Time was when summer TV meant reruns and sporting events—and sometimes even reruns of sporting events. But nowadays, there’s original programming to fill those long, dog days, some of it even eminently watchable and most of it coming to us from our friends in basic and premium cable. Here, a heads up on June’s forthcoming premieres, some of them offering up the birth of brand new series, others returning favorites back for another (non-ratings) season.
Series Premiere: Sunday, June 3
Walt Longmire (Robert Taylor) is an intense small town Wyoming sheriff with a deep voice, a thirst for justice and, if at least one trailer is to be believed, a love of Robert Frost, assisted in his investigations of grizzly murders in the backwoods by recent big city import Deputy Victoria Moretti (Katee Sackhoff, Battlestar Galactica). Based on the mystery novels by Craig Johnson and costarring Bailey Chase (Buffy), Cassidy Freeman (Smallville), Lou Diamond Phillips (you know him) and A. Martinez (yes, Cruz from Santa Barbara!), Longmire looks set to be Justified meets McCloud meets In the Heat of the Night, all set amid a backdrop of bleak, but breath-taking, mountain scenery.
Where’s the love? Longmire seems too stalwart and laconic a figure to have much truck with such things, but if Sackhoff’s Moretti doesn’t find herself a love interest by the end of the first episode, a huge opportunity will have been sorely missed.
Reason to tune in: Are you kidding? Katee Sackhoff!
Season 2 Premiere: Sunday, June 3
Loosely based on the 1985 movie, Teen Wolf sees high school nobody Scott McCall (Tyler Posey) bitten by a werewolf…after which he’s suddenly really good at lacrosse. His snarky best friend Stiles (Dylan O’Brien) and disdainful local werewolf Derek (Tyler Hoechlin) always knew the truth, and by the end of Season 1 new girl in town Allison (Crystal Reed)—scion of a werewolf hunting clan, naturally—and assorted other photogenic teens are all clued in too. Scooby Gang, assemble!
Where’s the love? Scott and Allison are our “will-they/won’t-they” couple of record, but for many the interest is in cutie-pie Stiles and beauteous local teen bitch queen Lydia (Holland Roden)…who, as of the end of Season 1, is some kind of magical now, too.
Reason to tune in: Not as witty as Buffy or as sexy as The Vampire Diaries, this is nevertheless a surprisingly well-done teen paranormal series. Obsess-worthy? No. But worth an hour of your Sunday night? Sure.
Season 3 Premiere: Sunday, June 3
Chicago detective Jim Longworth (Matt Passmore) headed south to Florida after an altercation with his boss; expecting to enjoy a quiet life in a balmier clime, instead he finds himself investigating myriad unspeakable crime, all the while pissing off the locals—and, occasionally, us—with his cocky urbanity. He does solve the crimes, though.
Where’s the love? Longworth has it bad for nurse/med student/supermom Callie (Kiele Sanchez)—and the main stumbling block to their union, her long-incarcerated husband, just entered Witness Protection at the end of Season 2. Hmm…
Reason to tune in: Parsons is an engaging leading man and the writing on this series, while sometimes Crime Procedural 101, is generally very sharp. Also, how pretty is Florida?
Franklin and Bash
Season 2 Premiere: Tuesday, June 5
Jared Franklin (Breckin Meyer) and Peter Bash (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) are a couple of charming overgrown frat boys with their own ambulance-chasing law practice who are invited to join the prestigious firm of Infield Daniels by its eccentric senior partner (Malcolm McDowell) and thence bring all kinds of laddish hijinks into its rarefied chambers—much to the disgust of office golden boy and Franklin/Bash hater Damien (Reed Diamond). With the aid of their quirky assistants, a party every night and some deep, deep bromancing, Franklin and Bash manage to do the right thing in the most unconventional of ways—both in and out of the hot tub.
Where’s the love? The diminutive Franklin is sometimes permitted to touch their lovely and statuesque colleague Hanna (Garcelle Beauvais), while Bash is still oddly attached to his former girlfriend Janie (Claire Coffee), who is kind of a bitch—or, on the other hand, is utterly justified in her jealousy of the Franklin/Bash bond.
Reason to tune in: The deep, deep bromancing.
Jane by Design
Season 1 Summer Premiere: Tuesday, June 5
Jane Quimby (Erica Dasher) was applying for a job as an intern at sleek fashion house Donovan Decker when she was mistaken for a college grad and given the job as assistant to world-travelling buyer Gray (Andie MacDowell). With her parents gone and her older brother (David Clayton Rogers) barely making ends meet, Jane takes on a double life: high school loser by day, fresh-faced fashion factotum by…well, also day. Yes, it’s a stretch.
Where’s the love? Jane caught the eye of handsome young designer Jeremy (Rowly Dennis) early on, but her heart really belongs to BMOC Nick (Matthew Atkinson), who by the mid-season break even seemed to be showing signs of interest in her. Elsewhere, Jane’s disloyal best-friend Billy (Nick Roux) is dating her high school nemesis Lulu (Meagan Tandy), and…oh, who even cares?
Reason to tune in: It’s The Devil Wears Prada meets Don’t Tell Mom the Babysitter’s Dead, and could easily have been a misadventure penned for the Wakefield twins and then rejected as too improbable. Only tune in if you can get past all of that. Or you’re twelve. Or you put it on mute and just look at the pretty, pretty dresses.
