Editor-in-Chief Alex Dewing recommends eight shows that will keep you in the shade this summer.
1. Stranger Things Season 3
When the Duffer Brothers’ Stranger Things first hit Netflix back in 2016, nobody quite expected how far it would ripple through pop culture. It’s no surprise now that the show’s third season is the most anticipated Netflix release this summer. From the jaw-dropping new trailer, it’s clear that there’s going to be a lot in this next season. In the previous two, we’ve had adventure, horror, and mystery, and now it’s all coming together – bringing the action up tenfold. For the first time, we’ll see the school-aged gang outside of term time, giving them a much needed summer holiday spent at a neon-lit fair blasting synth-heavy pop and a shopping mall where fan favourite Steve Harrington (Joe Keery) works days at an ice cream parlour. As for what dangers threaten the gang this season, we’ll have to wait and see…
Stranger Things comes to Netflix on July 4th
2. The Boys
Even though Marvel brought their relationship with Netflix to a close with the third and final season of Jessica Jones, there is still an abundance of superheroes to be found on the small screen – but you’ll find none quite like The Boys. Adapted from the comic series by Garth Ennis and Darick Robertson known for its extreme violence and dark comedy, this Amazon Prime exclusive isn’t going to hold back. (Check out the trailer if you don’t believe me). Set in a world where superheroes have gone rogue, turning to corruption and villainy, only this superpowered team of ‘good guys’ can keep them in check. It will be interesting to see whether The Boys, developed by Supernatural creator Eric Kripke and comedy collaborators Evan Goldberg and Seth Rogen, succeeds as a superhero satire or flops with its gratuitously sickening approach.
The Boys makes its way to Amazon Prime on July 26th
3. The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance
Jim Henson and Frank Oz’s cult classic film The Dark Crystal is getting its own prequel 37 years after its release in Netflix’s upcoming animated series Age of Resistance. With darker themes than one would expect from a high-fantasy, family-friendly adventure film, the original Dark Crystal shocked viewers – and the new series looks to follow the original’s lead. The show is set to feature a stellar voice cast: Taron Egerton, Nathalie Emmanuel, and Anya Taylor-Joy take the lead as three Gelflings – elf-like creatures from the planet Thra – on a journey to start a rebellion in response to the rise of the Skeksis – a villainous species of reptilian birds. These voices will be bringing character to some incredibly innovative puppetry, as to be expected of a Henson production, and the world-building of this show is a definite reason to give it a watch this summer.
The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance hits Netflix on August 30th
4. I AM
BAFTA award-winning writer-director Dominic Savage will be bringing us a fascinating new anthology miniseries with Channel 4 that puts women and their stories front and centre. There’s always something a little off-putting when a mainstream broadcaster commissions a man to make such a female-focused show like I AM; however, in an article for Pilot TV, Savage managed to somewhat quell my suspicions by detailing his process in developing his scripts. The director talked in depth with his lead actors Gemma Chan, Samantha Morton, and Vicky McClure to find “characters, emotions and ideas” they are interested in exploring. This trio of fantastic women is reason alone to give the show a chance, but with such a great concept and lead creator also on board, I AM will certainly be an interesting one to keep an eye on.
I AM comes to Channel 4 in August
5. This Way Up
The first comedy series on my list is Aisling Bea’s This Way Up, a dark comedy that explores mental health in the modern age. This central concept is becoming more prominent in TV writing, and having been written by and starring Bea herself as the character Aine, and loosely inspired by her personal experiences, we can expect this Channel 4 original to be brimming with the appropriate delicacy, charm, and vulnerability. In the same way, there should be humour by the bucketload; Sharon Horgan (Catastrophe) will be starring alongside Bea as Shona, Aine’s sister. Close friends in real life, Bea and Horgan are sure to bring the chemistry needed for this series to succeed – not to mention their faultless comedic timing. Fingers crossed that This Way Up will be the perfect show to end a summer’s day on.
This Way Up premieres on Channel 4 on July 4th
6. Deep Water
ITV has slowly been catching up to other broadcasters when it comes to their original dramas; shows like Broadchurch and Marcella have found huge followings in recent years. Now, Deep Water might just be one to add to that list. Based off Paula Daly’s book series Windermere, the show has echoes of Big Little Lies, as it follows the lives of three women — played by Anna Friel, Sinead Keenan, and Rosalind Elezar — after an accident involving two of their children brings tensions and secrets to the surface of their community. Deep Water sports a female-led ensemble both in front of and behind the camera, and a team such as this can only result in good things. Add to that a handful of dysfunctional families, plenty of suspicious characters, and the picturesque setting of the Lake District in summer and you have a new drama to escape into — unless that premise sounds too much like your own summer vacation!
Deep Water is on ITV late this summer
7. Catherine the Great
If one thing’s for sure, you can always count on there being a new period drama on TV at any given time of the year. This summer Sky Atlantic provides us with Catherine the Great, following Empress Catherine II of Russia. This four-part historical drama flaunts a phenomenal cast: Dame Helen Mirren plays Catherine herself, and Rory Kinnear, Jason Clarke, Gina McKee, Joseph Quinn, and Sam Palladio feature, among other well-known faces. Set during the conclusion of Catherine’s reign, Catherine the Great captures the Empress’ fervent affair with Grigory Potemkin and its effects on her rule, as well as her notable position as a forceful female ruler embracing her power and sexuality. More War & Peace and less Downton Abbey, this drama should be something a little bit different within the genre and a must-watch this summer.
Catherine the Great hits Sky Atlantic this August
8. The Capture
What do The Night Manager, The Bodyguard, and The Little Drummer Girl all have in common? Other than being occupational titles, they’re all hit BBC shows that make it clear the broadcasters know drama – and now, they bring us a timely thriller in The Capture. Following DI Rachel Carey (Holliday Granger) as she takes on a seemingly simple case against ex-soldier Shaun Emery (Callum Turner), The Capture is set to examine the world of ‘fake news’ and ‘post-truth’ agendas. A surveillance thriller such as this hasn’t been seen on the BBC before, and we can be sure that it’ll join the ranks of other critiques of hypermodernity that have found popularity among TV audiences in the likes of Black Mirror and Hard Sun. After a long day relaxing in the sun, The Capture is a perfect show to watch to get your heartbeat racing again.
The Capture will air on BBC One, date TBC