Feb 282013

Summer TV Preview

Summer TV preview 2016: It’s not too early!  We already know a few things about the summer TV lineup for 2016, and we will continue to provide information about all of the summer TV shows in 2016 as we get it.  Our goal is to be your year-round source of information and advice about new summer TV shows and returning favorites.  We define “Summer TV Premiers” as those TV shows that are new to the network and debuting during the summer season.  Each summer there are several promising shows that fall into this category, and we hope to capture the best of the new summer TV schedule here.  There are reasons why a network decides to premiere a show in the summertime, and this post describes those reasons and how you might be able to pick out the best ones as the networks promote the possibilities.  On the other hand, summer TV shows that are returning are also an area of interest and as each popular summer TV series from last summer gets renewed, we’ll let you know!

Early Summer TV Preview 2016

Olympics: Summer TV 2016

The summer TV lineup in 2016 will as always have its share of premieres and returning favorites.  And the summer TV schedule in 2016 promises a large dose of sports as well.  We provide Reviews of summer TV shows on this page, as well as providing a Summer TV preview by Network.  So far here is what we know::

  • ABC Summer TV Shows include the return of Mistress for a 4th season and the popular summer reality shows Bachelor in Paradise also returns
  • The NBC Summer TV Lineup will be dominated by the 2016 summer Olympics in Rio, but we will also see the return of America’s Got Talent without Judge Howard Stern
  • Fox Summer TV is a bit of mystery right now, but we will continue to follow the news regarding this network
  • Our CBS Summer TV Preview centers around the return of the TV adaptation of James Patterson’s Zoo, and will also have the highly successful long-running summer TV reality show Big Brother
  • The highlight on the Showtime Summer TV Schedule is the return of the critically acclaimed The Affair
  • Summer TV on HBO may include the returns of popular Silicon Valley or Veep, but we have not seen the schedule yet

As you can see above, you can search by network or by category using the drop downs, and of course we will review specific summer TV shows on this page below this post.

Summer TV Series Types

As usual, the summer is the time that we see three types of TV show from the networks in 2016:

  1. Reality shows.  Given that there is a lot of time to fill, networks need a cheap and easy way to produce interesting content.  Reality shows fill time well, and can still potentially be ratings earners.  In fact, some of today’s most popular reality shows in the fall and spring started out as summer TV or winter TV fillers. Battlebots was one such example last year!
  2. Summer Viewers.  Sometimes a summer TV series is there because its audience actually watches more TV in the summer than other times of year.  College students for example may be more likely to watch a show in the summer than the fall.  In a related way, sometimes summer TV shows are designed to capture a summer theme, fitting in nicely with what its potential viewers are interested in during summertime.  Wet Hot American Summer had mixed success attracting this audience in the previous summer TV lineup for example.
  3. Loyal Followings.  One factor that is particularly true of the cable channels like HBO and Cinemax is that TV shows that have such loyal viewers that time of year is not important.  Many viewers of these niche and often critically acclaimed cable shows look forward to focusing on them during the summer.  True Detective is a good example in this summer’s TV lineup, though as yet we do not know if it will return in 2016

Summer TV Shows Guide

What differences, perhaps besides the quality of the shows, do we find in summer TV shows?  Often we find the following:

  1. Networks try to stay away from scheduling shows on the weekends where people tend to be particularly busy in the summer.  While these are not the strongest spots in the fall and spring TV lineups either, they are often particularly avoided in the summer TV lineup.
  2. Networks might also focus a bit more on the later time slots, 10pm and 9pm, since with longer daylight people are often doing activities much longer in the summer months.
  3. The summer TV schedule often packs the more promising shows into one night, especially half-hour shows.  There is just not enough good TV to fill out an entire week, so having a designated night where they hope people will tune in is often the answer.
  4. The summer TV lineup provides a little less depth and fewer shows than the fall season, but there are still many choices in a variety of genres.  You may feel that it is important to choose carefully so you don’t miss out on what are usually a few hits during this season.

