It’s that time of year again for limited series and great shows that just don’t have the strength to stand on their own during the regular season with audiences. But for us, this is the time of the year when we find some of the great cult-following and niche programming.
The full schedule is posted at the bottom but we wanted to share with you the highlights among the new series and the returning favorites. This will be a three-part monthly feature appearing on the first of July and August, as well.
The Whispers (ABC – Series Premiere Monday, June 1st at 10:01 p.m.)
Synopsis: When children across Washington, D.C., all start talking with the same imaginary friend named Drill, who persuades them to play dangerous games, the FBI calls in child specialist Claire Bennigan — whose deaf son has been speaking to Drill, unbeknownst to her — to investigate. Meanwhile, the defense department sends Wes Lawrence to the Sahara Desert, where he encounters a strange geological phenomenon. As puzzle pieces come together, creating a frightening picture, humanity must wage a battle against unseen forces if it hopes to survive.
Our Take: Not really sure what to make of this. Our need for SciFi nerdiness is intrigued but this many kids on a screen, small or large can get very annoying, very quickly.
Hannibal (NBC -Season Three Premiere Thursday, June 4th at 10:00 p.m.)
Our Take: By far, the best psychological thriller on television and one of the best shows on television – period – returns this Thursday for its third season. The saga of Hannibal Lecter continues, in Europe, with Gillian Anderson (The X-Files, The Fall) as a regular cast member (she made a number of guest appearances during the first two seasons). Richard Armitage (Spooks/MI-5) also joins the cast this season as the well-known character from the novels, Francis Dolarhyde, a.k.a., “The Red Dragon.” Very little else is known about what the new season brings as we saw the majority of the main cast in pools of their own blood at the end of the season two finale but considering that they all are commenting on the new season below, it should be assumed that they survived.
Tastic Score: 93/100
Sense8 (Netflix – Series Premieres Friday June 5th at 12:01 a.m.)
Synopsis: Eight strangers around the globe find themselves connected — first by a violent vision, then by their shared ability to connect with one another’s thoughts and actions, and finally by the urgent need to find out what happened and why. Their need to know goes beyond simple curiosity — as they pursue answers, a mysterious organization hunts them down, intent on destroying them. The intense thriller is the first foray into television (or, more accurately, Netflix) for renowned filmmakers Lana Wachowski and Andy Wachowski (The Matrix trilogy), who created the series with J. Michael Straczynski (Thor, Babylon 5). The international cast includes veteran actors known to U.S. audiences, like Daryl Hannah (Kill Bill) and Naveen Andrews (Lost), and others well-known in their home countries, like German actor Max Riemelt and Doona Bae of South Korea. In keeping with the global premise of the series, shooting takes place all over the world, including London, Reykjavik, Nairobi and Mumbai.
Our Take: Yeeeeeeah… this looks awesome and thanks to the tasty goodness of Netflix, we’re getting a whole season dropped on June 5th.
Orange is the New Black (Netflix – Season Three Premieres Friday June 12th at 12:01 a.m.)
Our Take: The last time we published, we gave you a review of the series based on season one. Not a lot has changed since then, save the loss of some characters. Most of the main characters are incredibly unlikable and the drama is only above average, at best. We could take it or leave it normally but now we’re invested and if you are too, I’m sure there’s no doubt you’ll watch it as well. That said, if you haven’t gotten into the 2013 fad that is OitNB, you’ll be fine by letting it pass you by. It really is a show whose fans and producers think far too highly of.
Tastic Score: 68/100
Defiance (SyFy – Season Three Premieres Friday June 12th at 8:00 p.m.)
Our Take: The third season of SyFy’s very popular post-apocalyptic series begins on June 12th and CG Supervisor Doug Drexler has stated that the work they are doing this season rivals the best of Ronald D. Moore’s Battlestar Galactica so that’s saying something. Other than that, SyFy is remaining very tight-lipped about their franchise stud to the point where the best trailer we could find was the teaser trailer below.
Tastic Score: 78/100
Dark Matter (SyFy – Series Premieres Friday June 12th at 10:00 p.m.)
Synopsis: When six crew members working on a derelict spaceship awaken from stasis, they have no memory of who they are or how they got on the vessel. The only clue to their identities is weaponry and a destination — a remote mining colony soon to become a war zone. They must band together to fight off the threats that they face on a voyage that is filled with vengeance, betrayal and secrets that make survival a question mark for all on board the ship. The sci-fi series is based on the graphic novel of the same name.
Our Take: Last year, the network formerly-known-as-SciFi admitted that they screwed up when they changed their name to SyFy and programming in an effort to attract other, non-science fiction audiences to their network. To paraphrase the network at the time, “We’re more than spaceships and time travel.” In hindsight, they realized this was a very bad move that not only alienated their core audience but it forced them to pass on compelling SciFi drama that had been their benchmark.
The network apparently has done a one-eighty, even going so far as bringing back SciFi Fridays with Defiance, the awesomely dark Dark Matter and Killjoys (scroll down). For our money, we’re stoked. This is exactly the direction the network needs to be heading in to regain their former prominence in genre programming. Now if these dopes can just admit full-defeat and change the name of the network back…
Complications (USA – Series Premieres Thursday June 18th at 9:00 p.m.)
