Did you think the TV season was over for the summer and that you might get a chance to catch up on what you’ve missed? Well, friends, do we have good or bad news for you!
While many shows take a summer vacation, there are plenty that are premiering or returning in June, the better to tempt you to stay inside. From Netflix originals dropping entire seasons at once to TNT teasing manicurists turned mobsters, TV is back, baby. And to keep you ahead of the ever-expanding tide, we’ve taken the liberty of highlighting 11 shows premiering this month to help narrow down the options — or expand them, depending on your television ambition.
I’m Dying Up Here (June 4, Showtime)
It’s understandable to be tired of TV and movies that dive into the ins and outs of the standup comedy scene; there are, after all, approximately a metric ton of them out there to choose from. But I’m Dying Up Here — whose first episode is currently available to watch for free on Showtime’s website — makes a few smart choices to set itself apart. For one, it puts the action in 1970s Los Angeles instead of the present day. For another, it casts the wonderful — and criminally underappreciated — Ari Graynor as a determined comic rising up the ranks, with or without the help of the steely owner of her local comedy club, played by none other than Melissa Leo. It’s not a subtle show, but it’s at least a more interesting one than its premise might suggest.
Orange Is the New Black (June 9, Netflix)
The last time we saw the women of Litchfield Penitentiary, the entire prison was in open revolt over awful living conditions and the sudden, completely avoidable death of one of their own. By the end of the season four finale, Diaz was pointing a gun squarely at one of the guards, jaw set as everyone egged her on. Dealing with this fallout will be tricky, and season five is taking it on by picking right back up where it left off and concentrating solely on the three days following the events of the finale. It’s a risky gamble, so it’ll be interesting to see how — or if — the show pulls it off.
Orphan Black (June 10, BBC America)
Gear up, Clone Club: After four seasons of blowing minds with Tatiana Maslany’s multi-pronged performance and more twists than we could keep track of, Orphan Black premieres its fifth and final season this summer. We have no idea what — or who — might be to come, but such is always the case with Orphan Black, so just get excited at the prospect of joining Maslany and her many, many clone characters for one last ride down the show’s bottomless rabbit hole.
Claws (June 11, TNT)
In Claws, Niecy Nash stars as the leader of a South Floridian nail salon hiding shady backroom deals for powerful men who don’t understand what they’re up against in the ambitious manicurists working feet away. The show is going for a Sopranos meets “Floridian noir” vibe, and while it might take some time to settle into that, Nash and the rest of the cast (especially The Good Wife’s Carrie Preston) are fantastically compelling.
The Great British Baking Show (June 16, PBS)
The fourth season of the BBC’s beloved baking competition finally comes to US shores this June for more trifle challenges and delightful puns. The reality competition became a sensation stateside because it has nothing like the usual bombast of American reality shows; both its slow and steady pace and its lack of actual prize — other than honor, a trophy, and maybe a congratulatory bouquet — make it weirdly soothing. If you’re a longtime Baking Show fan, beware that this is the final season with judge Mary Berry and hosts Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, i.e., this is the final season of The Great British Baking Show as we know it.
Queen Sugar (June 20 and 21, OWN)
OWN’s lush, intimate family drama tells the story of a Louisiana family fighting to keep their sugar cane legacy and personal lives together with gorgeous detail, thanks to a combination of sharp women directors handpicked by creator Ava DuVernay (Selma) and beautiful performances from actors like Rutina Wesley and Dawn-Lyen Gardner. The show is returning for a second season in June with a two-night event, which gives you a great opportunity to catch up on the first season beforehand if you haven’t already indulged.
GLOW (June 23, Netflix)
As Netflix continues to churn out original series every other week, GLOW has managed to catch our eye. The scripted series takes on the very real history of GLOW, a.k.a. the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, who reigned over Los Angeles wrestling rings with their own TV show from 1986 to 1989. The Netflix cast promises to dive into both the history of GLOW and some of the individual stories to come out of it, with Alison Brie playing a frustrated actress who joins GLOW to play a female character who does more than pour men drinks.
Playing House (June 23, USA)
When Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair’s semi-improvisational friendship comedy comes back for a third season, it’ll be incorporating a decidedly serious topic, as St. Clair’s character Emma fights breast cancer — just like St. Clair did herself after being diagnosed in 2015. It’ll be tough to square with the show’s commitment to having a ridiculous good time, but Parham and St. Clair’s real-life friendship has always made Playing House feel earnestly real, and this storyline should be no different. In any case, all eight episodes of the season will be made available to watch on demand after the premiere, so you’ll be able to find out for yourself soon enough.
Preacher (June 25, AMC)
In a world saturated with superhero stories and comic book adaptations, AMC’s Preacher has managed to be nothing like the rest. The first season sent surly priest Jesse (Dominic Cooper) on a journey to find out the source behind his mysterious new power, leading him to a series of stunning Western vistas and increasingly bizarre answers. But we’re just happy to have Ruth Negga back on our TV screens as Tulip, Jesse’s smirking ex who transcends that basic description time and time again.
Zoo (June 29, CBS)
To describe Zoo to someone is to be delighted by their inevitable confusion. So, in short: Zoo is an adaptation of a James Patterson novel in which animals rise up en masse against humans. While the first season followed Patterson’s novel to the boring, corporate-conspiracy letter, season two flew fully, fantastically off the rails, introducing mythical creatures such as ice-breathing Komodo dragons and mutant razorback wolves. There’s absolutely no telling which ridiculous depths Zoo will plunge to in season three — especially after season two ended with a time jump to a Children of Men-esque future in which everyone is suddenly infertile — but if you want some dumb summer fun, you’re just not gonna do better than Zoo.
Gypsy (June 30, Netflix)
There are precious few details about Netflix’s new therapy drama save that it is Naomi Watts’s TV debut — suck it, movies! — and features unhappy people making terrible decisions. We don’t even know why it’s called Gypsy. Still, it is coming, and with Watts and Billy Crudup anchoring the action, it could be interesting. But in the event that it’s not, at least we can always turn to Zoo.