The summer TV schedule is tricky but that’s why we are here.  We want to provide you with not only information about when each summer TV series will be on, but also whether it is worth watching and whether it will fit your tastes.  You might use this page as a starting point and then use our previews and reviews on the other pages to do a little homework.  You can also use other sites for information and guidance.  We will provide not only specific previews and reviews of the best summer TV shows, but also more information like this that might generally help you navigate the summer TV lineup.

The 2016 summer TV lineup looks as exciting and interesting as any in recent memory with many quality summer TV shows to choose from.  It appears that there will be something for everyone, from returning hit shows to new traditional shows to reality shows.  The summer TV schedule in 2016 offers a wide variety of choices for the television viewer and it offers the networks a chance to air certain shows that they feel are too experimental for the more popular fall and spring seasons, are designed for a particular audience that tends to watch TV in the summer, or is somehow perfect summer faire.  These summer TV shows give the networks a chance to promote their important fall TV lineup, often to the same group of viewers that might be interested.  In many cases the networks are truly hoping that a new summer TV show will be a hit, but they get to try it out in the summer to see if they are right.

Don’t get depressed each summer, waiting for your favorites to return in late September.  Instead learn how to find the very best Summer TV shows in 2016!

Jun 072015

It’s not often that we see a hit movie remade for a summer TV series.  There are times when movies are remade for TV, but these are often fall blockbusters such as Friday Night Lights and Buffy the Vampire Slayer.  But this summer ABC TV in it’s summer TV shows hopes to find that same success with “Astronauts Wives Club“.  Will this new summer TV show be able to overcome some of the problems some TV adaptations have had, and will it be exciting and compelling enough to attract and hold an audience in the summer TV line-up.  All of that remains to be seen, but the movie was quite popular and did manage to reach a wide variety of audience, so there is certainly potential.

Astronauts Wives Club has several things going for it.  Start with the very string cast that includes Yvonne Strahovski, Odette Annable, and Joanna Garcia.  Add experienced and previously successful writers and producers, and strong promotion from the network, and this series will certainly have a chance to break out in the summer of 2015.  This series was originally expected to debut last year, but it was recalled so that certain changes could be made.  We are not sure what those changes were, but perhaps it is now truly ready for summer TV prime time. 

For those who need a refresher as far as what this series would be about, it involves seven women who became famous, probably more famous than they ever could have expected, while their husbands were part of the “Mercury Seven” who were constantly launched on exciting, heavily media covered, death-defying space missions.  These spouses were part of the overall PR for the missions, with TV on the ground covering their bravery.  These women were celebrities and royalty in this country during a time when people were quite interested in all of this.  They saw each other through tragedy, hope, and worry.  Whether they wanted the fame or not, they became much more than the wives of the men on the missions, and everything from social to fashion icons of the period.  

With high hopes we await this summer TV series on ABC, and hope that it can become a success as far as a hit movie turned into a great summer TV show.

May 302015

The Brink makes it to our summer TV preview almost entirely based on the strength of its cast. Premiering on June 21 on HBO this summer TV series stars Jack Black, Tim Robbins and Pablo Schreiber.  Yes, it is a comedy, a satire based on U.S.-Pakistani relations.  HBO always has a strong set of summer TV shows, and they seem particularly excited about this one, having given it a quick thumbs up for this summer. Both its director and producer, Jay Roach and Jerry Weintraub respectively, have been quite successful, as has its writer Roberto Benabib who helped produce the popular “Weeds”.

Not too much is known about this newer entry in the HBO summer TV lineup, but we do know that the plot centers around a geopolitical crisis, focusing in on the Secretary of State played by Robbins a foreign service officer played by Black and a Navy pilot played by Schreiber. Each of these men is quite a character and must deal with a great degree of excitement and chaos in order to prevent World War III.  This is also going to be one of those HBO TV shows that has a seasoned and talented supporting cast, such as Aasif Mandvi, Maribeth Monroe, and Esai Morales and others.

