summer tv
Design by Maitane Romagosa for Thrillist

21 TV Shows We're Excited to Check Out This Summer

With old favorites returning and intriguing new series debuting, TV's about to get sizzling.

In 2020, we spent a lot of time indoors watching TV. Now that cities are opening up again, maybe you're excited to get back out and enjoy the world, or even go to a theater to see movies you've been waiting to see for months. But let's be real: There's never a bad time for good TV, and you're always going to need something to watch when you're at home. This summer, a handful of old favorites are returning with long-awaited new seasons, and buzzy series are finally debuting. Below, find our guide to all the many must-watch television shows you need to look out for this summer.

Looking for even more to watch? Check out our list of the Best TV Shows of 2021 (So Far), our more in-depth TV premiere dates guide or our running list of Netflix originals due out soon.

the underground railroad
'The Underground Railroad' | Amazon Prime Video

The Underground Railroad

Amazon Prime, May 14
TV fans have been anxiously awaiting this one for years. The highly anticipated series is the TV directorial debut from Barry Jenkins (Moonlight) and sees an adaption of Colson Whitehead's acclaimed novel that imagines the Underground Railroad as a literal fully operating train that brings formerly enslaved people to freedom. It's sure to be a breathtakingly shot must-watch.
(Watch the trailer)

In Treatment (Season 4)

HBO, May 23
It's been awhile since we sat down in the therapist's office for some psychotherapy—on HBO at least. The network's show, which ran from 2008 to 2010 and starred Gabriel Byrne at the time, is back and Uzo Aduba is taking over the lead role as Dr. Brooke Taylor. She'll not only have to navigate the concerns of her patients, but the pandemic in LA and an ex (Joel Kinnamen) who resurfaces in episodes airing back-to-back on Sundays and Mondays.
(Watch the trailer)

Black Monday (Season 3)

Showtime, May 23
The '80s Wall Street satire is coming back—and if you're not watching the show with Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg among its producers, you should be. Season 3 reportedly tracks the implications of Regina Hall's Dawn taking the hit for Black Monday and the newfound success of Don Cheadle's Mo as the head of The Mo Co. 
(Watch the trailer)

The Chi (Season 4)

Showtime, May 23
Lena Waithe's acclaimed coming-of-age drama set in the South Side of Chicago is coming back for a fourth installment. While last season tackled the issue of missing Black girls, this one is said to focus on police violence, as an act of police brutality in their neighborhood forces Jake, Papa, and Kevin to confront the reality of how the authorities treat young Black men. Plus, Jason Weaver joins the cast as Rahsadd "Shaad" Marshall, one of Trig's friends, and Tabitha Brown is playing a local interior designer named Octavia. 
(Watch the trailer)

Flatbush Misdemeanors

Showtime, May 23
Comedians Kevin Iso and Dan Pearlman created and star in this comedy adapted from their series of shorts of the same name, following a pair of friends trying to connect with others and find success in their new neighborhood of Flatbush, Brooklyn. 
(Watch the trailer)

the bold type
Freeform

The Bold Type (Season 5)

Freeform, May 26
Do we want to say goodbye to Jane, Kat, and Sutton? No, of course not! But sadly, we must, as it’s the final season of this gem of a Freeform series The Bold Type. The magazine drama will wrap up with only six more episodes, focusing on Sutton's new marriage troubles with Richard, Jane trying to find a work-life balance, and Kat possibly reconciling with her ex-girlfriend Adena. 

Panic

Amazon Prime, May 28
Fans of teen thrillers, we may have found your Memorial Day Weekend binge in this 10-episode adaptation of Lauren Oliver's best-selling YA novel of the same name, created and written by Oliver herself. Set in a small rural Texas town, the series focuses on a dark, annual series of dangerous challenges graduating high school seniors compete in for a chance at winning a large sum of money. 

Lisey's Story

Apple TV+, June 4
Lisey's Story is adapted from Stephen King's 2006 novel of the same name, which stars Julianne Moore as a woman who is having trouble cleaning out the office of her late novelist husband (Clive Owen), and uncovers repressed memories of their marriage while she reminisces. King often takes a hands-off approach to his adaptations, but he was actually on as a writer for this one, with Pablo Larraín (Jackie, A Fantastic Woman) as director and J.J. Abrams as producer. 

The Bachelorette (Season 17)

ABC, June 7
After Bachelor Nation faced a reckoning for the way it handles race with last season of The Bachelor, the franchise is moving full-speed-ahead with another installment of The Bachelorette. Katie Thurston, who was a fan favorite on the recent Matt James season, is who's looking for love.

