Most anticipated TV shows coming this spring and summer

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Fall is usually the time for new series and seasons to make their debut, but with new ways of programming (i.e. Netflix), a good show can premiere at any time.

With television in its golden age, there is no better moment to be tuned into what’s happening on the small screen. Networks are attempting the look and feel of cable series and streaming services are filling in the cracks where some shows previously fell through. Cable classics, like “Game of Thrones”and “Mad Men”, are making their triumphant return this spring while experimental new series, like “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” and “Wet Hot American Summer”, are vying for the eyes online.

Take a look at the eight most anticipated shows coming this spring and summer. We tried to keep spoilers at a minimum, but keep cautious just in case you’re not all caught up.

American Crime

Image: American Crime / ABC

Image: American Crime / ABC

Premiere date: Thursday, March 5, 10 p.m.
Network: ABC, CTV
Genre: 60 minutes, drama
Starring: Felicity Huffman (“Desperate Housewives”), Timothy Hufton (“The Ghost Writer”)

This show is being heavily marketed as a heavyweight cable series brought to network television. With the story told from multiple perspectives, the series entwines race relations with hard emotional drama in way Brian Lowry of Variety labels “ambitious storytelling”. The plot structure sounds similar to BBC’s “Broadchurch” – the story unfolding around one event while diving into lives of those affected by the crime.

“American Crime” will give audiences a jolt of realism after two hours of Shondaland (Greys Anatomy and Scandal) driving the night’s easy entertainment vehicles.

The series is executive produced by John Ridley, Oscar winning writer of “12 Years a Slave”, and Michael J. McDonald.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt

Image: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt / Netflix

Image: Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt / Netflix

Premiere date:  Friday, March 6, 12:01 a.m.
Network:  Netflix
Genre:  30 minutes, comedy
Starring: Ellie Kemper (“The Office”), Jane Krakowski (“30 Rock”), Tituss Burgess

Originally ordered as a 13-episode NBC series, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” was sold to Netflix where it has already been booked for two seasons. TIME magazine calls the show “must-stream TV”, playing on the moniker of the deceased Thursday night comedy block NBC once dominated back in the heyday of network television.

Co-created by 30 Rock’s Tina Fey and Robert Carlock, the comedy’s bizarre plot catalyst involves main character Kimmy Schmidt breaking out of a doomsday cult and moving to New York City. The show is said to have the essence of 30 Rock, with a sunnier perspective. With what sounds like a zany group of characters, the series continues the sitcom vein of oddball comedies like Parks and Recreation, Community and Arrested Development.

Mad Men

Image: Mad Men / AMC

Image: Mad Men / AMC

Premiere date: Sunday, May 5, 10 p.m.
Network: AMC
Genre: 60 minutes, drama
Starring: Jon Hamm, Elizabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser, January Jones, Christina Hendricks, John Slattery

The seven year-old AMC period drama ends its final season this spring with a run of seven episodes. If you haven’t been watching, there is a lot to catch up before the new season starts. Luckily, the first six seasons are available for streaming on Netflix.

With Don’s future with SC&P under peril and the sudden death of a main character, the rest of the series promises a steady conclusion to the hit show.

Game of Thrones

Image: Game of Thrones / HBO

Image: Game of Thrones / HBO

Premiere date:  Sunday, April 12, 9 p.m.
Network:  HBO
Genre:  60 minutes, fantasy drama
Starring: Peter Dinklage, Lena Headey, Emilia Clarke, Maisie Williams, Kit Harington, Sophie Turner, Iain Glen

Game of Thrones is the most-watched series in HBO history, and its return in April will certainly draw eyes. According to HBO, “After the shocking deaths of S4 the season begins with a power vacuum that protagonists across Westeros and Essos look to fill. At Castle Black, Jon Snow struggles to balance the demands of the Night’s Watch with those of newly-arrived Stannis Baratheon, who styles himself the rightful king of Westeros. Meanwhile, Cersei scrabbles to hold on to power in King’s Landing amidst the Tyrells and the rise of a religious group led by the enigmatic High Sparrow, while Jaime embarks on a secret mission. Across the Narrow Sea, Arya seeks an old friend while a fugitive Tyrion finds a new cause. And as danger mounts in Meereen, Daenerys Targaryen finds that her tenuous hold on the city requires some hard sacrifices.”

If predictions are accurate, it looks like the 10-episode season will offer some shocking plot turns as usual.

