~As hard as it may be to believe, considering Summer Premieres, May/June 2013, Summer Premieres, June 2013 (Part 2), Summer Premieres, June 2013, (Part 3), and Summer Premieres, July 2013 (whew!), but there are still more first-run television shows premiering on US networks this summer, most of them this very weekend.
Here they are…
Series Premiere: Wednesday, August 7
Broadchurch is a small town on England’s Dorset coast. When an unthinkable crime is committed, the entire community is drawn into the mystery, and recent transplant from the big smoke, Detective Inspector Alec Hardy (David Tennant), must come to terms with his new life in a town where most everyone is a suspect.
Where’s the love? You know what? I’m not going to tell you. I don’t want to ruin the “surprise.”
Reason to tune in? This is one of the most captivating and addictive shows in recent memory – a series-long murder mystery along the lines of Twin Peaks (without the crazy) and The Killing (without the worst detective in the world). Cannot recommend this enough.
Hell on Wheels
Season 3 Premiere: Saturday, August 10
Oh, Cullen! Life just can’t get any suckier for you, can it? Your family: murdered. Your new home: destroyed. Your new love: also murdered. (Possibly...? Maybe not? Dare we hope?) And still, you have a railroad to build! A lesser man would give up. Luckily, you are not a lesser man.
Where’s the love? Yes, there are other romances here, tumultuous and touching. Ruth (Kasha Krosinski) and Sean (Ben Esler). Elam (Common) and Eva (Robin McLeavy). The Swede (Christopher Heyerdahl) and his garrote. But really, this show was ALL ABOUT the tortured Cullen (Anson Mount) and sassy Lily (Dominique McElligott), and if it doesn’t turn out that she is alive after all, this is going to be a sad, sad season indeed. Then again, what else would be new?—And at least if she is dead, that dreadful “Cullily” mashup name can die too.
Reason to tune in? This is the show for fans of historical Western drama who found Tombstone too feel good and uplifting. Excellent performances, high production values, compelling characters and a gritty sense of history make this show a must-see—especially if you’re a fan of world-class angst.
The White Queen
Series Premiere: Saturday, August 10
Based on the historical novels of Philippa Gregory, the series follows the travails of Edward IV (Max Irons) and his consort Elizabeth (Rebecca Ferguson) as they attempt to rule Middle Ages England. Set amid the upheaval of the Wars of the Roses, there is constant betrayal, sacrifice, death and deception (as well as some hilarious anachronism – drainpipes!), but at the same time there is also love and duty and cleverness... and witchcraft! See further details here.
Where’s the love? Edward and Elizabeth, to be sure, but there are also the romances of Lady Margaret Beaufort (Amanda Hale) and her forbidden love, Jasper (Tom McKay) as well as that of the wistful Anne Neville (Faye Marsay) and the king’s brother Richard (Aneurin Barnard). And then there’s me with Sir Henry Stafford (Michael Maloney), but that’s a whole other story...
Reason to tune in? Lady Jacquetta (Janet McTeer), Elizabeth’s mother, is the greatest. There’s other fun stuff, too, of course—the Wars of the Roses have never been so delightfully soap opera.
Season 5 Summer Premiere: Sunday, August 11
High school chemistry teacher-cum-meth dealer Walter White (Bryan Cranston) has apparently given up his wicked ways following brushes with the DEA, child murder and a deteriorating marriage. But will he escape from his life of crime unscathed?
Where’s the love? Walt and his long-suffering wife Skyler (Anna Gunn) are a heartbreaking cautionary tale, but the real interest here is the off-kilter bromance between middle-aged Walt and former student Jesse (Aaron Paul).
Reason to tune in? The last half of Breaking Bad’s final season promises to be “unapologetic,” according to Cranston. Because this show has made so many apologies so far. If you’re a fan, you certainly won’t want to miss these last few episodes.
Low Winter Sun
Series Premiere: Sunday, August 11
Detroit detective Frank Agnew (Mark Strong) is inveigled into the revenge killing of a fellow officer who allegedly killed a woman out of hand (and then chopped off her hands, among other body parts). Then it’s all pretty much a matter of cover-up, investigation, distrust and moral ambiguity.
Where’s the love? We don’t know much, but small-time crooks Damon (James Ransone) and Maya (Sprague Graydon) appear to be Bonnie-and-Clyde, Pumpkin-and-Honey-Bunny devoted, which has some potential to be cute.
Reason to tune in? AMC original series have an excellent track record of being, well, excellent. Certainly reason enough to give this one a go.
PBS (Masterpiece Mystery!)
Series Premiere: Sunday, August 25
This British series – soon to commence its third season in its native land – follows the exploits of ambitious London barrister (read: trial attorney) Martha Costello (Martine Peake) and her rivals, juniors and assistants as they tackle thorny legal questions and examine their personal values. Sometimes in wigs and gowns.
Where’s the love? If you’re not shipping Martha with chief rival Clive (Rupert Penry-Jones) by the end of the first episode, there is really no hope for you.
Reason to tune in? This show is what all other courtroom procedurals want to be when they grow up.
Well, that’s about it for this summer...see you in the fall!
Rachel Hyland is Editor in Chief of Geek Speak Magazine.