When it comes to TV, January 2019 is bringing an embarrassment of riches. With so many quality TV series returning to the small screen this month, we decided to recommend the best of the best in our January binge guide — below, find nine series returning in early 2019 that have one or more Certified Fresh seasons. Happy bingeing in the new year!
What it is: This dark comedy from creator Stephen Falk is the love story of Jimmy (a pitch-perfect Chris Geere) and Gretchen (the magnetic Aya Cash), two world-weary, self-destructive cynics who want anything but to fall in love — until they do.
Why you should watch it: The type of distinctly unheroic antics our lovebird heroes get into in You’re the Worst is enough to make Walter White blush. No joke — this FXX comedy is about as real as it gets. Its fifth and final season premieres January 9.
Commitment: Approx. 19 hours (for the first four seasons)
What it is: This hit comedy series from creators Dan Goor and Michael Schur is a workplace sitcom featuring some very distinct personalities — the aloof and gregarious Det. Jake Peralta (Saturday Night Live’s Andy Samberg), his fictional precinct’s dry commanding officer, Captain Ray Holt (Andre Braugher), and the rest of the motley crew of the Nine-Nine.
Why you should watch it: We’ve seen fan-initiated primetime resuscitations before, but rarely do they happen as swiftly and unanimously as Brooklyn Nine-Nine’s after its unceremonious cancellation at Fox. The online outcry had barely begun before Universal Television began shopping the sitcom around, and it was scooped up by NBC just a day later — with good reason. The series is much more than the Andy Samberg show; it’s a tried-and-true ensemble piece with beloved supporting characters and as much humor as heart. Season 6 premieres January 10.
Commitment: Approx. 41 hours (for the first five seasons)
What it is: A hapless janitor named Josh Futturman (Josh Hutcherson) has one joy in life: video games. And surprisingly, it’s that passion that eventually gets him recruited into saving the world from certain doom. After beating Biotic Wars, a game so difficult that most gamers have given up on it, he learns it was all a test from the future, and is greeted by two mysterious visitors who hang the safety of mankind in his capable gamer hands.
Why you should watch it: Considering the creative pedigree behind this series (it’s created by Howard Overman, Kyle Hunter, and Ariel Shaffir and executive produced and directed by Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg), it should come as little surprise that Future Man is quite funny. But it’s also a high-octane, rollicking adventure and fitting homage to sci-fi genre classics (in case you’re into that sort of thing, too). Season 2 premieres January 11.
Commitment: Approx. 6.5 hours (for the first season)
What it is: Like the very best mystery series, much of True Detective’s third installment is being kept under wraps, but what we do know sounds pretty compelling: Over the course of three decades in the Arkansas Ozarks, a pair of detectives work to uncover the truth behind a grisly crime involving two missing children.
Why you should watch it: This gritty anthological crime series from creator Nic Pizzolatto was a hit out the gate with season 1, which featured a pair of surprising and career-best performances from Woody Harrelson and Mathew McConaughey. Season 2 was largely seen as a creative misstep, but with Moonlight Oscar winner Mahershala Ali leading season 3 (and a team that professes to have learned from its mistakes), we highly recommend tuning in for its January 13 return.
Commitment: Approx. 17 hours (for the first two seasons)
What it is: Star Trek: Discovery is set 10 years prior to the original series and in the same universe as Kirk, Spock, and the Enterprise, and sees the titular ship venturing out to discover new worlds and quell violent alien forces. As always, it’s the cast of characters on board that is the series’ beating heart.
Why you should watch it: Creators Bryan Fuller and Alex Kurtzman (not to mention star Sonequa Martin-Green, among others) had big shoes and a devout fandom’s expectations to fill when it premiered in September 2017. Our verdict: a job well done. Season 2 premieres January 17 and features Captain Christopher Pike (Anson Mount), the U.S.S. Enterprise, and (another) young Spock (Ethan Peck). Catch up before it starts airing.
Commitment: Approx. 12 hours (for the first season)
What it is: From husband-and-wife co-creators Katja Blichfeld and Ben Sinclair, High Maintenance began as a hit web series starring Sinclair as a traveling weed deliveryman living in New York City. HBO picked it up to series in 2016 and largely retained the comedy’s original format, just made its episodes longer.
Why you should watch it: While there are plenty of primetime programs that paint a great snippet of present-day NYC, few get the full picture the way High Maintenance does. That’s because each episode features various characters who — whether they’re hosting a swingers party, rebelling against their ultra-religious parents, or sitting home alone collecting cans of La Croix — are from such disparate walks of life that they end up inadvertently highlighting the similarities between all dwellers of the concrete jungle. (And we promise those similarities go beyond enjoying the green.) Season 3 begins January 20.
Commitment: Approx. 8 hours (for the first two seasons)
What it is: SMILF is a lot of things, perhaps most of all unexpected. But for the elevator pitch: a single mother named Bridgette Bird lives in South Boston and struggles to find a balance between the toddler son that relies on her and the expectations of work to make ends meet.
Why you should watch it: As SMILF’s creator, director, writer, star, and real-life single mom, Frankie Shaw is a force of nature. Pulling semi-autobiographically from her own experience as a working mother, the series is smart, unflinching, and funny. Better yet, the twice Golden Globe–nominated series’ runtime and episode count make it very easily bingeable. Season 2 premieres January 20.
Commitment: Approx. 4 hours (for the first season)
What it is: Based on the acclaimed fantasy series by Lev Grossman and from producers Michael London, Janice Williams, John McNamara, and Sera Gamble, The Magicians follows Quentin Coldwater (Jason Ralph) after he enrolls in Brakebills University for Magical Pedagogy in New York. What follows for the young magician is a collision between our world and a threatening fantasy world with nothing less at stake than reality as we know it.
Why you should watch it: The Magicians has all the straight-up drama that comes with magic, secret academies, and battles between good and evil — and it’s a whole lot of crazy fun, too. Season 4 premieres January 23.
Commitment: Approx. 30 hours (for the first three seasons)
Why you should watch it: Sadly, all good things must come to an end, and Broad City was a pretty great thing. Irreverent but relatable, honest but larger than life, this hit comedy series about two twentysomething Brooklynites just trying to keep it together tapped into the cultural zeitgeist with gutsy and goofy hot takes on matters of the moment. Its fifth and final season premieres January 24.
Commitment: Approx. 14 hours (for the first four seasons)
(Photo by AMC/courtesy Everett Collection; Netflix; Frank Ockenfels/AMC)
Great new shows leave critics and fans clamoring for their second seasons, but new series don’t always deliver when they return for round two – many suffer the dreaded sophomore slump.
That’s not the case with these titles — in fact, just the opposite. We’ve pulled together a list of TV series that enjoyed the biggest sophomore bumps between season 1 and season 2, according to our Tomatometer. To ensure a fair accounting of opinion, we only included series with at least 20 reviews determining their scores in both their first and second seasons (you could find, if you dug deep, shows with bigger season-on-season improvements, but the pool of reviews would be pretty shallow).
A few of the shows here weren’t very good to begin with, so any improvement is noticeable, but others started strong and managed to get even stronger by their second seasons.
Some of the most prestigious titles in television turned up — hello, Breaking Bad and Mad Men — but the series with the biggest bump of all is Marvel’s Iron Fist on Netflix, which on Friday releases season 2. The second season has a 58% Tomatometer score (updated) from 45 reviews, giving the title a 40% bump between its first and second seasons. The next biggest bump was for Fox’s Human Target, which experienced a 26% jump between season 1 and 2.
