By Paula Hendrickson
Nothing says summer like the return of popular cable series like USA’s Burn Notice and Royal Pains, TNT’s The Closer and Rizzoli & Isles, Lifetime’s Drop Dead Diva or A&E’s The Glades. But those aren’t the only summer series rolling out this month (with more coming in July). Following, by network, are just a few new or lesser-known shows you might want to check out:
MTV: Season two of Teen Wolf returned this past weekend but moves to Mondays at 9 p.m., and the critically-lauded comedy Awkward. returns at 9:30 p.m., Thursday, June 28.
TNT: Catch up with the iconic Ewing clan with the revival of Dallas, premiering at 8 p.m., Wednesday, June 13. While the focus is on the younger generation, original cast members Patrick Duffy, Linda Gray and Larry Hagman reprise their roles as Bobby, Sue Ellen and J.R. That alone is worth watching.
OXYGEN: The Glee Project is back at 9 p.m., Tuesdays.
A&E: Don’t be confused. The lead character of A&E’s returning cop series is Jim Longworth, but the main character on A&E’s new series, Longmire, is Walt Longmire. The characters might both be small-town lawmen played by Australian actors who do decent American accents, and both shows air back-to-back Sundays on A&E (starting at 8 p.m. with The Glades), but the similarities end there.
ABC Family: While ABC Family’s top-rated Pretty Little Liars is back on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. for a third season, the channel’s new show, Bunheads, is generating lots of good press. From Gilmore Girls creator Amy Sherman-Palladino, the show is set at a small-town dance studio and has two Tony winners in the cast: Sutton Foster and Gilmore grandma, Kelly Bishop. Bunheads airs Mondays at 8 p.m.
TVLand: The Soul Man, starring Cedric the Entertainer and Niecy Nash, is a spin-off of the channel’s hit sitcom, Hot in Cleveland. It premieres at 9 p.m., Wednesday, June 20.
BBC America: Twenty Twelve is a documentary-style comedy around the planning of the 2012 London Summer Olympics (reminiscent of the Australian comedy, The Games, which centered on planning for the 2000 Sydney Olympics). Worth watching if only because it stars Downton Abbey’s Hugh Bonneville (Lord Grantham), and is narrated by former Doctor Who, David Tennant. Debuts at 8 p.m., June 28.
FX: Joining Louis and Wilfred on the FX lineup this summer is Russell Brand’s six-episode talk show, Brand X With Russell Brand, which debuts at 10 p.m., June 28. But the real focus will be on Charlie Sheen’s new series, Anger Management, which premieres at 8 p.m., June 28.
IFC: Bunk — a game show that pits emerging and well-known comedians against each other in bizarre challenges that test their improv skills — premieres June 8, preceded by absurdist talk show Comedy Bang! Bang!, which promises lots of awkward moments with popular guests like Amy Poehler, Zach Galifianakis and Michael Cera. Comedy Bang! Bang! airs at 9 p.m., Fridays, with Bunk at 9:30 p.m.
Paula Hendrickson is a regular contributor to Emmy magazine and Variety, and has been published in numerous national publications, including American Bungalow, Television Week and TVGuide. Follow her on Twitter at P_Hendrickson and send your suggestions to firstname.lastname@example.org.
From the June 6-12, 2012, issue