US Summer Season Highlights
The new procedural cop series, Longmire, has already received decent reviews for its pilot and is looking like being a strong contender for one of the summer's best new series. Starring Robert Taylor as the titular Sheriff, Walt Longmire, the series also features Battlestar Galactica's Katee Sackoff and Smallville's Cassidy Freeman. The show debuted with more than 4 million viewers, so the jury is still out as to whether it can pick up a big enough following for renewal past its first 10-episode season - we hope it does get at least a chance to shine as the signs so far are promising...
Why we think you should watchIf you liked Justified then this should be right up your street.
Why it could stink4 million viewers isn't a lot - and how often have we seen decent pilots turned into turgid series?
2: Breaking Bad
Although never high in the ratings, Breaking Bad has been a critical smash hit for AMC, alongside their other success stories Mad Men and The Walking Dead, but this is the most lauded, winner of multiple Best Actor prizes for star Bryan Cranston and always a reliable source of thoughtful, entertaining and heartstopping drama. It's recently been picking up a lot of critical traction in the UK too, especially after uber-TV-critic Charlie Brooker began championing it, so it's a shame this is the last season. (Well, the first eight of sixteen, they're splitting it Doctor Who-style.
On the other hand... this is the last season, so what's going to happen? Is Walt finally going to become the Big Drug Kingpin, or will he fall at the final hurdle? And what about his constantly tormented sidekick Jesse? And when will an actual UK channel show this series?
Why we think you should watchIf you've been following the series to date, you'll be watching. And if not... go and start from season 1, quickly.
Why it could stinkIt probably won't, but great shows have failed to make the ending work before.
3: Pretty Little Liars
Pretty Little Liars is back for its third season - the first episode broadcast in the US on 5th June. The ABC series has been a hit for in the teenage demographic; largely because of it's blending of teen drama with an underlying mystery storyline. Its not the sort of thing to appeal to all but as these things go it's well made and knows when to put its tongue firmly in cheek. It's all pretty stereotypical stuff - think of it as a cross between the likes of Gossip Girl and Mean Girls, but with the added slightly disturbing ongoing storyline and you'll have a good idea of what to expect.
Why we think you should watchAre you female, between the ages of 13 and 17? Watch this!
Why it could stinkIf you're not female between the ages of 13 and 17, stay well clear. There's nothing here for you!
4: The Newsroom
Aaron "The West Wing" Sorkin's latest is undoubtedly going to be quality TV. Jeff Daniels leads the cast of HBO's The Newsroom, playing a news anchor who is determined to put on a news show despite the adversity offered by "commercial and corporate obstacles". Joining Daniels is Emily Mortimer who plays an executive producer on the fictional news programme. Given Sorkin's history we can expect a realistic take on a news room with the drama dial turned up to 11 and its sure to be a thrilling experience.
Can the combination of HBO and Aaron Sorkin, along with a strong cast be enough to make this a guaranteed success? Following the short run of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip we'd like to think this is going to give one of TVs best writers his second sizable hit. He's even more bankable following the massive success of his big-screen screenplay of The Social Network so all of the ingredients combined with the pre-broadcast buzz seem to suggest we could be in for something special.
Why you should watch itIt's a new Aaron Sorkin series, what better pedigree can you get?
Why it could stinkCan Sorkin continue to hit TV gold? There's always a chance that he might not be able to work his magic on this one.
When Futurama was cancelled after its fourth season, we lost one of the greatest animated comedies of all time. However, the death of Matt Groenig's futuristic series wasn't a terminal thing and massive DVD sales convinced Fox to resurrect it as a series of four feature length TV movies (which were subsequently carved up to make the series' Fifth season). While those new stories failed to recapture the magic of the pre-cancellation series, season six stepped things up a gear and the return to mostly self-contained 30 minute stories made a massive difference almost returning the show to its former glories. As a result, we're looking forward to the seventh season with a mix of anticipation and hope that finally we'll see a complete return to form.
Why you should watch itFuturama at its best was outstanding TV - funny, heartwarming and well written.
Why it could stinkHave you seen The Simpsons recently? If Futurama follows in the footsteps of it's long-running sibling we could be in for disappointment.
6: True Blood
Well, that was the first series. Since then there’s been witches, ghosts, faeries, shapeshifters and all sorts of supernatural stuff going on. But then it’s the very human drama that’s so very entertaining — there’s love triangles, family problems and more, all set against the backdrop of blood sucking creatures and possession. It's funny, it’s exciting, it's occasionally disturbing (Sookie having sex with a catatonic Eric was...interesting) and it’s clever. And it’s full of sexy supernatural creatures, which is always nice.
Why you should watch itThe ratings have been improving with each passing season. It’s good and it’s set to get even better.
Why it could stinkTrue Blood is unashamedly and delightfully weird, but there’s always a chance that the audience’s tolerance for weird can be pushed too far...
Dallas returns after a 20 year hiatus, and while there are plenty of new cast members we can still expect some familiar faces too. Larry Hagman and Patrick Duffy reprise their roles as the infamous Ewing Brothers, J.R and Bobby. Linda Gray also returns as J.R's wife Sue Ellen. The 2012 reboot however will be focusing on the new generation - the son of J.R and Sue Ellen, John Ross Ewing III (Josh Henderson) and Christopher Ewing (Jesse Metcalfe), adopted son of Bobby and Pam. The cast also includes the likes of Jordana Brewster (The Fast and the Furious) as Elene Ramos and Julie Gonzalo (Veronica Mars) as Rebecca Sutter.
The original series had some unforgettable plot lines that not only pushed the bounds of reality but at one point turned an ENTIRE SEASON into the dream of a lead character! It was audacious in the extreme and no other series could be so serious yet wonderously silly at the same time! We worry that a 2012 reboot will become an anaemic rehash rather than a continuation of the original...