Monday, July 15, 2024

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The 14 TV shows we’re most excited for this summer

Meredith Blake, Greg Braxton, Matt Brennan, Tracy Brown, Maira Garcia, Ashley Lee, Robert Lloyd, Mary McNamara and Yvonne Villarreal – Los Angeles Times (TNS)

Summer is the best time to catch up on television, and fortunately, there are plenty of series, new and returning, to keep you entertained when it gets too hot to lounge at the beach or pool. However, it means you’ll have to say goodbye to at least one show, but you’ll also get to say hello to a couple revivals, some mystery miniseries and documentary series (and a film) that take a closer look at notable subjects such as Celine Dion, Black artists in Hollywood and that beloved ’70s music genre, disco.

‘Evil’ (Paramount+, May 23)

Since premiering in 2019, Robert and Michelle King’s wickedly inventive procedural, in which a psychologist (Katja Herbers), a priest (Mike Colter) and a tech whiz (Aasif Mandvi) team up to investigate supernatural phenomena for the Catholic Church, has wholly adopted the pair’s penchant for mischief. Combining genre conventions, topical plots and absurdist humor, the series has embraced aesthetic risks that would make most “prestige” dramas blanch, with crucial scenes unfolding inside an “Animal Crossing”-like game and a near-silent episode set at an upstate New York monastery; and deftly handled such thorny subjects as medical racism, labor exploitation and the scourge of social media. That it will end after this season, its fourth, is at once devastating and unsurprising: The most audacious series on television since the Kings concluded “The Good Fight” in 2022, “Evil” is quite simply too good for this world. — Matt Brennan

‘Eric’ (Netflix, May 30)

It’s every parent’s worst nightmare — your child goes missing without a trace. That’s the premise of this miniseries, which is set in gritty 1980s New York. “Eric” follows married couple Vincent (Benedict Cumberbatch) and Cassie (Gaby Hoffmann), who are trying to find their son Edgar (Ivan Howe), and NYPD Det. Michael Ledroit (McKinley Belcher III), who is investigating the boy’s disappearance while battling his own issues. Vincent is a puppeteer who helms a “Sesame Street”-like show called “Good Day Sunshine,” and he convinces himself that he’ll find Edgar by getting a blue monster puppet, based on Edgar’s drawings, on TV. It may sound strange, but it’s an intriguing take on a mystery with lots of twists. — Maira Garcia

‘Disco: Soundtrack of a Revolution’ ( and app, June 1; PBS, June 18)

I’m a sucker for nostalgic music documentaries and any kind of revisionist history about unfairly maligned cultural phenomena, which is why I can’t wait for “Disco,” a three-part series — streaming June 1 online and airing weekly beginning June 18 — tracing the rise, fall and enduring legacy of one of pop music’s most joyful and most misunderstood genres. A BBC Studios production for PBS, this documentary looks at how disco, which came to be associated with mainstream white artists like the Bee Gees, actually originated in queer, Black and Latino communities in 1970s New York and rose in tandem with the liberation movements of the era. “Disco” also explores the virulent backlash, which was fueled by aggrieved white, heterosexual American men who saw its cultural dominance as a threat to their guitar-shredding way of life. Bring your boogie shoes — and your thinking caps. — Meredith Blake

‘Orphan Black: Echoes’ (AMC, AMC+ and BBC America, June 23)

#CloneClub, it’s been a while. Seven years after the original “Orphan Black” ended its five-season run, “Echoes” is here to pull you into a new clone conspiracy. Set some time in the near future, the 10-episode series stars Krysten Ritter as Lucy, a woman who possibly emerged from a vat of pink goo with no memories of who she is (or so the trailer suggests). Much like the flagship series, “Echoes” will see Lucy and others have to navigate what it all means after they start to unravel the truth about their origins. The original “Orphan Black” is best known for the Emmy-winning performance of Tatiana Maslany, who depicted more than 10 clones over the course of the series. But the show was resonant because of its exploration of humanity, identity, agency, mortality, religion and science. As politicians continue to write legislation restricting bodily autonomy and debates around technology like artificial intelligence intensify, a show that can carry the torch from “Orphan Black” feels more needed than ever. — Tracy Brown

‘I Am: Celine Dion’ (Prime Video, June 25)

