Note: This piece was written by Nikhil Taneja (@tanejamainhoon) for Man’s World Magazine in July 2015 and is the first article of a monthly column on international TV.
Usually, the time to plonk yourself on your couch opposite your idiot box (or your laptop) for endless hours is an yearly event called ‘Fall TV’, when every American channel puts up tons of brand new programming for your viewing pleasure. But with the rise of premium cable channels like HBO and showtime, as well as streaming media like Netflix and Amazon, summer time, which was typically reserved for blockbuster cinema, out of respect and some fear, has now become the most fun time for TV addicts, with ‘Summer TV’ being the breeding ground for some of the most amazing original series we’ve seen over the last few years.
Summer TV has given us Mad Men, True Detective, Fargo, Orange is the New Black, and many other cult shows in the past. This year has already thrown up interesting shows in the form of Lana and Andy Wachowski’s sci-fi drama Sense8 and Manoj N. Shyamalan’s twisted suspense drama, Wayward Pines. 2015 promises several other contenders for what could turn out to be the best of this year’s original content.
Here are the NEW SHOWS to watch out for:
Ballers – Missing Entourage much? HBO’s giving us the next ‘show for bros’ to get addicted to, and it’s new (a comedy about professional footballers) and improved (stars Dwayne ‘The Rock’ Johnson as a high profile agent – Ari Gold, anyone?) and yet will probably be more of the same old awesome (created by Entourage EP Steve Levinson & produced by Mark Wahlberg).
Fear The Walking Dead – If The Walking Dead hasn’t served up enough zombies for your liking so far, a spin-off set in Los Angeles that revolves around the outbreak of the zombie apocalypse, will ensure year-long horror only for you.
Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp – 15 years after Wet Hot American Summer became an underground hit, Netflix has rebooted the movie into an 8-part prequel So 35+ stars Bradley Cooper, Paul Rudd, Amy Poehler, Elizabeth Banks and more play younger versions of their 2001 movie’s characters.
The Brink – Jack Black’s been missing from action for a while now but his career is set for an HBO injection. The Brink brings Black with Tim Robbins and Pablo Scheiber as goofy American diplomats in Pakistan who find themselves in the middle of a military coup and an impending nuke war. Sound like fun?
Blunt Talk – Sir Patrick Stewart heads to American TV as a coke-snorting nightly Brit news anchor who joins American cable news to guide the country on how to live. The 10-part half-hour comedy is produced by Seth MacFarlane but it had us at Sir Patrick.
Tut – Another British legend, Sir Ben Kingsley stars as the top advisor to Avan Jogia’s titular legendary Egyptian King Tutankhamun, in a limited six-part series about the rise of a young boy king into one of the most powerful leaders in human history.
Deutschland 83 – ‘A coming of age spy darkly comic spy thriller set against the backdrop of the East and West German rivalry in the ‘80s’ is possibly the most curious logline of the summer. And with a young protagonist forced to be a reluctant spy at the height of the cold war era, this series could be the year’s breakout hit.
Here are some of the RETURNING SHOWS you *cannot* miss:
True Detective – If you thought HBO and creator Nic Pizzolatto couldn’t top last year’s McConaissance, they’ve got Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn, Taylor Kitsch and Rachel McAdams to frontline season 2. Expect more darkness.
Orange is the New Black – The girls are back and according to creator Jenji Kohan, season 3’s theme is ‘faith and motherhood’. Expect less Jason Biggs’s Larry and more Laura Prepon’s Alex. There’s also a new potential fan-favourite in Ruby Rose. To know why, google her.
Masters of Sex – Disclaimer: Not porn. In fact, the Martin Sheen-Lizzy Caplan show possibly has less gratuitous sex than Game of Thrones. About two pioneering researchers of human sexuality, the underrated drama explores sex in a way you’ve never seen before.
Hannibal – Hannibal is the origin story of the infamous Dr. Hannibal Lecter, explored through his friendship with FBI investigator Will Graham. Mads Mikkelsen and Hugh Dancy star, season 3 additionally stars Gillian Anderson and Richard Armitage. Do you really need to know more?
Rectify – Another drama you’ve not been watching but most definitely should, Rectify is the most beautiful and gut-wrenching show you’ll see about the exploration of morality. About a man who is released after 20 years on death row, this show is pure, unadulterated drama.
You’re The Worst – An exceedingly enjoyable and exceptionally toxic take on love, relationships and everything that the heart holds sacred. An anti-romcom, if Satan’s minions had to fall in love, the characters of this show would fit right in. Much fun guaranteed.
Manhattan – This could be the breakout season for last year’s best new show that few saw. Manhattan is Shakespearean drama in the garb of a series about the invention of the atomic bomb. With the stakes that high and the consequences knows only too well to us, watch this to have bragging rights before the rest of the world discovers it.
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Note: This piece first appeared in Man’s World Magazine in the July 2015 issue.
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© Copyright belongs to the author, Nikhil Taneja. The article may not be reproduced without permission. A link to the URL, instead, would be appreciated.