Disney+, June 9
After escaping through time in Avengers: Endgame, Asgard's exiled trickster god accidentally falls in with the Time Variance Agency, a secretive organization that keeps track of the various timelines in the Multiverse, tweaking some and eliminating others it deems too dangerous to exist, generally keeping the citizens of the timelines from traveling back and forth in time, and changing the past or the future. How this all ties in with the larger Marvel Cinematic Universe's Phase 4 storyline is anyone's guess.
(Watch the trailer)

Tuca & Bertie (Season 2)

Adult Swim, June 13
At last: Tuca & Bertie is soaring into its new nest of Adult Swim! The adult animated comedy's first season premiered on Netflix in 2019 and fell victim to the streaming service's cut-throat cancelations, but thankfully it found a new home and is finally hitting the air. This season, Ali Wong's Bertie is working through inner demons with her therapist, and Tiffany Haddish's Tuca is on the prowl for a nice birdie boy to date. 
(Watch the teaser)

kevin can f**k himself
'Kevin Can F**k Himself' | AMC

Kevin Can F**k Himself

AMC, June 20
You've seen it times before: the classic sitcom about an idiotic husband with the perfect, doting wife who exists just to support his punchlines. What you haven't seen before is one of those wives killing off her annoying husband. Comedy fans are getting that in the form of Kevin Can F**K Himself, which features Schitt's Creek star Annie Murphy as an archetypal sitcom housewives who decides to f**k it all and murder him, switching between a sitcom format and a darker series, more typical of AMC. 
(Watch the trailer)

Rick and Morty (Season 5)

Adult Swim, June 20
Ready to barrel through the multiverse with Rick and Morty again? Well, get ready because you're about to either way. The zany, extremely popular animated series returns, now with a new villain named Mr. Nimbus who the grandfather/grandson duo disturbed when they crashed into the ocean. (Thankfully, Space Beth will be back, too, but TBD which Beth is the real Beth). 
(Watch the trailer)

Betty (Season 2)

HBO, June TBA
Got your deck handy? Another season of the heartwarming teen series Betty, about a group of young women skateboarders in NYC, is gliding into HBO. This season, the show inspired by the real-life skate crew Skate Kitchen continues to show friends Camille, Janae, Kirt, Honeybear, and Indigo as they continue to age into adulthood and call on their male friends to be better allies in their community. 
(Watch the teaser)

Too Hot To Handle (Season 2)

Netflix, June TBA
As summer heats up, things are getting smokin' on Netflix, too. The streaming service's bonkers reality show that puts a bunch of hot people on an island and begs them not to hook up with each other is coming back for round two. This time around, episodes will air weekly.

Schmigadoon!

Apple TV+, July 16
From the writers of the Despicable Me franchise, Cinco Paul and Ken Daurio, and executive producer Lorne Michaels comes a musical comedy series starring Keegan-Michael Key and SNL's Cecily Strong who, while on a backpacking trip, stumble upon the town of Schmigadoon where everyone acts like they're living in the 1940s and no one's allowed to leave until they've found true love. The series prides itself on parodying famous musicals—but theater fans, don't worry because iconic Broadway legends like Alan Cumming, Kristin Chenoweth, and many others make an appearance to round out the show.

Ted Lasso (Season 2)

Apple TV+, July 23
Apple TV+'s Ted Lasso, a fish-out-of-water story (based on an ad campaign), turned out to be a veritable hug of a series and one of the more surprising quality TV releases of 2020. With Jason Sudeikis's Ted—a jolly Kentuckian who is hired to coach the Richmond Premier League football (soccer) club by its owner in a plot to humiliate her ex-husband—managed to win over his footie crew with infectious, if naive, optimism. Even after the finale's loss bumped the team down a league, there's so much potential in this puckish underdog story.
(Watch the trailer)

Tokyo Summer Olympics

NBC, July 24-August 9
After being delayed a year, the Olympic flame is finally lighting up again. The summer games are taking place in Tokyo this year, kicking off with the opening ceremony on July 24 and lasting through mid-August, and ending with the closing ceremony on August 9. You'll be able to check out classic events like swimming and gymnastics, as well as new additions like skateboarding, surfing, karate, and climbing. The games will air live on NBC and you can stream them in real-time on the network's NBC Universal online platform

The Walking Dead (Season 11)

AMC, August 22
The Walking Dead is still on, yes, but it is officially coming to an end this summer. The undead show does have some life still in it, though, as the final season wraps up with a whopping 24 episodes.

Bosch (Season 7)

Amazon Prime, Summer TBA
As Amazon Prime readies its Lord of the Rings series, undoubtedly its biggest attempt to court the mainstream, the service will say goodbye to its longest running show. Bosch has rarely picked up awards attention, appeared on critic's top 10 lists, or generated buzz on social media, but this character-driven police drama starring Titus Welliver is as sturdy and reliable as TV shows get. The final season, which reportedly draws its plot from Michael Connelley's The Overlook and Dark Sacred Night books, should be a fitting sendoff.

Physical

Apple TV+, Summer TBA
Cue up the Olivia Newton-John hit and put on your brightest leotard: Rose Byrne is about to get physical. In this dramedy from Annie Weisman (Desperate Housewives) and Alexandra Cunningham (Desperate Housewives, Dirty John), Byrne plays a bored housewife in the '80s who finds she can escape the doldrums of her daily life by taking up the hottest trend at the time: aerobics. 
(Watch the teaser)

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