1. “Orange Is the New Black” Season 6 (available July 27)
Why Should I Watch? Every single season of Netflix’s genre-bending hourlong series has been nominated for an Emmy — multiple Emmys, really. The first season snagged 12 nominations and three wins, and the fourth season still pulled in three nominations, even after years of debate over what genre it belongs in, switching categories, and increased competition. That’s probably because Jenji Kohan’s prison drama (yup, we’ve settled on drama now) tells a compelling array of personal stories that come together to drive a timely modern narrative. It’s challenging, daring material that doesn’t always work, but strives to push its story into exciting new arenas. It’s television worth talking about, and that’s hard to come by, even in the peak TV era.
Bonus Reason: So much has been made about the talented ensemble in “Orange Is the New Black,” and so much of the credit goes to casting director Jennifer Euston. A three-time Emmy winner (for “The Pacific,” “Girls,” and “Orange Is the New Black”), the New Jersey native has an impeccable eye for actors from all backgrounds and continues to build a beautiful cast year in and year out. Give it up for the casting directors, folks. They don’t get enough of a hand.
2. “The Sinner” Season 1 (available July 2)
Peter Kramer/USA Network
Why Should I Watch? “The Sinner” grabs you and grabs you quickly. The first episode sets up a wild mystery with an uncontested murder; that may sound counterintuitive, but you’ll see Jessica Biel’s character switch from a random beachgoer to a homicidal killer in the blink of an eye, and yet there’s clearly more to her seemingly unmotivated choice than meets the eyes. What follows involves a kinky grizzled detective (played by Bill Pullman), one creepy ski mask, and a whole bunch of secrets. It’s a perfect summer binge arriving just in time to prep audiences for its sequel…
Bonus Reason: “The Sinner” is an anthology series, so you don’t have to watch the first season to get into the second — and hot damn should you be excited for Season 2. In her first series regular role since earning an Emmy nod for “Fargo” (and being unconscionably denied a win for “The Leftovers”), Carrie Coon steps in as the de facto star, and she’s bringing her Pulitzer Prize-winning husband — and former “Homeland,” “Divorce,” and “Lady Bird” star — Tracy Letts with her. The last time the two worked together, movie audiences got the Oscar-nominated film “The Post.” The time before that, the couple took “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” from the Steppenwolf Theatre in Chicago to Broadway, and Letts won a Tony for his performance. (Coon snagged a nomination.) So beyond the excitement tied to “The Sinner” returning, there’s a lot of anticipation to see what these two thespians bring to the table.
3. “Anne With an E” Season 2 (available July 6)
Why Should I Watch? When Netflix’s adaptation of “Anne of Green Gables” first landed, IndieWire’s Senior Editor and unofficial “Anne” expert Hanh Nguyen made a list of eight must-haves. After all, the new edition came from “Breaking Bad” producer Moira Walley-Beckett and offered a darker take on Lucy Maud Montgomery’s Canadian children’s novel. But it’s still an “Anne of Green Gables” story, and Season 1 checked off six of the eight requirements. That’s pretty darn good! And with a little time (a.k.a. a second season), there’s no reason “Anne With an E” can’t tick off “Smoldering Chemistry” and a cameo from Megan Follows to complete the checklist.
Bonus Reason: Come on. Look at that photo. Who doesn’t want to spend some time in the 1900s with a feminist young lady wearing puffy sleeves and taking a carriage ride through the rolling hillsides? Get on board and enjoy.
4. “Shameless” Season 8 (available July 28)
Why Should I Watch? William H. Macy is an actor to be treasured. Alternatively humbly charming and smugly asshole-ish, Macy brings all of this and more into his “Shameless” character, Frank Gallagher. For eight seasons, he’s pushed and been pushed to extremes, as his kids take care of themselves while he drinks himself into an ongoing series of increasingly shocking adventures. Emmy Rossum deserves as much credit for the series’ longevity as Macy, so come for them both and then duke out which is your favorite.
Bonus Reason: Listen, if you look at “Shameless” and think, “Eight seasons? I can’t get started on something that long right now. It’s too much!” take a look at this gallery and see the Emmys ad Showtime took out for Season 8. It’s on buses, benches, and billboards all around Los Angeles. It’s in ads in the industry’s most respected trades. Clearly, this show has a great sense of humor, and nothing with that little self-seriousness can be too heavy to take on.