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Summer TV Preview 2018: Spies, Sinners, ‘Sharp Objects’ and Sex Magick

From dark crime procedurals to black-magic dramas, teen superheroes to Stephen King horror – your complete summer viewing guide

Summer TV Preview 2018

Your complete Summer TV viewing guide – from Stephen King to 'Sharp Objects,' returning Netflix hits to new teen superhero dramas and NSFW sitcoms.

Summer TV – it’s not just for losers anymore. Not so long ago, the months from May to August were TV’s reject pile, the Island of Misfit Toys, a wasteland full of reruns and fluff. The airwaves turned into a dumping ground for crap that wouldn’t cut it the rest of the year.

But that’s no longer the case, as the Peak TV boom keeps raging all year round and the hustle for ratings never sleeps. This summer is packed, from Stephen King’s nightmares to J.K. Rowling’s detectives, Eighties drag divas to Marvel teen superheroes. Michelle Wolf is bringing the political heat. John Krasinski is an ass-kicking super-spy. Cowboys. Occult sex rituals. And another shot for Arrested Development to get it right this time. These are the 24 summer shows worth getting excited about this season. Who needs fresh air and sunshine and swimming pools?

'The Sinner' Season 2 (August)

Lyndon French for Rolling Stone

‘The Sinner’ Season 2 (August 1)

USA
The first season of this “whydunnit” about a woman accused of murder and the rumpled detective trying to unravel the mystery behind the act was impressive enough and proved that producer/star Jessica Biel has been a generally underused actor for most of her career. But the reason we’re incredibly excited for the USA show’s sophomore season? This new batch of episodes features the return of Leftovers/Fargo star Carrie Coon to TV, in a new storyline that finds dogged law-enforcement officer Bill Pullman investigating a different unexplained murder involving a kid who’s murdered his parents. We have no idea where the actress fits in, but Carrie Coon, people! DF

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‘Insecure’ Season 3 (August 12)

HBO
Issa Rae’s misadventures of a teacher/would-be rapper/woman trying to figure out life in Los Angeles has been one of the most consistently solid new shows of the past few years – a perfect distillation of an artist’s voice into a premium-cable prestige-comedy format. Season Three promises more of the same, along with a new cohabitation set-up for our heroine, probably no Jay Ellis appearances and more Molly shenanigans. DF

Summer TV Preview 2018

‘Disenchantment’ (August 17)

Netflix
Good news, Futurama fans! The man behind that animated sci-fi show – and another TV toon about a family in the small town of Springfield, the name of which escapes us at the moment – returns to your screens with a brand new series. Matt Groening’s latest venture follows a liquor-swilling princess (voiced by Broad City‘s Abbi Jacobson) as she battles all sorts of fantasy-based beasties, enemies and other Tolkienesque obstacles. Luckily, she’s got a sidekick elf to help out; unluckily, she has a “personal demon” nagging at her as well – we’re going to assume that it’s an actual demon and not a colloquialism. If Groening can do for sword-and-sorcery what he did for interstellar shenanigans, we see a long, fan-quotable shelf life for this. DF

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‘The Innocents’ (August 24)

Netflix
Another tale of two alienated teenagers who find common ground in the supernatural. The Innocents comes on very British indeed, as you can tell from the fabulously named leads Sorcha Groundshell and Percelle Ascott. They’re a young couple named Harry and June whose families can’t understand their forbidden love – he’s black, she’s white. But when they run away from the adult world, they find out June is a shape-shifter, with mysterious professor Guy Pearce tutoring her in her powers and tantalizing her with the whereabouts of the mother who abandoned her three years ago. It’s Romeo meets Juliet, with a side order of Species. RS

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‘Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan’ (August 31)

Amazon
The latest version of Tom Clancy’s red-blooded CIA agent has a Lost pedigree in creators Carlton Cuse and Graham Roland – not to mention an Office pedigree in John Krasinski. Hot from the success of A Quiet Place, the erstwhile Jim completes his stunning makeover by stepping into the role made famous by Harrison Ford, Alec Baldwin, Chris Pine … and ah yes, Ben Affleck. His new boss is Wendell Pierce (that’s right, Bunk from The Wire); the cast also includes Abbie Cornish Peter Fonda and Timothy Hutton. Amazon is betting heavily on this franchise, and Krasinski plays Ryan as a schlubby office drone: “I’m an analyst! I don’t interrogate people, I write reports!” Guess who reluctantly gets pulled into a Middle Eastern terrorist plot and discovers his inner action hero? RS

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