Here Are the 12 TV Shows You Should Be Watching This Summer

From Game of Thrones to The Defenders, television isn’t letting up

Game of Thrones, Marvel's The Defenders and Claws will keep "peak TV" going strong all summer long.
Photo Illustration: Dianna McDougall; Sources: HBO, Netflix, TNT

The 2016-17 TV season ended last Wednesday, which means that most broadcast shows have wrapped until the fall, but “peak TV” is showing no signs of letting up over the next few months. The streaming services are still going full throttle—just yesterday, Netflix dropped House of Cards’ fifth season—while many of TV’s best shows (including Better Call Saul, Veep and The Handmaid’s Tale) will continue airing new episodes well into June.

While two of cable’s buzzier summer dramas in recent years, Mr. Robot and UnReal, are being held until fall this time around, there’s still plenty to fill the gap over the next three months, starting with the return of HBO’s biggest series. So, as you’re trying to catch up on all the series you missed during the season, make sure to keep an eye on these 12 promising new and returning shows in order of their debuts:

The Carmichael Show (NBC, May 31)

NBC has rebuilt its comedy brand in the past year with Superstore and The Good Place, but its best sitcom remains The Carmichael Show, starring comedian Jerrod Carmichael and based on his family. While Netflix’s terrific One Day at a Time reboot is giving it a run for its money, The Carmichael Show remains TV’s most fearless—and funniest—multicamera sitcom at tackling hot-button issues. This season’s early episodes touch on rape, assisted suicide and, of course, Donald Trump.

I’m Dying Up Here (Showtime, June 4)

Yes, there are already a few series about struggling comedians, but this one comes from executive producer Jim Carrey, who knows a bit about breaking into the business. This comedy about the ‘70s stand-up comedy scene in L.A. stars Melissa Leo as a comedy club owner—modeled after The Comedy Store’s Mitzi Shore—with the power to give comedians their shot at the big time. (The premiere is already available for Showtime subscribers.)

Orange Is the New Black (Netflix, June 9)

After last season’s tragic finale, Jenji Kohan has another big twist up her sleeve for Season 5: Each episode unfolds in real time, and the entire season takes place over just three days. That’s one way to keep a show—still one of Netflix’s best—fresh this far into its run.

Claws (TNT, June 11)

TNT continues its gritty makeover with this sharp look at a Florida nail salon run by Niecy Nash, who juggles manicures, money laundering and murder. The powerhouse cast includes The Good Wife’s Carrie Preston, Scrubs’ Judy Reyes and Breaking Bad’s Dean Norris.

Glow (Netflix, June 23)

Kohan is pulling double duty this summer, also executive producing this comedy about the creation of the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling, the ’80s TV series featuring women wrestlers. Alison Brie stars as a down-on-her-luck actress who embraces a very different kind of acting job.

Snowfall (FX, July 5)

FX, which Adweek named TV’s hottest drama network for a second straight year thanks to Legion, The Americans and Feud, looks to keep its hot streak going with this new series, co-created by John Singleton, which looks at the start of the crack epidemic in 1983 Los Angeles.

Salvation (CBS, July 12)

BrainDead only lasted one season, so CBS has gone back to the drawing board to create another high-profile summer drama. This year’s entry, Salvation, is about the struggle to save Earth from an asteroid that is just six months away from colliding with the planet. The network’s summer dramas—Under the Dome, Extant and Zoo—tend to have splashy premieres before going south, so the early episodes should at least be a treat.

Game of Thrones (HBO, July 16)

Summer is coming, but more importantly, so is winter. After an agonizing year-plus wait, Game of Thrones is back for  its second-to-last season (don’t worry: five separate spinoffs are in the works at HBO), as the Seven Kingdoms ramp up their battle for the iron throne. “The great war is here,” says the resurrected Jon Snow in the trailer below. Bring it on.

Insecure (HBO, July 23)

Game of Thrones isn’t the only eagerly awaited returning HBO show in July. A week after Thrones’ return, HBO is debuting the second season of Insecure, one of 2016’s best new shows, created by and starring Issa Rae. The network hasn’t shared any new footage yet, but after Rae’s confident freshman season, I can’t wait to see how she’ll top herself.

SNL: Weekend Update (NBC, Aug. 10)

Already in Saturday Night Live withdrawal, even though the season just ended a week ago? This year, viewers won’t have to wait until September or October for new SNL jokes, as Colin Jost and Michael Che will be bringing Weekend Update to prime time for four weeks in August. Those episodes will also feature appearances from other cast members, which hopefully means Kate McKinnon will be playing someone in Trump’s inner circle.

The Defenders (Netflix, Aug. 18)

The next Avengers movie doesn’t come out for another year, but Netflix has the next best thing: the first team-up of its street-level superheroes, with Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and (saving the worst for last) Iron Fist joining forces. In the works since Daredevil debuted in 2015, the show features a formidable baddie in Sigourney Weaver, while the trailer promises plenty of action. “The War for New York is here,” says Scott Glenn’s Stick, “so get your shit together.”

Broad City (Comedy Central, Aug. 23)

It’s been more than a year since Broad City fans last saw Ilana and Abbi, who will be back to wreak hilarious havoc in and around New York. They’ll be back for Season 4 at the end of the summer; as a bonus, that night will also feature South Park’s Season 21 premiere.