Like many other fans, I was heartbroken to hear that the esteemed singer had been diagnosed with stiff-person syndrome, an incredibly rare autoimmune disorder of the nervous system. Although the discovery of her condition led to the cancellation of her world tour last year, Dion — who has remained very private since sharing the news — is releasing a documentary that showcases her musical legacy as well as her struggle with this illness. The intimate portrait is helmed by Irene Taylor, an Oscar-nominated director whose previous projects include such subjects as deafness, forests and the history of the Boy Scouts. — Ashley Lee

‘Land of Women’ (Apple TV+, June 26)

For those of us who are unable to visit Spain this summer, Apple TV+ is offering the next best thing: “Land of Women.” Starring Eva Longoria, also an executive producer, the six-episode limited series is based on Sandra Barneda’s bestselling novel of the same name. Gala Scott (Longoria) is living the perfect high society life in New York when she discovers that her husband, Fred (James Purefoy), owes millions to some pretty rough-looking criminals. After they threaten her teenage daughter (Victoria Bazúa) and her mother (Spanish film and television legend Carmen Maura), Gala decides they need to flee the country. The three women hide out in the small Spanish town that Gala’s mother fled 50 years ago, vowing never to return. Shot in English and Spanish, “The Land of Women” involves many family secrets, village tensions, handsome Spaniards of varying ages and, of course, a winery. — Mary McNamara

‘The Bear,’ Season 3 (Hulu, June 27)

After last season, I‘ve been unable to handle a mushroom in the kitchen without immediately thinking of Richie (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) and Terry (Olivia Colman) tenderly peeling mounds of them. And now, Season 3 of “The Bear’’ is arriving as quick as it takes to hit “jump to recipe” on a cooking blog. Season 2 ended with the soft opening of the Bear — formerly the Original Beef of Chicagoland — for friends and family. It should have been a triumphant night for Carmy (Jeremy Allen White) and his team, but pressure is always boiling beneath the surface for the brooding chef, who finds himself overwhelmed at the prospect of leading his own restaurant and being a boyfriend. He cracks under pressure and gets locked in the restaurant’s freezer because of a faulty door handle. Will Carmy work on himself and learn to let go in Season 3? Season 2 also saw growth for other members of the team: Tina (Liza Colón-Zayas) went to culinary school; Marcus (Lionel Boyce) studied desserts in Copenhagen while dealing with the failing health of his mother; Sydney (Ayo Edibiri) adopted the teachings of Duke’s legendary Coach K to motivate the kitchen staff; and Richie learned to appreciate the finer things in life — the fruits of which we may see in Season 3. Edibiri also reportedly directed an episode — that’s as enticing as a Boursin omelet topped with crushed potato chips. — Yvonne Villarreal

‘The Decameron’ (Netflix, July TBA)

Ever wondered what it’s like to live through a pandemic? Oh, wait, you already know? Well, “The Decameron” is here to remind you anyway. The sudsy drama is set in 1348 Florence, as the Black Plague ravages the city, and a group of nobles retreats to a villa in the Tuscan countryside to ride out the surge in style with a decadent holiday. But conditions quickly deteriorate, and the indulgent escape turns into a “Lord of the Flies”-style story of survival. Created by Kathleen Jordan and executive produced by Jenji Kohan, the series stars Zosia Mamet and Saoirse-Monica Jackson (“Derry Girls”) and is inspired by Giovanni Boccaccio’s short stories — meaning, if nothing else, that it will likely be the only Netflix show this year based on Italian Renaissance literature. — Meredith Blake

Lady in the Lake (Apple TV+, July 19)

Based on Laura Lippman’s bestselling novel, “Lady in the Lake” follows two women whose lives converge in 1960s Baltimore after the disappearance of a young girl grips the city. Natalie Portman stars as Maddie Schwartz, a Jewish housewife who leaves her family and reinvents herself as an investigative journalist. Also starring is Moses Ingram as Cleo Sherwood, a Black mother whose mysterious death occupies Maddie’s thoughts. The seven-part limited series was created, written and directed by Alma Har’el. Also worth noting: It’s Portman’s first starring role in a TV series.— Maira Garcia

‘Emily in Paris,’ Season 4 (Netflix, Part 1, Aug. 15; Part 2, Sept. 12)

