Are you ready for the summer? (2016 edition)
Calendar-wise, summer doesn't begin for another few weeks. As far as the TV business is concerned, though, summer began at 11:01 p.m. on Wednesday night, when the 2015-16 network TV season officially ended.
The break used to be a little cleaner, but as cable and streaming outlets premiere shows year-round, and as the broadcast networks have become a bit less bound to the rules of the calendar, there's more overlap than ever before. HBO's dynamite Sunday lineup has another month to go, late spring broadcast premieres for shows like Person of Interest and Houdini & Doyle mean they have a few more weeks in them, and the next few months will see a mix of new and returning scripted material across every kind of TV provider there is in 2016.
The next few days, weeks, and months will feature the return of some of the best shows on television, including UnREAL (Lifetime, June 6), Casual (Hulu, June 7), Orange Is the New Black (Netflix, June 17), Mr. Robot (USA, July 13), You're the Worst (FXX, August 31), and Halt and Catch Fire (AMC, premiere TBA). There are also a lot of new shows I'm excited to see, including, among many others, Cameron Crowe's first TV show, Roadies (Showtime, June 26); the Steve Zaillian/Richard Price miniseries The Night Of (HBO, July 10); Danny McBride and Walton Goggins teaming up for Vice-Principals (HBO, July 17), the Baz Lurhmann/Shawn Ryan dawn of hip-hop drama The Get Down (Netflix, August 12); and Gomorrah (Sundance, August 26), which is apparently Italy's answer to Breaking Bad.
This summer TV season looks to be so busy, in fact, that for the first time in a decade, I won't be doing a summer rewind series. That tradition started out on the old blog back in 2007, when an uninspiring summer slate led me to crack open my Freaks and Geeks DVDs to write about that instead of reviewing the likes of Pirate Master, Hidden Palms, and Fast Cars & Superstars. Over the years, it's led to me revisiting Firefly, Band of Brothers, the first three seasons of The Wire, all three seasons of Deadwood, and The Sopranos season 1, among others. And on the podcast(*), Fienberg and I revisited Undeclared, Twin Peaks season 1, Buffy season 1, Friday Night Lights season 2, great pilots, and great finales. Not all these experiments worked — a couple of summers ago, I tried doing a Great Sitcom Episodes survey course that wound up being hamstrung by a lack of streaming options for many of the episodes I wanted to use — but it was always a treat to have an excuse to go back and watch and think about this stuff again.
(*) On this front, all I can say is that I'm working on something, and hope to have some good news to announce later in the summer.
At the end of my review of The Sopranos season 1 finale, I said I wouldn't be surprised if, in nine months, I was beginning to write about Richie Aprile, Sean Gismonte, and all the other knuckleheads of that show's second season. And maybe that's something I'll consider for next summer. But between the big slate of new and returning summer series I want to watch and write about, plus a few long-form projects I have in the works, there just isn't the time to do it right. There have been summers where the rewinds began to feel like a burden by the halfway point, and I don't want to revisit Sopranos, or any other show I love, if I'm going to have to rush it to get it done in the midst of several dozen other things.
So no summer rewind this year, but hopefully lots of summer TV to talk about, including some reviews coming later in the week, plus a historical project of a different sort coming tomorrow.
In the meantime, what summer shows are you most looking forward to seeing?