For years, the major television broadcast networks have largely abandoned summer programming in favor of repeats and reality shows. Fortunately, the cable networks have picked up the slack with a lineup that should have something for everyone and keep us all glued to our TV screens in the months ahead. The CraveOnline team has assembled a list of 12 of our most anticipated new and returning TV series of the summer. And it was a lot harder to narrow down than in previous years.
So, if you think we left anything out that should have made this list, please feel free to let us know in the comment section below!
Season Premiere: 6/03/12
During its first season, "Teen Wolf" showed flashes of Joss Whedon inspired genius mixed in with some occasionally insipid storytelling. True, Tyler Posey's high school student turned werewolf, Scott McCall could be a little dopey at times; but the mystery of the Alpha Wolf was compelling and it even led to some genuinely tense moments.
The first few episodes of "Teen Wolf" season 2 show that the series still has a lot of potential, particularly with the hints that Scott and his fellow werewolves have more to worry about than just hunters. "Battlestar Galactica" veteran Michael Hogan is also joining the cast as Gerard Archer, the grandfather of Scott's girlfriend Allison (Crystal Reed); who wants to further induct his granddaughter into the family business.
Season Premiere: 6/10/12
Easily one of the most popular summer TV series, "True Blood" has struck a vein among viewers as they follow the adventures of Sookie Stackhouse (Anna Paquin) and the two vampires romantically pursuing her: Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer) and Eric Northman (Alexander Skarsgård). This season, Sookie has basically kicked both Bill and Eric out of her life as she strives for a normal existence. But that's probably not in the cards, as the insane vampire king, Russell Edgington (Denis O'Hare) has been freed from his tomb to get revenge against all of them.
Eric and Bill also have to deal the Vampire Authority led by Christopher Meloni's Roman. The Authority doesn't take rebellion lightly, so Bill and Eric may end up fighting a war on two fronts that they can't hope to win; which will likely draw Sookie back into their lives regardless of what she wants.
Series Premiere: 6/13/12
From 1978 to 1991, "Dallas" dominated the TV drama landscape thanks in large part to Larry Hagman's iconic J.R. Ewing. Over twenty years later, TNT is bringing "Dallas" back as an all new series with Hagman reprising his role alongside his former co-stars Patrick Duffy and Linda Grey as Bobby Ewing and Sue Ellen Ewing, respectively. But the bulk of the focus is going to be on the new generation of Ewings: J.R.'s son John Ross (Josh Henderson) and Bobby's son, Christopher (Jesse Metcalfe) as they fight for control of the family business and for the heart of Jordana Brewster's Elena Ramos.
It's anyone's guess if lighting will strike twice for "Dallas," but TNT wisely avoided a complete reboot by bringing in some of the primary actors from the original series. Even J.R.'s nemesis, Cliff Barnes (Ken Kercheval) is slatted to come back for a few episodes.
Season Premiere: 6/14/12
Coming into this season of "Burn Notice," Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan) is a man who doesn't have a lot left to lose as he pursues Anson Fullerton (Jere Burns), the man who burned him years ago. However, a more pressing issue for Michael is getting his girlfriend, Fiona Glenanne (Gabrielle Anwar) out of jail after Anson framed her for murder.
Complicating matters further, Anson will make his presence known to the CIA and potentially put Michael and his team at odds with the agency once again. Things are never easy down in Miami, but you can bank on lots of explosions and gunfire ahead.
Season Premiere: 6/17/12
The new season of "Falling Skies" picks up months after the finale, with Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) still in the custody of the alien overlords while the resistance struggles to survive an increasingly desperate situation on Earth. And Tom's son, Ben (Connor Jessup) appears to have developed a murderous hatred towards the aliens who once held him under their control.
When Tom finally gets released, even he isn't sure if the aliens have done something to his mind as his former comrades view him with suspicion. During the second season, Terry O'Quinn ("Lost") will appear as Tom's mentor and Brandon Jay McLaren ("The Killing") will play Sunil Chutani, a new member of the resistance.
Network: Comedy Central
Season Premiere: 6/20/12
Good news, everyone!
One of the funniest animated series on TV is coming back with 13 new episodes! On tap this season for "Futurama," Bender impregnates the Planet Express soda machine and joins the paparazzi; Hermes becomes a cyborg; Leela joins a Presidential campaign against Richard Nixon and the crew deals with a prophesy that the world will end in 3012.
But have no fear, "Futurama" will return again in 2013 with an additional 13 episodes.
