Saturday, 8 June 2013

Television to watch this summer

Saturday, 8 June 2013

Summer is finally here, so... what's on television? Wait, you're not seriously thinking of going outside or—gasp!—booking a holiday somewhere hot and sunny are you? No, no, there's still plenty to watch on television with your curtains closed and a chilled beverage to hand. Here are my vague TV-viewing plans over the next three months:

Breaking Bad (AMC, 11 Aug). It's the final batch of episodes of my favourite show, so this will be the main thing I'm glued to, savouring every last scene. It's crazy to think the final episode has already been filmed and Walter White's fate is known to the people involved in making Breaking Bad, isn't it. I hope this drama ends well, to keep its legacy intact. I have so much faith in creator Vince Gilligan that I'm certain it will.

Dexter (Showtime, 30 Jun / Fox, 7 July). It's also the final season of Dexter, which remains one of my favourite shows despite that weak fifth season and terrible sixth. Thank goodness for its comeback seventh! We're getting the eighth and final season three months earlier than usual, too, which is great—and the UK will only be a week behind the US broadcast this year! If I'm honest, the above trailer for season 8 doesn't get my blood pumping, but I've heard interesting things about Charlotte Rampling's "psychopath whisperer" and, honestly, they simply must give us a satisfying ending. If the series finale is a dud after all these years of speculating on serial killer Dexter Morgan's ultimate fate, I will go crazy.

Luther (BBC1, Jul / BBC America, 3-6 Sep). A welcome return for the twisted crime drama, which only continued to be made because Idris Elba loves the gruff eponymous character. There's something great about that. It gives the show the feel of something special, that's only being made because they know it's good television. No doubt John Luther will be getting into violent and frightening scrapes again.

The Newsroom (HBO, 14 Jul / Sky Atlantic, Aug). I only have a mild interest in the second season of this US drama from The West Wing's Aaron Sorkin, which was a mesmerising mess last year. Hopefully he's swallowed his pride and taken steps to fix what was clearly wrong, like Sorkin's partisanship, but we'll see.

Ray Donovan (Showtime, 30 Jul). A new drama starring Liev Schreiber as the eponymous "fixer" for the rich and famous of California, whose father (Jon Voight) is released from prison. I don't know too much about this one, but the cast is great and it comes from a writer who worked on Southland and NYPD Blue, so it'll be worth catching the pilot.

The Returned (Channel 4, 9 Jun). This starts tomorrow, so set your DVR to record now. It's a French-language drama based on a 2004 movie about the dead coming back to life, and it sounds fantastic on the page. The concept is great and anything foreign has a certain unpredictability about it. I guess it could also be unforgivably slow, ponderous, and pretentious, too. I can't wait to find out.

True Blood (HBO, 16 Jun). The HBO vampire drama hasn't been staked yet. This is the sixth season, and I'm sure it will be just as chaotic and bizarre as usual. Lots of violence, sex and gore to obscure the fact it only has four decent characters and bounces between increasingly ridiculous storylines. I used to love this show, but now I love to hate it. It's never outright boring, though, which is probably why I keep watching. That and the boobs.

Under the Dome (CBS, 24 Jun / Channel 5, TBA). A Stephen King adaptation for television. Scary stuff, but usually for all the wrong reasons. However, this looks like it could be good. The concept of a town being cut off from the outside world by an invisible barrier sounds too thin to sustain a series, but there are plans for this to run years if the initial 13-part "miniseries" is a hit. We'll have to see if the characters and situations are complex enough to warrant the intended longevity, because to me it feels like the whole thing will run out of steam fairly quickly.

So those are the main shows I'll be watching, not including my Buffy the Vampire Slayer/Angel catchups. Did I miss anything? Are you going to be watching those, too?