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Mystery Science Theater 3000 (Friday, April 14, Netflix), season premiere: While MST3K O.G.s Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett continue their movie-mockery biz at a staggering pace with RiffTrax, Mystery Science Theater 3000 proper is still missed. Netflix, proving that not all pop-cultural reboots are heinous abominations, picked up the 1988-1999 series after creator Joel Hodgson sparked a revival firestorm via Kickstarter. Hodgson has also recast the show, with comedian Jonah Ray as the new astro-host on the Satellite of Love, as well as new ’bot voices (Hampton Yount and Baron Vaughn as Crow T. Robot and Tom Servo, respectively), and Felicia Day and Patton Oswalt as MST3K’s new “Mads.” Exactly which cinematic disasterpieces the crew will be viewing and skewering in these 14 fresh episodes are currently unknown, but who cares? New MST3K!

Doctor Who (Saturday, April 15, BBC America), season premiere: After Series 10—that’s U.K. for Season 10—latest Doctor Peter Capaldi is outta here. For his final go-round of 12 episodes, Capaldi will joined by a new companion, Bill Potts (Pearl Mackie). Nardole (Matt Lucas) and Missy (Michelle Gomez) are still around, as are those steel salt shakers of evil, the Daleks. With Capaldi set to exit Doctor Who after the 2017 Christmas episode, the question of, “Who’s going to be the next Doctor?” has pointed up a whole lotta British actors you’ve never heard of, but also a few intriguing U.S.-known quantities: Former Agent Carter Haley Atwell, Supergirl’s David Harewood and The IT Crowd’s Richard Ayoade. After 50+ years of white guys in the lead, could we finally get a female or black Doctor? Nah; it’ll probably be a ginger.

The Leftovers (Sunday, April 16, HBO), season premiere: Now that Rectify is done, The Leftovers could claim the Most Depressing Show on TV crown—or at least battle it out with Mama June: From Not to Hot. While the existential drama—about those left behind after a seeming Rapture took 140 million from the planet, if you recall—did lighten up in Season 2, there’s still plenty to ennui on about in this third and final run: The seventh anniversary of the event is looming; the pesky Guilty Remnant cult has invaded the new Miracle, Texas, hometown of Kevin (Justin Theroux); Kevin Sr. (Scott Glenn) is searching for an apocalypse-stopper in Australia; and creator/producer Damon Lindelof has asked the “Critical Community” to not spoil anything else. Fine. Except for this: Australia does not exist. (Look it up!)

Veep (Sunday, April 16, HBO), season premiere: In these stoopid political times, the phrase, “Now, more than ever,” gets tossed around frequently in regards to art-imitates-life shows like House of Cards, The Man in the High Castle—hell, maybe even The Last Man on Earth (which was the first series to “kill off” the Trump administration, after all). But it’s modern comedy treasure Veep that will carry the burden of detracting from real politics, and Season 6 continues to go gloriously blue while largely ignoring the New Orange Order. Ex-president Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) may be out to heal the world in public, but she’s out for private, personal vengeance against old pains-in-the-ass like now-Congressman Jonah Ryan (Timothy Simons): “I want to let you know that I will destroy you in ways that are so creative, they’ll honor me for it at the Kennedy Center.” Now, more than ever.

Fargo (Wednesday, April 19, FX), season premiere: It’s been a while—16 months since the end of Season 2, give or take—but Fargo has earned its Game of Thrones-esque lag time. Season 3 is set in 2010, and concerns the soon-to-be criminal misadventures of “The Parking Lot King of Minnesota,” Ray Stussy (Ewan McGregor); his bridge-loving parolee girlfriend, Nikki Swango (Mary Elizabeth Winstead); and Ray’s loser brother, Emmit (also MacGregor). On opposite lawful sides of this trio of hilarious clothes and hair are this season’s Endearing Cop, Gloria Burgle (Carrie Coon), and Greasy Villain, V.M. Vargas (David Thewlis). It’s another taut tale of small-town good vs. evil vs. dim, and since Fargo is an anthology with no obligation to keep characters around for next season, anyone could meet their bloody end at any time. Yes, even Gloria’s doughy deputy (doughy Jim Gaffigan).

