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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

to a long hot summer of TV – in case you’re tempted to venture outside in
the sweltering heat, the airwaves are full of excellent reasons to stay
inside and watch.
Our summer TV preview has brilliant new shows and returning old
favorites, from the Iron Throne to the Black Lodge. There are innovative
dramas about stand-up comics, female wrestlers, drug dealers and Seventies stand-up comics. There are clones and cowgirls and dragons.
There are erotic thrillers, wild comedies and ridiculous game shows.
Praise the TV gods and pour the damn good coffee.

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Anne Marie Fox/HBO

‘Insecure’: Season 2

July 23rd

return of the mack: Issa Rae faces up to her so-called life in the new season
of Insecure, one of last year’s
brightest sitcom newcomers. The creator of Awkward
Black Girl
gets even more awkward as she grapples to figure herself out.
What is she doing at the inner-city educational nonprofit I Got This? Is she
wasting her talent by not chasing her dream of rapping? Does she belong with
the guy who makes her feel like “the black couple fighting at CVS”? Or does she
belong with the less reliable but hotter guy she tells him not to worry about?
Why is her coolest friend Molly single? For that matter, why is Issa? That’s a
lot of drama to resolve in one season, but watching her try will be a pleasure,
especially with her bathroom-mirror raps for commentary.

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‘Difficult People’: Season 3

August 8th

New York comedy of bad manners gets a few new twists this summer – yet Julie
Klausner and Billy Eichner remain the tight connection at the heart of their
stomach-clenchingly cringe-intensive fictional universe. Stockard Channing
shows up to play Julie’s unbearable aunt, while Billy makes a move to figure
out how to be part of a bona fide couple with boyfriend John Cho. But there
seems to be no need to worry either of these Difficult People will get normal on us. As always, it’s the
dysfunctional adventures of two BFFs who bring out the catty worst each other,
in a city full of people who’d rather gargle broken glass than spend a minute
with either of them.

Play video

‘The Defenders’

August 18th

The long-awaited Marvel Netflix all-star team finally gets it together to battle the forces of evil. On deck: The whiskey-swilling hard-boiled detective Jessica Jones; her Hell’s Kitchen neighbor (and her attorney) Matt Murdock, known on the streets as Daredevil; Harlem’s bulletproof black messiah Luke Cage; and some douchey martial-arts kid who wants people to call him Iron Fist, but looks like his true superpower is his mystic hacky-sack skills. Well, three out of four aint bad.

The Defenders thrives on the tension between these four wildly divergent heroes – Krysten Ritter‘s Jones and Mike Colter’s Cage have a stoic sense of grief in their bones, while Charlie Cox plays it a bit mellow as Daredevil. They’re not exactly equal partners, in terms of their skill sets or star power; letting Finn Jones’ lame Danny Rand on this squad is like putting Sammy Hagar in the Traveling Wilburys. (It’s reminiscent of the classic sketch on The State where the Super Friends tell Aquaman, “Go talk to some fish.”) But these loners join forces with some help from the underpraised Rosario Dawson as Clare Temple, along with other figures from the Marvel Netflix orbit – Elodie Yung makes a welcome return as Elektra, while Sigourney Weaver makes an elegantly sinister super-villain.

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