Summer TV Preview 2017: 'Game of Thrones,' 'Defenders' and '80s Lady Wrestlers

From the Iron Throne to the Black Lodge – Rob Sheffield lays out your complete must-see viewing guide for the season

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June 23rd

Alison Brie is a floundering Hollywood actress – she dreams of serious theater, yet can't even score a bit part on a soap opera. Until she shows up in a cattle call for her strangest audition ever: Marc Maron is recruiting for a new league called the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. She asks, "Sorry ... are you hiring actors to play wrestlers? Or are we the wrestlers?" He replies, "Yes." When Brie gives him a resume full of Strindberg plays, she adds, "I've also done extensive mask work and clowning workshops." Goodbye Strindberg; hello hair-pulling smackdowns set to Journey anthems.

The latest from Orange Is The New Black's Jenji Kohan, G.L.O.W. is a surprisingly affectionate and clever account of a truly weird Eighties pop culture phenomenon, based on the pioneering real-life league. The Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling were a low-budget TV staple back in the day. (Some of us who watched can still sing along to their rap theme song "Nasty and Mean," chanting, "We eat raw meat before every fight / So get out of the way because we kill on sight.") Brie is impressively convincing as the prissy vanilla-ice princess who toughens up and learns to dole out the punishment as she starts to thrive on the violence (and the employment). And Maron is hilarious as the hard-boiled director, who only lowers himself to this degrading gig because he's failed at his true calling, directing sci-fi soft-porn flicks. He’s like Tom Hanks in A League of Our Own, except with slightly less alcohol and a lot more snorting lines off his framed portrait of Ron and Nancy.

The whole squad is full of characters – Sydelle Noel as the streetwise enforcer Cherry, Britt Baron is the soulful punk-rock girl in the Germs t-shirt. It reworks the Orange Is The New Black conceit of dropping a preppie poseur into a can full of bona fide bad girls – except this time in scenarios starring the Leather Virgin, Mutant Mod, the Sexecutioner and Kuntar the Magnificent.

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