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Benders (Thursday, Oct. 1, IFC), series debut: Denis Leary has produced shows about firefighters (Rescue Me), EMTs (Sirens) and music (Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll), so it was inevitable he’d get around to another of his obsessions: hockey. Benders’ beer-soaked concept—an amateur hockey league that spends more time bro-bonding and trash-talking off the ice than playing on it—feels a bit off-brand for IFC, which has established itself with a more highbrow style of comedy (or whatever you’d call Maron and Documentary Now!). But Benders is the best new hockey-themed comedy of this season, so it has that going for it.

Dr. Ken (Friday, Oct. 2, ABC), series debut: In the fall battle for Worst New Comedy (not to mention First Cancellation), Dr. Ken may have the edge over Grandfathered and Truth Be Told: The latter two have stars that could, in theory, carry a well-executed comedy, whereas Ken Jeong (The Hangover, Community) is the definition of the A Little Goes a Long Way Side Player Who Should Never, Ever Be Expected to Carry a Show on His Own. (See also: any former Seinfeld co-star who’s not Julia Louis-Dreyfus.) Jeong is Dr. Ken Park, a physician with a crazy work and family life, and … well, that’s all there is. No, ABC, the fact that Jeong was actually a doctor before becoming an actor does not add to the comedy in the least.

The Leftovers (Sunday, Oct. 4, HBO), season premiere: Remember last year’s feel-bad hit of the summer, The Leftovers? The bleak tale of the aftermath of an unexplained kinda-Rapture that saw 2 percent of the world’s population literally disappear didn’t inspire Game of Thrones-level interest (maybe not even Hello Ladies-level interest), but it was still an intriguing depresso-wallow. In Season 2, New York cop Kevin Garvey (Justin Theroux) and family, and a whole lot of other travelers, are headed to Jarden, Texas (aka “The Jarden of Eden”), a “miracle” town from where no one was taken in the great Departure. It’s a chance for the spiritually devastated Garveys to start over, and there’s no chance of loony cult activity in this community, right? Wrong. Break out the tissues; hide the pills and sharp objects.

Casual (Wednesday, Oct. 7, Hulu), series debut: Director Jason Reitman (Up In the Air, Juno) probably didn’t mean to remake Fox’s canceled 2012 sitcom Ben and Kate, but no one saw that, so who cares? Casual stars Michaela Watkins (scene-stealer of 100 comedies, most recently Trophy Wife and Netflix’s Wet Hot American Summer) and Tommy Dewey (The Mindy Project) as a divorcee single mom and her bachelor brother who are once-again roommates trying (and mostly awkwardly failing) to teach each other how to navigate the Tinder age. It’s sharp, funny and everything on which corporate cousin NBC’s Comedy Division (now located in an abandoned basement utility closet) has completely given up.

American Horror Story: Hotel (Wednesday, Oct. 7, FX), season premiere: Creator/producer Ryan Murphy has said that Season 5 of his anthology series American Horror Story will be “Much more horror-based … much more dark … a little bloodier and grislier.” Whoa. That may seem impossible after 2014’s colorfully bizarre Freak Show (you’re still missed, Stabby the Clown), but the present-day-set, Los Angeles-based Hotel is a return to AHS’ Season 1 roots, the fantastic but sometimes overlooked Murder House debut. That initial run leaned far more scary than funny, and Hotel doubles down on both the darkness and star power: In addition to a slew of returning American Horror Story players (with the exception of Connie Britton yet again—damned Nashville), model/tabloid regular Naomi Campbell, New Girl’s Max Greenfield and little-known indie singer Lady Gaga will also be checking into the Hotel Cortez (and, presumably, never checking out). Although Hotel is connected to Murder House, and will feature characters from Asylum, Coven and Freak Show, AHS will somehow work around the absence of the series’ figurehead, Jessica Lange. (Season 5 is the first without her.) The stacked cast and elevated horror may be overcompensation … and I’ll gladly take it. 

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True Detective (HBO): Creator/writer Nic Pizzolatto probably screwed himself by launching this mesmerizing crime anthology with stars Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson at the top of their respective games. Good luck following up these eight near-perfect episodes.

Banshee (Cinemax): This left-field, visceral mashup of Justified, Twin Peaks and Fight Club went pulp-gonzo harder in Season 2, expanding the world of Banshee, Penn., just enough to introduce even more Amish mobster/Ukrainian thug mayhem. It’s that weird, and that cool.

