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Summer TV Preview 2016: 19 Drama Series We Can’t Wait to See

Summer TV Preview 2016: 19 Drama Series We Can't Wait to See

PREVIOUSLY: Summer TV Preview 2016: 12 Comedy Series We Can’t Wait To See

Preacher” – Sunday, May 22

Executive Producers: Sam Catlin, Seth Rogen, Evan Goldberg
Stars: Dominic Cooper, Ruth Negga, Joe Gilgun
Network: AMC

Adapting a comic book notorious for its sex, violence and, um, unique take on religion is one thing. Letting Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg adapt it is a whole other deal. The supernatural action-drama-comedy smorgasbord features Dominic Cooper as a priest with perhaps god-given powers… and a flippant attitude towards the deity who granted them. A wild cast of characters, including a deadly hitwoman, a vampire and a guy known as Arseface (because his face looks like an arse), promise to drive one of the year’s most singular shows — perfect for summer viewing.

READ MORE: Why Great Comic Books Like ‘Jessica Jones’ and ‘Y the Last Man’ Belong on TV, Not Film 

“Wayward Pines” Season 2 – Wednesday, May 25

Executive Producers:  Donald De Line, Ashwin Rajan, Chad Hodge, M. Night Shyamalan
Stars: Jason Patric
Network: Fox

We weren’t quite sure what to make of “Wayward Pines” when it premiered last year, beyond “Wait, M. Night Shyamalan directed a TV show? And Matt Dillon and Carla Gugino are in it?” But the story of a mysterious town where the residents either feel trapped or end up dead was the sort of oddness that kept us tuning in, especially when things got really weird. (No spoilers, but in Episode 6, Hope Davis may give the most bonkers Powerpoint presentation of all time.) The main reason to tune into “Wayward Pines” for Season 2 may just be to see how, exactly, the writers and new star Jason Patric can top what came before. But that may be just enough of a reason. 

READ MORE: How The Final Twist of ‘Wayward Pines’ Spells Doom For Broadcast Television

“Bloodline” Season 2 – Friday, May 27

Creator: Glenn Kessler, Todd A. Kessler and Daniel Zelman
Stars: Kyle Chandler, Sissy Spacek, Linda Cardellini, Ben Mendelsohn
Network: Netflix

Following the drastic twists of Season 1, the sophomore entry of Netflix’s prestige drama series has a tall order in front of it. To put it bluntly, how do you top killing off You-Know-Who? Well, for starters, you bring him back. [Spoilers ahead for Season 1 of “Bloodline”]. Yes, Danny is still dead to kick off Season 2, but that doesn’t mean he’s gone — or forgotten. Memories of the Rayburn family’s black sheep haunt the three siblings involved with covering up his murder, and atoning for their sins isn’t even their top priority when some new faces come to town. John Leguizamo and Andrea Riseboroguh join Owen Teague — Danny’s son who popped up in the Season 1 finale — for the new year, and you better believe they’re not coming in clean, even if they’ll leave even dirtier. The Florida Keys may be paradise for some, but it’s about to become a little too hot for the Rayburns.

READ MORE: ‘Bloodline’ Season 2 Cast Exclusive: First Look at John Leguizamo and You-Know-Who From the Season 1 Finale

“Feed the Beast” – Sunday, June 5

Creator: Clyde Phillips
Stars: David Schwimmer, Jim Sturgess
Network: AMC

David Schwimmer hasn’t starred in a TV series since “Friends.” The man forever known as Ross Geller has popped up on the small screen in hits like “Band of Brothers” and “Episodes,” and he even nabbed a regular role on FX’s incredible limited series “The People v. O.J. Simpson,” but “Feed the Beast” marks his return to serialized television. Considering his success as a director as well as his careful selection of roles, that tells us Schwimmer must have seen something special in the new AMC drama about two close friends who try to start a restaurant in the Bronx, despite one’s recent personal tragedy (Schwimmer’s character lost his wife) and the other’s penchant for trouble (Jim Sturgess plays a gambler indebted to the Mob). Will it make us forget about Ross? Maybe not, but Schwimmer has proven over the years that the little he chooses to do is always worth watching.

Note: “Feed the Beast” debuts Sunday, June 5 after “Preacher,” but will regularly air on Tuesdays. Episode 2 kicks off its regular schedule on June 7.