Read on to see which other titles were competing with Marvel’s Iron Fist bump.
Updated on February 24, 2019 to reflect season score changes.
What improved: Season 2 was building up to the death of Escobar. Screenrant’s Kevin Yeoman wrote, “By streamlining the narrative into a compelling manhunt that makes far better use of actors like Pascal and Holbrook, while still giving Moura room to shine, Narcos has definitely improved in season 2.” AV Club’s Joshua Alston wrote, “Even with less ground to cover, Narcos is pleasantly dense and steadily introduces intriguing new characters to fill its impending power vacuum and firm up the show’s historicity.”
The ratings: It was a juggernaut from the beginning by modern broadcast standards. The first two seasons each averaged 13 million viewers and only dipped slightly below 11 million by the end. Spin-off The Good Fight is still going on CBS All Access.
What Improved: The supporting cast became every bit as important as Margulies. Many critics lauded Archie Panjabi for her role as in-house law firm investigator Kalinda Sharma, while USA Today’s Roberto Bianco singled out another: “Wife has expanded its reach to envelop all of its well-acted main characters, a growing stable that now includes Alan Cumming‘s Eli Gold (a great addition).” The show also rewarded viewers who watched every episode making it a worthwhile investment. EW’s Ken Tucker wrote, “The Good Wife is so layered with previous-episode details that are never forgotten that it already has its own sort of mythology.”
The show: Hard-drinking, womanizing ad man Don Draper (Jon Hamm) tries to survive the ’60s while times change around him; meanwhile, female employees Peggy Olson (Elisabeth Moss) and Joan Holloway (Christina Hendricks) rise through the ranks.
The ratings: After a strong premiere to 1.65 million viewers, season 1 averaged 900,000. It nearly doubled for season 2 as the show’s acclaim made AMC a major player in cable originals.
What Improved: Critics caught on that Mad Men was a slow burn. TV Guide’s Matt Roush said, “Mad Men sizzles, simmering with erotic tension and crackling with cynical wit.” Alan Sepinwall, then with the Newark Star-Ledger, wrote, “as with a great baseball game, the leisurely pace gives you more time to marinate in the details.”
The show: Gretchen (Aya Cash) and Jimmy (Chris Geere) are both dysfunctional, but they may be perfect for each other. Their friends Lindsay (Kether Donohue) and Edgar (Desmin Borges) may be on their own.
The ratings: Season 1 only averaged 300,000 viewers on FX, so they moved it over to FXX where season 2’s 200,000 was just fine. The show will wrap up in its fifth season next year.
What Improved: Season 2 went deeper into the characters’ psychological issues like Gretchen’s depression. Critics appreciated the frank portrayal of delicate subjects. GQ’s Joshua Rivera praised “the way it handles a sobering character arc while remaining one of the sharpest comedies around.” And like life, You’re the Worst’s problems can’t be solved in 22 minutes. “It resists learning the lesson that each installment would seem to set out to teach its characters,” wrote TV Fanatic’s Caralynn Lippo. The show hits 100% in seasons 3 and 4.
The show: Amy Jellicoe (Laura Dern) visits a mental-health retreat after she suffers an epic breakdown at the office. When she returns, she is reassigned to the company’s basement operations with other corporate misfits.
The ratings: Enlightened was never a ratings juggernaut for HBO. The first season barely averaged 170,000 viewers. Season 2 jumped up to 250,000.
What Improved: The show connected with the viewers who saw it, but its season 2 critical surge ultimately couldn’t save it. Alternet’s Eileen Jones said, “Unleash Amy and watch the endless repercussions in unsparing detail and laugh sardonically at your own stumbling way through the poisoned world.” Francine Prose of the New York Review of Books marveled at the strength of the show’s characters, especially “how much of ourselves we may see in them, if we only have the temerity to allow it.”
The show: The early days of the computer business were full of drama for Joe (Lee Pace) and Gordon (Scoot McNairy). But by season 2, the show became more about Cameron (Mackenzie Davis) and Donna (Kerry Bishe) developing online games.
The ratings: Season 1 averaged 750,000 viewers. Season 2 was down a tad to half a million, but the show held on for four seasons on AMC.
What improved: Turns out software is more dramatic than hardware, and focusing on the women helped. “The fact that two young women are bossing the enterprise gives it an added piquancy,” Globe and Mail’s John Doyle wrote, while Andy Greenwald wrote in Grantland, “Its inversion of decades of prestige-drama gender convention seems painfully obvious, and yet I’m not sure if any other show has actually attempted it.”
The show: Harry Potter for twentysomethings, the series takes place in a secret magic academy, where young adults learn how to practice the magic they only read about in storybooks.
What Improved: The second season gave fans more of what they wanted: more sex, bad behavior, witty banter, and whimsical magic, but with higher emotional stakes, too. Black Girl Nerds’ Kyndal Wilson wrote, “There is no truer statement than ‘more magic, more problems.’ If you’re already a fan of the show, you won’t want to miss this.” Screenrant’s Molly Freeman called it “another season focused on the darker, more cynical side to magic grounded in the whimsy of the show’s characters.”
(Photo by )
The show: After a cancer diagnosis, high school teacher Walter White (Bryan Cranston) becomes the crystal meth cook Heisenberg with his partner Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul), to the chagrin of his wife Skyler (Anna Gunn).
The ratings: As AMC’s follow-up original series to Mad Men, Breaking Bad started out modestly. Its first two seasons averaged 1.5 million viewers. It wasn’t until after season 3 that people started binging and catching up to follow the saga as it aired.
What Improved: Season 1 was only seven episodes, so it was just getting started. Season 2 may have been when critic Alan Sepinwall decided it was a modern classic, writing, “This brilliant second season of Breaking Bad is starting to earn a place in any discussion of the classics of the genre.” Sepinwall would go on to write a book on the series, Breaking Bad 101. Newsday’s Verne Gay also accurately predicted the show’s Emmy dominance saying, “if the rest of the season matches Sunday’s premiere, an Emmy nomination for best drama seems certain.”
The ratings: NBC gave series creator Fuller three seasons to tell the story, at least up through the end of the Red Dragon story line. Season 1 dropped from just over 4 million viewers to just below 3 million. The ratings didn’t improve in season 2, but those who kept watching agree that the show did.
What Improved: Fuller rewarded loyal viewers, never compromising the series’ artistic sensibility or explicit gore to try to win new fans. Critics, at least, noticed the level at which Fuller was working; TV Guide’s Matt Roush said, “[It] is a feast of macabre freakishness, going beyond the realm of guilty pleasure in a sustained nightmare of horrific yet elegantly hypnotic design.” Slate’s Willa Paskin marveled, “Somehow it has become an engrossing, psychologically dense show that is also visually stunning.”
The show: Based on the James S. A. Corey novels, the trio of U.N. executive Chrisjen Avasaraia (Shohreh Aghdashloo), detective Joseph Miller (Thomas Jane), and captain Jim Holden (Steven Strait) combat espionage and hostile alien technology in the colonized solar system.
The ratings: Ratings for the expensive sci-fi series went from 700,000 viewers in season 1 to half a million in season 2 on Syfy. The network ordered a third season, but then cancelled the show. Fans rejoiced when Amazon founder, president, and CEO Jeff Bezos announced that the company’s premium streaming service will distribute the fourth.
