Summer TV Preview: 17 Must-Watch Shows and Movies
Don't miss these new films, specials and series
En español | Remember when summer TV was all about reruns? With streaming giants like Netflix, Amazon and HBO Max in the mix, those doldrums are a thing of the past. Along with backyard cookouts and beach days, mark your calendar with these 17 top-flight premieres, from Lin-Manuel Miranda's In the Heights to the final season of Bosch.
Lupin, Part 2 (Netflix, June 11)
Part 1 of this suspenseful, mirthful, utterly wonderful thriller-comedy about France's most-wanted gentleman thief (Omar Sy), out to avenge the downfall of his late father at the hands of rich guys who aren't half as clever, was Netflix's utterly unexpected No. 1 2021 hit. We can't wait for Part 2!
Watch it: Lupin, on Netflix
In the Heights (HBO Max, June 11)
A likely highlight of the next Oscars is the Lin-Manuel Miranda musical celebrating New York's Puerto Rican neighborhood of Washington Heights, which made him a famous Tony winner before Hamilton. Jon M. Chu (Crazy Rich Asians) directs.
Watch it: In the Heights, on HBO Max
DON'T MISS THIS: The 11 Best Movie Musicals Set in New York City
Blindspotting (Starz, June 13)
In a comedy about a tragedy, Jasmine Cephas Jones (Hamilton) has to move in with the peculiar mother of the father of her child (Helen Hunt) when the hot-tempered dad (Rafael Casal) gets sent to prison.
Watch it: Blindspotting, on Starz
Fatherhood (Netflix, June 18)
Barack and Michelle Obama's Higher Ground Productions presents the Netflix film adaptation of Matthew Logelin's memoir Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss & Love. Kevin Hart plays Logelin, a Yahoo manager who proposes to his high school sweetheart Liz, a Disney exec, on a romantic trip to Kathmandu, then becomes a first-time dad — and a widower when Liz dies 27 hours after giving birth. Who can he turn to for parenting advice? Perhaps Liz's mom (Alfre Woodard).
Watch it: Fatherhood, on Netflix
Us (PBS, June 20)
In this PBS Masterpiece two-part series, freewheeling artist Connie (Saskia Reeves, 59) tells her fussy chemist husband Douglas (Tom Hollander, 53) she wants a divorce. But they're booked for a whirlwind summer holiday from London to Venice, so they try to rekindle the flame (with their teen son along for the trip), with flashbacks to their courtship 25 years before.
Watch it: Us, on PBS
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Bosch, Season 7 (Amazon Prime, June 25)
In the final season of what may be the best show on Amazon, detectives Harry Bosch (Titus Welliver) and Jerry Edgar (Jamie Hector) investigate an arson based on a real case, taken from Michael Connelly's 2014 bestseller The Burning Room.
Watch it: Bosch, on Amazon Prime
Grown-ish, Season 4 (Freeform, July 8)
In the spinoff of ABC's hit Black-ish, the Johnsons’ eldest daughter (Yara Shadhidi) goes to college and strives against all odds to do the hardest thing there is: become a grownup.
Watch it: Grown-ish, on Freeform
The White Lotus (HBO, July 11)
Mike White (School of Rock, Enlightened) presents a six-episode limited-series satire about a resort on Maui where dark shadows lurk under sunny skies. The outstanding cast includes Connie Britton, Jennifer Coolidge, Steve Zahn and Molly Shannon.
Watch it: The White Lotus, on HBO
McCartney 3,2,1 (Hulu, July 16)
Sir Paul tells all! About the Beatles and thereafter, interviewed by super producer Rick Rubin (Run-DMC, Beastie Boys).
Watch it: McCartney 3,2,1, on Hulu
Schmigadoon! (Apple TV+, July 16)
In SNL creator Lorne Michaels’ lampoon series, Keegan-Michael Key and SNL's top comic Cecily Strong star as backpackers trapped in a small town where everyone (including Alan Cumming, Kristin Chenoweth, Fred Armisen and Jane Krakowski) lives in a 1940s musical.
Watch it: Schmigadoon!, on Apple TV+
Ted Lasso, Season 2 (Apple TV+, July 23)
If you watch only one show this summer, make it this one, a heartwarming, dark-horse hit comedy that's the antidote to our bitter times. Jason Sudeikis plays a relentlessly upbeat American football coach who knows nada about soccer but gets hired to coach a soccer team in England.
Watch it: Ted Lasso, on Apple TV+
Mr. Corman (Apple TV +, Aug. 6)
Those musicians who can, do; those who can't, teach fifth grade in suburban L.A. Joseph Gordon-Levitt writes, directs and stars, along with Debra Winger, Arturo Castro and Juno Temple.
Watch it: Mr. Corman, on Apple TV+
Fantasy Island (Fox, Aug. 10)
The 2020 Fantasy Island movie was a bomb that got an incredibly bad 7% on Rotten Tomatoes — and it still earned seven times its budget. So we bet this reboot series with Roselyn Sanchez (Without a Trace) in Ricardo Montalban's shoes will be a hit.
Watch it: Fantasy Island, on Fox
DON'T MISS THIS: It's Reboot Mania Right Now in TV Land
Brooklyn Nine-Nine, Season 8 (NBC, Aug. 12)
Returning after more than a year (and airing right after the Tokyo Olympics broadcast), the funny, often touching series about loosey-goosey NYPD detective Jake Peralta (Andy Samberg), stern Capt. Raymond Holt (Andre Braugher) and their eccentric cop crew is a Barney Miller for our time.
Watch it: Brooklyn Nine-Nine, on NBC
Nine Perfect Strangers (Hulu, Aug. 18)
If you liked Big Little Lies, try this likely blockbuster also starring Nicole Kidman and written by David E. Kelley from a book by Liane Moriarty. Nine people (including Melissa McCarthy, Bobby Cannavale, Michael Shannon, Regina Hall, Samara Weaving and Manny Jacinto) go to an isolated wellness resort run by Kidman to change their lives — which change in ways they did not foresee.
Watch it: Nine Perfect Strangers, on Hulu
The Chair (Netflix, Aug. 27)
Sandra Oh stars as the first woman (or person of color) to chair a dwindling college's English Department in a comedy from Game of Thrones producers D.B. Weiss and David Benioff and Benioff's wife, Amanda Peet. Costars Jay Duplass, Holland Taylor, and Bob Balaban.
Watch it: The Chair, on Netflix
Only Murders in the Building (Hulu, Aug. 31)
In a 10-part comedy that's also a satisfying whodunit, three strangers obsessed with true crime stories (Steve Martin, Martin Short and Selena Gomez) investigate a gory killing in their fancy building on Manhattan's Upper West Side. “Nathan Lane and Amy Ryan live in our building — she becomes my girlfriend,” Martin tells AARP. “Tina Fey is a very famous podcaster, and Sting plays himself, a celebrity in the building."
Watch it: Only Murders in the Building, on Hulu
Tim Appelo covers entertainment and is the film and TV critic for AARP. Previously, he was the entertainment editor at Amazon, video critic at Entertainment Weekly, and a critic and writer for The Hollywood Reporter, People, MTV, The Village Voice and LA Weekly.