Shameless (Showtime): Things somehow got worse as they got better for the Gallagher clan in Season 4, with William H. Macy and Emmy Rossum delivering alternately heartbreaking and hilarious performances. This is America’s family.

Justified (FX): Star Timothy Olyphant put his boot down and rescued Justified from becoming entirely the show of Boyd (Walton Goggins) in its fifth and penultimate season, and brought some new colorful characters along for the ride.

Broad City (Comedy Central): Few comedies arrive as fully-realized as Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer’s Broad City (though it did have a head-start as a Web series); their broke Brooklynites are the female flipside of Workaholics, only smarter, funnier and occasionally grosser.

Helix (Syfy): This Arctic Andromeda Strain/Walking Dead hybrid from Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica) crept up with no big splash, but it did earn a second season for 2015—catch up on Netflix now.

The Americans (FX): Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys continued to out-spy Homeland while still stuck in Cold War 1981, facing down more danger (and wigs) than Carrie and Brody could ever imagine.

Archer (FX): Meanwhile, Archer (code-named Archer Vice) blew up its spy premise and dove face-first into cocaine and country music. Literally.

House of Cards (Netflix): Vice president Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) delivered a shocking twist in the first episode of Season 2, and the train didn’t stop a-rollin’ from there. As with actual D.C. politics, it’s best not to think too hard about the machinations en route to the presidency

Fargo (FX): Lorne (Billy Bob Thornton), Lester (Martin Freeman) and Deputy Molly (Allison Tolman) shut down the “You can’t touch that movie” doubters from frame one with this dark, funny adaptation that faltered fewer times than True Detective. Oh, you bet’cha.

From Dusk Till Dawn (El Rey): Another film-to-TV transition that defied the haters, From Dusk Till Dawn expanded the 1996 cult classic into an even crazier, racier 10-episode ride where the definition of “the good guys” is subjective.

Game of Thrones (HBO): Like anyone’s going to make a list without Game of Thrones. Get real.

Silicon Valley (HBO): Mike Judge finally, if not intentionally, created the sequel to Office Space with Silicon Valley, a hysterically profane (and tech-jargoned, at least at first) saga about programmers in waaay over their heads. If only Halt and Catch Fire had been half this much fun.

Veep (HBO): Speaking of profane: VP Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and her team continued to fail upward in Season 3, from WTF? to the brink of POTUS. Pray for your country.

Bates Motel (A&E): Murder, drugs, love triangles, commercial zoning disputes—Bates Motel has it all! Norman (Freddie Highmore) became as intriguing as mother Norma (Vera Farmiga) in Season 2, no small feat, as did some of the supporting players. Why wait for Showtime’s Twin Peaks revival? It’s already here.

Mad Men (AMC): Splitting the final season in half was a lousy idea (the Mad Men buzz is pretty much nil at this point), but those first seven episodes provided a course-correcting jolt that should make for a hell of a 2015 finale, whenever that happens (hopefully, not in the ’70s).

Orphan Black (BBC America): See Game of Thrones.

Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (HBO): Sure, it’s a Daily Show knock-off with F-bombs—but those rants! Corporations, media, condiments—suck it! Everything the overblown Newsroom attempted over three seasons, Oliver nailed in 30 minutes.

Legit (FXX): Poor Jim Jefferies. His Louie-like Legit finally got good by the end of its first season, then FX exiled it to the untested FXX for Season 2: no promotion, no viewers, just yelling into a vast, empty room. See what you missed on Netflix (along with Jeffries’ stand-up specials).

Playing House (USA): Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham as almost-uncomfortably close BFFs failed on network TV, but found a niche on cable with Playing House, which could be the first series ever to make pregnancy play funny and inclusive.

Parks and Recreation (NBC): While as excellent as ever, Season 6 probably should have been the last (maybe even halfway through), but at least we’ll get a proper sendoff for NBC’s last great Must-See comedy in 2015.

Rick and Morty (Adult Swim): Few “get” Community, but Dan Harmon’s other TV project, the animated, and simultaneously brainy and crude Rick and Morty—imagine Back to the Future with more universes, booze and malicious aliens—clicked immediately on Adult Swim.

Louie (FX): Louis C.K. made us wait two years for a new season, then delivered 14 arty-if-not-always-funny installments of Louie, which were rightfully hailed as “brave,” “experimental” and “mostly free of black T-shirts.”

