Summer TV offers crime dramas, game shows and more

 
By Hank Stuever
Washington Post
Posted6/26/2016 6:30 AM
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  • A family copes with a boy's autism diagnosis in SundanceTV's "The A Word," starring Max Vento.

    A family copes with a boy's autism diagnosis in SundanceTV's "The A Word," starring Max Vento. Courtesy of SundanceTV

Summer is here, but, frankly, the TV premieres look a little too scrawny in their bikinis and Speedos -- especially compared with recent summers. Is it because the Olympics are coming in August? Would it have anything to do with wall-to-wall Republican and Democratic convention coverage headed our way in July?

There's a lot on, and a number of summer premieres are already airing -- including AMC's "Feed the Beast," TNT's "Animal Kingdom" and CBS' "American Gothic."

I still don't see that deluxe, highly anticipated new drama series to fill out our Sunday nights. Nor am I sensing much in the way of a can't-miss comedy. Even the reality shows seem to be resigned to the fact that our political season has been more ridiculous than anything they could cook up.

But what's your alternative? Get up and go outside? Perish the thought! To keep you couch-bound, I present this curated list of summer premieres for new dramas, comedies and reality shows. Sit tight and dream of fall.

Ron White and Imogen Poots star in "Roadies," a new Showtime series.
Ron White and Imogen Poots star in "Roadies," a new Showtime series. - Courtesy of Showtime
Sunday, June 26

"Roadies" (Showtime): Drama series from filmmaker Cameron Crowe ("Almost Famous") follows the lives of the people behind the scenes of a big-arena rock tour and the family-like relationship that forms on the road. Stars Luke Wilson and Carla Gugino.

Michael Strahan hosts a new version of the classic game show, "The $100,000 Pyramid." It premieres on ABC Sunday, June 26.
Michael Strahan hosts a new version of the classic game show, "The $100,000 Pyramid." It premieres on ABC Sunday, June 26. - Courtesy of ABC

"The $100,000 Pyramid" (ABC): Michael Strahan hosts a new version of the classic syndicated game show.

"Match Game" (ABC): Alec Baldwin hosts a new version of the occasionally bawdy '70s game show.

Tuesday, June 28

"Gold Medal Families" (Lifetime): Docuseries follows a group of Summer Olympics hopefuls and the families who support them.

"No Man Left Behind" (National Geographic Channel): Docuseries revisits the harrowing tales of soldiers and special agents who were stranded in enemy territory and had to survive on their own while awaiting rescue.

"Dead of Summer" (Freeform): Something's not right about Camp Stillwater, the site of yet another murder. Series starts out feeling like an homage to '80s slasher films with a dash of "Beverly Hills 90210" here and a sprinkling of "Heathers" there.

Thursday, June 30

"Greatest Hits" (ABC): Forget the lip-sync showdowns. Arsenio Hall hosts this friendly competition among celebrities to see who can actually sing hits from the 1980s, '90s and '00s.

Friday, July 1

"Marcella" (Netflix): British series stars Anna Friel as a detective whose life is at a breaking point.

Sunday, July 3

"The Hunt" (BBC America): David Attenborough narrates this new docuseries on the speed, stealth, stamina and strength of some of nature's most successful predators.

"Island Explorers" (Travel Channel): Travelogue features a husband and wife who go deep on discovering the Hawaiian Islands. Nice work if you can get it.

"Secrets of America's Favorite Places" (Discovery Family Channel): Travelogue visits iconic sites in search of facts about them that you probably didn't know, unless you're one of those dadsplainers who can always be found nearby.

Monday, July 4

"Idris Elba: No Limits" (Discovery): The award-winning star of "Luther" goes on some races across land, air and water -- all designed to test his physical and mental abilities.

Actor Idris Elba puts his physical and mental abilities to the test in a new Discovery series. "Idris Elba: No Limits" premieres Monday, July 4.
Actor Idris Elba puts his physical and mental abilities to the test in a new Discovery series. "Idris Elba: No Limits" premieres Monday, July 4. - Courtesy of Discovery
Tuesday, July 5

"Big Easy Motors" (History): Docuseries/car culture. Charles Handler travels all over Louisiana looking for overlooked automotive treasures in the junkyards of the bayous.

"Greatest Ever" (TruTV): Comedy countdown show hosted by Amanda Seales takes viewers through the do's and don'ts of topics like weddings, animal videos, sports, political campaigns, what-have-you.

"Black Market" (Viceland): Docuseries hosted by Michael K. Williams explores the dangerous world of illicit trade.

Wednesday, July 6

"Vice Does America" (Viceland): Three Vice staffers set off on a road trip from comfortably hip Brooklyn and travel across the country to meet actual Americans and examine their realness. Actual Americans will be delighted to meet them, no doubt.

Friday, July 8

"Million Dollar Matchmaker" (WeTV): Remember Patti Stanger, Bravo's bossy yenta for emotionally fragile, hard-to-date millionaires? She's back, on WeTV this time.

Saturday, July 9

"Jail: Big Texas" (Spike): Twenty new episodes of this reality series about incarceration (from the producers of "Cops"), this time in some of the Lone Star State's county jails.