READ MORE: Watch: David Schwimmer and Jim Sturgess ‘Feed the Beast’ in First Trailer for AMC Drama

“Cleverman” – Wednesday, June 1

Executive Producers: Sally Riley, Kylie du Fresne, Ben Grant, Martin Baynton, Adam Fratto, Jan David Frouman, Amelie Kienlin
Stars: Iain Glen, Frances O’Connor, Deborah Mailman, Hunter Page-Lochard, Rob Collins, Stef Dawson
Network: SundanceTV

SundanceTV is bringing to America a show that is extremely Australian. However,  the themes of racial conflict and immigration concerns make “Cleverman” universal. In a dystopian society, a humanoid-but-not-human race of “hairies” is being persecuted after a string of unsolved murders, perhaps unfairly. So how might we expect them to react, with their way of life on the line? This is just the sort of allegorical sci-fi/fantasy that makes genre fiction, at times, more culturally relevant than any network procedural. And, thus, worth checking out. 

READ MORE: James Purefoy on ‘Hap & Leonard’ and What Makes an Englishman ‘Weak in the Knees’

Kingdom” Season 2b – Wednesday, June 1

Creator: Byron Balasco
Stars: Frank Grillo, Nick Jonas, 
Network: Audience Network

One of the best new shows of 2014 got a massive renewal for Season 2; one so big it had to be split into two parts. The first 10 episodes of the 20 episode second season aired last fall, but now the family drama about a close-knit crew of MMA fighters is headed back to DirecTV’s Audience Network to finish what it started. Frank Grillo (“Captain America: Civil War”) and Nick Jonas (of musical fame) may be the big names, but this ensemble is well-rounded thanks to Jonathan Tucker (soon to be seen in “American Gods”) and Matt Lauria (“Friday Night Lights”). Come for the action, stay for the heart.

READ MORE: Review: ‘Kingdom’ is More than Nick Jonas & MMA – It’s Your New Favorite Drama

Outcast” – Friday, June 3

Creator: Robert Kirkman
Stars: Patrick Fugit, Reg E. Cathey, Wrenn Schmidt
Network: Cinemax

Yet another creepy comic book adaptation debuting this summer, “Outcast” is a passion project from all-things-“Walking Dead” producer, creator and graphic novel writer Robert Kirkman. The story tracks a young man who’s been plagued by demonic possession his entire life. With the help of a troubled reverend, Kyle Barnes (Patrick Fugit) finally sets out to help himself. But what he discovers might change more than his own fate. It could change the world. After debuting at SXSW just a few months ago, “Outcast” was picked up for a second season. So, if you can stand the scares, you’re in for one long ride with the devil.

READ MORE: Why ‘Outcast’ Director Adam Wingard Turned to Television to Create a New Exorcism Story

UnREAL” Season 2 – Monday, June 6

Creators: Marti Noxon and Sarah Gertrude Shapiro
Stars: Shiri Appleby, Craig Bierko, Constance Zimmer
Network: Lifetime

One of our favorite series of 2015 is back, and while this scripted takedown of reality TV remains committed to the world of reality dating shows, it’s going where “The Bachelor” won’t. This year, the suitor charming the ladies of “Everlasting” is black. By making race a major undercurrent, “UnREAL” Season 2 proves its commitment to taking the promise of Season 1 and going just a little bit further; being just a little bit bolder. Can’t wait. 

READ MORE: Did You Miss ‘UnREAL’? Constance Zimmer and Craig Bierko Explain Why You Should Be Catching Up On Hulu Right Now

“Animal Kingdom” – Tuesday, June 14

Executive Producers: John Wells and Jonathan Lisco
Stars: Ellen Barkin, Scott Speedman, Shawn Hatosy
Network: TNT

Based on the Oscar-nominated 2010 film from Australia (starring Joel Edgerton and Jacki Weaver), “Animal Kingdom” tells the tale of a family living on the edge. After his mother dies of a heroin overdose, Joshua “J” Cody (Finn Cole) moves in with his estranged grandmother and gets sucked into the world of criminal activity he’s been protected from until now. Think about that. A kid whose mother died from a heroin overdose was shielded from his wider family’s behavior; behavior that’s darker, nastier and more damaging than shooting enough heroin to kill you. TNT is all about the edge these days, and it already seems safe to say this story will have an edge to it.