Maron (IFC): Marc Maron didn’t stray too far from the formula of his debut season in his second go-round—regarding how difficult it is to be Marc Maron, specifically, and a middle-aged white dude with a podcast in general. Still brilliant.

Orange Is the New Black (Netflix): Season 2 leaned more dramatic than comedic, and pulled killer performances from everyone in (and out) of Litchfield Penitentiary. Creator Jenji Kohan is well on her way to achieving the heretofore-thought impossible: Topping her previous series, Weeds.

The Leftovers (HBO): Life sucks when you’re not Raptured, and The Leftovers was the ultimate summer-bummer wallow, not to mention the vehicle that finally made Justin Theroux matter.

Rectify (Sundance): And while we’re on the topic of dramas filmed in Depress-o-Vision … damn.

Longmire (A&E): In its third season, Longmire fully broke away from its Justified Out West trappings and became a gripping, dusty crime drama in its own right. A&E rewarded this creative triumph—and high ratings—with a cancellation notice in order to make way for more Duck Dynasty. Fortunately, Netflix came to the rescue, and Season 4 will be streaming by late 2015. I’m beginning to understand you cable-cutters …

Coming next week: Part 2—even more shows!

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The Summer of Too Much TV is nearly over and, besides Sharknado 2: The Second One and True Blood: The Finally Final Season, nothing has made much of a splash in ’Merica’s above-ground pool.

Even hyper-hyped new series like FX’s The Strain and TNT’s The Last Ship can barely keep up with the Kardashians’ ratings, even when the networks apply their convoluted “Live + 7” formulas (the audience watching the show as it airs is multiplied over seven days by DVR procrastinators, divided by a show’s hashtagged tweets and added to projected thought patterns of potential viewers squared by unicorn farts).

As far as The Only TV Column that Matters™ is concerned, the biggest disappointment of the summer is AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire, the ’80s period piece about the dawn of the personal-computer boom that premiered with a sizzling pilot episode and decent ratings, only to get stuck in its own “We’re building computers! / No, we’re building dreams!” loop as star Lee Pace dismissed it on talk shows with hosts who only wanted to hear about his raccoon movie, anyway.

Despite the huge True Blood lead-in, HBO’s depresso-drama The Leftovers doesn’t exactly have viewers—wait for it—enraptured (thanks, I’ll be here all week … unless I suddenly disappear without a trace).

In addition to The Strain, FX has the second bizarro season of The Bridge this summer, as well as alleged new comedy Partners (unless the network has finally realized, “Wait, we put what on Monday nights?!”) and genuine new comedies Married and You’re the Worst (which get funnier every week—I hate the “You just have to stick with it” defense as much as you do, but I’m using my power of attorney), and a wacky little farce called Tyrant. For those unfamiliar—which the ratings indicate is all of you—Tyrant is about a murderous, psychopathic rapist of a Middle-Eastern dictator who somehow still hasn’t won the hearts of FX viewers. What does he need, a Harley and a SAMCRO patch?

And what the hell is going on with Extant? Viewers are fleeing CBS’ “event” series faster than Halle Berry can go through shapeless Target sweaters, either because it borrowed too many sci-fi themes to keep track of, or because it’s making less damned sense every week, or because, well, shapeless Target sweaters. The interest level in her alien baby and her Small Wonder A.I. son is now on par with “Hey, are those hicks and that Twilight chick still trapped Under the Dome?”

CBS also has a summer drama about sexy lawyers—no, really. It’s called Reckless, and it’s on Sunday nights. After Unforgettable. I’m not making these up!

Also swishing under the TV radar is The Quest, ABC’s Survivor-meets-LARPing reality-competition show that premiered to a resounding “Meh, verily” and still hasn’t attracted the fantasy crowd as well as, oh, fantasy, does. It’s like soccer: You might spend hours watching children play it out of parental obligation, but watching overpaid adults do it requires a special kind of dementia.

Were you aware that The CW aired shows called Famous in 12, Backpackers and Seed this summer? More than once? True. One was about TMZ trying to spin fame out of nothing; one was about a pair of bros backpacking across Europe; and one was about a sperm donor—none of which clicked with the network’s audience like previous summers’ programming, a screensaver of a CW logo bouncing from corner to corner two hours a night.

But they still attracted more eyeballs than Miley Cyrus: The Bangerz Tour, a July NBC concert special that now has a verified viewership of four frustrated housewives, since all them have filed “indecency” complaints with the Federal Communications Commission. So Miley simulated a BJ on Abraham Lincoln—what have you done for your country lately?


