I know you have all been waiting anxiously for this list, so here are the returning shows that I am mostly looking forward to watching this summer.
1. Animal Kingdom, season two premieres May 30th on TNT, stars Scott Speedman, Finn Cole, Shawn Hatosy, Ben Robson, Jake Weary, Molly Gordon, Aamya Deva Keroles, and Ellen Barkin. The Cody family dynamic has flipped in this second season, as the boys start to turn on their mother after a heist goes wrong. Baz, Pope, Craig, and Deran each begin to plan their next moves, while J is stuck in the middle, still trying to figure out where he belongs. I was not sure if I would like this show when it started last summer, but it is dark and gritty, with some humor weaved throughout. It is a fun summer drama.
2. Kingdom, season three premieres May 31st on Audience, stars Matt Lauria, Jonathan Tucker, Nick Jonas, Kiele Sanchez, Joanna Going, Natalie Martinez, Talia Shire, Kirk Acevedo, and Frank Grillo. Alvey and Lisa are still dealing with the loss of their son, while also trying to keep their gym afloat. Nate has finally admitted that he is gay, but is not entirely comfortable in his new relationship. And, as always, Ryan and Jay are sorting through their own demons, with a potential rematch still on the horizon. This show is so fantastic, and I am disappointed that more people are not watching it. The entire cast have continued to blow me away with their performances from episode to episode. As this is, sadly, the final season, I fully expect them to knock us on our asses, and I cannot wait.
3. Orphan Black, season five premieres June 10th on BBC America, stars Tatiana Maslany, Jordan Gavaris, Kristian Bruun, Kevin Hanchard, Ari Millen, Evelyne Brochu, Josh Vokey, Skyler Wexler, and Maria Doyle Kennedy. Another one of my favorite shows is coming to an end this summer, and I am not okay with it. I have been rewatching the entire series to prepare for this final trip, and it gets better and better with each viewing. I continue to be amazed by the cast and, after four seasons, still need to remind myself that Tatiana Maslany plays half of the major roles. I cannot wait to see how they wrap up the story of these sestras, but will be sad to see it go.
4. The Great British Baking Show, season four premieres June 16th on PBS, stars Mary Berry, Paul Hollywood, Sue Perkins, and Mel Giedroyc. I have to admit, I was skeptical of this baking show when I first watched it with my mother while home for Christmas a few years ago, but I was hooked after the very first episode. This aired in the United Kingdom last Fall and is the final season with the original hosts. Bring on the crazy technical challenges and baking puns!
I posted my list of new summer shows that I am excited about last week (and am already loving Preacher), so here are my favorite returning shows. What is everyone else watching this summer? Let me know in the comments!
1. Peaky Blinders, season 3 will be released May 31st on Netflix, stars Cillian Murphy, Helen McCrory, Paul Anderson, Joe Cole, Annabelle Wallis, Sophie Rundle, Harry Kirton, Finn Cole, Aimée Ffion-Edwards, Natasha O’Keeffe, Kate Phillips, Paddy Considine, Gaite Jansen, and Alexander Siddig. Season 3 picks up 18 months after the events of last season, on Tommy Shelby’s wedding day. It’s the start of the Roaring Twenties, and he and his aunt are trying to live right, while his brothers get mixed up in an international arms deal. I have really loved the first two seasons, and am reading that season 3 is even better, so I cannot wait. I am also excited for a little more of Tom Hardy’s Jewish gang leader, Alfie Solomons.
2. Kingdom, the second half of season 2 premieres June 1st on DirecTV’s Audience Network, stars Frank Grillo, Kiele Sanchez, Matt Lauria, Jonathan Tucker, Nick Jonas, Joanna Going, and Natalie Martinez. In these next ten episodes, Jay sets his sights on Ryan’s lightweight title belt, which will test Alvey’s loyalties and divide everyone at Navy St. This show just keeps getting better and better, and the entire cast continues to amaze me. If you are not watching this show, you are missing out on greatness.
3. UnREAL, season 2 premieres June 6th on Lifetime, stars Shiri Appleby, Constance Zimmer, Craig Bierko, Jeffrey Bowyer-Chapman, Brennan Elliott, Josh Kelly, and B.J. Britt. I was not sure if I was going to like this show when I started the first season, and then it blew me away. It is a behind-the-scenes look at a Bachelor-esque show, and there were so many twists and turns in the first season that it kept me on the edge of my seat the whole way through. I cannot wait to see what kind of drama and insanity Quinn and Rachel bring to another season of Everlasting.
4. Casual, season 2 premieres June 7th on Hulu, stars Michaela Watkins, Tommy Dewey, Tara Lynne Barr, Julie Berman, and Nyasha Hatendi. This comedy about a bachelor brother and his newly divorced sister living together and raising her teenage daughter is hilarious and heartwarming. Season one focused on dating and sex, while this new season focuses more on the difficulty of making new friends as an adult. The characters and the stories are layered, and everytime Hulu releases a new episode, I wake up excited to watch it.
