Just because it’s hot and the broadcast networks have (mostly) given up on the summer doesn’t mean you have to: If you have cable, satellite, an Internet connection or just a working knowledge of how to splice into your neighbor’s hook-up—hey, it takes a village—there are plenty of reasons to stay in. Here’s a big-ass basket-load:
The broadcast networks are making their annual futile effort to program summer with leftovers like Mistresses, about four sexy girlfriends (including Alyssa Milano) who lead sexy lives loaded with sexy problems and sexy men (same thing—amirite, ladies?), but at least they have one another’s sexy shoulders to cry on (ABC; Monday, June 3). The way-more-ambitious Under the Dome attempts to replicate the Stephen King novel about a city mysteriously sealed off by nefarious giant Tupperware. Don’t even bring up The Simpsons Movie (CBS; Monday, June 24).
Premiering after the latest round of Burn Notice, new drama Graceland is about a group of FBI, DEA and U.S. Customs agents working and living together (not in Elvis’ house) while glossing over the fact that they all look like models. Based on a true, uglier story (USA; Thursday, June 6).
America’s favorite serial killer, Dexter, kicks off his eighth and final season headed for what can’t be a happy ending, followed by the premiere of Ray Donovan, starring the square-headed Liev Schreiber as a Los Angeles “fixer” who makes bad situations and dead bodies go away for the rich and famous. (Showtime; Sunday, June 30).
More June premieres: The Killing (AMC; Sunday, June 2), Teen Wolf (MTV; Monday, June 3), The Fosters (ABC Family; Monday, June 3), Continuum (Syfy; Friday, June 7), Sinbad (Syfy; Saturday, June 8), Falling Skies (TNT; Sunday, June 9), Major Crimes (TNT; Monday, June 10), King & Maxwell (TNT; Monday, June 10), Switched at Birth (ABC Family; Monday, June 10), Pussy Riot: A Punk Prayer (HBO; Monday, June 10), Pretty Little Liars (ABC Family; Tuesday, June 11), Twisted (ABC Family; Tuesday, June 11), Royal Pains (USA; Wednesday, June 12), Necessary Roughness (USA; Wednesday, June 12), Ghost Hunters (Syfy; Wednesday, June 12), Sullivan & Son (TBS; Thursday, June 13), Magic City (Starz; Friday, June 14), True Blood (HBO; Sunday, June 16), Franklin & Bash (TNT; Wednesday, June 19), Futurama (Comedy Central; Wednesday, June 19), Copper (BBC America; Sunday, June 23), Crossing Lines (NBC; Sunday, June 23), Rizzoli & Isles (TNT; Tuesday, June 25), Perception (TNT; Tuesday, June 25)
In the Season 2 premiere of The Newsroom, Will McAvoy and his Liberal Media minions somehow totally screw up a story based on an anonymous tip—nothing a little walking/talking, yelling, teary confessions, threats of quitting and hug-outs can’t fix. Aaron Sorkin, you genius bastard! (HBO; Sunday, July 14)
You thought it’s been on for years, but Here Comes Honey Boo Boo is only now entering its second season—I know, right? This year, says TLC (which used to stand for The Learning Channel, but now means Toddlers, Lummoxes & Cakes), expect such wacky hijinx as “butter rolling, tap-dancing lessons and wrestling,” if not “diabetes, gout and cellulitis” ’Merica! (TLC; Wednesday, July 17)
Aside from Gigolos, the best comedy on Showtime is Lisa Kudrow’s Web Therapy, now kicking off its third season. Kudrow stars as a therapist who treats patients in three-minute Skype sessions, because she’s so over hearing about “dreams” and “feelings” for an hour. She also has a gay politician husband who just left her for a man, an insane mother (Lily Tomlin) who’s started up rival Net Therapy, and zero self-awareness. Hence, funny! (Showtime; Monday, July 22)
More July premieres: Camp (NBC; Wednesday, July 8), Get Out Alive With Bear Grylls (NBC; Monday, July 8), The Winner Is (NBC; Thursday, July 11), Hollywood Game Night (NBC; Thursday, July 11), Being Human (BBC America; Saturday, July 13), Covert Affairs (USA; Tuesday, July 16), Suits (USA; Tuesday, July 16), Whose Line Is It Anyway? (The CW; Tuesday, July 16), Perfect Score (The CW; Tuesday, July 16), Joe Rogan Answers Everything (Syfy; Tuesday, July 16), Unforgettable (CBS; Sunday, July 28), Breaking Pointe (The CW; Monday, July 29), The Hunt (The CW; Wednesday, July 31)
The only network ballsy enough to drop any premieres in August is AMC, getting off to a soft start with railroadin’ western Hell on Wheels, which you’ll be forgiven for thinking was canceled long ago. It ain’t dead yet, but close: now banished to Saturdays (AMC; Saturday, Aug. 3).
The thick, swingin’ Johnson (or Heisenberg, if you will) of the entire summer is, of course, the final eight-episode run of Breaking Bad, concluding its fifth season with probably no survivors—well, except for Saul (Bob Odenkirk), who may get his own spin-off. An even more unlikely show than that follows Breaking Bad—it’s called Talking Bad, a breakdown chat in the vein of Talking Dead (AMC; Sunday, Aug. 11).
Premiering somewhere in between is Low Winter Sun, a gritty new cop drama about the Detroit crime underworld—apparently, it’s even rougher than the Detroit crime mainstream. I’d buy that for a dollar! (AMC; Sunday, Aug. 11)
More August premieres: Owner’s Manual (AMC; Thursday, Aug. 15), The Pitch (AMC; Thursday, Aug. 15)