10 hot new TV shows you need to watch this summer, from Roger Ailes to 'Four Weddings'
Summer isn't the TV wasteland it used to be.
Once a dumping ground for networks to burn off their dopiest procedurals and low-stakes competitions, it's increasingly become a go-to season for some of the small screen's most addicting shows, with Emmy-winning favorites including HBO's "Big Little Lies" and Hulu's "The Handmaid's Tale" returning in the coming weeks. It's also a good time to test the waters for starry new miniseries and high-concept dramas, both of which are premiering in abundance this year.
After sampling much of what's to come on broadcast, cable and streaming, we picked 10 of the best new series that you should tune into this summer.
NBC (premieres May 28), Tuesdays, 10 EDT/PDT
Singing competitions are a dime a dozen. NBC’s intriguing new series, which premieres after “America’s Got Talent,” shifts the focus behind the scenes to undiscovered songwriters competing to write the next big hit, in hopes of getting it recorded by an A-list. Contestants are judged by panelists Ryan Tedder, Ester Dean and Shane McAnally, while guest artists appearing throughout the season include the Jonas Brothers, John Legend and Meghan Trainor. – Patrick Ryan
Amazon (all episodes available May 31)
The apocalypse is coming, and it's far funnier than you might have imagined. Amazon adapts beloved cult novel "Good Omens" (by the late Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman) into this six-episode miniseries. Starring David Tennant as a slick demon and Michael Sheen as an uptight angel, the "Omens" is about an end of days where heaven and hell are more interested in fighting than saving the world, and the antichrist has been misplaced. Irreverently funny with great lead performances, the series, written by Gaiman, captures the unique tone of the book. – Kelly Lawler
'When They See Us'
Netflix (all episodes available May 31)
Director Ava DuVernay brings the story of the Central Park Five, five black and Hispanic teens who were wrongfully convicted of the 1989 rape of a jogger, to stark, brutal life in this limited series. Intimate, gorgeously acted and hard to look away from, the story focuses on the youths' treatment by police and rabid media response to the crime. – Lawler
HBO (June 14), Fridays, 11 EDT/PDT
More kooky than spooky, HBO’s new Spanish-language comedy is a delightfully strange and drolly entertaining half hour, in a similar vein to FX’s stellar vampire show “What We Do in the Shadows.” Produced by “Saturday Night Live” head Lorne Michaels and Fred Armisen (who also appears), the series follows a ragtag group of friends (including “SNL” writer Julio Torres) who start a horror-for-hire business, helping stage a fake exorcism to boost a priest’s profile and creating a haunted mansion for an eccentric millionaire. – Ryan
HBO (June 16), Sundays, 10 EDT/PDT
HBO makes its first foray into edgy teen drama with this American adaptation of a 2012 Israeli series. The show centers on 17-year-old outcast Rue Bennett (Zendaya), a moody, mercurial recovering drug addict who returns to high school after a stint in rehab. Frequently uncomfortable to watch with its graphic nudity and depictions of teen alcohol and substance abuse, the series is anchored by a grounded, wholly captivating performance from Zendaya, a former Disney Channel star taking on her most mature role to date. Eye-popping cinematography and a killer contemporary soundtrack elevate the sometimes hackneyed material, which is at its best when it explores mental health and human connection in the digital age. – Ryan
'Alternatino with Arturo Castro'
Comedy Central (June 18), Tuesdays, 10:30 ET/PT
For five seasons of “Broad City,” Arturo Castro was a quiet scene-stealer as Ilana’s neurotic gay roommate Jaime. Now, the Guatemalan actor/writer gets a chance to shine in his very own sketch series, which lovingly spoofs the Latin American experience while also sharply tackling topical issues such as the family separation crisis. (In one sketch, Castro plays an ICE agent whose solution is “cage-free children,” aka letting immigrant kids roam free in fields.) Other segments are just plain silly but no less uproarious, including “Broken Home Hunters” (a parody of “House Hunters,” but with a couple that hates each other) and a “Fifty Shades of Grey” parody co-starring Abbi Jacobson where the dirtiest act is giving “tiny little kisses.” – Ryan
'The Loudest Voice'
Showtime (June 30), Sundays, 10 EDT/PDT
Fox News has a whole new look on this limited series from Showtime. "Voice," based on the book "The Loudest Voice in the Room" by Gabriel Sherman, chronicles the rise and fall of former Fox News chief Roger Ailes (brought to life by Russell Crowe in heavy prosthetics) at the cable news channel, from its 1990s launch to his death in 2017. The propulsive, witty series has a talented cast including Seth MacFarlane putting his smarmy smiles to good use as former Fox News PR chief Brian Lewis; an unrecognizable Sienna Miller as Ailes' wife, Elizabeth; and Naomi Watts as former Fox News host Gretchen Carlson. – Lawler
Amazon (all episodes available July 26)
Superhero shows are hit or miss, and the ones that work are often not long for this world (RIP, our dearly beloved “The Tick”). Here’s hoping that Amazon’s latest foray into the genre sticks around: “The Boys” grimly satirizes our insatiable superhero obsession, imagining a world where caped crusaders are branded and monetized by a major corporation, while the vigilantes themselves are largely self-absorbed, cynical and sexually deviant. It’s subversive, gritty and often darkly funny, which is to be expected from executive producers Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg, who also oversaw another Garth Ennis comic-book adaptation, AMC's “Preacher.” – Ryan
'Four Weddings and a Funeral'
Hulu (July 31), Wednesdays
"Game of Thrones" fans who have been missing Missandei can at least see actress Nathalie Emmanuel in this new Hulu limited anthology series based on the 1994 Hugh Grant and Andie MacDowell film. Produced by original "Four Weddings" writer Richard Curtis, "Four Weddings" updates the story for 2019 and follows a group of four American friends who reunite for a glamorous wedding in London where things don't go exactly as planned. It's the kind of light, easy-to-watch rom-com that you'd expect from writer and executive producer Mindy Kaling, and has an instantly charming cast that, in addition to Emmanuel, includes "You're the Worst" breakout Brandon Mychal Smith. – Lawler
'The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance'
Netflix (all episodes available Aug. 30)
Jim Henson's breathtaking story of Gelflings, Skeksis and Mystics returns after 37 years. The series is a prequel to Henson's cult classic 1982 fantasy film "The Dark Crystal." The series manages to re-create the world of Thra with elaborate puppetry enhanced by limited visual effects, to tell the story of a trio of Gelflings who discover a secret to the Skeksis' power and ignite a rebellion. The series has an impressive voice cast that includes Mark Hamill, Alicia Vikander, Taron Egerton and Keegan-Michael Key. – Lawler