READ MORE: Watch: ‘Animal Kingdom’ Goes From Indie Darling to TNT Drama in Gritty First Trailer

“BrainDead” – Monday, June 13

Creator: Robert and Michelle King
Stars: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Aaron Tveit, Nikki M. James Johnny Ray Gill, Danny Pino, Tony Shalhoub
Network: CBS

Every year, CBS brings us at least one new summer show rich with craziness, and this year’s clear winner is “BrainDead.” The catch? It could actually be good. Yes, the premise that aliens are eating the brains of America’s politicians (and apparently we noticed the difference) is pretty silly. But star Mary Elizabeth Winstead proved her ability to own the screen just recently — with “10 Cloverfield Lane” — and “Braindead” was created by frequent Emmy nominees Robert and Michelle King. “The Good Wife” people making a show about an alien invasion? The pilot, at least, will be must see

READ MORE: ‘Limitless’ the TV Show Might Be a CBS Procedural, But It’s Weird and Smart and Fun

Aquarius” Season 2 – Thursday, June 16

Creator: John McNamara
Stars: David Duchovny, Grey Damon, Gethin Anthony, Claire Holt
Network: NBC

Note: The above trailer is for “Aquarius” Season 1. We have yet to see a single peak at “Aquarius” Season 2, and it’s starting to get to us. All we want is a taste of what’s to come, be it a slightly more Manson-focused storyline, extra time devoted to Gaius Charles and the Black Panthers, or — and this one’s mandatory — David Duchovny beating the hell out of some cult-crazed hippies. All we know as of now is that the release date is just over a month away, the two-hour premiere will air commercial-free and Duchovny is rocking that flat-top yet again. So why so secretive, NBC? Eager fans await.

READ MORE: David Duchovny on an NC-17 ‘Aquarius’ Cut and Why Mulder is a ‘Very Bad Cop’ on ‘The X-Files’

Orange is the New Black” Season 4 – Friday, June 17

Creator: Jenji Kohan
Stars: Taylor Schilling, Laura Prepon, Michael J. Harney, Michelle Hurst, Kate Mulgrew, Uzo Aduba, Danielle Brooks, Natasha Lyonne, Taryn Manning
Network: Netflix

If only based on the most recent trailer, “Orange” looks fully committed to owning its recent categorization as a drama series this year. At play in Season 4: Litchfield now has double its previous population, a major celebrity who might bear a resemblance to Martha Stewart now resides behind bars and everyone, most especially Piper (Taylor Schilling), might be feeling less than safe. It’s always a delight to look forward to another 13 episodes of rich character work and unexpected tangents (fingers crossed that this year, Crazyeyes starts writing a sequel to “The Time Hump Chronicles”). The question we’re waiting to answer is just how dark things might get. 

READ MORE: ‘Orange is the New Black’ Swaps ‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt’s’ Peeno Noir For ‘Honey Jar’ For New Viral Hit

“Queen of the South” – Tuesday, June 21

Executive Producers: M.A. Fortin, Joshua John Miller, David Friendly, Pancho Mansfield 
Stars: Alice Braga, Justina Machado, Hemky Madera, Veronica Falcon, James Martinez, Mark Consuelos
Network: USA

Did you get bored by “Narcos” on Netflix because it was yet another testosterone-fueled drug saga? Well, here’s an estrogen-powered take on a woman’s rise to power within the drug trade, one that looks fascinating. Anchored by Alice Braga, who plays burgeoning crime lord Teresa Mendoza, the series is yet more proof that USA is aiming darker with its drama series. And more networks, frankly, should learn to let the ladies lead. 

READ MORE: How Sarah Wayne Callies’ Sci-Fi Obsession Led to Her Fighting to Star In USA’s ‘Colony’

“Thirteen” – Thursday, June 23

Creator: Marnie Dickens
Stars: Jodie Comer
Network: BBC America

Plot-wise, “Thirteen” has a lot of similarity to “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt.” But tone-wise, the dark BBC America drama is probably more closely related to last year’s “Room.” And the thing about that film, which chronicled not just a young woman’s captivity but her efforts to recover from it, was that we could have kept watching that story forever, as told by those actors. It’s a lot to ask that the British cast live up to the Oscar-winning standard of “Room,” but we look forward to seeing the story of recovering abductee Ivy (Jodie Comer) get the episodic room to truly breathe. 