Series Premiere: 6/24/12
"The West Wing" creator and The Social Network screenwriter Aaron Sorkin is making his return to series TV with "The Newsroom," and he's bringing along a very talented cast that includes Jeff Daniels, Sam Waterston, Emily Mortimer, Allison Pill, Jane Fonda, Dev Patel, John Gallagher Jr., Thomas Sadoski and Olivia Munn. Daniels plays Will McAvoy, a cable news anchor who unexpectedly airs his real political views after years of playing it safe by appearing to be neutral.
In the aftermath, McAvoy tries to save his career and rebuild his show with a mostly new staff while contending with corporate and commercial problems. It's familiar territory for Sorkin, but he does it so well…
Season Premiere: 6/28/12
The first season of "Wilfred" took some time to find itself creatively and it could admittedly be a little too scatological. But the season finale was brilliant and dark as Ryan (Elijah Wood) became even more manipulative than Wilfred (Jason Gann) in his pursuit of Jenna (Fiona Gubelmann). Along the way, Ryan destroyed the marriage of his sister, Kristen (Dorian Brown) and he accidentally convinced Jenna that she was pregnant with the child of her ex-boyfriend.
More alarmingly, Wilfred was hit by a car and he no longer remembered Ryan when he woke up. And when Ryan returned home, he was forced to question his own sanity and wonder if his time with Wilfred was simply a delusion. While there's no word yet on how those cliffhangers will be resolved, Ryan and Wilfred will be back together for a new season, with Allison Mack ("Smallville") joining the cast as Amanda, Ryan's new love interest.
Series Premiere: 7/09/12
Aside from "Falling Skies" and "Dallas," most of TNT's original dramas tend to be procedurals. "Perception" is no exception.
However, "Perception" tweaks the formula by featuring Eric McCormack as Dr. Daniel Pierce, a brilliant neuroscientist who helps the FBI solve their most complex cases. Dr. Pirece is also a paranoid schizophrenic who will sometimes get into arguments and conversations with people who don't exist outside of his head.
Keeping Pierce grounded are his teaching assistant, Max Lewicki (Arjay Smith) and FBI agent Kate Moretti (Rachael Leigh Cook). Sci-fi veterans LeVar Burton ("Star Trek: The Next Generation") and Jamie Bamber ("Battlestar Galactica") also have recurring roles on the series.
Season Premiere: 7/15/12
As "Breaking Bad" returns for the first half of its final season, Walter White (Bryan Cranston) and his partner, Jesse Pinkman (Aaron Paul) will apparently be filling the void left after the explosive demise of Gus Fring (Giancarlo Esposito) and the destruction of the cartel.
AMC's official description of the fifth season says “No longer under the thumb of a mastermind criminal, Walt now assumes the role of one himself, as he and Jesse look to build their own empire. Meanwhile, Skyler (Anna Gunn) struggles with the reality of her husband’s new role and Hank (Dean Norris) works to wrap up his investigation of Gus’ business.”
The early photos from the fifth season seem to indicate that it takes place shortly after the fourth season. Jesse Plemons ("Friday Night Lights") is also joining the cast as Todd, a working class man who may be hiding secrets of his own.
There is also the matter of Gus' former right hand man, Mike Ehrmantraut (Jonathan Banks); who is bound to be pissed off when he learns what happened to his boss and the superlab. Or maybe Mike will come to work with Walt and Jesse.
We'll find out soon enough.
Network: BBC America
Series Premiere: 8/19/12
Usually content with bringing over comedies and dramas from the BBC channels in the United Kingdom, BBC America is stepping up this summer with "Copper," its first original series set in the backdrop of New York City in the 1860s. Tom Weston-Jones stars as Kevin Corcoran, an Irish immigrant turned police officer who tries to keep the peace in the Five Points neighborhood while trying to solve his daughter's murder and his wife's disappearance.
Basically, think of this as "Gangs of New York: The Series." Kyle Schmid, Anastasia Griffith, Franka Potente, Kevin Ryan and Tessa Thompson round out the cast.
Season Premiere: 08/17/12
Last year, "Strike Back" unseated "Burn Notice" as the best action series currently on TV. This summer, "Strike Back" is poised to do it again.
Sullivan Stapleton stars as Damian Scott, a wrongly disgraced American operative working for the British Secret Intelligence Service's Section 20 alongside Michael Stonebridge (Philip Winchester) as they take down terrorist threats around the world. Despite Stonebridge's apparent retirement at the end of the season, expect him to be back alongside Scott as they meet Section 20's new commanding officer, Captain Rachel Dalton; as portrayed by Rhona Mitra (Underworld: Rise of the Lycans).
In many ways, "Strike Back" is the ultimate "guy" series. There's a lot of action and sex in every episode, but it's also more compelling and interesting than you might expect. If you're looking for a guilty pleasure to enjoy on TV, this is one of the best.