The Summer TV Preview

Summer television used to be a dumping ground for re-runs, failed pilots and primetime game shows (remember five nights of Who Wants to be a Millionaire?). But now, Netflix, Amazon and other game-changing digital platforms have pounced on the “YUGE” opportunity like Donald Trump on a soundbite, forcing broadcast and cable networks to up their game by launching new shows or bringing back popular ones in the summer rather than the fall. With everyone now in-tune to watch television year around, we take a look at what shows are worth keeping you indoors the next couple months.

OJ: Made In America
Set the DVR: ESPN, Various showtimes
We thought we had our fill of “Juice” (in David Schwimmer voice) with the stellar The People v OJ Simpson: American Crime Story, but this five-part documentary is just too good to turn the channel on. Produced by ESPN in their trademark 30 for 30 format, it takes us through Simpson’s rise and fall, connecting the dots to to this modern day Greek tragedy that calls out our country’s contradictions on race, gender and fame.

Animal Kingdom
Set the DVR: Tue at 9pm on TNT
Turning a good movie into a television show is usually never a good idea. For every Fargo there are dumpster fires like Rush Hour, Minority Report and Ferris Bueller (yes, they tried and failed to do it). The outlook is brighter for this family crime drama in the fine form of long-time MILF and now GILF, Ellen Barkin, who steps into the Mother Hen role that garnered Jacki Weaver an Oscar nom for the Australian cult film of the same name. You’ll recognize a bunch of beach blonde TV actors playing her evil spawn as she leads a criminal enterprise among the tanned and toned of Southern Cali. Guilty pleasure? Maybe, but we’re going to be glued to the tv.

The Ride With Norman Reedus
Set the DVR: Sun at 10pm on AMC
AMC is in the Walking Dead business and business has been good for the past eight years. The long-running Walking Dead is still a pop culture phenomenon, spawning a live talk show (The Talking Dead), sister show (Fear the Walking Dead) and now The Ride. The road trip-reality show is more like a cousin, featuring Norman Reedus, who plays fan favorite hick with a heart, Daryl Dixon, riding his motorcycle across the US with celeb friends like Easy Rider’s Peter Fonda and director Robert Rodriguez. The six-part series makes pit stops in Death Valley, Appalachia and Crescent City, checking out motorcycle shops, tattoo parlors and biker bars.

Mr. Robot Set the DVR: July 13 at 10pm on USA
If you didn’t watch last summer’s breakout show you’re probably being mind-controlled by the evil, as in capital E, E-Corp. Seriously, if you didn’t tune into this critically-acclaimed cult hit, DO IT NOW (stream it on Amazon Prime) before season two starts because you’ll feel more disconnected to reality than title character Elliot when everyone’s talking about the show’s wicked twists and turns on social media and spoiling . Creator Sam Esmail is television’s new hotshot god, and once you experience how each jaw-dropping episode looks and feels like a Stanley Kubrick movie you’ll understand why.

Vice Principals
Set the DVR: July 17 at 10:30pm on HBO
Danny McBride came out of left field (literally and figuratively) throwing 103 MPH insults and dick jokes at us that knocked us on our asses laughing. Sure, Eastbound & Down flamed out faster than former Braves closer John Rocker (whom it was kinda, sorta based on), but Kenny Powers is still a first ballot Hall of Shamer in television lore. Now, McBride is back, not only on HBO, but with a similar dickhead premise (I’m convinced “a-hole” and “short sleeves” is in every vice-principal job description). This time he dishes out non-PC, high school humor with Walton Goggins (last seen in the Hateful Eight) as they both wage war for the vacating principal’s (Bill Murray cameo — woo hoo) job. Expect similar ridiculousness, equal amounts of swearing, and one hell of a hilarious show.