Knowing that in “Beverly Hills, 90210,” creator Darren Star sent Brenda (and Donna) to Paris, setting into motion the messiest love triangle saga in the teen drama’s run, it should come as no surprise that he has chosen to repeat the setting — and emotional violence — in “Emily in Paris.” Season 3 ended with a melodramatic cliffhanger involving the characters in the show’s love triangle: Emily (Lily Collins), Gabriel (Lucas Bravo) and Camille (Camille Razat). Gabriel and Camille’s engagement party turned-last-minute-wedding may have ended without nuptials — and Alfie (Lucien Laviscount) may have bowed out of his relationship with Emily upon learning about her feelings for Gabriel — but Emily, the colorfully dressed marketing executive, and Gabriel were no closer to a tidy love story. In the closing seconds of the Season 3 finale, Gabriel tells Emily that Camille is pregnant. It left a lot for the titular heroine to unpack for Season 4 — and she’ll likely be traveling while doing it, with the series venturing to the French Alps and Rome. Elsewhere, Mindy (Ashley Park) and the band prepare for Eurovision, and Sylvie’s Agence Grateau navigates personnel shakeups. — Yvonne Villarreal

‘Yo Gabba GabbaLand!’ (Apple TV+, Aug. 9)

Christian Jacobs of the ska-punk superhero band the Aquabats co-created the original iteration of this mad children’s show, which ran on Nickelodeon in fits and starts from 2007 to 2015, as well as this happy Apple TV+ revival. With a title combining hip-hop and the Ramones, and an aesthetic that suggests the Good Ship Lollipop refitted as the P-Funk Mothership, the series is not your usual kettle of computer-animated preschool sensitivity, but a mad monster party for the young. Brobee, Foofa, Muno, Toodee and Plex are all back again, though original host DJ Lance has been replaced by 13-year-old dancer and social media personality Kamryn Smith, here called Kammy Kam. You can judge a kids show by the company it keeps; this one will welcome Reggie Watts, Sam Richardson, Gillian Jacobs, Utkarsh Ambudkar, Lauren Lapkus, Diplo, Flea and Chelsea Peretti across the 10-episode season. — Robert Lloyd

‘Hollywood Black’ (MGM+, Aug. 11)

Black filmmakers in Hollywood have been responsible for much of the most distinctive and provocative projects in the entertainment industry in the last few decades, ranging from Jordan Peele’s “Get Out” and Ryan Coogler’s “Black Panther” to Gina Prince-Bythewood’s “The Woman King.” The TV landscape has also showcased bold offerings from Issa Rae (“Insecure”), Donald Glover (“Atlanta”) and others. But for these creators, the success has also been accompanied by struggles, barriers and backlash. This docuseries tackles the history of the Black experience in Hollywood over the last century, featuring interviews with Coogler, Prince-Bythewood, Rae, LaKeith Stanfield, Lena Waithe, Forest Whitaker and many others. Based on the book by Donald Bogle, the four-part project is directed by Justin Simien (“Dear White People”) . — Greg Braxton

‘Only Murders in the Building,’ Season 4 (Hulu, Aug. 27)

A late-career lark for Steve Martin and Martin Short has become a beloved television institution; teamed with relative whippersnapper Selena Gomez, they form a comedy trio like none other. When we left our podcasting heroes, Sazz (Jane Lynch), the stunt double for Martin’s Charles Haden-Savage, was lying dead on the floor of his apartment. Was Charles the actual target? That’s a question that might well be asked. Along with the return of Season 3 scene-stealer Meryl Streep as Short’s love interest, the fourth season will reportedly bring appearances by Molly Shannon, Eva Longoria, Eugene Levy, Kumail Nanjiani and Zach Galifianakis, with some scenes set in Los Angeles, for satirical variation and because this is where the stars live. The too-obvious question with any show anchored by septuagenarians is, “Will this season be the last?” But the show has legs, and the Rolling Stones are on tour. — Robert Lloyd

‘Tales of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles’ (Paramount+, TBA)

“Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles: Mutant Mayhem” was one of my favorite movies from last summer. The fresh take on the iconic heroes in a half shell created by Kevin Eastman and Peter Laird leaned into youthful energy in everything from its casting to its sketchy art style. The upcoming series was greenlighted even before “Mutant Mayhem” hit theaters — that’s confidence. Set between the events of “Mutant Mayhem” and a forthcoming sequel film, the 2-D animated series will see Leo, Raph, Donnie and Mikey adjust to life out in the open as the new heroes of New York City. The series’ logline teases that the mean, green, teen fighting machines will face new foes and team-up with familiar faces, which is an exciting prospect with “TMNT’s” expansive roster of characters. Plus, the end of “Mutant Mayhem” saw the pizza-loving brothers starting a new kind of challenge: high school. — Tracy Brown

©2024 Los Angeles Times. Visit at Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.

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