The characters will obviously be key, and that is obviously true of many summer TV shows on HBO, but there will also need to be the high production values and tight comedic writing that we’ve come to expect.  Given the cast of characters and the talent behind the writing and producing, we expect that “The Brink” will be well worth watching.  There is little information available as yet beyond the trailer for this addition to the HBO summer TV schedule, given the fact that it was fast tracked.  As more information is released including some critical reviews and more previews we expect that people will put it on the short early list of shows to watch this summer.

At summer TV previews we like to catch those summer TV shows with potential, and for a variety of reasons The Brink fits quite well!

May 072015

Summer TV Shows: Fear of the Walking Dead

If you are a loyal viewer of The Walking Dead you have no doubt wondered how it all began.  The current series basically started when the virus had already taken hold and a vast majority of people were already walking and biting.  But you likely wanted to see how this all got started, and how it overwhelmed civil defense and just about everything else!  AMC realized that they had an opportunity to bring its viewers of this popular show exactly what they wanted, and just like they are doing with the popular spin-off “Better Call Saul”, they are bringing a spin-off of The Walking Dead to the summer TV lineup.

Fear the Walking Dead” shows exactly what happened between the first rumors of a dangerous virus to the beginning of the current series.  People do not believe that zombies can be real, and most go about their lives unconcerned.  But we imagine that the fear and anxiety likely grows as things get a little more real.  Perhaps there are differences in how seriously people take the threat, and that becomes the difference between who we see fighting the zombies in the current series, and who we see walking and biting!  This is one of the summer TV shows in 2015 that looks to be quite exciting, and we are guessing that the hype will quickly build.

Just like the original series, the cast of Fear of the Walking Dead is incredibly talented even if it does not have any household names.  The actors include Kim Dickens from popular series including Friday Night Lights, Lost and House of Cards.  She is a central character who has her own troubles involving raising a child as a single parent and trying to kick a drug addiction.  Her daughter is an older teenager about to graduate high school, and her boyfriend who is played by the talented Cliff Curtis (from Gang Related and the TV series “MIssing”) is a teacher at the daughter’s school.

This small group are the central people we follow as the world slowly gets zombified in this summer TV series.  We think that of all the summer TV shows scheduled for the summer of 2015 there may be none that get the kind of hype and interest that Fear of the Walking Dead will get!

Apr 122015

Summer TV Shows: True Detective Season 2

HBO had a true hit on its hands with True Detective in its Summer TV lineup last year.  Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson did an incredible job portraying two fascinating characters that made their way through an intense plot with many twists and turns and a lot of deeply meaningful stories within the story.  The writing was crisp and the quality of the set and effects was top-notch.  Even at that point we knew that these actors and the characters they played would not carry forward into season two, and of course many wondered whether the quality of this summer TV series could possibly carry forward as well.

Now we know that it is quite possible for the series to once again reach the top as one of the best summer TV shows in 2015.  This year we have the makings of another incredible plot, and once again A-list actors have been chosen to play the main roles.  Set in California, this summer TV show surrounds a bizarre murder which pulls four people together, three of them law-enforcement officers and one a career criminal.  Plot lines will include string themes of conspiracy, intrigue, and betrayal according to the network. Of course just like last year’s edition there will be fascinated relationships among the different characters which will be interwoven with the exciting sequences

The actors who are involved will likely garner attention for this summer TV series, and that is well-deserved.  HBO managed to get Colin Farrell to play Ray Velcoro, who is a detective with many faults who is a veteran of the force in LA County.  Vince Vaughn plays Frank Semyon, the lifelong criminal and perhaps criminal genius who is protecting his empire and everything he has managed to accomplish in his dark world.  Rachel McAdams is Ani Bezzerides, a Ventura County Sheriff’s detective who does not always want to play by the rules and despises bureaucracy that gets in the way of getting the job done.  Lesser known actors may steal the show at times, including Taylor Kitsch who plays Paul Woodrugh, a war veteran and motorcycle cop who gets enmeshed into a crime that threatens to expose three law enforcement groups involved in crime, as well as Semyon’s wife played by Kelly Reilly who has perhaps too much of a conscience.