Synopsis: COMPLICATIONS centers on disillusioned suburban doctor John Ellison (Jason O’Mara, Vegas) who, while still dealing with the emotional effects of his daughter’s death, unexpectedly becomes a vigilante hero when he intervenes in a drive-by shooting, saving a young boy’s life. When John learns the boy is still marked for death, he’s compelled to save him at any cost. Through this journey, he must compromise his morals, often doing the wrong thing for all the right reasons.
The series also features Gretchen (Jessica Szohr, Gossip Girl), a reckless but capable nurse; John’s wife, Samantha (Beth Riesgraf, Leverage), who while attempting to support her husband is struggling with her own issues; and John’s by-the-book coworker, Dr. Bridget O’Neill (Lauren Stamile , Burn Notice), who finds herself dealing with the aftermath of his actions.
COMPLICATIONS comes from Fox 21 Television Studios and is created by Matt Nix (Burn Notice) who also serves as executive producer. Michael Horowitz serves as co-executive producer.
Our Take: This is the long-awaited and much-anticipated series folow-up from Burn Notice creator, Matt Nix and it really looks like the best thing that USA has put on the air since, well… Burn Notice. Jason O’Mara (Terra Nova, Life on Mars) is tailor-made for the role of the damaged reluctant hero. This looks outstanding,
Killjoys (SyFy – Series Premieres Friday June 19th at 9:00 p.m.)
Synopsis: In the Quad, a galaxy on the brink of a bloody interplanetary class war, a fun loving trio of bounty hunters attempt to remain impartial as they chase deadly warrants.
Our Take: Space Bounty Hunters, SciFi Fridays… that is all. Or, if you will, you had us at “Space Bounty Hunters.”
The Last Ship (TNT -Season Two Premiere Sunday, June 21st at 9:00 p.m.)
Our Take: The Last Ship turned out to be the best new show last summer and TNT is rolling out season two of their biggest summer hit in years with a two-hour premiere.
Tastic Score: 90/100
True Detective (HBO -Season Two Premiere Sunday, June 21st at 9:00 p.m.)
Our Take: Speaking of the best shows on television, HBO’s anthology drama, True Detective was the best new show of 2014, hands-down, and it returns with an all-new all star cast featuring Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn and Rachel McAdams.
Tastic Score: 100/100
Ballers (HBO – Series Premieres Sunday June 21st at 10:00 p.m.)
Synopsis: Ballers is a new half-hour comedy series starring Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. The first season begins its 10-episode run on June 21, 2015 at 10 pm. Looking at the lives of former and current football players, the show follows former superstar Spencer Strasmore as he gets his life on track in retirement while mentoring other current and former players through the daily grind of the business of football.
Our Take: This looks pretty good and we have to give HBO credit for going with Dwayne Johnson who’s certainly a box office draw but has never done anything to show the world that he’s any kind of exceptional thespian. This show seems like it should have the tagline, “If you like Entourage, you’ll like Ballers.”
The Brink (HBO – Series Premieres Sunday June 21st at 10:30 p.m.)
Synopsis: A new half-hour dark comedy series, The Brink focuses on a geopolitical crisis and its effect on three disparate and desperate men: Walter Larson (played by Tim Robbins), the US Secretary of State; Alex Talbot (Jack Black), a lowly Foreign Service officer; and Zeke Tilson (Pablo Schreiber), an ace Navy fighter pilot. These three compromised souls must pull through the chaos around them to save the planet from World War Three. The show also features Aasif Mandvi, Maribeth Monroe, Carla Gugino and Eric Ladin.
Our Take: Are we the only ones who think that Tim Robbins looks and is acting just like he did when he was the president in Austin Powers: The Spy Who Shagged Me? Anyway, this looks like a very fun series.
Falling Skies (TNT -Season Five Premiere Sunday, June 28th at 10:00 p.m.)
Our Take: Falling Skies returns for its fifth and final season and from the limited amount we’ve been shown, it looks like the show plans to go out with a bang. We’ve been huge fans of this series since it premiered and if you haven’t caught up on it, you should. It’s available for binge-watching on Amazon for free for Prime members.
Tastic Score: 85/100
Zoo (CBS – Series Premieres Monday June 29th at 10:00 p.m.)
Synopsis: Zoo is a global thriller about a wave of violent animal attacks against humans sweeping the planet. James Wolk will play Jackson Oz, a young, renegade American zoologist who spends his days running safaris in the wilds of Africa when he begins noticing the strange behavior of the animals. As the assaults become more cunning, coordinated and ferocious, he is thrust into the race to unlock the mystery of the pandemic before there’s no place left for people to hide.
Our Take: And for the last entry of the month… we’re kind of torn. Zoo is based on the James Patterson novel of the same title which means that it could be very good, very absurd or an infuriating combination of both.
UPDATE 06/02/2015: Two notable shows that started in May were left off of the list and shouldn’t have been. AMC’s Halt and Catch Fire is a fantastic period series set in the 1980s during the personal computing revolution in Texas. Season two began Sunday, May 31st.
Equally as notable is FOX’s 10-episode limited-series mystery, Wayward Pines, based on the best-selling novel series by Chad Hodge. This adaptation with an all-star cast featuring Matt Dillon. Carla Gugino, Terrence Howard and Juliette Lewis is surpisingly riveting for network television. The pilot, directed by M. Knight Shyamalan aired forst on may 14th.
As promised, here’s the full schedule for June. Click for a bigger version.