The long-awaited summer is upon us, and with it comes new series and seasons of shows worth checking out between beach vacations and barbecues.
Crossbones (Series Premiere, 10 p.m. May 30, NBC) – John Malkovich plays Blackbeard. That’s all you need to know.
Halt and Catch Fire (Series Premiere, 10 p.m. June 1, AMC) – Taking place in early-’80s “Silicon Prairie,” this drama follows three renegade techies creating a product to compete with IBM’s revolutionary PC.
Orange Is the New Black (Season Premiere, June 6, Netflix) – Picking up after Piper’s beatdown on Pennsatucky, Season Two promises more dark humor and solid characters struggling to make it in Litchfield Federal Penitentiary.
True Blood (Final Season Premiere, 9 p.m. June 22, HBO) – As this supernatural whirlwind comes to an end, will the show return to its simple vampire roots? Don’t hold your breath, hooka’.
Tyrant (Series Premiere, June 24, FX) – The self-exiled son of a Middle Eastern dictator returns home after 20 years of living in America, only to be drawn back into the politics of his family and native country.
The Leftovers (Series Premiere, 10 p.m. June 29, HBO) – Residents of a small town cope with a Rapture-like event that causes 2 percent of the world’s population to disappear without reason.
Wilfred (Final Season Premiere, late-June, FXX) – Fans get one last jaunt with Ryan and his raunchy personified dog, but will they get concrete answers to the burning questions about Wilfy’s origins and purpose?
The Knick (Series Premiere, Summer 2014, Cinemax) – Steven Soderbergh offers an artfully creepy looks at American surgeons in 1900, starring Clive Owen.
WEDNESDAY MAY 14
Modern Family (Season Finale, Part One, 9 p.m., ABC) – It’s crunch time for Pepper as Cam and Mitchell’s wedding day approaches.
In light of recent epic TV weddings, let’s hope the color scheme isn’t red or purple.
Law and Order: Special Victims Unit (9 p.m., NBC) – The team investigates a photographer whose sexualized subjects may be actual abuse victims. That’s right, a Terry Richardson episode. Even Better: Dr. Huang (B.D. Wong) returns!
THURSDAY MAY 15
Rosemary’s Baby (10 p.m., NBC) – The two-part retelling of Roman Polanski’s chiller concludes with Rosemary’s (Zoe Saldana) pregnancy taking an increasingly dark turn.
Maron (10 p.m., IFC) – Marc becomes bothered by the realization that none of his longtime friends spend much time with him.
Comedy Bang! Bang! (10:30 p.m., IFC) -– Scott welcomes guest Craig Robinson; Reggie goes to space to fight aliens.
FRIDAY MAY 16
Hannibal (10 p.m., NBC) -– This season has been one epic mindfuck after another, with characters coming back from the “dead” and playing multiple sides. Thankfully, the series has been renewed for a third season, so this wild ride won’t come to a halt any time soon. In this week’s penultimate episode, drama with the Vergers comes to a head and Hannibal’s life is on the line — again.
SATURDAY MAY 17
Saturday Night Live (Season Finale, 11:30 p.m., NBC) – Golden Globe winner Andy Samberg closes the season, returning to his stomping grounds for the first time since his 2012 departure; musical guest St. Vincent promises a super-cool live performance.
SUNDAY MAY 18
The Simpsons (Season Finale, 8 p.m., Fox) – America’s longest-running primetime animated series and sit-com still brings the funny, even in its 25th season closer.
Game of Thrones (9 p.m., HBO) – Tyrion’s fate hangs in the balance, the wrongfully accused king slayer finds help in an unlikely place; Jon Snow’s concerns about the Wall’s weakness fall on deaf ears; Daario asks Daenerys for permission to leave Meera and fight her enemies elsewhere; Lysa continues being endlessly creepy, taking out her aggressions on Sansa.
Mad Men (10 p.m., AMC) – Pete returns to the Manhattan office; Peggy researches a potential client; Joan looks forward to hanging out with a friend. Meanwhile, I’m wondering if computer-induced psychosis is a legitimate excuse from work.
Silicon Valley (10 p.m., HBO) – It’s TechCrunch Disrupt weekend and an increasing number of women in tech threatens and distracts the guys. A rumor circulating about Richard adds to his stress as he races to complete the Pied Piper demo.
MONDAY MAY 19
The Maya Rudolph Show (Premiere, 10 p.m., NBC) – The hilarious SNL alumnae returns to NBC with a new variety show boasting a solid lineup of guests including Kristen Bell, Fred Armisen, Craig Robinson and Janelle Monae. If it’s a hit, expect more to follow.
God Loves Uganda (10 p.m., PBS) -– Independent Lens presents Roger Ross Williams’ doc about American evangelical Christians’ influence on African countries, highlighting the new anti-homosexuality laws in Uganda.
CONTACT JAC KERN: firstname.lastname@example.org or @jackern