What Improved: With a whole solar system, you can imagine there’s a lot of ground for the first season to cover. Those who stuck with it were rewarded with more focused storytelling.“Unburdened with introductory world building and backed by surefooted writing, The Expanse returns as thrilling and intriguing as ever,” We Got This Covered’s Mitchel Broussard wrote. Indiewire’s Liz Shannon Miller said, “There’s more focus to the first four episodes of the season than expected, thanks to more of the characters uniting in proximity to similar goals.”
The show: Famous characters from horror literature team up to save Victorian London from monsters, including Victor Frankenstein (Harry Treadaway), Dorian Gray (Reeve Carney), and Van Helsing (David Warner) with American gunslinger Ethan Chandler (Josh Hartnett) and the haunted Vanessa Ives (Eva Green) added to the mix.
The ratings: Season 1 averaged 750,000 viewers for Showtime. Season 2 dropped to about half a million, but surged back by the season finale. The series got a third season, but the season finale ended with “The End,” though Showtime never announced that the show was cancelled.
What Improved: Season 2 didn’t offer a jumping-in point, according to New York Daily News’s David Hinckley, but “it should nicely satisfy those who hopped onto the ride last year.” Salon’s Sonia Saraiya wrote, “If anything, the return from hiatus has shifted Penny Dreadful into even higher gear.”
The show: Eight people around the world discover they are linked by extraordinary mental abilities and must team up to survive being hunted by Whispers.
The ratings: Even though Netflix does not release ratings, the streaming service clearly wasn’t happy with the performance of the second season, because the series was cancelled. There were enough passionate fans demanding more Sense8, however, that Netflix agreed to a finale movie, but the Wachowski siblings and J. Michael Straczynski had a five-season plan for this story.
What Improved: The Wachoskis’ bold new mythology takes a while to explain, but patient viewers are rewarded, according to Indiewire’s Liz Shannon Miller, who wrote, “Sense8 may have had a slow start in season 1, but season 2 is a hell of a ride.” The Washington Post’s Sonia Roo wrote that she was just getting into the characters: “Sense8 avoids tokenizing its characters, which involves giving each sensate a full backstory that helps viewers understand what motivates them.”
The show: After a breakdown, newsman Will McAvoy (Jeff Daniels) tries to redeem himself while working under ex-girlfriend MacKenzie McHale (Emily Mortimer), while young producers Jim Harper (John Gallagher Jr.) and Maggie Jordan (Alison Pill) try to prove themselves.
The ratings: Creator Aaron Sorkin’s opinionated dramatization of real news stories from recent history polarized audiences and critics, and seasons 1 and 2 hovered around 2 million viewers. Sorkin, who also created acclaimed NBC White House drama The West Wing, decided to end his HBO series after its third season.
What Improved: Sorkin won over some Rotten reviews to Fresh in the second season, like LA Times’ Mary McNamara and People’s Tom Giliatto. A few critics posting negative reviews for season 1 simply didn’t come back to review the second season, like Wall Street Journal’s Dorothy Rabinowitz and Time’s James Poniewozik, which also gave Fresh reviews more weight in season 2’s score.
(Photo by Fox)
The show: Based on the DC Comic, Christopher Chance (Mark Valley) keeps his clients safe by making himself the target.
The ratings: A lead-in from American Idol, the action series brought a lot of eyeballs to season 1, though its initial audience of 10 million viewers dropped. By season 2 it was only getting six million, not enough for Fox to give it a third season.
What Improved: If viewers had listened to the critics, they might have known that Human Target really brought it in season 2, adding Indira Varma and Janet Montgomery as two strong female characters. That sold What Culture’s Dan Owen on season 2, writing, “The inclusion of two strong women is an obvious but welcome change to Human Target‘s dynamic.” For HollywoodChicago’s Brian Tallerico, season 2’s changes should have made it must-see TV: “Human Target seems to be taking itself more seriously in season 2, trying to add the emotional weight that might have kept it from becoming a water-cooler hit last season.”
The ratings: Netflix does not release ratings, but it’s no secret that season 1 of Iron Fist was a bust. Fans and critics complained about the choppy editing (kind of a problem when showcasing his super power requires badass fight scenes), its slow pace, and derivative echoes of other origin stories.
What Improved: Praise of season 2 credits the show with hearing those complaints and addressing them. TVLine’s Matt Mitovich said in his Rotten review, “Iron Fist season 2 marks an improvement over its well-derided freshman run, but still lacks punch,” while Den of Geek’s Mike Cecchini said in his Fresh review, “A new showrunner, a new fight coordinator… all help tremendously, along with better villains, a more focused story, and a willingness to put the show’s supporting cast to better use.”
Here are titles 16-30 of series measured by Tomatometer whose scores increased most between seasons 1 and 2 and the size of their bumps:
16. The Leftovers – 12%
17. American Horror Story – 11%
18. The Knick – 10%
19. The Good Place – 9%
20. Love – 9%
21. The Americans – 9%
22. How to Get Away With Murder – 8%
23. Masters of Sex – 8%
24. Pushing Daisies – 8%
25. Bates Motel – 7%
26. Justified – 7%
27. The Sinner – 7%
28. Game of Thrones – 6%
29. The Missing – 6%
30. Rectify – 5%
No relationship is perfect. But for viewers tuning in for just 30 minutes to an hour, they can seem like they are.
Some comedies, like Amazon’s Catastrophe, Fox’s New Girl, and Hulu’s recently ended The Mindy Project, prove that the perils of dating, marriage, and parenting are far from the bill of Norman Rockwell–hued goods many of us were sold as children. The humor in those series, however, is something that critics clearly appreciate: Catastrophe is Certified Fresh at 100% for each of its three seasons; New Girl’s review count has dipped as its seasons have gone on, but dedicated critics have kept its score high; and Mindy has an 87% Fresh Tomatometer score.
Meanwhile, shows like NBC’s This Is Us, ABC’s black-ish, and former NBC series Friday Night Lights remind us that some couples do get relationships with marks almost as high as their Tomatometer scores if they’re willing to put in the work. Even teen dramas, like former Fox series The O.C. and Glee, are known for their devotion to the intricacies of relationships. And then there’s Homer and Marge Simpson, who have been going strong for decades and seem to have not aged a day.
In honor of Valentine’s Day, we’ve gathered a list of TV shows that offered the best portrayals of coupledom in all its funny, messy, emotional, complicated glory.
The series are arranged first by Tomatometer score, then alphabetically where the show does not currently have a series score.
Which is your favorite TV couple and why? Tell us in the comments!
With 409 original scripted television shows in 2015, it’s not easy to pick a favorite, but here at Rotten Tomatoes, we’ve done just that! See our staff picks for the programming highlights of 2015 — from under-the-radar gems to downright cultural phenomenons. The best part? All of these shows are available for you to watch right now from the beginning — and, of course, they’re all Fresh!
What it is: This spinoff of Breaking Bad gives us an early look at Jimmy McGill, the man who will later become Saul Goodman. In season one, we see Jimmy try to leave his grifter, “Slippin’ Jimmy” past behind and be an honest (if not entirely successful) representative of the law. And if Jimmy is trying to turn over a new leaf, those around him — even his own brother — may not be ready to let go of Jimmy’s past.
