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Wet Hot TV Summer Preview: From ‘True Detective’ to Caitlyn Jenner

Everything you need to know about this season’s smoking-hot must-see TV shows

caitlyn jenner and colin farrell

E!; Lacey Terrell/HBO

Yes, it's our guide to the summer's most hotly awaited cable shows — from the time-is-a-flat-circle return of True Detective to the emancipation of Caitlyn Jenner. Some of this season's contenders are brand new; others are veteran franchises back with a new twist or two. There's the Wachowskis gone spiritual and the dawn of the Walking Dead zombies, spy thrillers and sci-fi fantasies, hip-hop gangstas and powder-wig wizards and blunt talkers and difficult people. And of course, the first day of camp for Wet Hot American Summer, returning at long last. Summer TV is ready when you are. 

colin farrell

TRUE DETECTIVE season 2: Colin Farrell. photo: Lacey Terrell

Lacey Terrell/HBO

‘True Detective’

June 21st, 10 pm, HBO
The summer's most intensely awaited show by a mile. True Detective faces a damn near impossible task: how to start over and begin a new mystery that can live up to Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson. Nobody's ever attempted an encore like this before, and nobody knows how the results will look. Creator Nic Pizzolatto is back to write all the episodes, while Cary Fukunaga is executive-producing instead of directing. The cast is promising, with Taylor Kitsch and a mustache-chewing Colin Farrell. And Vince Vaughn reteams with Rachel McAdams, all these years after he met her in church for Wedding Crashers.

Katie Holmes and Liev Schreiber

Katie Holmes as Paige and Liev Schreiber as Ray Donovan in Ray Donovan (Season 3, Episode 2). - Photo: Michael Desmond/SHOWTIME - Photo ID: RayDonovan_302_2341.R

Michael Desmond/SHOWTIME

‘Ray Donovan’

July 12th, 9 pm, Showtime
Liev Schreiber's L.A.-via-Boston Irish superthug may have started out as a fairly generic cable antihero — but he gets more interesting every season, now that he's less of a family man and more of a freewheeling criminal operator. Ian McShane (Deadwood's Al Swearengen) is the new MVP in the cast, as a louche gangster. ("My father was a criminal, Mr. Donovan. He ensured that I didn't have to be.") And as McShane's daughter: Welcome back to prime time, Katie Holmes!

Jon Voight also returns as Ray's lowlife dad, Mickey, but the story is less dependent on him — his character has run out of steam and his scenes are essentially filler. McShane is now the real heavyweight for Schreiber to tangle with here, and it's pure pleasure to see them interact, especially since his charismatic presence balances out Schreiber's no-facial-expressions-ever approach. "Kafka said that in man's struggle against the world, you bet on the world," McShane muses at one point, with that evil purr in his voice. "But with people like us, you bet on the man. You most definitely bet on the man."

caitlyn jenner


‘I Am Cait’

July 26th, 9 pm, E!
It's always so confusing when Keeping Up With the Kardashians lags this far behind the latest breaking Kardashian news – they can’t even keep up with themselves! But obviously, ever since Bruce Jenner heroically embraced a new life as a trans woman, this summer's Kardashian du jour is Caitlyn. ("I wanna know how this story ends" — easily the coolest thing any Kardashian has ever said, admittedly not a tough competition.) So E! jumps into action with this eight-episode reality series. I Am Cait follows Caitlyn as she begins a new identity, asking, "How many people go through life and just waste their entire life because they never deal with themself, to be who they are?" Poor Brody — Caitlyn's son hosts the new chat show Sex With Brody, but he's been scooped already. Most of us will just watch Bromance reruns and wait for I Am Cait.

Zak Orth, Michael Showalter, Ken Marino, Joe Lo Truglio and Nina Hellman


Saeed Adyani/Netflix

‘Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp’

July 31st, Netflix
Yet another bizarre chapter in the long-running afterlife of MTV's cult comedy classic The State – 14 years after it barely even got released, Wet Hot American Summer gets its long-prayed-for second coming. It's the prequel the world was waiting for. David Wain and Michael Showalter revive their beloved teen flick as an eight-episode miniseries. And they bring back the original cast, so many of whom went on to stardom — Bradley Cooper, Amy Poehler, Paul Rudd — as well as newcomers like Jon Hamm, John Slattery and Kristen Wiig.

Billy Eichner and Julie Klausner

DF_1585_03 Credit: Ali Goldstein Caption: Hulu Original Difficult People stars Billy Eichner (Left) and Julie Klausner (Right) as best friends living in New York City. Their typical, irreverent behavior lands them in some very awkward situations.


‘Difficult People’

August, Hulu
The summer's most tantalizing comedy prospect for sure — it's the boy/girl Broad City, produced by Amy Poehler. Difficult People stars two brilliant comic upstarts, Billy Eichner and Julie Klausner, as best friends scrounging in NYC for fame, fortune and the occasional slice of ass. A Charles Nelson Reilly and Brett Somers for our twisted time.

kim dickens and cliff curtis


‘Fear the Walking Dead’

August, AMC
A spinoff doesn't have to spin that far off from the original, right? And given the ongoing blockbuster success of The Walking Dead, you have to bet the as-yet-unseen Fear the Walking Dead will not feature well-behaved zombies who patronize their local library and obey traffic signals. Creator Robert Kirkman is behind this prequel going into the origins of the zombie apocalypse.

Adrian Scarborough, Patrick Stewart

Blunt Talk Adrian Scarborough (as Harry), Patrick Stewart (as Walter Blunt)


‘Blunt Talk’

August 22nd, 9 pm, Starz
You wouldn't expect to see the captain of the Enterprise blowing rails in Hollywood. But then, you wouldn't expect a comedy throwdown between Jonathan Ames (of Bored to Death fame) and Seth MacFarlane, starring Patrick Stewart (Captain Jean-Luc Picard himself) as Walter Blunt, a blow-sniffing British TV chat-show host lost in L.A., where he flaunts his bad habits and worse manners. Make it so!

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