DVD ROUNDUP FOR AUG. 19!

The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Spidey (Andrew Garfield) swings back into action to battle Electro (Jamie Foxx) and protect his girlfriend Gwen (Emma Stone). He’s successful on at least one front—oh, don’t spoiler-whine; that comic came out, like, 40 years ago. (Sony)

Fading Gigolo

Fioravante (John Turturro, who also directs) becomes a professional man ’ho to help out his broke pal Murray (Woody Allen), who in turn acts as his manager/pimp. The best Jewish-themed porno flick since Kosher Salamis. (Millennium)

Gilligan’s Planet: The Complete Series

This cartoon actually happened in 1982: Gilligan and the castaways (the original voice cast, minus Ginger) build a rocket to get off the island, only to  overshoot and land on another planet. Saturday mornings were weird back then. (Warner Archive; released July 22)

A Good Man

An obese former special-ops agent (Steven Seagal) who goes off the grid and becomes an apartment manager is forced back into action when Russian mobsters threaten his tenants. Hey, tubby’s gotta eat, and dead tenants don’t pay rent. (Lionsgate)

Live Nude Girls

After inheriting his uncle’s Hollywood strip club, Shane (Mike Hatton) discovers that the joint is a dump run by a drunk (Dave Foley) and crazy strippers (Bree Olson, Asa Akira and Tera Patrick). Not really seeing a problem here. (Screen Media)

More New DVD/VOD Releases (Aug. 19)

Boardwalk Empire: Season 4, A Brony Tale, The Good Wife: Season 5, Jarhead 2: Field of Fire, The Millers: Season 1, The Mindy Project: Season 2, Once Upon a Time: Season 3, Only Lovers Left Alive, Parenthood: Season 5, Parks & Recreation: Season 6, Revolution: Season 2, Rosemary’s Baby.

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Rake (Friday, June 27, Fox), series finale: Try and follow this: The now-canceled Rake, starring Greg Kinnear as a rakish (get it?) screw-up who also happens to be a brilliant defense lawyer, debuted in January with its second episode. Fox continued to air episodes out of running order for several Thursdays before moving it to Fridays and, ultimately, blowing out the final 12th and 13th eps in what its few remaining viewers were left to assume was a two-hour series finale on a Saturday in April. But wait! Here’s the official series finale, the sixth episode, which makes no storyline sense airing after No. 13. Thanks, Fox.

Reckless (Sunday, June 29, CBS), series debut: She (Anna Wood) is a gorgeous, street-smart Chicago defense attorney; he (Cam Gigandet) is a gorgeous, charming Charleston, S.C. city attorney; together, they’re Pretty Lawyers Fighting the Throbbing Urge to Bone In and Out of the Courtroom. (Reckless was a more manageable title.) The one-season/one-case scenario centers on “a police sex scandal (that) threatens to tear the city apart,” but Reckless is really only about its lusty litigators, meaning this summer-filler series would have better-realized on late-night Showtime as, well, Lusty Litigators.

The Leftovers (Sunday, June 29, HBO), series debut: As the Summer of the TV Apocalypse continues, Lost’s Damon Lindelof takes on the series adaptation of The Leftovers, a 2011 novel about a Rapture-ish event in which 2 percent of the Earth’s population mysteriously disappears. The “poof!” moment is shown with little fanfare in the first episode’s opening minutes; The Leftovers is about the confusion, malaise and outright weirdness that spreads among those still here—specifically, a suburban police chief (Justin Theroux), his estranged wife (Amy Brenneman), a post-Rapture cult leader (Ann Dowd), a devastated bride-to-be (Liv Tyler) and others in a small New York community. The capital-D Downer of a pilot episode is at least beautifully acted and staged, and does have a few light moments (among the taken: Anthony Bourdain, Jennifer Lopez, Shaquille O’Neal, Pope Benedict XVI and … Gary Busey?), but The Leftovers looks to be an even darker, life-has-no-meaning wallow than True Detective. Cheer up—your existence (or lack thereof) could be waaay worse.