Why you should watch it: Saul Goodman was a reliable source of comic relief in Breaking Bad, but who would have suspected that Jimmy’s first-season character arc would be so emotionally moving? The series deftly moves from a comedy about a mostly competent small-time lawyer to a moving drama about two men whose pasts still overshadow their futures. Bob Odenkirk and Jonathan Banks make the most of the opportunity to delve deeper into Saul and Mike, and the writing from Vince Gilligan is simply terrific. And “Five-O,” the sixth episode of this first season, may well be the finest hour of television in all of 2015.
Commitment: Nine hours.
Picked By: Matt Atchity, Editor-in-Chief
What it is: Matt Murdock (Charlie Cox) fights organized crime in New York City as a lawyer during the day, and as a super-powered, martial arts-fighting vigilante at night. Daredevil is Netflix’s first foray into the Marvel Cinematic Universe.
Why you should watch it: Daredevil is one of the best-executed comic book adaptations on television to date — if not the best. With incredible fight scenes and a fascinating performance by Vincent D’Onofrio as Wilson Fisk (aka Kingpin), this origin story centers on both the hero and villain’s journeys, giving them much more depth than your average superhero story. The series raised the bar very high for serialized MCU shows, having unexpectedly earned a second season after the immensely positive reaction from fans and critics alike.
Where to watch: Netflix.
Commitment: Eight hours.
Picked By: Julio de Oliveira, Project Manager
What it is: The murder of a war veteran in Modesto, California and the brutal attack on his wife sparks an emotionally-charged chain of events enveloping the victims’ and suspect’s families during the subsequent legal battle.
Why you should watch it: American Crime exhibits no fear or hesitation in tackling topics ripped directly from today’s headlines in nearly any American city. You won’t find any simple answers here, though. The sensitivity showed to characters on every side of the equation paints a vivid picture of just how complicated these stories always are — and how important it is that we discuss them with rationality and compassion. Be sure to watch it with a friend so you can ruminate on everything it’s saying.
Commitment: 10 hours.
Picked By: Grae Drake, Senior Editor
What it is: HBO’s somber drama, created by Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta, is set in the emotional aftermath of a global event known as “The Departure” in which 140 million people (two percent of the world’s population) inexplicably vanished.
Why you should watch it: Love it or hate it, The Leftovers is a show that taps into human feeling. The remarkable ensemble cast delivers one stirring performance after the other — particularly in the critically acclaimed second season. HBO has announced that there will be a third, and final, season of The Leftovers in 2016 so enjoy this unique piece of storytelling before it departs.
Commitment: 20 hours.
Picked By: Zayre Ferrer, Review Aggregator
What it is: An alcoholic mad scientist moves in with his daughter’s semi-dysfunctional family and begins involving his apprehensive grandson in wild cosmic and interdimensional adventures.
Why you should watch it: If you like your jokes quick, clever, and pregnant with pop culture references, you’ll feel right at home with Rick and Morty, an Adult Swim series co-created by Justin Roiland and Community showrunner Dan Harmon. But while most animated comedies are content to showcase a collection of single-serving vignettes, Rick and Morty dares to offer some pathos alongside its absurdist humor. Sure, you’ll laugh at a hilarious gag referencing David Cronenberg, but you’ll also balk at the horrifying meaning behind it, and that’s what makes this such a deliciously funny, sometimes surprisingly multi-layered treat. Season two upped the ante, and in addition to some standout episodes (including my favorite, “The Ricks Must Be Crazy”), the season finale delivered with an unexpected cliffhanger.
Commitment: Eight hours.
Picked By: Ryan Fujitani, Editor
Why you should watch it: While the first season was the pitch black romantic comedy we always wanted, featuring the kind of twenty-something Los Angelenos the rest of the country loves to hate, the second season goes even deeper. Jimmy and Gretchen’s relationship is put to the test and the supporting cast also has a stellar season. Although You’re the Worst deals with heavy stuff, it does so with a light and raunchy touch, perfectly balancing raw emotions with belly laughs.
Commitment: 11 hours.
Picked By: Marya E. Gates, Social Media Specialist
What it is: Inspired by the series of novels written by George R.R. Martin, Game of Thrones is the fantasy epic that out epics all others. Set in the fictional continents of Westeros and Essos, the series follows the dynastic struggles among the realms of noble families for control of the Iron Throne.
Why you should watch it: If you are someone who still hasn’t jumped on the GOT bandwagon, do not be daunted by the task — or by the hype. It lives up to it all and this year did nothing but enhance the show’s stockpile of jaw-dropping and superbly written, performed, and directed moments. Even after five seasons, you will still catch yourself astounded that this is television at all.
Where to watch: HBO Go.
Commitment: 50 hours.
Picked By: Andria Hopkins, Review Aggregator
What it is: Ross Poldark is a British soldier who returns home from the Revolutionary War to find his family business bankrupt and his love betrothed to another, forcing him to rebuild his life.
Why you should watch it: It’s a romance novel brought to life. Aidan Turner is fantastic as Poldark, with flowing locks and shirtless scenes that are almost as gorgeous as the show’s sweeping shots of the English countryside. If you’re looking for something to keep you going until Outlander returns in the spring, this should serve you nicely.
Commitment: Eight hours.
Picked By: Beki Lane, Associate TV Editor
What it is: A psycho-sexy action drama, Banshee throws a dangerous ex-con into, wait for it… sheriffdom. When he attempts to reconnect with his true love and former cohort-in-crime, he ends up replacing the new sheriff who got killed before anybody could meet him, making for some crazy-ass goings-on in the Banshee PD.
Why you should watch it: It’s hard to find a show so crazy, so nasty, so sexy. The amazing cast makes it difficult to choose who to root for: the bad-ass, violent ex-con disguised as the sheriff? His ex-partner/lover-in-crime hiding her past, who now lives with her politician husband and two kids? The “businessman” mob-boss type who excommunicated himself from his Amish family to run the town? What about his promiscuous niece who was banished from the family? Explosive!
Commitment: 30 hours.
Picked By: Kerr Lordygan, Associate TV Editor
Why you should watch it: There’s a moment partway through Documentary Now!‘s season premiere spoofing the Maysles brothers’ Grey Gardens when you realize that you’re not only watching a spot-on send-up to the original, but also a story brilliantly taking on a life of its own. Perfect for cinephiles and comedy nuts alike, Documentary Now! is best when you’re familiar with the source material, but anyone who appreciates silly, weirdly specific humor should check this one out.
Commitment: Three hours.
Picked By: Sarah Ricard, TV Editor
What it is: Elliot (Rami Malek), a young computer programmer with mental health issues, is recruited by a group of revolutionary hackers to help them bring upon the destruction of some of the world’s largest corporations. But as the stakes are raised, our hero discovers that nothing is as it first seemed.
Why you should watch it: Plenty of shows — even very good ones — can be enjoyed on a surface level. Mr. Robot, on the other hand, demands your undivided attention. Everything — everything — about this show feels precise and premeditated; it draws you into a paranoid mindset, one that embodies the old conspiracist’s adage that there are no coincidences. Hallucinatory, insanely topical, and blessed with one of the best soundtracks (and undoubtably the best title screens) of any show on television, Mr. Robot will reward obsessives with plenty of unsettling layers to uncover.
Commitment: Eight hours.
Picked By: Tim Ryan, Senior Editor
This week in TV news, Better Call Saul, Mr. Robot, The Last Man on Earth, and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt are among the new shows of 2015 to get WGA TV nominations. Also, FXX orders up more You’re the Worst, Adult Swim brings back Samurai Jack, and Fox eyes Rambo!
