The Fall/Spring season is over now, but it doesn’t mean that scripted genre shows have gone into hibernation for the next few months. As with every year, Summer brings us several genre entries to choose from, even if this year has fewer options than recent Summers. The broadcast networks decided to bow out once again as we have not seen anything from them since 2010 when shows like Persons Unknown and The Gates failed to catch on. But the cable channels have a few returning shows and one new series to tide us over until the Fall season begins. Here’s my thoughts (for what they are worth) on those and you can see the full schedule of Summer shows at this link.
Teen Wolf (Mondays, MTV, Returns June 3rd) – This series delivered a pleasant surprise last season as it veered closer to Buffy the Vampire Slayer than Vampire Diaries/Twilight and managed to keep the teen angst threads from dominating its story as it built up an interesting mythology. If it continues on this track in its second season it could establish itself as a serious genre contender. It gets a special premiere kick-off on Sunday, June 3rd then settles into its normal Monday timeslot the next night
Tron: Uprising (Tuesdays, Disney XD, Premieres June 7th) – This series, which bridges the gap between the first and second Tron films, has actually already kicked off with a ten-part web series that introduces the characters and premise (you can watch it at the Disney XD site). Based on that, it looks like they have basically repackaged all of the expected tropes from young-adult oriented action animated shows but this time with the Tron label. The animation is cool at least and I will keep an eye on it to see if it manages to rise above cliche and find its own voice.
True Blood (Sundays, HBO, Returns June 10th) – With the last couple of seasons, this series has gone the way of bad camp and I don’t foresee that changing going into Season 5. It has become Dark Shadows at its worse but with sex, nudity, violence and none of the Gothic ambience that gave the 60’s soap its appeal. But then True Blood continues to deliver the ratings for HBO, so expect it to stick around for a while.
Falling Skies (Sundays, TNT, Returns June 17th) – In its first season, this show managed to tread that fine line between family drama and genre series without going overboard on the former like Terra Nova did or giving way to bad camp like Once Upon A Time did. I considered it a pleasant surprise last Summer, though it still has room to improve. If they continue to develop the sci fi and post-apocalyptic elements, this one could turn into a decent show.
Futurama (Wednesdays, Comedy Central, Returns June 20th) – Expect more of the same animated, sci fi hijinks from this series which now enters its seventh season.
Warehouse 13 (Mondays, Syfy, Returns July 23rd) – Expect Syfy not to tinker with the formula too much on this show in its fourth season as the Warehouse 13 team continues to recover objects that have leaked out across the globe.
Alphas (Mondays, Syfy, Returns July 23d) – This was the biggest surprise from last Summer as it at first looked like a Heroes meets the X-Men retread going in but actually managed to deliver an interesting and much more original series than expected. The Season 1 cliffhanger seemed to deliver a bit of a game-changer, though, so we will see where it goes in its second year.
Other notes about the Summer season: Eureka, which kicked off its fifth season in April, will end its run in July prior to the season debuts of Alphas and Warehouse 13, which will give them one less hour for their Monday-night block unless they have an unannounced new series waiting to fill in the gap. The Canadian import Lost Girl will continue its run on Syfy throughout the Summer, but will move to Fridays as it takes the slot Haven held last year. The latter series will shift to a Fall run this year. Torchwood, which aired its fourth season on STARZ last year, has not been officially cancelled, but there is no word of a new season starting up in the near future. And NBC plans on taking advantage of the Summer Olympics and kicking its season off early in August. Grimm is expected to debut its second season that month, though no word on if the J.J. Abrams series Revolution will launch then as well.