Thursday, June 18, 2020

Top 5 New Shows to Watch This Summer (2020)

Thankfully, television releases haven’t dried up yet, especially with all the streaming services producing and hoarding series in advance, so you’ll still get plenty of new options to check out over the next few months. We’ve picked out our Top 5.

1. Barkskins

Premieres: Monday, May 25 at 9/8c | Where to watch: National Geographic

Once you get over the odd title — it’s named after the book it’s based on, which itself is a reference to the slurs used against indentured servants brought over from Europe — you’ll find Barkskins to be a well-acted, well-produced saga about French colonies in the spectacular untamed wilderness of 1600s Canada. It’s got the potential for epic drama with French traders battling both rival English settlers and natives for highly valued land, the smarmy types and their nefarious plots to gain territory, the women brought over to become wives for landowners, and a pair of indentured servants fighting for survival. It’s gritty and violent, the sets and attention to detail are upper-tier, and Fargo’s David Thewlis barely leaves enough scenery for everyone else in the potent cast, which includes Marcia Gay Harden, Matthew Lillard and Aneurin Barnard.   

2. Quiz

Premieres: Sunday, May 31 at 9/8c | Where to watch: AMC

To all of you who love cheats, scammers, and cons, have I got a show to sell to you. Quiz, which aired in the U.K. earlier this year, comes to AMC with the story of Charles Ingram, who pulled off one of the United Kingdom’s most notorious heists… on national television. Ingram managed to win the grand prize on the television sensation Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? in 2001 through an elaborate cheating scam with the help of his wife and her brother. Even though you know where it goes, Quiz still manages to harness all the tension of a live quiz show and the dogged pursuit of the truth by television execs as they sniff out Ingram’s ploy. Bonus: Michael Sheen plays the exuberant game show host. 

3. The Woods

Premieres: Friday, June 12 | Where to watch: Netflix

This Polish series is the latest Netflix adaptation of a book by Harlan Coben, following the popular mysteries The Stranger and Safe, and stays in those same murky waters of crime and secrets, oh so many secrets! In The Woods, a man looks for answers about the disappearance of his sister 25 years earlier, when four teens went into the woods and never came out, hoping that she’s alive even as bodies and new evidence are being pulled out. 

4. Brave New World

Premieres: Wednesday, July 15 | Where to watch: Peacock

One of the best books you read in high school gets the television treatment courtesy of upstart streaming service Peacock (Comcast/NBCUniversal’s shot at entering the streaming wars). You know the plot, but here it is again: A futuristic society has achieved utopia through medicating and classism, but at what cost? Oh yeah, medicating and classism. One man decides that idea sucks, and a revolution agains a totalitarian government begins. I’m sure everything will go great. TV Guide favorite Harry Lloyd (Game of Thrones, Counterpart) is in this, and that’s only half the reason this is on the list. Aldous Huxley’s novel has been made into a film (twice), but never a television show.

5. Lovecraft Country

Premieres: August TBD | Where to watch: HBO

One of the most anticipated shows of the summer, new or otherwise, the supernatural drama Lovecraft Country features grotesque monsters who must be purged of this Earth. And that’s just the racists! The horror series, from Underground creator Misha Green, is based on the 2016 book by Matt Ruff and follows a black man as he traverses 1950s Jim Crow America in search of his missing father. In addition to the bigoted folk he crosses path with, he must contend with monsters that could be plucked from the pages of H.P. Lovecraft.  

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