Californication (Sunday, June 29, Showtime), series finale: Does Hank (David Duchovny) finally get his shit together and make an honest woman of Baby Mama No. 1 (Natascha McElhone), or at least Baby Mama No. 2 (Heather Graham)? The Only TV Column That Matters™ has seen the final—for real, this time—episode of long-time favorite Californication, and feels satisfyingly vindicated for having stuck by it through seven seasons. (I fully realize I may be the only one who has.) If you’re still out there, Moody-ites, it’s a funny and touching (if relatively depravity-free) wrap-up. I’ll even forgive Hank for choosing the wrong woman …

Under the Dome (Monday, June 30, CBS), season premiere: Part of the appeal of Under the Dome when it debuted last summer was its perceived One-and-Done format: 13 episodes, and it’s over, fans and familiars of the 2009 Stephen King novel thought; no further commitment required! Then the ratings went through roof (but not the dome), and CBS caught If It’s Worth Doing It’s Worth Overdoing fever, resulting in a Season 2 pickup and a cliffhanger finale that stunk worse than a weeks-sealed bubble full of unwashed townies. The Season 2 opener, written by King himself, at least provides instant resolution—and, of course, new characters, new questions, more dewy-eyed blank stares from Julia (Rachelle Lefevre—you can take the girl out of Twilight, but …) and now, a magnetized dome!


DVD ROUNDUP FOR JULY 1!

Afflicted

Two buds traveling the world filming a Web series find their trip cut short when one of them hooks up with a vampire in Paris and, upon realizing that he can’t die and must feed, becomes a vigilante Dexter vampire. There’s your Web series. (Sony)

Helix: Season 1

Investigating a viral outbreak at an Arctic bioresearch station, government researchers learn that they—and, eventually, mankind—are totally screwed. From Battlestar Galactica’s Ronald D. Moore, so it’s nice and claustrophobic. (Sony)

No Vacancy

Seven friends en route to Las Vegas are forced to spend the night in a roadside motel, and sure enough, they’re soon being tortured and killed. Yet another scenario in which a AAA membership would have come in real handy. (Lionsgate)

Oy Vey! My Son Is Gay!

Long Island parents’ anxiety over their sons coming out if the closet(s) together only gets worse when the boys decide to adopt. The one film in which you’ll see Bruce Vilanch and Carmen Electra sharing screen time. Hopefully. (Breaking Glass)

Rockabilly Zombie Weekend

A couple’s rockabilly-themed wedding is ruined when a West Nile Virus outbreak spreads swarms of zombie-spawning mosquitoes. (Sure, it could happen.) Featuring the way-out sounds of Slip and the Spinouts and The Dive Bar Stalkers! (Green Apple)

More New DVD Releases (July 1)

City of Lust, Killervision, Once Upon a Time in Vietnam, Scavenger Killers, The Unknown Known, A Young Doctor’s Notebook.

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Television used to take a break in the summertime—but that was back in the dark ages, Grandpa. Today, networks are more aggressive than ever about establishing the fabled 52-week programming schedule, so the real winner is you!

Here’s what you should be watching while it’s hot:

JUNE

Following the Season 2 premiere of 2013’s hit alien-western Defiance, it’s the debut of Dominion (right), a new supernatural drama about rogue angels bent on possessing mankind in the—wait for it—post-apocalyptic future. It’s based on the 2010 flick Legion, so the fact that Dominion doesn’t completely suck is a … miracle. (Syfy; Thursday, June 19)

Quiet breakout series Rectify, about a former death-row inmate trying to fit back into his small Georgia home town, returns for a 10-episode second season. The gorgeously hypnotic Southern Gothic doles out details slower than molasses, but it earns every last drop of its critical mass—binge Season 1 on Netflix for proof. (Sundance; Thursday, June 19)

Before the Season 4 premiere of alien-invasion epic Falling Skies, new series The Last Ship tackles an enemy of a different kind: Producer Michael Bay. Actually, it’s a pandemic that kills 80 percent (!) of the planet’s population, and only the crew of a surviving Navy ship is positioned to find a cure for the remaining 20. It’s like Battleship, but with more plot. (TNT; Sunday, June 22)

It’s about five years late, but the seventh and final season of True Blood is upon us—and after you begin saying your goodbyes to (everybody whisper it together now) Sookie and the Bon Temps fang-gang, say hello to the un-Raptured souls of The Leftovers, about a group of confused suburbanites stuck behind on Earth. It’s like This Is the End, but with less weed. (HBO; True Blood: Sunday, June 22; The Leftovers: Sunday, June 29)

