When fun in the sun loses its draw, it’s nice to retreat in the AC with some quality TV. Here are some returning favorites and new picks to watch out for this season.
HBO Documentary Film Series (9 p.m. Mondays June 10-Aug. 12) – Every summer, HBO’s weekly lineup of docs covers an array of topics that are enlightening, entertaining and truly unique. This year’s anthology includes a look at Marilyn Monroe’s personal life 50 years after her death (Love, Marilyn, June 17); a follow-up to the Oscar-nominated fracking doc, Gasland (Gasland Part II, July 8); and a woman’s journey to have a baby sans man (First Comes Love, July 29).
True Blood (9 p.m. Sunday, HBO) – One probably shouldn’t ever take a vampire drama seriously, but Sookie & Co. have totally gone off the rails since the innocent-by-comparison early seasons. We’ve been introduced to a slew of new supernatural entities and their corresponding bureaucracies and our protagonists have gone from fighting off one villain to taking on a war. We’re not in Kansas — or Bon Temps — anymore, so to speak, but there’s still plenty of camp and vamp sex to keep us watching for another season. Season Six premieres June 16.
Wilfred (10 p.m. Thursdays, FX) – Ryan and his personified dog-friend continue their adventures in mental health with Season Three starting June 20.
Dexter (9 p.m. Sundays, Showtime) – Deb’s discovery of her brother’s “dark passenger” and subsequent decision to spare his life has sent her in a downward spiral. Dexter’s eighth and final season (premiering June 30) pits the siblings against each other as Dexter risks all his demons coming to light.
Ray Donovan (10 p.m. Sundays, Showtime) – Following Dexter is a new series starring Liev Schreiber as the titular “fixer” for Hollywood elite, a la The Wolf in Pulp Fiction, who must deal with his own host of problems when his father (Jon Voight) is released from prison.
Comedy Bang Bang (10 p.m.
Fridays, IFC) – IFC took Scott Aukerman’s podcast, gave him an afroed musical sidekick (the awesome Reggie Watts) and put it on TV, resulting in a talk show that’s one part Tim and Eric, two parts Between Two Ferns, a dash of sketches you’d never see on SNL with a playful jab at late night-style interviews. Season Two’s guests include Aziz Ansari, David Cross, Pee-wee Herman and Sarah Silverman. Premieres July 12.
The Newsroom (10 p.m. Sundays, HBO) – TV journalist Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) and the Night News crew continue their mission to civilize America by covering the tough stories while skirting network politics. Season Two premieres July 14.
Breaking Bad (9 p.m. Sundays, AMC) – Probably one of the most anticipated culminations to a television series in the past decade or two. We all know what needs to happen — Walt’s gotta die. Right? Creator Vince Gilligan promises an explicit conclusion to this tale of mortality, chemistry and corruption — no ambiguous endings here. The last eight episodes of this fifth and final season kick off Aug. 11, followed by Talking Dead-inspired after-show, Talking Bad (real creative, guys) at 11 p.m.
Low Winter Sun (10 p.m. Sundays, AMC) – A new original based on a British miniseries, this dirty cop crime thriller stars Mark Strong (Tinker, Tailor, Soldier, Spy) and Lennie James (The Walking Dead’s Morgan). Premieres Aug. 11 following Breaking Bad.
THURSDAY JUNE 6
Small Town Security (10 p.m., AMC) – Lt. Croft, no more! It’s Captain Starr now. Irwin contacts his estranged brother.
Hannibal (10 p.m., NBC) – Dr. Gideon (Eddie Izzard) breaks out of the ward to kill the specialists who analyzed him. Hannibal helps lead him to Will and Alana.
SUNDAY JUNE 9
Game of Thrones (Season Finale, 9 p.m., HBO) – Jesus. The second-to-last episode of the season always is nuts, huh? In the finale, Joffrey confronts his grandfather; Arya continues her journey with the Hound; Dany must decide if she’s going to be a captor or a savior. Also: war? Yeah, war’s probably going to happen, too.
Mad Men (10 p.m., AMC) – The agency finally has a name: Sterling Cooper & Partners. And is this the beginning of a new likable, chill Pete?! Hell, even if it is, he’ll still be the show’s proverbial (and, at times, literal) punching bag. This week, Betty prepares to send Sally off to high school, Megan has news for Don and Peggy encounters more danger in the Upper West Side.
Veep (10 p.m., HBO) – Selina welcomes a TV crew into her home but what she believes to be a simple puff piece on her family life turns out to be a hard-hitting interview.
MONDAY JUNE 10
Pussy Riot: A Punk Rock Prayer (9 p.m., HBO) – Kicking off the summer doc series, viewers get an inside look at feminist punk outfit, Pussy Riot, and the 2012 protest performance in Moscow that led to arrest of three band members. Two of these women are still in Russian prisons.
CONTACT JAC KERN: email@example.com or @jackern