READ MORE: Read the Very Personal Letter That Got ‘Room’ Director Lenny Abrahamson His Oscar-Nominated Gig

Roadies” – Sunday, June 26

Creator: Cameron Crowe
Stars: Luke Wilson, Carla Gugino, Imogen Poots, Rafe Spall
Network: Showtime

Cameron Crowe has joined the legions of respected filmmakers who’ve moved from the big screen to the small, and he’s doing it with a story very much in his comfort zone. The former Rolling Stone journalist and avid music fan created “Roadies” to honor the people he got to know on the road, as a kid, when he was touring with some of the world’s greatest rock bands. These are the stage hands, lighting technicians, sound guys, tour managers and more behind-the-scenes personnel who not only make it possible for you to see your favorite musicians perform, but they actually make those performances so much better. The long-the-works drama series has gone through recasting (Christina Hendricks dropped out, Carla Gugino stepped in) and rewrites galore, but with the guiding hand of J.J. Abrams on board as well as a talented final cast of colorful characters, this love letter to the unsung heroes of rock ‘n roll should at least prove sweet enough to sample.

READ MORE: Cameron Crowe Showtime Comedy ‘Roadies’ Ordered to Series After Recasting and Reshoots

Mr. Robot” Season 2 – Wednesday, July 13

Creator: Sam Esmail
Stars: Rami Malek, Christian Slater, Portia Doubleday
Network: USA

The pressure is on. After a gangbusters first season both on and off screen, “Mr. Robot” is headed into Season 2 with expectations at dangerously high levels. The Golden Globe-winning drama proved so successful that USA rebranded its entire network to mimic the show’s rebellious attitude, meaning creator Sam Esmail — who’s directing all 10 episodes of the new season — is on the hook for what amounts to the TV equivalent of a tentpole film. Considering the twists and turns of Season 1, one could be worried about repeating such buzzy moments. But what made “Mr. Robot” great was a specificity to character, an in-depth understanding of coding and an eye for artful ambition in every shot. Those things don’t just disappear, and returning this year are breakout star Rami Malek and comeback kid Christian Slater. Season 2 is gonna be fun, y’all.

READ MORE: 5 Tips From the Brains Behind ‘Mr. Robot’ On How to Make a Great Show

Stranger Things” – Friday, July 15

Creator: Matt & Ross Duffer
Stars: Winona Ryder, Matthew Modine, David Harbour
Network: Netflix

Taking aim at a younger demographic without losing interest from the traditional demos, Netflix’s new horror show is a far cry from “Hemlock Grove.” First off, its core cast is made up of young adults. Winona Ryder and Matthew Modine are certainly in the mix, but the story of a boy who disappears from a small Midwestern town in 1983 and the ensuing hunt for him is mainly concerned with what the kids have to say; well, that and scaring the living bejesus out of you. 

READ MORE: The 15 Netflix Original Series to be Excited About in 2016

The Get Down” – Friday, August 12

Creator: Baz Luhrman, Shawn Ryan 
Stars: Giancarlo Esposito, Jimmy Smits, Jaden Smith
Network: Netflix

Chronicling the birth of hip-hop, punk and disco during the ’70s in a financially broken New York City, “The Get Down” is one of the most ambitious titles coming out this summer. So ambitious, it’s actually breaking one of Netflix’s oldest, most successful traditions: Rather than releasing all of Season 1 at once, “The Get Down” will debut six episodes August 12 with the latter half of the season expected in 2017. Baz Luhrmann (“Moulin Rouge!”) is set to direct the first episode and will oversee all creative aspects of a series created by Shawn Ryan (“The Shield”). The cast features welcome known faces like Jimmy Smits and Giancarlo Esposito, but the young cast full of newcomers promises some surprises once we see the final product. I mean, just look at that trailer. The music alone feels ambitious, so we can’t wait to see the rest.

READ MORE: Baz Luhrmann Says Nas Has Been a ‘Huge Creative Force’ on Netflix’s ‘The Get Down’

Gomorrah” – Wednesday, August 24

Creator: Roberto Saviano
Stars: Marco D’Amore, Fortunato Cerlino, Salvatore Esposito, Maria Pia Calzone, Marco Palvetti
Network: SundanceTV

“Gomorrah” has been on our radar since 2014, when the Italian drama not only premiered in Italy, but was acquired by the Weinstein Company for eventual U.S. distribution. Now, the potentially dazzling series is finally getting a U.S. premiere, and we can’t wait to see what the Neapolitan answer to “The Sopranos” actually looks like. Don’t expect a happy ending, given that showrunner Stefano Sollima told Indiewire, “There are no heroes in this TV series. Only victims.” But do expect some compelling television.

READ MORE: Looking For the Next Great Mob Drama? It Might Be Italy’s ‘Gomorrah’

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