The Writers Guild of America (WGA) announced nominees for television, new media, radio, and promotional writing Thursday. Leading the pack of the TV nominations is AMC’s new Breaking Bad prequel, Better Call Saul (Certified Fresh at 100 percent), which was nominated in the categories of Drama Series, New Series, and Episodic Drama (for the episode “Uno”). Other new shows to get some WGA love were Netflix’s Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Certified Fresh at 94 percent), Bloodline (Certified Fresh at 80 percent), and Narcos (Certified Fresh at 78 percent), along with USA’s breakout hit Mr. Robot (Certified Fresh at 98 percent), and Fox’s zany The Last Man on Earth (Certified Fresh at 85 percent). The 68th annual WGA Awards will be held on Feb. 13; see the complete list of nominees here.
After a strong second season (Certified Fresh at 96 percent), FXX has renewed anti-rom-com rom-com You’re The Worst for a third season. Developed by Stephen Falk (Orange Is The New Black), the L.A.-set comedy stars Aya Cash and Chris Geere as Gretchen and Jimmy, a pair of dysfunctional lovers who are trying to make a real relationship work despite (or because of) their anti-social tendencies. The second season has been praised for its honest portrayal Gretchen’s clinical depression. Nick Grad, co-President of Original Programming for FX Networks and FX Productions, said in a statement regarding the show’s renewal, “Stephen is one of the best new talents in comedy — as funny, thoughtful and original as You’re the Worst and we can’t wait to see what he comes up with next.” The second season finale of You’re The Worst airs next Wednesday at 10:30 p.m. on FXX.
Since 2013, rumors of a Rambo reboot have swirled around entertainment news, and this week Variety reported that the long-gestating project may finally have some legs with Fox. Titled Rambo: New Blood, the one-hour drama script ordered by Fox is said to “explore the complex relationship between Rambo and his son, J.R., an ex-Navy SEAL.” Though nothing has been confirmed yet on the casting front, Deadline suggested that Sylvester Stallone could reprise his role from the movies. Rambo: New Blood follows the trend of rebooting movies into TV shows, which included Limitless, Minority Report, and Ash vs. Evil Dead this year.
Cult cartoon favorite Samurai Jack ran on Cartoon Network from three years before being axed in 2004. After a nearly 12-year absence, Adult Swim has announced that creator and executive producer Genndy Tartakovsky will continues the epic story of Samurai Jack, to much celebration on the internet. Samurai Jack follows a young prince who is sent to the future after battle with the demon who killed his father. The new season will premiere on Adult Swim’s Toonami block sometime in 2016.
This week at the movies, we’ve got a notorious mobster (Black Mass, starring Johnny Depp and Benedict Cumberbatch), teenage adventurers (Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials, starring Dylan O’Brien and Kaya Scodelario), and a desperate criminal (Captive, starring David Oyelowo and Kate Mara). What do the critics have to say?
Black Mass isn’t the first feature film about brutal gangster-turned-slippery fugitive Whitey Bulger — he’s the subject of a critically-acclaimed documentary and the loose inspiration for Jack Nicholson’s character in The Departed. Critics say Black Mass explores well-trodden crime movie territory as well, but the film is elevated by Johnny Depp’s mesmerizing lead performance — and excellent work from a solid supporting cast. The movie follows Bulger’s rise from petty hood to violent mob boss; Whitey’s rise in Boston’s demimonde is assisted by FBI agent John Connolly (Joel Edgerton), who enlists him as a confidential informant, and his politician brother Billy (Benedict Cumberbatch), who uses his office to protect him. The pundits say Black Mass often feels familiar, but it’s still a well-crafted film that finds Depp giving his best performance in years.
As dystopian sci-fi adventure films based on young adult novels go, The Maze Runner was pretty solid, if decidedly a cut below The Hunger Games series. Unfortunately, critics say its sequel, The Scorch Trials, is mostly a run-of-the-mill action yarn with a few decent set pieces and little-to-no character development. This time out, our heroes, led by Thomas (Dylan O’Brien), have left the maze behind; instead, they must navigate harsh landscapes and avoid not just the evil WCKD but also hoards of zombies. The pundits say Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials is briskly paced and occasionally exciting, but its overabundance of plotting makes for limited emotional involvement.
Based on an astonishing true story, Captive recounts the tale of an escaped criminal (David Oyelowo) who takes a hostage (Kate Mara) and eventually surrenders after she encourages him to read the Christian self-help book The Purpose-Driven Life. Critics say Captive is enlivened by its excellent leads, but it never quite generates a necessary sense of tension.
Project Greenlight makes a welcome return, retaining many of the qualities that helped make it a reality TV favorite.
Kurt Sutter’s The Bastard Executioner doesn’t want for dark thrills, but it unfortunately has more enthusiasm for brutality and gore than necessary narrative focus.
Also Opening This Week In Limited Release
This week at the movies, we’ve got creepy grandparents (The Visit, starring Kathryn Hahn and Ed Oxenbould), a dangerous charmer (The Perfect Guy, starring Sanaa Lathan and Michael Ealy), and a miraculous resurgence (90 Minutes in Heaven, starring Hayden Christensen and Kate Bosworth). What do the critics have to say?
Since the runaway success of The Sixth Sense, director M. Night Shyamalan‘s career has certainly had its share of ups and (mostly) downs. However, critics say The Visit is a solid return to form, an oddball horror/comedy that doesn’t always work but surprises and shocks more often than not. It’s the story of two siblings who are invited to spend some time at their grandparents’ remote farmhouse, which our teenage heroes quickly discover is a bastion of eccentric, unnerving behavior. The pundits say The Visit is uneven, but its loose-limbed blend of laughs and scares results in Shyamalan’s most purely enjoyable big screen effort in years.
The Perfect Guy wasn’t screened for critics, so we currently have no way of knowing whether this latest take on the Fatal Attraction template achieves perfection. Sanaa Lathan stars as a lovelorn woman who meets a handsome stranger (Michael Ealy) who seems too good to be true, but a series of bizarre incidents leaves our heroine wondering who she can trust. Guess the Tomatometer!
A faith-based drama boasting a strong cast, 90 Minutes in Heaven was barely screened for critics prior to its release in theaters. Hayden Christensen stars as a minister who is involved in a devastating auto accident; pronounced dead at the scene, he reawakens with a miraculous tale of a visit to the hereafter. Once again, feel free to guess the Tomatometer!
Smart, energetic, and a little bit silly, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert succeeds largely due to the charisma of its host, whose confident debut promises a bright future for the revamped show.
Hand of God boasts a talented cast and intriguing premise, but neither are enough to overcome a resounding lack of meaningful drama or impactful thrills.
Also Opening This Week In Limited Release
Last season saw You’re The Worst‘s Jimmy (Chris Geere) and Gretchen (Aya Cash)’s whirlwind courtship culminate with them moving in together after Gretchen’s apartment burnt down in a freak vibrator accident. Now, season two picks up with these two misfits trying to fit together (and the destruction they leave in their path).
Rotten Tomatoes talked with stars Geere and Cash over the phone about what we can expect from season two from this anti-rom-com rom-com.
While season one made it clear that Jimmy and Gretchen have no problem with certain carnal aspects of adult life, these two still have a ways to go in terms of becoming full-fledged adults. Star Geere shared his thoughts on when adult life really starts.