If it weren’t already canceled, it would be easy to accuse FX of inhumanely putting down loveable mutt Wilfred by moving Season 4 to FXX, the euthanasia lab of cable. On the upside, we may finally get some answers as to why Wilfred appears to Ryan as an Australian asshole in a dog suit … but probably not. (FXX; Wednesday, June 25)

Also premiering in June: Halt and Catch Fire (AMC; Sunday, June 1); Longmire (A&E; Monday, June 2); Mistresses (ABC; Monday, June 2); Orange Is the New Black (Netflix; Friday, June 6); Power (Starz; Saturday, June 7); Rookie Blue (ABC; Thursday, June 19); Teen Wolf (MTV; Monday, June 23); Tyrant (FX; Tuesday, June 24); Covert Affairs (USA; Tuesday, June 24); Big Brother (CBS; Wednesday, June 25); Girl Meets World (Disney; Friday, June 27); Under the Dome (CBS; Monday, June 30).

JULY

Halle Berry gets knocked-up in space! That’s all the summation you need for Extant, CBS’ next stab at a Summer Event Thriller after the network got a little too cocky last year with the success of Under the Dome. How did this female astronaut become pregnant during her year alone in space? What’s growing inside her? Who came up with the lousy title Extant? Expect answers … maybe during the summer of 2015, if the ratings blow up. (CBS; Wednesday, July 9)

Now that Dexter is over, and Homeland has jumped (hung?) the shark, Showtime’s new flagship dramas Ray Donovan and Masters of Sex both return for their respective second seasons. A gritty crime/family drama about a troubled “fixer” for the Hollywood elite and a period soap about pioneering 1950s sex researchers Masters and Johnson may seem like an odd combo, but they’re the network’s best series in years. (Showtime; Sunday, July 13)

Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s book trilogy The Strain becomes a TV series, brought to you, coincidentally, by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan. When an ancient disease strain begins turning the world’s population into vampires—and not those pretty Twilight/Vampire Diaries bloodsuckers, either—it’s up to a Centers for Disease Control doc and a ragtag group of New Yorkers to save humanity. Apparently, it’s the Summer of the Apocalypse. (FX; Sunday, July 13)

Would you believe a soccer star by day who’s an international spy by night? That’s Matador. If the balls-out TV re-imagining of From Dusk Till Dawn has taught us anything, it’s to trust Robert Rodriguez and the El Rey network. (El Rey; Tuesday, July 15)

Harried-marrieds comedies have been done to death—but one starring Judy Greer, Nat Faxon, Jenny Slate and Bret Gelman? That’s a killer cast who’d be canceled in five minutes on a broadcast network; fortunately, the new Married is on cable, and it’s far funnier and more heartfelt then the generic title suggests. Fellow debuting comedy You’re the Worst, about two toxic singles who enter into couple-hood, wins the name game. (FX; Thursday, July 17)

Also premiering in July: Witches of East End (Lifetime; Sunday, July 6); Finding Carter (MTV; Tuesday, July 8); The Bridge (FX; Wednesday, July 9); Hemlock Grove (Netflix; Friday, July 11); Satisfaction (USA; Thursday, July 17); Rush (USA; Thursday, July 17); Sharknado 2: The Second One (Syfy; Wednesday, July 30).

AUGUST

You can’t kill The Killing: After being canceled by AMC, like, a dozen times, the crime drama returns for a fourth and final season on Netflix … but is it really the last? There’s still Hulu Plus, Amazon Prime and Yahoo! TV, right? (Netflix; Friday, Aug. 1)

A married World War II nurse is mysteriously transported from 1945 to 1743, where’s she’s “forced” (just go with it) to wed a dashing Scottish warrior. Outlander (below), based on a best-selling book series, is equal parts romance, sci-fi, history and utter ridiculousness. Hence, it’ll be a huge hit—at least by 10th-tier premium-cable standards. (Starz; Saturday, Aug. 9)

Also premiering in August: Masters of Illusion (The CW; Friday, Aug. 1); Legends (TNT; Wednesday, Aug. 13); Franklin and Bash (TNT; Wednesday, Aug. 13); Dallas (TNT; Monday, Aug. 18); Breathless (PBS; Sunday, Aug. 24); MTV Video Music Awards (MTV; Sunday, Aug. 24); Emmy Awards (NBC; Monday, Aug. 25).

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