Here are my favorite episodes of television from the past year in no particular order. If it is possible, there was even more good television than last year and it was very difficult to pick only eight episodes. They are not necessarily the BEST episodes from the year, just the ones that I enjoyed and the ones that affected me the most.
1. Justified – The Promise
I am not really sure what made me interested in checking out this show when it first aired. Timothy Olyphant was definitely a factor, but there just must have been something about those first trailers that drew me in. And I am so glad that they did because it quickly became one of my favorite shows on TV. Each season was engaging and they had some of the best guest stars of any show on TV. This finale not only wrapped up the season’s arc with an epic shootout, but also brought Raylan’s, Ava’s and Boyd’s stories full circle. Everyone ended up exactly where they should.
2. The Flash – Fast Enough / Arrow – Legends of Yesterday
Okay, so this is technically two episodes, but since it was a two-part crossover, I am counting them as one. There are so many things that I love about these shows, including the fact that The Flash has consistently had the best special effects of any show on TV and Arrow has the best stunts. I also really found the music in these episodes to be inspiring. It was subtle, but in the Flash episode, you could hear Arrow themes overlayed and in the Arrow episode you could hear Flash themes. It was beautiful and awesome. These episodes also introduced us to Hawkgirl, Hawkman and Vandal Savage, who will all be featured on the new series Legends of Tomorrow. I just love how these shows intertwine so seamlessly, yet still maintain their individual tones.
3. Outlander – Wentworth Prison
The performances in this episode from Sam Heughan, Caitroina Balfe and Tobias Menzies just blew me away and broke my heart. It was an incredibly difficult episode to watch, even as someone who has read the books and knew what was going to happen, but is was so well done. We saw just how evil and broken Black Jack Randall truly is and also what lengths Jamie would go to in order to protect Claire. It was an extremely powerful and moving episode of television, and one that will stay with me for a long time.
4. Playing House – Celebrate Me Scones
One word: Bosephus! This season finale also gave us Kenny Loggins and his pun-tastic green room, as well as Jeanine Willcall and a heartwrenching cliff-hanger. You would think that having one of my best friends from high school working at the network, I would be able to get *some* intel on whether or not there would be a third season, but my mind control skills do not seem to be working. I NEED MORE OF THIS AMAZING SHOW!
When I started to make this list, I realized that I had way too many names, so I decided to limit myself to characters on current TV shows and eliminated anyone with supernatural powers.
1. Barbara ‘Bobbi’ Morse – Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D., played by Adrianne Palicki.
I would not mess with any of the women on this show but Bobbi, with her twin staves, is my favorite to watch. She is an expert in martial arts, is an excellent sharp-shooter and can also fly a plane.
2. Lagertha – Vikings, played by Katheryn Winnick.
She is a fierce and powerful shield-maiden who fights alongside her fellow Viking warriors, as well as defends her home against invaders.
3. Sara Lance – Arrow, played by Caity Lotz.
Even though supernatural powers were used to bring her back to life, her fighting skills are all natural. She was trained by the League of Assassins and, like Bobbi, is dangerous with a staff.
4. Carrie Hopewell – Banshee, played by Ivana Milicevic.
She may appear to be a regular, small-town mother but, thanks to her gangster father, she has a violent past and knows how to take care of herself.
I say this every year but, as someone whose favorite season is Summer, the only good thing about the start of Fall for me is the new TV lineup. The full list of everything I am watching will be posted here once shows start to premiere, but the following is my list of returning shows I am most excited about.
1. You’re the Worst
Season 2 premieres September 9th on FXX, stars Aya Cash, Chris Geere, Desmin Borges and Kether Donohue. I missed the first season when it originally aired on FX, but caught up in *one day* thanks to Hulu because it is just that good. The show has been referred to as an “anti-rom-com,” and this season Jimmy and Gretchen are actually living together, so there is no way that will go well. It should be another hilarious season!
Season 2 premieres September 23rd on Fox, stars Taraji P. Henson, Terrence Howard, Trai Byers, Jussie Smollett, Bryshere Y. Gray, Grace Gealy, Kaitlin Doubleday, Ta’Rhonda Jones and Gabourey Sidibe. Not only did the audience continue to grow in size with each episode of the first season, the show also just kept getting better and better. I am very excited too see what happens with the Lyon family in season two. I also just really need Cookie back in my life.
3. Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
Season 3 premieres September 29th on ABC, stars Clark Gregg, Ming-Na Wen, Chloe Bennet, Iain De Caestecker, Elizabeth Henstridge, Brett Dalton, Adrianne Palicki, Nick Blood, Henry Simmons and Luke Mitchell. The first half of the second season started out really strong, but then they introduced us to the Inhumans and it started to get a little muddled. I still really enjoy the main characters and feel like they cleaned things up a bit in the finale, so I am interested to see where season three takes us. I mean, what the heck happened to Simmons?!
4. The Affair
Season 2 premieres October 4th on Showtime, stars Ruth Wilson, Maura Tierney, Dominic West and Joshua Jackson. The story seems simple: two married people start to have an affair over one summer in the Hamptons. However, this particular story was presented in such an interesting and complex way. The first season gave us two perspectives, but in season two the cheated-on spouses are also getting their points of view told, which should add some great intricacies. That also hopefully means more Joshua Jackson, so I am definitely on board.
Here are my favorite episodes of television from the past year in no particular order. There is so much good television happening right now, that it took me a while to whittle down this list and I am sure I still forgot a few. I do not think that they are necessarily the BEST episodes from the year, just my favorites. Be forewarned, there are plenty of spoilers ahead.
1. The Good Wife “The Last Call” The death of Will Gardner was this year’s best kept secret and I have only recently started to get over the loss of this character. The episode dealt with the aftermath of that death and the performances were just brilliant. Not only did they kill off this beloved character, but they killed off the notion that a show can not survive without a love story.
2. Playing House “Bosephus and the Catfish” What’s not to love about a woman dressing up like a male trucker to make sure that her brother is not getting catfished by his new internet girlfriend?! I am beyond excited that the USA Network came to their senses and finally renewed this hilarious show! My goal for 2015 is to become best friends with Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair.
3. Orphan Black “Knowledge of Causes, and Secret Motion of Things” Holy Tilda Swinton, do I love this show! It took me forever to decide which was my favorite episode of season two but I finally settled on this one, mostly because I love watching Vic get beat up. This episode also had lots of Felix and Alison together, as well as Sarah pretending to be Alison pretending to be Donnie, which just makes me so happy.
4. Game of Thrones “The Watchers on the Wall” I loved that this episode focused solely on Jon Snow and the battle between the Night’s Watch and the Wildlings. Even though they are outnumbered, the black brothers must defend Castle Black from Mance Rayder’s massive army, who attack the fortress from the north, while another band of wildlings launches a surprise attack from the south of the Wall. It was epic and made me finally appreciate the amazingness of Kit Harington.
Thanksgiving is next week and instead of bringing you a standard list of favorite themed episodes, I thought I would give you my list of television related things for which I am most thankful this year.
1. Generous Friends
This is definitely number one. As a girl on a budget, I cannot always afford to pay for the premium channels or live in a place where I can choose my cable provider, so I have to rely on the generosity of great friends to help get me access to a few of my favorite shows, without which I would not be able to watch things like Outlander or Kingdom.
2. A Darker, Twistier Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.
I enjoyed the first season, but it did take a little while for them to find their way. They picked up steam at the end of last year and are powering through this season at full speed. The tone is a little darker, which I love, and the character development has been amazing.
3. Kurt Sutter
Sutter and his Sons of Anarchy writer’s continue to blow my mind each week and I cannot believe there are only two episodes left! Although, sometimes I worry about which lines and situations on the show make me laugh. I find Tig’s sense of humor to be totally crazy and sometimes creepy but always hilarious…and that scares me just a little.
4. Jane the Virgin
This is absolutely my favorite new show this fall. It is well-written and funny and I love it more with each episode. Also, for the record, I am on Team Rafael.
I am a big fan of Movember and No-Shave November, especially when guys who do not normally have facial hair grow crazy mustaches to promote men’s health. So in honor of hairy men everywhere, this is my list of male TV characters with the best facial hair. For a couple of the shows, I have more than one character listed because I could not decide whose was the best.
1. Thomas Magnum – Magnum P.I., played by Tom Selleck.
You cannot have a list about facial hair without Tom Selleck. He shaved it at one point and life was not the same, but he is back rockin’ the ‘stache on Blue Bloods.
2. Seth Bullock and Al Swearengen – Deadwood, played by Timothy Olyphant and Ian McShane.
Most of the men on this show had pretty great facial hair, but these two were my favorite. Someone needs to bring back the mustache with a soul patch.
3. Jay Kulina – Kingdom, played by Jonathan Tucker.
Jay is a bit of a wild card and I think his facial hair reflects that. The mustache and chin strap combo is a little crazy looking but it totally works for him.
4. Jax Teller, Opie Winston, Bobby Munson, Tig Trager and Chibs Telford – Sons of Anarchy, played by Charlie Hunnam, Ryan Hurst, Mark Boone Junior, Kim Coates and Tommy Flanagan.
All of these guys have some awesome beards going. Although, it is fun to go back and look at season one when they were a little more clean cut, I definitely prefer their current looks.