Sunday, July 10

"The Night Of" (HBO): This eight-episode miniseries is a crime-and-courtroom (and prison) story about a shy Pakistani-American college student from Queens (Riz Ahmed), who finds himself in bed with a corpse. John Turturro stars as a small-time lawyer who offers to defend him.

John Turturro and Riz Ahmed play lawyer and client in HBO's limited series "The Night Of," premiering July 10.
John Turturro and Riz Ahmed play lawyer and client in HBO's limited series "The Night Of," premiering July 10. - Courtesy of HBO
Monday, July 11

"Jericho" (AcornTV): Eight-episode British period drama set in the 1870s about a widowed mother who opens up a lodging house for workers building a railway viaduct.

A family copes with a boy's autism diagnosis in SundanceTV's "The A Word," starring Morven Christie and Max Vento.
A family copes with a boy's autism diagnosis in SundanceTV's "The A Word," starring Morven Christie and Max Vento. - Courtesy of SundanceTV
Wednesday, July 13

"The A Word" (SundanceTV): British drama about a couple whose 5-year-old son is diagnosed with autism. The story broadens to include other family members.

Friday, July 15

"Stranger Things" (Streaming on Netflix): An eight-episode mystery series that pays homage to creepy '80s flicks. Winona Ryder stars as a harried working mom whose son disappears one night while bicycling home from a marathon Dungeons & Dragons game.

Winona Ryder, Charlie Heaton and Millie Brown star in the Netflix series "Stranger Things," which begins streaming July 15.
Winona Ryder, Charlie Heaton and Millie Brown star in the Netflix series "Stranger Things," which begins streaming July 15. - Courtesy of Netflix
Sunday, July 17

"Vice Principals" (HBO): Comedy series from Jody Hill and Danny McBride stars McBride and Walton Goggins as inept high school administrators locked in a battle to become the next principal.

"Life's a Beach" (Travel Channel): Trips to incredible beach towns that could persuade visitors to stay forever. (Who needs convincing?)

Monday, July 18

"Cradle to Grave" (AcornTV): Comedy series set in 1974 recounts humorous stories of British broadcaster Danny Baker and his family.

"Six" (History): Drama series about Navy SEAL Team 6, whose 2014 mission to eliminate a Taliban leader goes awry when they uncover a U.S. citizen working as a jihadist fighter with the terrorists.

Tuesday, July 19

"Shooter" (USA): In this series adaptation of former Washington Post film critic Stephen Hunter's best-selling novels, expert marksman Bob Lee Swagger (Ryan Phillippe) comes out of retirement to prevent a presidential assassination -- but winds up being the prime suspect.

Thursday, July 27

"Ozzy and Jack's World Detour" (History): Travelogue series features heavy-metal legend Ozzy Osbourne and his son, Jack, hitting the road to indulge their mutual interest in historical sites.

Tuesday, Aug. 9

"Botched by Nature" (E!): Spinoff reality series features patients who are seeking to fix something about their appearance that is all nature's fault.

Friday, Aug. 12

"The Get Down" (Netflix): First six episodes of a hip-hop drama series from Baz Luhrmann ("Moulin Rouge," "Australia"). Cast includes Jimmy Smits, Giancarlo Esposito and Jaden Smith.

Sunday, Aug. 14

A divorced mom (Meghan Ory) returns to her hometown in Hallmark Channel's "Chesapeake Shores."
A divorced mom (Meghan Ory) returns to her hometown in Hallmark Channel's "Chesapeake Shores." - Courtesy of Hallmark Channel

"Chesapeake Shores" (Hallmark): Based on novels by Sheryl Woods, about a divorced New York City mother (Meghan Ory) who travels back to her Maryland hometown, where old friendships and loves await, including her high school sweetheart (Jesse Metcalfe).

Monday, Aug. 22

"Cheer Squad" (Freeform): Reality series follows a group of competitive cheerleaders known as the Great White Sharks. (Get this, they're from Canada. That just seems wrong -- isn't cheerleading the ultimate American folk culture?)

Tuesday, Aug. 23

"Better Late Than Never" (NBC): Reality show sends four celebrities (William Shatner, Henry Winkler, Terry Bradshaw and George Foreman) across Asia with no itinerary and no help -- other than "guidance" provided by a comedian (Jeff Dye) who is lying to them.

"Lifescaping" (TruTV): Reality series offers tips to all those things you're supposed to know how to do, but don't -- such as getting a bartender's attention or knowing when to tell a lie.

Wednesday, Aug. 24

"Gomorrah" (SundanceTV): Italy's "all-time most popular TV series" comes to SundanceTV, a mob drama set in Naples and told through the perspective of a godfather's right-hand man.

"Cleveland Hustles" (CNBC): NBA superstar LeBron James and his friend and business partner Maverick Carter give advice (and seed money) to local entrepreneurs in Cleveland.

Wednesday, Aug. 31

"Shut Eye" (Hulu): Drama series about the world of storefront psychics in Los Angeles and the organized crime syndicate that controls their lives. Jeffrey Donovan ("Burn Notice") stars as a failed magician who now oversees a group of fortunetellers.

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