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In the past, summertime was all about massive movie blockbusters and heading to the video store to catch up on all the movies you missed during the year. However, that was before television decided to step up its game. This year, we have some of the best summer TV we’ve ever experienced. From a significant glow up from Zendaya who is out here showing everyone she’s no longer a Disney kid on Euphoria, to the legendary Pose which showcases LGBTQ+ and ballroom culture in the ’80s and ’90s. The variety is vast.
Some of our old favs are returning–like Power, which will debut in August for a sixth and final season, and Peaky Blinders which gives us a window into the 20th Century to see what Tommy Shelby and his gangster family are up to. There are also new series to dive into like OWN’s upcoming David Makes Man written by Moonlight scribe Tarell Alvin McCraney and executive produced by everybody’s bae, Michael B. Jordan.
We get that it’s hot and sizzling outside, but if things get a little bit too warm, you can always cool off in front of the television or layout for a good binge session with some ice cream during a summer storm.
These 13 shows won’t disappoint you on long summer nights.
Zendaya is proving to us all that she’s no longer a Disney starlet. The Spider-Man: Homecoming actress is sensational in HBO’s uber-graphic, Euphoria. On the series, Z stars as 17-year-old Rue– a drug addict who has just returned from rehab with no plans of remaining clean despite the urgings of her parents and little sister (Storm Reid). Instead, we watch Rue navigate her small town using every drug and pill she can get her hands on. Along the way, we meet a slew of Rue’s classmates, including her new friend Jules (Hunter Schafer), a trans girl who is new in town and Kat (Barbie Ferreira), a curvy girl determined to explore her sexuality. As Rue tries to keep her head above water, the series explores teen life in the 21st century when substances, sex, and alcohol are at the center.
As Zendaya warned us— it’s quite graphic, (like there’s a lot of nudity, drugs, and sex) so if it’s triggering, you should probably sit this one out.
Pose has returned for its sophomore season and this time we’re in 1990–smack dab in the middle of the HIV/AIDS epidemic. Though they are losing friends and loved ones at a rapid pace, Blanca (MJ Rodriguez), Lamar (Jason A. Rodriguez), Elektra Abundance (Dominique Jackson), Pray Tell (Billy Porter), Angel (Indya Moore), Candy (Angelica Ross), Lulu (Hailie Sahar), and Damon Richard (Ryan Jamaal Swain) are choosing joy and the ballroom dance culture as a way to continue living freely and fabulously.
Get into it.
Younger has returned for Season 6, and the buzzy series is still unraveling Liza’s (Sutton Foster) truth. Kelsey (Hilary Duff) is trying to find her footing as a publisher while going head to head with Quinn (Laura Benanti). In the meantime, Liza is also trying to set boundaries with Charles (Peter Hermann) after their affair. Younger is sexy, witty, and you have five entire seasons to binge before you get up-to-date.
Now in Season 4– family drama, Queen Sugar is just as sensational as it was in Season 1. The show follows the Bordelon siblings, Nova (Rutina Wesley), Charley (Dawn-Lyen Gardner) and Ralph Angel (Kofi Siriboe). Set in St. Josephine County. Louisiana, we’ve watched them grapple with outside forces–personal and political that have affected their sugar cane farm and their family ties. This season, a hurricane is brewing from within.
Nova’s memoir, Blessings & Blood has exposed her family’s closest held secrets, and as a result, the Bordelon family is on the verge of explosion.
Big Little Lies
After they kept us waiting for a year, the Monterey Five are back. Big Little Lies Season 2, is off to a jolting start and Celeste (Nicole Kidman), Bonnie (Zoë Kravitz), Madeline (Reese Witherspoon), Jane (Shailene Woodley), and Renata (Laura Dern) are all trying to keep their lives in order as they wrestle with the role they all played in Perry’s (Alexander Skarsgård) timely demise. Not only are the ladies on point this season–BLL has also added Meryl Streep to the cast as Perry terrifying and sinister mother, Mary Louise.
Seeing Meryl and Resse together on screen isn’t something we knew we needed.
David Makes Man
Moonlight writer Tarell Alvin McCraney’s latest project is based on his personal experiences and will make its stunning debut on the OWN Network, Aug. 14. Set in South Florida and starring newcomer Akili McDowell, David Makes Man follows David, a 14-year-old prodigy from the projects who is haunted by the death of his closest friend. Relied upon by his hard-working single mother, he must stride the line between the streets and education as a way out.