“I think there’s a point where you go, ‘Things have to change here in order for you to progress individually.’ The battle for both [Gretchen and Jimmy] is that they have to progress individually, but also they want to progress as a couple and those two things are so different,” he said. “The first half of the series, really, is about them recognizing that they need to introduce compromise into their relationship now, which is something they’ve never had to do. I think when Gretchen has to do the simple task of just buying some towels, that’s the hardest thing ever because she’d never thought to have to do that before, but she wants to do it for many reasons, most of all, if she’ll ever admit it or not, because she wants the relationship to work as much as Jimmy does.”
“ I think that being an adult is being too tired to be young,” added Cash.
Aside from their appetite for each other, Jimmy and Gretchen also seem to have an insatiable appetite for food. Whether it’s cooked for them by Jimmy’s roommate Edgar (Desmin Borges) or ordered from Brite Spot in Echo Park, these two always seems to be stuffing their faces. “We ate every bite of everything you saw for six to ten hours a day. I ate waffles all day one day,” Cash said. “I had a heart attack worth of bacon in that diner scene,” Geere admitted.
This season there’ll be no shortage of food, but they’ve wised up about the “spit bucket.”
“Apparently props decided not to tell us about it last year,” explained Cash, who said that he and Geere still eat quite a lot. “But now if it gets too much, we spit.”
“It’s a lot of eating and drinking of brown water posing as whiskey and cigarettes which are just herbal, horrible things,” Geere added. “This isn’t a woe-is-us situation, but many, many takes later of all these things is a challenge that the spit bucket has helped us overcome.”
The highlight of last season for many was an episode called Sunday Funday (and not just for the line “Fun hipster s— is just poor Latino s— from ten years ago”), as Jimmy, Gretchen, Edgar and Gretchen’s BFF Lindsay set out to have more fun around Los Angeles than a bunch of hipsters they met at brunch.
“Sunday Funday comes back times 100. You’re gonna see Sunday Funday exponentially bigger this year,” Cash said.
Geere added that, production-wise, Funday Sunday is like a small movie. “We’re gonna struggle to beat it if we come back next year,” he said. “It was so much fun to do.”
Shot on location on the east side of Los Angeles allows the city to be as much a character as the main quartet. “I think L.A. has always been a character in this show and these people and their personalities exist in a very L.A. place,” Cash said. “That’s part of the fun of the show — that sort of micro-culture of L.A. hipsterdom. That continues and you’ll see more L.A. landmarks. We shoot all on location; there is nothing that’s shot on a set. So I think that helps bring an authenticity to L.A. — that we’re actually at these places. We’re actually at Brite Spot. We’re at Little Cave in Highland Park. We’re all over.”
The charm of a show like You’re The Worst comes from its ability to make you care about characters that you probably would probably never want to be stuck talking to at a party.
“Originally we were like these are terrible people and we need to play them as terrible people, but the genius of Stephen [Falk]’s writing is the fact that, in twenty-six minutes, he can take us from a place of kind of unforgivable things that they do and then turn it on its head in the end, with the real heart of the show.”
Geere thinks that the fact that the main characters are “terrible” is part of their appeal. “They’re terrible for a reason and what is that reason?” he posited. “I want to know why they behave that way. So we really explore those things this year. “
Jimmy and Gretchen are toxic people, but somehow aren’t a toxic couple. But in order to stay that way, the two of them will have let each other in and learn about each other. “You’re going to see them opening up and you’re going to learn new things about them as characters that you did not know in season one,” Cash said.
“And the impact of the knowledge of these things, the weight of the impact that that has on everyone individually — and then, therefore, in turn as a group — is something that we really tackle this year,” Geere teased. “By the end of the finale, I really hope people are like — rather than, ‘Oh, that was a different tone to last year’ — people will be like, ‘Wow. That’s so original that they’ve gone there with that,’ and hopefully they’ll be rooting for us even more.”
You’re With Worst season one is Certified Fresh at 80 percent. Season two airs on Wednesday, September 9, on FXX at 10:30 p.m.
Emmy nominations are out for last season, but it’s already time for a new one. Television continues to rival, and sometimes surpass, the quality and success of film industry releases, with more networks than we ever thought possible 20 years ago. And, with the growing number of cable networks, we witness the capability of catering to more adult-oriented content. This fall, we will continue to see television grow, for better and for worse. Which new shows will achieve Fresh, or even Certified Fresh, status? Which will quickly go Rotten? And which of your favorite returning shows made the cut this year? Here’s the list as we know it, and we’ll continue to update it as premiere dates continue to be broadcast.
Monday, Aug. 3
Significant Mother series premiere, 9:30 p.m., CW
Tuesday, Aug. 4
Playing House season two premiere, 10 p.m., USA
Saturday, Aug. 8
Funny or Die Presents America’s Next Weatherman series premiere, 11 p.m., TBS
Sunday, Aug. 16
Show Me a Hero miniseries premiere, 9 p.m., HBO
Tuesday, Aug. 18
The Hotwives of Las Vegas series premiere, Hulu
Thursday, Aug. 20
Documentary Now! series premiere, 10 p.m., IFC
Monday, Aug. 24
Switched at Birth season four return, 8 p.m., ABC Family
Wednesday, Aug. 26
The Carmichael Show series premiere, 9:30 p.m., NBC
Friday, Aug. 28
Narcos series premiere, Netflix
Tuesday, Sep. 1
Drunk History season three premiere, 10:30 p.m., Comedy Central
Friday, Sep. 4
Hand of God series premiere, Amazon Instant Video
Sunday, Sep. 6
Arthur & George series premiere, 8 p.m., PBS
Thursday, Sep. 10
Longmire season four premiere, Netflix
Saturday, Sep. 12
Ferrell Takes the Field special event premiere, 10 p.m. HBO
Friday, Sep. 18
Black Jesus season two premiere, 11 p.m., Adult Swim (Cartoon Network)
Saturday, Sep. 19
Doctor Who season nine premiere, 9 p.m., BBC America
Sunday, Sep. 20
67th Primetime Emmy Awards special event, 8 p.m., Fox
Monday, Sep. 21
The Big Bang Theory season nine premiere, 8 p.m., CBS
Gotham season two premiere, 8 p.m., Fox
The Voice season nine premiere, 8 p.m., NBC