True Detective Season 2 has a chance to once again be one of the best summer TV shows and could help HBO promote the rest of its fall and summer TV lineup.

Mar 292015

X Files: Summer TV 2015

The summer TV lineup just got a bit more interesting with the likely addition of The X-Files.  Fox TV is adding this once popular show to its summer TV schedule, and it could create a lot of buzz. It’s been 13 years since The X-Files last aired on network TV, and many fans of the show were quite sad to see it go.  Many would argue that the show remained quite strong, intriguing, and compelling when it was cancelled.  And now it will be one of several summer TV shows that are returning after a hiatus (see our post below about “Battlebots” which was around during approximately the same time period.  X-Files will have a six-episode run in the summer TV lineup in 2015.

It’s not as though the original did not have a good run.  In fact, with nine seasons and 16 Emmy nominations this show could have been retired as a huge success.  But was it really ready to go into retirement, even after 13 seasons.  Some would say it was just getting started, and those fans will be glad that the Executive Producer is now talking about a “13 year commercial break” that the show is finally coming out of.

Of course the first question that fans of the original X-Files will ask is who will play the main characters.  It’s quite hard to imagine anyone else in those roles, and the network clearly agrees.  No worry, FBI agents Scully, played by Gillian Anderson, and Mulder, played by David Duchovny are both returning for this new summer TV show. It will be interesting to see if people decide to binge watch old episodes to get ready for this new summer Tv season, and also whether the writers decide to bring back any memorable characters or plots.

With even more production technology having emerged and 13 years worth of new ideas, the X-Files may be one of the new summer TV shows that is must watch.  It has the chance to capture the attention of a whole new generation of TV watchers.  And of course those fans who have been anxiously awaiting news ever since rumors began to swirl about this possibility will be quite happy to see The X-Files returning in 2015.

Mar 252015

Wet Hot American Summer is coming back in a remake that has a ton of potential in the summer TV lineup in 2015.  Which network will it be on you ask?  None of them, actually.  Wet Hot American Summer is actually coming to Netflix as a summer TV show in 2015.  Amazingly, the producers have been able to pull together the original cast, or most of it, in a lineup that is sure to catch the attention of many viewers.  The possibilities include: Elizabeth Banks, Michael Ian Black, Bradley Cooper, Amy Poehler, Judah Friedlander, Paul Rudd, and Molly Shannon.  The director, talented David Wain, is also back.  While most everyone knows about Netflix’ other highly rated show “House of Cards”, Wet Hot American Summer dives into a different genre completely but has the same great potential for success in the summer TV schedule in 2015.

For those who do not know the original film that this summer TV show is based on, it was about the last day of camp at a fictional Jewish summer camp in 1981.  Interestingly, this film did quite poorly at the box office, and sis not have positive critical reviews, but then achieved almost cult status soon thereafter.  Word of mouth made this a popular rental (in the days of Blockbuster and other stores like that).  As some of the original cast who were unknown at the time became stars, the movie gained even more interest, and now as we look back it is quite amazing how talented a cast it really was – the casting director certainly knew what she or he was doing!

So will a new series that revisits camp 10 years later and stars those who are much more familiar with the likes of Banks, Rudd, Cooper, and Poehler do well?  Can this summer TV show gain from the fact that people now trust Netflix after its success with House of Cards?  And most of all, does our summer TV preview now need to start including a non-network in our listings of the summer TV shows that people should watch?

Among many shows in the summer TV lineup, Wet Hot American Summer is certainly unique and could be another hit for this non-network.  Any summer TV shows list has to include this remake, and we have confidence that Wet Hot American Summer will be quite good!