If you’re in need of a good pre- Fourth of July TV binge, Netflix’s Stranger Things might be right up your ally. Set in 1983 the series follows a group of tweens in the town of Hawkins, Indiana. Unbeknownst to the residents of Hawkins, the United States Department of Energy has inadvertently created a portal to an alternate dimension called, The Upside Down. When 12-year old Will Byers is abducted by one of The Upside Down’s creatures, his friends band together to go in search of him.
Season 3, which is set to debut on July 4, will explore the idea of change as the kiddos begin to grow up.
The Handmaid’s Tale
The Handmaid’s Tale has already been stressing us out for two seasons, and for Season 3 they’ve kicked into high gear. Based on the acclaimed novel by Margaret Atwood, The Handmaid’s Tale is set in Gilead, a totalitarian society that was once the United States. As a result of a series of environmental disasters and a plummeting birth rate, the remaining fertile women–the handmaids, have been forced into sexual servitude. June (Elizabeth Moss) is one of those handmaidens.
At the end of Season 2, we watched June give her baby Nichole to Emily (Alexis Bledel). She stayed behind in Gilead to await arrest because she’s determined to rescue her daughter Hannah. From the surprise twist to one particuar character’s new outlook on life, it’s been an insane ride already.
Dear White People
Season 3 of Dear White People will be upon us before the summer is over and we’ll finally know more about the shadowy secret society, Order of X. If you didn’t know, the show is set at fictional Winchester University and follows Samantha White (Logan Browning)– a biracial student struggling to navigate her own identity and the politics of being a person of color at her predominantly white university (PWI). In Season 2, we watched her deal with the loss of her father while pushing back against the oppressive rules of the university.
Now in Season 3, we can expect an entirely new set of twists and turns.
The sixth and final season of Power is set to drop on Starz in Aug. 2019, so we’re going to need you to dive right. Created by Courtney A. Kemp, the series follows James “Ghost” St. Patrick (Omari Hardwick)– a nightclub owner who seems to have a perfect life. Along with this club, he has a beautiful family, and they live on a plush NYC penthouse. Yet, things aren’t quite as they appear.
James is also living a double life–as Ghost one of the most notorious drug dealers on the East Coast. He runs his drug empire with his life-long friend Tommy (Joseph Sikora). However, Ghost discovers that keeping two very different worlds separate is almost implausible. In Season 5, we watch Tommy betray Ghost in the most diabolical way and in this last season, we’re going to see how it all plays out.
When They See Us
Since it’s debut on Netflix, Ava DuVernay’s When They See Us has been the most watched series on Netflix in the United States. The gut-wrenching series follows the tragic injustice of the Central Park Five. In 1989, a 28-year-old female jogger was attacked and raped in Central Park in New York City, leaving her in a coma for 12 days. Five innocent teens from Harlem were convicted of the crime in 1990. Fighting against the system their sentences were finally vacated in 2002 and in 2014 they sued New York City and were awarded $40 million.
This series takes an in-depth look at the lives of the boys and their loved ones who were permanently altered because of racism and a broken judicial system.
Now in Season 3, Claws is a brilliant and eclectic Florida-set drama series that follows nail salon owner, Desna Simms (Niecy Nash) and her rag-tag crew of nail technicians who find themselves entangled in various nefarious crimes and hilarious foolishness. This season, Desna and her crew are facing a whole new set of issues. Desna finds herself in business with a new set of villains at her newly inherited casino following the death of her evil mob boss hubby Dr. Ruval (Jimmy Jean-Louis).
If you haven’t gotten into the Shelby family and the Peaky Blinders, then right now is the time. Set in the 1920s in Britain, Peaky Blinders is brilliantly acted, and intriguing. Cillian Murphy stars as the notorious gang leader, Tommy Shelby, who is as diabolical and cunning as he is easy to look at. We watch Tommy take the Shelby family from the slums of Birmingham to major power players in London. The first four seasons of the series are currently streaming on Netflix. Season 5, which is set to debut in late summer will also see Hunger Games alum Sam Clafin portraying fascist leader Oswald Mosley.