As I do each month, here’s a preview of the interesting new and returning TV shows for the next month. In this case, it’s a particularly warm and sunny 30-day specimen known as June.
Cleverman (Sundance) New – This unique-looking cross of mystery, procedural, and mysticism would normally elicit eye rolls from me, but something here is sort of working. It’s an Australian import that co-stars the excellent Scottish star Iain Glenn (Game of Thrones) in a tale about creatures of Aboriginal mythology clashing with modern-day Australia. Plus Sundance TV has a strong track record with originals, so I’ll give it a shot. Stars Tysan Towney, Frances O’Conner, and Iain Glenn.
The Night Shift (NBC) Season 3 – How good could this show be? It’s about to start its third season and I’ve never even heard of it. Impressive cast for a bland-looking hospital dramedy I’ll never watch. You probably love this show. Stars Eoin Macken, Ken Leung, and Freddie Rodriguez.
Comedy Bang! Bang! (IFC) Season 5 – This wonderful talk show parody is just pure laughing juice. Scott Aukerman is incredibly affable, and this season he’s joined by Weird Al taking over for Kid Cudi as bandleader. This show has fake interviews, sketches, animation, and other weirdness. It’s pretty great. Stars Scott Aukerman.
Outcast (Cinemax) New – Cinemax has a couple decent shows on its roster already, particularly the surprisingly fun Banshee. This new offering, based on a comic by Robert Kirkman (The Walking Dead) and written and developed by him as well, follows the bizarre and horrifying journey of a young man plagued by demonic possession. It also features the brilliant Philip Glenister (Life on Mars, Ashes to Ashes, Big School, Mad Dogs, Prey) in his American TV debut. Count me in for sure. Stars Patrick Fugit and Philip Glenister.
Feed the Beast (AMC) New – AMC has been tearing up the TV world since The Walking Dead lurched onto the scene. This is perhaps their most interesting-looking new property yet; two friends try and open a restaurant and become entangled with the mob and other craziness. This is a remake of a wildly successful Danish show. That game plan has worked in the past. Stars David Schwimmer and Jim Sturgess.
Angie Tribeca (TBS) Season 2 – I never actually got into this slapstick cop show (from the minds of Steve Carrell and Beth Littleford) that is frequently compared to Police Squad! which is undoubtedly one of the most brilliant and misunderstood TV products ever. I remain skeptical about this show, mostly because of the bland cast. But it has a list of guest stars for Season 2 that is nothing short of ridiculous. Stars Rashida Jones.
UnREAL (Lifetime) Season 2 – I also never got into this lauded drama that goes behind the scenes on a reality dating show. Supposedly it’s brilliant, but I don’t even get Lifetime. I’ve heard if you actually watch The Bachelor and shows like that regularly, this show is like Mad Men meets The Wire in terms of brilliance. Stars Shiri Appleby, Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman, and Craig Bierko.
Casual (Hulu) Season 2 – I didn’t get very far with this show which I found to be pretty over-rated and mostly less likable than the show makers probably intended. It’s from the mind of Jason Reitman, Ivan Reitman’s debatably talented son, and it’s critically acclaimed. I can tell you that much. Stars Michaela Watkins and Tommy Dewey.
Voltron: Legendary Defender (Netflix) New – Voltron is one of those properties that is way over-remembered. The toys were cool, the show was… eh. I’d love a redux of the cool toys, but I don’t really need to see a new show. This looks awful. If you don’t know the story, there’s these cat-robots, see? And when they band together, they make a giant robot. That’s it. On your way…
Hell on Wheels (AMC) Season 5 – This is actually the second half of the fifth season of the strange odyssey of Cullen Bohannon, which will mark the end of the series. I love this show. It started out as one thing, then became something completely different, and then reinvented itself after its near cancellation on a yearly basis. It ostensibly concerns the battle to build the transcontinental rail lines in the late 1800s. It’s so much more. Go watch the first four and half seasons. Then buckle up for the finish. Stars Anson Mount and Colm Meaney.
BrainDead (CBS) New – Apparently The Good Wife is so good that its creators now have carte blanche at CBS to make anything they want. That’s the only possible explanation for this comedy-tinged thriller/satire about aliens eating the brains of US congressmen. This looks awful, despite an excellent core cast. Stars Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Tony Shalhoub.
Animal Kingdom (TNT) New – This is one of my most highly anticipated summer premieres. The Australian film on which it’s based is one of my favorite films of the last five years, and it’s the perfect film to make the transition to the small screen. And from what I’ve seen, they’ve nailed the atmosphere and grit of the original story. It concerns a twisted family of criminals ruled by their bloodthirsty and loving mother. Stars Ellen Barkin, Scott Speedman, and Shawn Hatosy.
By Ygal Kaufman