Mar 202015

Summer TV Series Food FIghters

Food Fighters” on NBC enters its second season and is a summer TV series with excellent potential.

Summer TV often brings with it a good deal of reality TV shows and this year will be no different.  Of course there will be well-known returning favorites like Bachelor in Paradise and America’s Got Talent, but there is one show in summer TV lineup that is returning after flying a bit under the radar in 2014.  In its second season, “Food Fighters” on NBC has a good chance to capture the attention of viewers.  Given the success of “Hell’s Kitchen”, which pits amateur chefs against each other, and “Iron Chef” which often pits a master chef against a lesser chef trying to make his or her way up in the cooking world, why wouldn’t a summer TV show that combines these concepts work out quite well?  That is what NBC is hoping for with “Food Fighters”

This summer TV series premieres on Tuesday, July 22 at 8:00 eastern and 7:00 pacific.  Popular foodie host Adam Richman from “Man vs. Food” will host this summer TV series which will have talented amateur cooks facing off with established professional chefs each week.  The amateur will have some advantages, and will get several chances to show his or her best work.  These chances will include lifelines es to work with, and the advantages will include being able to control what dish is prepared.  As with many food reality shows, a blind taste test by several judges will decide who wins.  Adding to the excitement, any amateur cook who wins gets to stay on and challenge another pro.

Even with all of the recent and current reality shows that revolve around cooking and food, “Food Fighters” has a unique premise and one that could certainly capture the attention of the viewing public.  We often want to root for the underdog, or the up and coming star, and this summer TV show provides both opportunities.  The producers hope that viewers can put themselves in the shoes of the challenger and enjoy the ride.  This summer TV reality series has a chance to be quite successful this summer in its second season.

Mar 022015

BattleBots: New Summer TV Show

Battlebots is coming back to TV.  Some who are reading this may have no idea what we are talking about, while others may be quite excited by this prospect.  The latter probably remember the cult hit from the early 200s on Comedy Central.  Back then we watched as people built what they hoped would be an indestructible robot that could effectively shut down its opponent in a makeshift ring, staying operational while hopefully the other robot came apart.  That prior show had its run, and now a new generation of BattleBots will enter the stage in this new summer TV show in 2015.

The same creators, Ed Roski and Greg Munson are involved so we expect that this summer TV series will return with a lot of what people liked about it back then.  It has a six episode green light so there will at least be a good amount of battles before the network decides whether it might order more.  We don;t know all the details yet, but we do know that the basics will be the same: Homemade robots will battle in a tournament style format, broken up into weight classes to keep things fair.  One single champion will be crowned when all is said and done.

Perhaps all that will be different in the Battlebots of 2015 is that the bots themselves will be more advanced, given that we are 12 years further along.  We expect that we’ll see more about the technology and production of the bots as well – given that we will see advanced technology and production quality there may be higher viewer interest in seeing how they are built.  What remains questionable is whether the battle format will change at all, how much we’ll hear about the people building the bots themselves, and whether there will be major rules changes.  Given that summer TV shows often like to make sure they keep people’s attention, the excitement of the battles will likely be key.

This summer TV series has the chance to bring back the interest and excitement of the original, and maybe even build on it given the improvements in technology that are possible.  The key will be attracting an audience that goes beyond those who used to watch it in the past.  At Summer TV Preview we expect that this will be among the most popular summer TV shows.

Feb 152015

Summer TV premiers are those TV shows that are new to the network and debuting during the summer season.  Each summer there are several promising shows that fall into this category, and we hope to capture the best of the new summer TV schedule here.  There are reasons why a network decides to premiere a show in the summertime, and this post describes those reasons and how you might be able to pick out the best ones as the networks promote the possibilities.