Pretty Little Liars
Season 3 Premiere: Tuesday, June 5
Based on the series of novels by Sara Shepherd and featuring a parade of some of the hottest parents ever to hit prime time, this Desperate Housewives, Jr. is a huge hit for ABC Family—as much as that’s worth. One year pre-show, diabolical teen Alison (Sasha Pieterse) disappeared. Now, her former minions—uptight Spencer (Troian Bellisario), flirtatious Hanna (Ashley Benson), quirky Aria (Lucy Hale) and jock Emily (Shay Mitchell)—find themselves blackmailed via text by a mysterious, seemingly omniscient figure known only as “A,” who seems to know all of their deepest secrets. But A is not Alison! She’s dead. Turns out, as we learned at the end of Season 2, it was Old Man Withers in a mask. Okay, no, it wasn’t. But it was an only slightly less obvious reveal.
Where’s the love? Aria’s having a fling with her teacher. Hanna dated one guy, “did it” with another, and is her best guy friend’s ultimate fantasy date. Spencer has seduced a good number of her older sister’s boyfriends, as well as assorted other victims of “A”. Emily’s a lesbian (well, she is good at sports, after all) who was in love with Alison and has hooked up with the girl next door. And let’s not even get started on the parental shenanigans…
Reason to tune in: You find Gossip Girl too highbrow.
Rizzoli and Isles
Season 3 Premiere: Tuesday, June 5
Based on the novels by Tess Gerritson, this series sees Boston’s own Detective Jane Rizzoli (Angie Harmon) and Dr. Maura Isles (Sasha Alexander) solve sundry murder cases with the aid of moxie and medical apparatus, while also dealing with complicated family lives—one’s the daughter of an interfering mother (Lorraine Bracco), the other the natural daughter of a career criminal (John Doman)—and somehow maintaining the sheen on their glorious, silken tresses. Isles’s eidetic memory and inclination towards both extreme nerdery and expensive footwear tend to prey on Rizzoli—which is only fair, since in the last episode of Season 2, Rizzoli shot Isles’s father, the kind of thing that is bound to test a friendship, you know.
Where’s the love? Jane’s had a few flings, including most recently a rekindled interest in an FBI Agent (Billy Burke), who was really responsible for the Maura’s-Dad-shooting, so we may not be seeing him around too much anymore. Maura’s most interesting dalliance of note, meanwhile, is with Jane’s roguish younger brother, Tommy (Colin Egglesfield).
Reason to tune in: Sasha Alexander is luminous and simply impossible not to like, Angie Harmon is gorgeous and pulls of tomboy admirably, and the interplay between them both is some of the most enjoyable in crime TV. Also, Lee Thompson Young as Rizzoli’s partner Frost is just the right combination of hot and sass that enables him to steal most every scene he’s in.
Season 2 Premiere: Wednesday, June 6
Recently-separated therapist Dr. Dani Santino (Callie Thorne) has a one night stand with a trainer for fictional Long Island-based NFL team the New York Falcons, and before long became embroiled in the affairs of their troublesome star player Terrence “T.K.” King (Mehcad Brooks), along with various other sporting luminaries, all the while trying to keep her obnoxious teenage kids out of jail and a roof over their heads.
Where’s the love? The aforementioned trainer, played delightfully by Marc “Riley Finn” Blucas, has finally won his way back into Dani’s bed, but don’t discount the potential of team “fixer”, the enigmatic Nico, played with consummate cool by Scott “Max Medina” Cohen.
Reason to tune in: Anyone who saw Callie Thorne’s turn as an assassin on USA’s Burn Notice must surely have realized someone that watchable deserved her own series. And even if you’re not into sports, Dani’s dry wit and problematic home life make for a fun time, as do her tough-love therapy sessions.
Season 4 Premiere: Wednesday, June 6
Dr. Hank Lawson (Mark Feuerstein) reluctantly became doctor/confidante/nanny to the wealthy and the very wealthy after politics—and a dead rich guy—lost him his job in New York. So now he lives in the Hamptons, CEO of HankMed, assisted by his feckless brother Evan (Paulo Costanzo) and the recently-emancipated-from-an-arranged-marriage Divya (Reshma Shetty), treating the ills, imagined and real, of the summer community’s elite, while also putting in time at the local free clinic, because, obviously.
Where’s the love? Hank and hospital administrator Jill (Jill Flint) can only be described as on again/off again—which is fun, but exhausting—and Evan has just proposed to his tiresome girlfriend, Paige (Brooke D’Orsay), though many shippers would rather see the stunningly beautiful Divya in the role of his betrothed, and rightly so.
Reason to tune in: Mark Feuerstein is awesome and should be in more stuff.
Series Premiere: Thursday, June 7
Top Toronto surgeon Charlie Harris (Michael Shanks) finds himself in a coma after a car crash. Doomed to haunt the halls of the hospital at which he is Chief, and in which he now lies unconscious, Charlie can only be seen by the dead—and those close to it—and yet still manages to save lives. He’s just that good.
Where’s the love? Charlie has a fiancée in the shapely shape of fellow surgeon Alex, played by Erica Durance, of Smallville fame.
Reason to tune in: For any Stargate SG-1 fan, the words “Michael” and “Shanks” in such close proximity can only make this show a must-see. (Daniel Jackson and Lois Lane? Talk about geek royalty!) For everyone else: dude. Michael Shanks. He’s really, really great. This one is definitely worth a look.
DIDN’T SEE YOUR FAVORITE SHOW ON THIS LIST? THEN CONTINUE ON TO SUMMER LOVIN’: JUNE 2012, PART 2!
Rachel Hyland is Editor in Chief of Geek Speak Magazine.