including the Emmy Award for “Outstanding Miniseries”, FX decided to take another trip to Minnesota for season 2. The hope being that a larger audience will do so as well.

# of Seasons and Where To Binge Watch: 1 season. Yet to be available for free online streaming.

Start of Next Season: Fall 2015 (Unofficial)

Masters

3. Masters of Sex (Showtime)

Synopsis: MASTERS OF SEX stars Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan as real-life pioneers of the science of human sexuality, William Masters and Virginia Johnson. Their research touched off the sexual revolution and took them from a midwestern teaching hospital to the cover of Time magazine and multiple appearances on Johnny Carson’s couch. He is a brilliant scientist out of touch with his own feelings, and she is a single working mother ahead of her time. The series chronicles their unusual lives, romance, and unlikely pop culture trajectory. (Showtime.com)

Why It Is Great: Masters is a highly refreshing show in how it captivates you. It contains nudity, but doesn’t rely on it to draw you in. It is a period drama in the 50s, but that is not the highest part of Masters appeal. What truly makes this show great are the characters. Masters delivers more character development then some of today’s largest blockbusters in only its first episode, thanks in no small part to terrific acting from the cast. Masters does something you would not expect from a show greatly about sex: it makes you care for the people in it.

Why Nobody Is Watching: Unlike the other shows on this list, Masters is a show that has a smaller viewership for one reason alone: its network. Showtime, although riddled with quality television, is a premium network that many of us simply avoid. If Masters was a similar show on HBO, or some of the cable networks it would be much more widely viewed. Luckily, this fact allows Masters to have a smaller audience and still thrive. However, Masters still deserves to be enjoyed by a larger audience, at risk or not.

# of Seasons and Where To Binge Watch: Currently airing Season 2. Showtime On Demand.

Start of Next Season: Currently airing.

Boardwalk

4. Boardwalk Empire (HBO)

Synopsis: Set in the Prohibition era of the 1920s Boardwalk Empire is the story of Enoch “Nucky” Thompson, the treasurer of Atlantic County, Atlantic City, New Jersey. Due to his relationships with mobsters as well as political contacts, the Federal Government start to take an interest in him. His lavish lifestyle seems at odds with his position, and as well as his connections, there is prolific bootlegging in the area. (IMDb.com)

Why It Is Great: In a time when villains were in charge, Boardwalk does a great job capturing the darkness in everyone. The cast is wonderful, led by Steve Buscemi in what likely is the role of his lifetime. With a setting that backdrops one of America’s most lavish decades, Martin Scorsese does a fantastic job of unifying a unique and extraordinary background with a group of fascinating characters in a story about the dark underbelly of society, leading to multiple years of Emmy nominations.

Why Nobody Is Watching: With great characters comes, great decreases in pace. This is no truer than with Boardwalk. The story can at times feel like it is going at a snail’s pace, leaving many viewers impatient for the overall story. The unfortunate result is a great series that has teetered on the edge of cancellation until finally HBO, and the writers agreed it was time to put an end to Boardwalk after its fifth season. My hope is to allow others to enjoy Boardwalks fun, unique style as it passes by for one final run this Fall.

# of Seasons and Where To Binge Watch: 4 Seasons. HBO Go. Season 1 on Amazon Prime for free; following seasons coming soon.

Start of Next Season: September 7th; the beginning of the final season.

Halt

5. Halt and Catch Fire (AMC)

Synopsis: Halt and Catch Fire is set roughly one year after IBM all but corners the market with the release of its first major product – the IBM PC. In this fictional drama, a former IBM executive, Joe MacMillan (Lee Pace) plans to reverse engineer the flagship product of his former employer and forces his current company, Cardiff Electric, into the personal computer race. MacMillan enlists the help of Gordon Clark (Scoot McNairy), a great engineer whose unrealized dreams of creating a revolutionary product have created tension in his marriage to Donna (Kerry Bishé), and Cameron Howe (Mackenzie Davis), a volatile prodigy who puts her future in jeopardy to join MacMillan’s rogue PC project.  Halt and Catch Fire thrives on the spirit of innovation and explores what it’s like to stand at the forefront of something world-changing and work towards it, no matter the risk. (AMC.com)

Why It Is Great: You may notice a trend with AMC shows. Halt has its own distinctive style that provides a wonderful setting for the cast to use, similar to Breaking Bad and Mad Men. With unique characters that intertwine to make the most unlikely of teams, audiences are given a look into the beginning of the personal computer revolution through the eyes of the people who believed that they could change everyone’s lives, even if their own lives were collapsing around them.

Why Nobody Is Watching: Like most AMC shows (with the exception of The Walking Dead), Halt started off rather quietly with viewers. Most AMC viewers are skeptical of shows attempting to replace greats like Breaking Bad and Mad Men, but AMC needs to try somehow, and Halt seems to be a great start in replacing these shows. Hopefully, people will not write it off since it may not be “as good” as its predecessors.

# of Seasons and Where To Binge Watch: 1 Season. AMC.com, but not for long.

Start of Next Season: Summer 2015

 

It seems we have a problem on our hands that is unprecedented: we have too much quality television. Granted this is one of best problems to have, but with more quality television, more great shows could be lost. With movies today being filled with remakes, reboots, and YA flicks, perhaps it is time for us all to return to the higher quality of television.

If you like this post, share it with your friends. If you think I may have missed other great shows, comment below. Albert is a DJ with KSSU Listen online or through the tune-in app