Summer TV Premiers: What to Watch For

While there has been a gradual trend toward returning shows occupying the summer TV line-up, especially on cable, this does not mean that the major networks have abandoned the idea of rolling out summer TV premieres as well.  The bar is a little higher for these new summer TV shows, given that they are more expensive to produce and a bigger risk.  It’s too easy for summer TV premieres to get lost in the lineup behind these returning favorites.  All of that said, there remains a solid market for new summer TV shows, and certain trends that the networks follow when rolling them out.  We will cover the shows in the summer TV schedule that we feel have promise, but first we want to go over potential strategies that the networks will use to try to find success in this promising yet less popular season.

Summer TV Premieres Strategy

The networks must ask themselves what might work as far as the new summer TV shows they are considering.  What has worked in the past for them and other networks, what kind of show seems to do well.  This may start with an assessment of the viewers that seem to take a particular interest in the summer TV schedule, or maybe the genre that seems to do well during these months.  What has this led to in the past?  Here are some possibilities:

1. Summer TV premieres in recent years have included shows that have some sort of summer theme to them, whether about a summer camp or other summertime situation.  These shows may somehow “make sense” to the potential viewer during this time frame and therefore might resonate in a way that gets attention.

2. Some new summer TV shows have been in this season because they were not ready for the more popular spring season due to delays in production or issues that came up with the actors involved.  These new summer shows are not quite ready for the fall TV lineup, but are a little better than what is usually found in the summer.

3. Some summer TV premieres are experimental in some way, and the network does not want to take a chance that this experiment will not work.  The summer TV schedule gives the network just enough viewers to try things out without taking too much of a risk with advertising dollars.

4. Certain audiences are more likely to watch TV during the summertime, and some summer TV premiers may find themselves there to cater to these audiences which may include young adults and older adults, the former who are less scheduled up in the summer and the latter who do not have as much of a seasonal bias.

5. Finally, a new summer TV show may have certain themes that are similar to a promising fall TV show on the same network.  Debuting the show in the summertime allows the network to promote the fall show to an audience that is partial to that type of show.

As we get information and initial critical reactions to promising new summer TV shops this year we will cover them here.  As always we will try to focus on those shows that seem to have potential, whether because of initial positive reviews, or because the actors or producers have a track record of success.  Sometimes we might include a new show merely because it seems to have potential due to an intriguing story line or premise.  In the end we hope that this listing proves helpful, and as always we look forward to and appreciate your feedback below about summer TV premieres.

Jan 112015

It is now 2015 and like clockwork the networks are beginning to share information about potential new shows in their summer TV lineup in 2015.  Once again their looks to be a wide variety of summer TV series, many of which have the potential to hold viewer interest, help the networks promote their fall shows, and generally be entertaining and different.  As we’ve said, we enjoy covering the summer season for the latter reason – the shows tend to be a little different as networks are not as afraid to take chances when the stakes are not quite as high, and when the audience needs to be a little more excited to tune in.  SOme of the early highlights of the summer TV season in 2015 include:

With David Letterman retiring, popular Stephen Colbert will be taking his seat on The Late Show.  Will Mr. Colbert be able to take his incredible talent and wonderful sense of sarcastic humor and translate it in a way that will appeal to a broader audience.  Our guess is yes, and we look forward to the roll out of this new TV show in the summer.

There are many fans of James Patterson’s books out there, and that is no surprise.  This author is a master of tight plots, incredible suspense, wonderful character development, and of course great writing.  The fact that a new summer TV series in 2015 called “Zoo” will be coming out on CBS is potentially very exciting.

Aquarius on NBC starring David Duchovny may receive the most notice as far as new summer TV shows this year.  This show covers the law enforcement side of the search for and eventual capture and prosecution of Charles Manson, and it does so with very memorable characters and a thought-provoking plot.

Stephen Spielberg will be bringing a new summer TV series to ABC called “The Whispers“.  Fans of Ray Bradbury specifically and science fiction in general might really love this.  Basically this popular short story explored what would happen if an alien species went about taking over the earth through children.