As I do for you each month, here’s a look at the coming TV premieres, and which ones are worth your time.
Penny Dreadful – Season 3, Showtime, Sundays 10 p.m. – I wanted to love this show, but it turned out to be boring and overly TV-sexy. But it defied the odds, sticking around for a second and now third season. The cast is undeniably top-notch, though, so fans of the genre (classical horror with a splash of magical realism) might find something to like here. Stars Eva Green, Josh Hartnett, Timothy Dalton, Reeve Carney, Rory Kinnear, Billie Piper, and Harry Treadaway.
Houdini & Doyle – New, Fox, Mondays 9 p.m. – I raved about Stephen Mangan just last week, so one might think I would enthusiastically greet this mystery/comedy featuring him as Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (author of Sherlock Holmes) and the equally charming Michael Weston as Harry Houdini. It all just feels a little forced. As you no doubt already deduced (sorry), the show pairs the two historical figures into a mystery-solving team, because of course. It could be great, though; no sense in writing it off just yet. I’ll give it until the first commercial break. Stars Stephen Mangan, Michael Weston, and Rebecca Liddiard.
Maron – Season 4, IFC, Wednesdays
9 p.m. – I have always found this show to be more likable and funny than either Maron’s actual standup routine or his podcast. Which says a lot because they’re also both great. He’s just one of the funniest standups working, and this is a show about him. Less morose than Louie, less formulaic than Curb, it might be the reigning champ among self-titled, multi-cam shows where comedians play themselves. Stars Marc Maron.
Flowers – New, Seeso, Streaming – Never heard of the comedy streaming service Seeso? Join the club. It has seven billion members. But exist it does, and this is one of their first original offerings. It looks fabulous, and is quietly one of the most anticipated (by me) shows of the summer. Following the eccentric and bizarre adventures of the Flowers family, this show has a wonderful cast anchored by Julian Barratt (one of the geniuses behind The Mighty Boosh) and Olivia Colman, who has become maybe England’s best TV actor. Stars Julian Barratt, Olivia Colman, and Will Sharpe.
Marseille – New, Netflix, Streaming – Netflix apparently has no plans to slow their pace as May will see them dropping several new properties. This may be their most ambitious: a drama charting a mayoral run in Marseille, France. Aaaaaand it looks like a cheap French rip-off of Boss. This may prove interesting, but I’ll take Kelsey Grammer any day of the week. Stars Gerard Depardieu.
Grace & Frankie – Season 2, Netflix, Streaming – One of the streaming behemoth’s most successful and critically acclaimed original properties returns for its much anticipated sophomore run. The ridiculous hall-of-fame cast returns for more hijinks and adventures in mid-to-late age sexuality. Stars Jane Fonda, Lily Tomlin, Martin Sheen, and Sam Waterston.
Wallander – Season 4, PBS, Sundays 9 p.m. – I feel like I’ve been waiting a hundred years for this. It’s actually only been four, but it’s so due. The brilliant BBC adaptation of the late Henning Mankell’s series of mystery novels about a soulful Swedish detective returns for a fourth run of three mini-films. Catch up on the first nine films before you dig into this. You’ll be glad you did. Stars Kenneth Branagh.
Lady Dynamite – New, Netflix, Streaming – Could this show have a better pedigree? Produced by Pam Brady (South Park) and Mitchell Hurwitz (Arrested Development), this crazy-looking new show is a non-traditional biography of standup comedian Maria Bamford. This show has one of my favorite casts on TV. Looks like a sure thing. Stars Maria Bamford, Fred Melamed, and Olafur Dari Olafsson.
Preacher – New, AMC, Sundays 9 p.m. – Another one I feel like I’ve been waiting a hundred years for. Based on one of the best comics of the ’90s, from the writing team of Seth Rogen and Even Goldberg, this show looks nuts. People who have no familiarity with the comic have no clue what they’re in for. Prepare for insanity. Stars Dominic Cooper, Ruth Negga, Joseph Gilgun, and Jackie Earle Haley.
Bloodline – Season 2, Netflix, Streaming – I didn’t even finish the first season, but I was enjoying it before I fell off. It didn’t seem like the kind of show that would be good for more than one run with the same characters, so I’m eager to see where they go with it. The follows the seemingly perfect Rayburn family as they come to terms with family secrets in the Florida Keys. And maybe kill each other. Stars Kyle Chandler, Sissy Spacek, Ben Mendelsohn, and Linda Cardellini.
Roots – New, A&E – If you’re over 10 years old, you know what this is, and how important it can be. The original Roots was a magnificent achievement in television programming. This update has the potential to be all that and more. A filmed version of Alex Haley’s masterwork about an African slave and his ancestors in America. Stars Laurence Fishburne, Malachi Kirby, Mekhi Phifer, James Purefoy, Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Forest Whitaker, T.I., Anika Noni Rose, Anna Paquin, and Emayatzy Corinealdi.
Feed the Beast – New, AMC, Tuesdays 10 p.m. – AMC has an excellent track record, Into the Badlands notwithstanding, so I’m very excited about this new drama that sees David Schwimmer and Jim Sturgess fighting to open a restaurant in the Bronx, but one of them has mourning issues and the other mob problems. I’m onboard, I don’t even need to hear anything else. It’s a remake of the Danish show Bankerot. Stars David Schwimmer, Jim Sturgess, and Geoffrey Cantor.
Powers – Season 2, PSN, Streaming – The first season of this unconventional super hero drama was one of my favorites in 2015. It left off with a very tidy wrapped-up finale (as the storylines in the comics the show is based on always did) after a storyline that was not from the pages of the source material. Season 2 finds us in the very familiar mystery of the murder of Retro Girl. Fans of the comic rejoice! Find a friend with PlayStation Network so you can enjoy this gem. Stars Sharlto Copley and Susan Heyward.
By Ygal Kaufman