12 Scripted TV Shows for Cool Summer Viewing
Doctors warn against getting too much sun. Fortunately, there’s lots of cool TV ahead to keep us out of harm’s way. Here are a dozen scripted series that will keep us safe inside this summer, basking in the glow of our favorite screen.
- "Tyrant" (June 24, FX): The youngest son of a Middle Eastern nation’s dictator returns from America after 20 years for his nephew’s wedding, only to be thrown back into the turbulent familial and national politics of his youth. Adam Rayner stars as Bassam "Barry" Al-Fayeed, a California pediatrician swept up in a distant world he thought he’d escaped.
- "Reckless" (June 29, CBS): Soap is sudsing in the courtroom, with a sexy female litigator from Chicago (Anna Wood) and a good ol’ boy attorney (Cam Gigandet) butting heads and locking lips as a police scandal unfolds in steamy Charleston, South Carolina.
- "Leftovers" (June 29, HBO): It’s three years after the instant, bewildering disappearance of 2 percent of the world’s population. In one particular Northeast town, the remaining residents try to find rhyme or reason to the tragedy while they struggle with their grief and rage. The latest project of "Lost" auteur Damon Lindelof, this stark drama is sure to spark questions, arguments and a following.
- "Under the Dome" (June 30, CBS): Last summer this goofy thriller proved viewers would flock to a broadcast-network drama in the summer. Now life-under-glass resumes for a second season in Chester’s Mill, Maine, where there’s no place like dome.
- "Extant" (July 9, CBS): This much-awaited miniseries stars Halle Berry as an astronaut returning from a yearlong solo space mission who discovers that, while in outer space, she was somehow impregnated. How to explain it - especially to her husband waiting patiently back home?
- "Welcome to Sweden" (July 10, NBC): Amy Poehler’s brother stars in this sweet comedy about a New York money manager who agrees to give up his career and move with his lady love to her Swedish homeland and start a new life. Needless to say, culture clashes and quirky characters abound. Josephine Bornebusch co-stars as his Swedish squeeze. It’s based on the real life of Greg Poehler, who also serves as executive producer with his sis.
- "The Strain" (July 13, FX): Filmmaker-author Guillermo del Toro and Carlton Cuse ("Lost") have teamed up for this vampire thriller that begins when a mysterious viral outbreak spreads to New York. Corey Stoll ("House of Cards") stars as the head of a Centers for Disease Control task force battling this global threat.
- "Matador" (July 15, El Rey): Robert Rodriguez’s new network launches this drama about a popular soccer star who, unbeknownst to the world, is also a spy performing missions for a branch of the CIA.
- "The Divide" (July 16, WE tv): The network’s first scripted series, it’s an impressive start. Marin Ireland plays a caseworker with the Innocent Initiative who reopens the case of a death-row inmate she believes was wrongly convicted a decade before. The premise may sound predictable, but it wastes no time taking unexpected twists. There’s a terrific cast and - fun fact - one of the producers is "Scandal" star Tony Goldwyn.
- "The Honorable Woman" (July 31, Sundance TV): Nothing short of a masterpiece, this is a brooding thriller set against global politics and business. Written and directed by Hugo Blick ("The Shadow Line"), it stars Maggie Gyllenhaal as an Israeli businesswoman locked in a mission to promote reconciliation between Israelis and Palestinians, which places both her company and her life at risk.
- "Please Like Me" (Aug. 8, Pivot): Melbourne-based stand-up Josh Thomas wrote and stars in this comedy-drama about a twenty-something Aussie who discovers he’s gay and copes with romance, oddball friends and relatives, and has a penchant for awkwardness in everything he does. In its second season, its tightly scripted episodes unfold with infectious, bittersweet authenticity.
- "Outlander" (Aug. 9, Starz): She’s torn between two lovers in two different eras. Claire Randall is a married combat nurse in 1945 who is swept back to 18th-century Scotland, where she meets with adventure, danger and a dashing warrior she is compelled to wed. It’s inspired by the vastly popular historical romance by Diana Gabaldon, and adapted by Ronald D. Moore ("Battlestar Galactica").