TV for Grownups: The Summer Lineup
Don't worry if your favorite shows are done for the season. These programs are returning with fresh episodes or starting brand new
Life's too short and summer's too long to watch TV reruns; besides, there's no need.
There is plenty of fresh television for grownups beginning now and throughout the season.
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From the much-hyped and intriguing Stephen King series Under the Dome on CBS, to a revival of the quirky comedy Arrested Development (above) available as a full season on Netflix, here is a look at the TV offerings you'll want to watch as the days grow longer and warmer.
Shows on Network TV
The Goodwin Games
Splitting the family wealth among siblings is tricky business, and it's made more complicated by recently deceased Ben Goodwin (Beau Bridges) in this comedy about an inheritance contest. Instead of a will, Goodwin's three bickering adult children find recorded instructions for a series of competitions and humiliations they must endure to capture their cash. Grownup viewers will appreciate Bridges, 71, as a ghostly video presence, upping the comic ante while pitting his progeny against one another. (Fox, Mondays at 8:30 p.m. ET, starts May 20)
Police procedurals draw big audiences to network TV because they are puzzles that viewers may solve in an hour. This new entry in that genre, a hit in Canada last season, has a terrific twist: The killer is revealed at the start of each episode so the audience is a step ahead of the cops. Lead detectives Flynn and Vega, Kristin Lehman and Louis Ferreira, banter over dead bodies like a modern-day Nick and Nora Charles while they try to figure out why the crime was committed, before determining who did it. (ABC, Thursdays at 9 p.m. ET, starts May 23)
The American Baking Competition
It worked for singing (American Idol, The Voice) and dancing (So You Think You Can Dance?), so why not baking? Ten amateur bakers put their best desserts forward in pursuit of a $250,000 grand prize and a cookbook contract in this cupcakes and crème brûlée contest. You may not know the bakers but you will know comedian Jeff Foxworthy, 54, who made the Fox quiz show Are You Smarter Than a 5th Grader? so much fun. (CBS, Wednesdays at 8 p.m. ET, starts May 29)
CSI meets Survivor in this new reality/game show, on which 13 aspiring sleuths live together in a creaky old mansion and team up to investigate weekly crimes to win a $250,000 grand prize. One player is eliminated each episode. Gildart Jackson (Charmed) hosts the weekly murder mystery as Butler Giles. The amateurs include a former NFL cheerleader, a bounty hunter and a 62-year-old former homicide detective. The latter would seem to be the favorite, no? (ABC, Sundays at 9 p.m. ET, starts June 23)
Under the Dome
Based on the 2009 sci-fi best seller by Stephen King, this limited-run series tells the story of a tiny Maine town suddenly trapped by an invisible dome and dealing with the panic and Lord of the Flies scenarios that ensue among residents. King TV adaptations were once an annual staple of the viewing calendar, so it's nice to have the fright master back. Dean Norris (the DEA agent brother-in-law on Breaking Bad) is among the stars, and the limited footage released in advance is creepy, in a good way. (CBS, Mondays at 10 p.m. ET, starts June 24)
Shows on Cable and Pay TV
If genealogy appeals to you, this is a series for you. Although it began airing in early May, you can still jump in to watch the charming Chris O'Dowd (from the movie Bridesmaids) as a genial Brit tracing his ancestry through the U.K. and the U.S., thus turning up wacky relatives on both sides of the Atlantic. Director Christopher Guest, 65, famous for his "mockumentary" movies like Best in Show and A Mighty Wind, has created his first TV series and it might be seen as autobiographical considering he has an American mother and British father — a baron, no less. Guest's wife, Jamie Lee Curtis, has interesting Hollywood roots, too, but that's another story. (HBO, Sundays at 10:30 p.m. ET, starts May 12)
Next page: Susan Lucci, Liev Schreiber, Rebecca Romjin and more. »
There are lots of reasons to watch the brand new, much delayed fourth season of the hilariously dysfunctional Bluth family adventures, not the least of which is all 15 episodes will be released at once on Netflix, the streaming video service. Binge watching is possible, if not practical. But more important, Jeffrey Tambor, 71, and Jessica Walter, 72, are back with the rest of the original cast as the Bluth patriarch and matriarch, and they are no sidekicks in this circus. Together they are comic genius. (Netflix, starts May 26)
USA Network has an impressive track record of summer success — Royal Pains, White Collar and Suits to name a few. Graceland, about federal agents posing as Malibu surfers and beach bums, aims to continue the network's hot-weather hot streak. Based on a true story of FBI, DEA and U.S. Customs agents operating a drug sting out of the beachfront mansion of the title, the show features a pair we've seen before — older agent Daniel Sunjata (Rescue Me) mentoring rookie Aaron Tvelt (Gossip Girl). (USA, Thursdays at 10 p.m. ET, starts June 6)
King & Maxwell
Two of crime novelist David Baldacci's most popular characters come alive on the small screen in the form of Jon Tenney, 51, and Rebecca Romjin, 40. Sean King (Tenney) and Michelle Maxwell (Romjin) are former Secret Service agents turned D.C. private investigators. There are crimes to solve and killers to catch, but in the tradition of previous TNT hits like The Closer and Perception, it's the sassy give-and-take between the two leads that will make it a summer winner. (TNT, Mondays at 10 p.m. ET, starts June 10)
Desperate Housewives honcho Marc Cherry, 51, who knows how to spin over-the-top, addictive domestic drama, created this Lifetime soap about the tangled lives of Beverly Hills housekeepers. Adding to its sudsy pedigree is Susan Lucci, 66 — the All My Children veteran plays one of the maid's bosses — and Eva Longoria, 38, who is producing the show. A kerfuffle over the depiction of Latinas as maids prompted Longoria to go on the defensive on the talk show circuit, but the dustup will no doubt increase interest. Judy Reyes (Scrubs) is among the stars. (Lifetime, Sundays at 10 p.m. ET, starts June 23)
This ambitious crime drama stars Liev Schreiber, 45, as a Boston-bred "fixer" who uses shady tactics to extricate Hollywood celebrities from scandal. Jon Voight, 74, is his dad, an ex-con who celebrates his release from prison by murdering the priest who abused his sons. Like most Showtime fare, this is serial drama that demands commitment. And with a first-rate cast (Elliot Gould, 74, also appears as an addled movie studio exec), slick production and the cable network's track record (Homeland, Nurse Jackie, Dexter), it's deserving of one. (Showtime, Sundays at 10 p.m. ET, starts June 30)
Demián Bichir, 49, and Diane Kruger, 36, play cops on either side of the Mexican/American border forced to work together to track a serial killer when a dead body is discovered straddling the dividing line. The Bridge is based on a Danish hit of the same name. The powerhouse duo (Bichir charmed on Showtime's Weeds and nabbed an Oscar nomination for A Better Life, Kruger starred in Inglourious Basterds and the National Treasure films) ensures The Bridge won't lead to nowhere. (FX, Wednesdays at 10 p.m. ET, starts July 10)
Whose Line Is It Anyway?
The improv comedy show returns, dusting itself off after a few years away and reemerging almost entirely intact save for one important detail: Aisha Tyler, 42, takes over as host from Drew Carey, who is otherwise occupied by The Price is Right duties. The funny and talented Tyler, who you may remember from Ghost Whisperer, gives the show a permanent female presence. She'll spar with regulars Colin Mochrie, Ryan Stiles and Wayne Brady, all returning from the original series, which signed off in 2006 after an eight-season run on ABC. (The CW, Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET, starts July 16)
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