Life in Pieces series premiere, 8:30 p.m., CBS
Minority Report series premiere, 9 p.m., Fox
Scorpion season two premiere, 9 p.m., CBS
Blindspot series premiere, 10 p.m., NBC
Castle season eight premiere, 10 p.m., ABC
NCIS: Los Angeles season seven premiere, 10 p.m., CBS
Tuesday, Sep. 22
NCIS season 13 premiere, 8 p.m., CBS
The Muppets series premiere, 8 p.m., ABC
Scream Queens series premiere, 8 p.m., Fox
Fresh off the Boat season two premiere, 8:30 p.m., ABC
NCIS: New Orleans season two premiere, 9 p.m., CBS
Limitless series premiere, 10 p.m., CBS
Wednesday, Sep. 23
The Middle season seven premiere, 8 p.m., ABC
The Mysteries of Laura season two premiere, 8 p.m., NBC
Rosewood series premiere, 8 p.m., FOX
Survivor season 31 premiere, 8 p.m., CBS
The Goldbergs season three premiere, 8:30 p.m., ABC
Empire season two premiere, 9 p.m., Fox
Law & Order: SVU season 17 premiere, 9 p.m., NBC
Modern Family season eight premiere, 9 p.m., ABC
black-ish season two premiere, 9:30 p.m., ABC
Nashville season four premiere, 10 p.m., ABC
Thursday, Sep. 24
Grey’s Anatomy season 12 premiere, 8 p.m., ABC
Heroes Reborn series premiere, 8 p.m., NBC
Scandal season five premiere, 9 p.m., ABC
The Player series premiere, 10 p.m., NBC
How to Get Away with Murder season two premiere, 10 p.m., ABC
Friday, Sep. 25
The Amazing Race season 25 premiere, 8 p.m., CBS
Last Man Standing season five premiere, 8 p.m., ABC
Margaret Cho: psyCHO comedy special premiere, 9 p.m., Comedy Central
Hawaii Five-0 season six premiere, 9 p.m., CBS
Blue Bloods season six premiere, 10 p.m., CBS
Saturday, Sep. 26
Marvel’s Guardians of the Galaxy series premiere, 9:30 p.m., Disney XD
Sunday, Sep. 27
Bob’s Burgers season six premiere, 7:30 p.m., Fox
CSI: Crime Scene Investigation two-part series finale, 8 p.m., CBS
Once Upon a Time season five premiere, 8 p.m., ABC
The Simpsons season 27 premiere, 8 p.m., Fox
Brooklyn Nine-Nine season three premiere, 8:30 p.m., Fox
Blood & Oil series premiere, 9 p.m., ABC
Family Guy season 14 premiere, 9 p.m., Fox
Indian Summers miniseries premiere, 9 p.m., PBS
The Last Man on Earth season two premiere, 9:30 p.m., Fox
Quantico series premiere, 10 p.m., ABC
Blood & Oil
Monday, Sep. 28
The Daily Show with Trevor Noah series premiere, 10:30 p.m., Comedy Central
Thursday, Oct. 1
Bones season 11 premiere, 8 p.m., Fox
The Blacklist season three premiere, 9 p.m., NBC
Sleepy Hollow season three premiere, 9 p.m., Fox
Benders series premiere, 10 p.m., IFC
Gigi Does It series premiere, 10:30 p.m., IFC
Friday, Oct. 2
Dr. Ken series premiere, 8:30 p.m., ABC
Saturday, Oct. 3
Saturday Night Live season 47 premiere, 11:30 p.m., NBC
Sunday, Oct. 4
Home Fires series premiere, 8 p.m., PBS
Madam Secretary season two premiere, 8 p.m., CBS
The Good Wife season seven premiere, 9 p.m., CBS
Homeland season five premiere, 9 p.m., Showtime
The Leftovers season two premiere, 9 p.m., HBO
The Affair season two premiere, 10 p.m., Showtime
CSI: Cyber season two premiere, 10 p.m., CBS
The Widower miniseries premiere, 10 p.m., PBS
Saturday, Oct. 10
The Last Kingdom series premiere, 10 p.m., BBC America
Sunday, Oct. 11
The Walking Dead season six premiere, 9 p.m., AMC
The Walking Dead
Wednesday, Oct. 14
Kingdom season two premiere, 9 p.m., DirecTV
Thursday, Oct. 15
Nathan for You season three premiere, 10 p.m., Comedy Central
Friday, Oct. 16
The Knick season two premiere, time TBD, Cinemax
Truth Be Told series premiere, 8:30 p.m., NBC
Please Like Me season three premiere, 10 p.m., Pivot
Satisfaction season two premiere, 10 p.m., USA
Saturday, Oct. 17
Amy Schumer: Live from the Apollo comedy special premiere, 10 p.m., HBO
Wednesday, Oct. 20
Being Mary Jane season three premiere, 9 p.m., BET
Friday, Oct. 23
Hemlock Grove season three premiere, Netflix
Billy Elliot the Musical: Live special event, 9 p.m., PBS
Saturday, Oct. 24
Da Vinci’s Demons season three premiere, 8 p.m., Starz
Monday, Oct. 26
Supergirl series premiere, 8:30 p.m., CBS
Tuesday, Oct. 27
Wicked City series premiere, 10 p.m., ABC
Friday, Oct. 30
Exorcism: Live special event, 9 p.m., Destination America
Grimm season five premiere, 9 p.m., NBC
Ash Vs. Evil Dead
Monday, Nov. 2
Legends season two premiere, 10 p.m., TNT
Friday, Nov. 6
Master of None series premiere, Netflix
Saturday, Nov. 7
Untitled U2 Documentary, HBO
Flesh and Bone
Tuesday, Nov. 10
Donny! series premiere, 10:30 p.m., USA
Thursday, Nov. 12
2 Broke Girls season five premiere, 9:30 p.m., CBS
Friday, Nov. 13
With Bob and David series premiere, Netflix
Tuesday, Nov. 17
Chicago Med series premiere, 10 p.m., NBC
Thursday, Nov. 19
The Art of More series premiere, Crackle
Friday, Nov. 27
South of Hell series premiere, 3 p.m., WE
Unforgettable season four premiere, 9 p.m., A&E (new network)
Monday, Nov. 30
Superstore series premiere, 10 p.m., NBC
Tuesday, Dec. 1
Real Rob series premiere, Netflix
Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce season two premiere, 10 p.m., Bravo
Wednesday, Dec. 2
RocketJump: The Show series premiere, Hulu
Thursday, Dec. 3
The Wiz Live! special event, 8 p.m., NBC
Friday, Dec. 11
Transparent season two premiere, Amazon
Sunday, Jan. 3
Downton Abbey season six premiere, 9 p.m., PBS
Sunday, Jan. 10
73rd Annual Golden Globe Awards special event, 8 p.m., NBC
Thursday, Jan. 14
Colony, series premiere, 10 p.m., USA
Sunday, Jan. 17
Mercy Street series premiere, 10 p.m., PBS
Sunday, Jan. 24
The X-Files season 10 premiere, 10 p.m., FOX
Sunday, Jan. 31
Grease: Live special event, 7 p.m., FOX
Monday, Feb. 15
58th Annual Grammy Awards special event, 8 p.m., CBS
Sunday, Feb. 28
88th Annual Academy Awards special event, 4 p.m., ABC
11/22/63 series premiere, Hulu
American Dad season 12 premiere, TBS
Crowded series premiere, NBC
Emerald City series premiere, NBC
First Dates series premiere, NBC
Game of Silence series premiere, NBC
Haven season five return, SyFy (October)
Heartbreaker series premiere, NBC
Hot & Bothered series premiere, NBC
Legends season two premiere, TNT
Shades of Blue series premiere, NBC
Uncle Buck series premiere, ABC
The Way series premiere, Hulu
You, Me and the End of the World series premiere, NBC
Before you know it, the fall TV season will be here, so we’ve pulled together some shows you should catch up on right now — including some long-runs that you’ll want to start immediately. Plus, August welcomes select Fresh titles to streaming and home video that you might want to add to your queue this month!
What it is: A group of unrelated, ordinary people develop superhuman abilities and need to learn how to master their newly found powers and protect themselves against a mysterious organization and other superhumans (including Zachary Quinto in his first big role as the villain Sylar). The series is divided into five “volumes,” each one with a different story arc similar to a comic book.