Veep

Image: Veep / HBO

Image: Veep / HBO

Premiere date:  Sunday, April 12, 10:30 p.m.
Network:  HBO
Genre:  30 minutes, comedy
Starring: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Anna Chlumsky, Tony Hale, Matt Walsh, Timothy Simons, Reid Scott, Sufe Bradshaw, Kevin Dunn

Possibly HBO’s funniest comedy on air returns this spring to continue bringing us hilarious side-conversations between VP Selina Meyer (Louis-Dreyfus) and her bag man, Gary Walsh (Hale). Of course, the political comedy is more than just Gary’s ambiguous sexuality, Amy’s (Chlumsky) dry wit or Selena’s foul mouth; it has us rooting for these impeccably flawed characters to succeed.

In the final episode of the third season, Selina defaulted into the role as President, stunning everyone, including herself. The fourth season guarantees we will be treated to a new side of Louis-Dreyfus’ character and the resulting effects the title shift might have on her bumbling team.

Grace and Frankie

Image: Grace and Frankie / Netflix

Image: Grace and Frankie / Netflix

Premiere date:  Friday, May 8, 12:01 a.m.
Network:  Netflix
Genre:  30 minutes, comedy
Starring: Jane Fonda (“The Newsroom”), Lily Tomlin (“Web Therapy”), Martin Sheen (“The West Wing”), Sam Waterston (“The Newsroom”)

The new comedy series created by “Friends” originator, Marta Kauffman, stars Lily Tomlin and Jane Fonda as long-term rivals brought together when their husbands announce they are leaving their wives for each other. Stacked with four certified A-List actors, the series will likely garner serious interest when it launches 13 episodes in May.

Kauffman, co-creator of “Friends”, is obviously a gifted television writer, however she hasn’t had a successful series since the classic sitcom wrapped in 2004. Many eyes will be on “Grace and Frankie” to see if this big-name team can pull off a hit.

Orange is the New Black

OITNB

Image: Orange is the New Black / Netflix

Premiere date:  Friday, June 12, 12:01 a.m.
Network:  Netflix
Genre:  60 minutes, comedy/drama
Starring: Taylor Schilling, Laura Pepron, Michael J. Harney, Michelle Hurst, Kate Mulgrew, Uzo Aduba, Danielle Brooks, Natasha Lyonne, Taryn Manning

When Orange is the New Black last left us, two prisoners had escaped from jail – with one possibly dead. When the show returns in June for its fourth season, the drama will likely return in the sad yet hilarious way only OITNB can pull off.

There is little known about what will happen in the next season, however, recent reports confirm Jason Biggs, who plays Piper’s fiance, will not return. Oscar-winning actress Mary Steenburgen will join the cast, and all we know is that she will be playing the mother of one of the characters. Litchfield Penitentiary will also welcome a new love interest for both Piper and Alex, played by actress Ruby Rose.

If the rumours are right, it looks like there will be some major love drama between the dysfunctional couple.

Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp

Image: Wet Hot American Summer / USA Films

Image: Wet Hot American Summer / USA Films

Premiere date: Friday, July 17, 12:01 a.m.
Network: Netflix
Genre: 30 minutes, comedy
Starring: Molly Shannon (“Life After Beth”), Paul Rudd (“Anchorman 2”), Amy Poehler (“Parks and Recreation”), Bradley Cooper (“American Sniper”), Elizabeth Banks (“The Hunger Games”), Chris Pine (“Into the Woods”), Jon Hamm (“Mad Men”), Jason Schwartzman (“Big Eyes”), Kristen Wiig (“Bridesmaids”), John Slattery (“Mad Men”)

David Wain, screenwriter of the 2001 cult comedy film, Wet Hot American Summer, has tried long and hard to get a follow up to the ensemble movie that united some of the best talents in comedy. Last spring it was announced that Netflix would pursue an eight episode mini-series based on the film, starring the entire original cast.

Wain created the Netflix series with Michael Showalter, so it’s likely the show will follow the same silly structure as the film, which depicts a day at a fictional Jewish summer camp. One aspect of the original that hopefully won’t continue on with the series was the commercial and critical disparagement it received. Rotten Tomatoes gave the film a 30 per cent rating and Roger Ebert gave it only one star out of five, causing the film to only garner roughly $295,000 at the box office.

While the film included a who’s-who of today’s biggest stars, most were little known comedy actors back in 2001. Their notoriety today should help the streaming series get views, even if the quality lacks.

 

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Jill Slattery Jill Slattery was born and raised in Vancouver, where she also earned an Arts degree from UBC in English and Creative Writing. She is an avid TV-watcher and a shameless Taylor Swift fangirl. Jill is a Staff Writer at Vancity Buzz. Contact her at jill@vancitybuzz.com
@jillslattery

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