There's a long, hot summer ahead of us. So let's turn up the AC, cozy up to our screens and binge some TV, shall we? Here are our top new and returning shows to check out.
Brittany Volk and Chelsea Tatham, Times staff writers
The Carmichael Show
NBC, 9 p.m., Wednesday, May 31
Jerrod Carmichael's sitcom consistently pushes boundaries, and recently it was announced that the show will air the n-word unedited in this upcoming third season. Even though most of the episodes take place in the living room, as in many family sitcoms before it, The Carmichael Show trades in the heartwarming, teachable moments for insightful and frustrating debates. This hilariously opinionated family (Loretta Devine and David Alan Grier) discusses many hot button issues, and their politics don't always lean to one side. Stream the first two seasons on Netflix and Hulu.
Orange Is the New Black
Netflix, 3 a.m., Friday, June 9
Although hackers allegedly released pirated episodes of this new season recently, we're still not-so-patiently waiting to see what comes after that shocking cliffhanger last summer. Without spoiling too much, the fifth season, which takes place in real time, begins just where last season ended, with Litchfield in absolute chaos. Taylor Schilling, who plays Piper Chapman, revealed the whole season plays out over just three days, giving plenty of space for drawn-out, gut-wrenching scenes of the coming prison rebellion and the fallout and heartbreak after the death of Poussey Washington (Samira Wiley).
BBC America, 10 p.m., Saturday, June 10
Sadly, it's the final trip for our defiant clones, and this epic feminist sci-fi drama, but we're ready to see what else Emmy winner Tatiana Maslany can do. But first, it's time to tie up a lot of loose ends, and co-creators John Fawcett and Graeme Manson said in a statement they're "excited to deliver an epic conclusion." Does that mean Sarah and her sisters will finally discover the conspiracy that created them? And that mysterious creep, P.T. Westmoreland, who created it? If anything, we're hoping for one last #CloneClub dance party.
TNT, 9 p.m., Sunday, June 11
If you don't know who Niecy Nash is, it's well past time. Nash has lots of credentials, and she really impressed us in HBO's short-lived comedy Getting On, so it's wonderful to see her leading such a great new show. Here, she plays Desna, whose "money laundering days are over" (well, she's at least trying to stay out of crime life) when she opens a nail salon in Manatee County. Yep, the one just south of us here in Florida, and part of it was even filmed there. It's an hourlong dark comedy that has a solid cast, including the brilliant Carrie Preston (True Blood, The Good Wife), Judy Reyes (Scrubs, Devious Maids) and Harold Perrineau (Lost). Come for the colorful bosom-busting outfits, stay for the bad girl high jinks.
Netflix, 3 a.m., Friday, June 23
Nothing says '80s nostalgia quite like a neon-lit show about women's wrestling. Alison Brie (Mad Men) enters the ring this summer with GLOW, Netflix's new comedy about the world of female wrestlers and a reboot of the late '80s show of the same name. Brie plays Ruth Wilder, an out-of-work actor who hopes to reach stardom in the ring. She works with other Hollywood misfits (Ellen Wong, Britt Baron, Kimmy Gatewood and others) and a washed-up B-movie director (Marc Maron).
USA, 11 p.m., Friday, June 23
Comedic duo Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair are real-life besties, and together they've created one of the best female friendships on TV right now. Playing House begins when Emma (St. Clair) drops her business career to help Maggie (Parham) raise her kid. The women are definitely winging this whole motherhood thing (aren't we all?), but these gal pals use their brand of lowbrow humor for some heartwarming moments. Keegan-Michael Key also stars as Emma's delightful ex-boyfriend from high school. Stream the first two seasons on usanetwork.com and on USA's app. The entire third season will be available on video on demand on June 24.
Game of Thrones
HBO, 9 p.m., Sunday, July 16
The penultimate season of HBO's hit epic fantasy is back this summer, and, yes, winter is still coming. The last time we saw everyone in Westeros and beyond, Cersei (Lena Headey) had just rid herself of all her enemies in the most fabulous way possible: by blowing up the Great Sept of Baelor with wildfire, thus ending the lives of the High Sparrow (Jonathan Pryce), Ser Loras (Finn Jones), Queen Margaery (Natalie Dormer) and Lancil Lannister (Eugene Simon). Oh, and Ed Sheeran has a cameo this season.
NBC, 10 p.m., Monday, July 24
It didn't take long for networks to scoop up another vampire show. NBC's newest foray into the supernatural comes with Midnight, Texas, based on the novels by True Blood author Charlaine Harris. The horror series stars Francois Arnaud (The Borgias) as a powerful psychic who finds comfort in surrounding himself with human and supernatural allies. Arielle Kebbel (The Vampire Diaries) plays Olivia, a mysterious hitwoman with a cache of fanciful weapons; Parisa Fitz-Henly (Luke Cage) is a witch who owns the local Wiccan shop; Jason Lewis (Sex and the City) is an angel who knows all of Midnight's secrets; and there's even a reverend werewolf in Yul Vazquez (Captain Phillips).
USA, 10 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 2
Jessica Biel plays Cora, a young mother who mysteriously snaps and commits a startling act of violence. But not all is what it seems, and Bill Pullman plays the detective who tries to figure out what happened. The eight-episode thriller series builds a sense of discomfort and slowly drops bread crumbs, unveiling this strange nightmare. It's religious, supernatural and psychological, and Biel really brings it. It's surprisingly perfect casting. Biel looks like the good girl next door, but she plays distressed and disturbed very well.
Keep these on your radar
Salvation (CBS, 9 p.m., Wednesday, July 12): This 13-episode thriller series follows an MIT grad student (Charlie Rowe) and a tech billionaire (Santiago Cabrera) who discover an asteroid is on its way to Earth. Sure, it sounds like a familiar plot, but it's always fun to see people scramble when the world is ending.
Somewhere Between (ABC, 10 p.m., Monday, July 24): Nineties heartthrob Devon Sawa returns to our screens in this new supernatural thriller series. Paula Patton plays a working mom who has a premonition her 8-year-old daughter will be murdered. Sawa plays a private investigator helping her catch the would-be killer.
Snowfall (FX, premiere TBA): Created by John Singleton (Boyz N the Hood), this 10-episode new series chronicles the rise of crack cocaine in 1983 Los Angeles. Multiple converging story lines with an impressive newbie cast show many sides of the epidemic. Man, this surely feels like a hit for FX, which is on a roll with poignant historical dramas such as The Americans and The People v. O.J. Simpson: American Crime Story.