Why you should watch it: Heroes‘ first season got a tremendously positive critical reaction, and pleased audiences with a mix of great storytelling and very likeable characters. Its 40-minute episodes are filled with fast-paced action, mystery, sci-fi, comedy, and more reflective moments that deal with issues of purpose, tolerance, and self-acceptance. “Volume One: Genesis” is far more interesting and consistent than the rest of the show, so if you don’t have the time to commit to all of it, those first 16 hours are a good way to see if it’s for you. It should also be enough to educate you on the returning characters of Heroes Reborn, premiering September on NBC.
Commitment: 55 hours.
What it is: A brilliant surgeon (Clive Owen) struggles to uphold the reputation of the famed Knickerbocker Hospital during the early 1900s while battling a narcotics addiction and, after a prominent black surgeon (Andre Holland) is hired, his own prevailing notions of race.
Why you should watch it: Unflinchingly graphic with a keen eye for period-specific detail, The Knick transports viewers to a time when a hospital visit was often something to be feared. Performances across the board are top-notch, and with Steven Soderbergh behind the camera, the series sports a crisp, finely tuned aesthetic. With season one hitting DVD and Blu-ray on August 11, you’ll have plenty of time to consume all ten episodes before season two premieres this fall.
Where to watch: All of season one is currently available to Cinemax subscribers on MaxGo, and you can also pick it up on home video August 11.
Commitment: 8.5 hours.
What it is: A dramatic anthology series, portraying a single murder and the pain and change it inflicts upon those affected.
Why you should watch it: 2015 Emmy nominees Felicity Huffman, Timothy Hutton, Richard Cabral, and Regina King lend themselves to a provocative drama that is more entangled around the lives of those touched by the crime than the mystery behind it. The series is also nominated in the Outstanding Limited Series and Outstanding Writing categories. This is a show that never lets up as an intense, expertly played character drama.
Commitment: 8 hours.
What it is: Set three years after two percent of the population mysteriously disappears, The Leftovers looks at the aftermath as it effects the residents of the small town of Mapleton, NY.
Why you should watch it: For those viewers of who loved the mystery of Lost, co-creator Damon Lindelof again brings a large group of people together whose connections are slowly revealed, even if the overarching mystery remains clouded. The show features a breakout performance from Carrie Coon (Gone Girl), as well as a stand-up cast including Amy Brenneman, Christopher Eccleston, Liv Tyler, Ann Dowd, and Justin Theroux (who cries a lot, and who doesn’t love a healthy dose of man tears?). Added to the mix is Max Richter’s haunting score, which takes the melodrama and ramps it up to eleven.
Commitment: 10 hours.
What it is: The series chronicles the adventures of the “Doctor,” an alien called a Time Lord, a race that looks just like humans (though the Doctor says it’s the other way around). The Doctor uses a vehicle called the TARDIS, short for Time and Relative Dimension in Space, that looks like a 1960s-era London police box — although it’s much bigger on the inside. Nearly all of the Time Lords were destroyed in the Great Time War, so the Doctor is the only one that he knows of, and he has basically appointed himself humanity’s protector.
Why you should watch it: With the latest regeneration of the Doctor (Peter Capaldi), you get a semi-reset that allows new viewers to jump into the action. Capaldi has been praised for his rendition of the 12th Doctor, and with the new season set to debut on September 19 on BBC America, now is the perfect time to get caught up.
Commitment: Time is wibbly-wobbly, but about 12 hours.
What it is: Seinfeld creator Larry David plays a fictional version of himself as a producer, writer, and all-around difficult guy living in Los Angeles.
Why you should watch it: Through the lens of Larry David’s hyper-observant, wholly unsentimental, and utterly hilarious point of view, Curb Your Enthusiasm shines a light on the mundane details of life that drive all of us crazy — even if David is the only one who speaks up about them. With an ensemble that features Cheryl Hines, Richard Lewis, Jeff Garlin, and Susie Essman, Curb will have you at once identifying with the characters and also cringing at their actions.
Commitment: 40 hours.
What it is: A fantastical exploration of the lives of fairy tale heroes and villains as they weave in and out of a contemporary life parallel to our own. Snow White, the Evil Queen, Rumplestiltskin, Captain Hook, Prince Charming, Pinocchio, Peter Pan, Robin Hood, the Snow Queen, Ursula, the Wicked Witch, Cruella De Vil, and the Dwarves all live in this world, discovering truths and lies while struggling with the battles of good and evil.
Why you should watch it: While it sometimes cannot help but feel like a commercial for Disney films, the themes suggest there is still magic in the small Maine town of Storybrooke, the home of many of the fairy tale characters we grew up with. Melodrama entwines their lives as much, if not more, than the magic of the lore, as they venture back and forth between contemporary Storybrooke and the timeless Enchanted Forest. The stories are spawned from the famous children’s stories, but the plots cater to adult themes as well, and is popcorn fun for all.
Commitment: 66 hours.
Why you should watch it: Two reasons: Sir Ian McKellan and Derek Jacobi. And if you need more motivation than that, add in some Frances De La Tour, who is consistently hysterical as the homely, single, best friend. Vicious is a bit of a throwback to the classic English sitcom, but with such immensely experienced talent aboard, you will find yourself laughing at each rude insult hurled at each cast member throughout every episode.
Commitment: 3.5 hours.
What it is: Set in Los Angeles, the show follows narcissistic writer
Why you should watch it: It’s the pitch black romantic comedy we always wanted, featuring the kind of twenty-something Los Angelenos the rest of the country loves to hate. While Jimmy and Gretchen are a hoot, it’s the supporting cast that really make You’re The Worst shine. Jimmy’s PTSD-suffering roommate Edgar (Desmin Borges) keeps everyone from being completely insufferable and Gretchen’s BFF Lindsay (Kether Donahue) airy (if sometimes dimwitted) take on life keeps the show from drowning in cynicism.
Commitment: 4 hours.
What it is: After touring the country in an RV in search of others like him, a Tucson, Arizonaman (SNL alum Will Forte) who believes himself to be the only human survivor of an apocalyptic plague returns home, only to find that he may not be so alone after all.
Why you should watch it: Long known for his bizarre sketches and boneheaded characterson Saturday Night Live, Forte has succeeded in realizing — and maintaining — a novel idea and a central character blessed with a peculiar, desperate energy. The apocalyptic premise is rich with comic potential, which Forte and his talented cast mates harness frequently and effectively, and there are enough surprises along the way to keep you guessing. Since it comes back in September with season two, it’s a perfect time to catch up.
Commitment: 4.5 hours.
According to the report, Pitt — whom you’ll recall plays Danny Ocean’s (George Clooney) super smooth, card-hustling BFF Rusty Ryan — has not yet signed his contract to appear in the flick, contrary to earlier assumptions that the original main characters were definitely returning.
Pitt has been bunkering down in Namibia recently with expectant baby’s momma Angelina Jolie, who the tabs speculate will give birth any week now. Producers are said to be worried that Pitt, once a father, will neglect his professional duties and — gasp! — opt instead to spend time with his family.
Digital Spy brings us the news from The Sun, who squeezed the scoop from an unidentified "source," if that gives you any indication of its reliability:
"Best friend George Clooney, who plays Danny Ocean and is one of the producers on the new film, is said to be very worried about the situation.
A source told The Sun: ‘Brad has not been able to confirm 100 per cent that he will be available – and that’s making George very anxious.’"
"Ocean’s Thirteen" has a release date of June 8, 2007. The rest of the original cast is set to return (minus Julia Roberts), and will include new additions Ellen Barkin and Al Pacino; helmer Steven Soderbergh will reprise his role behind the camera.