From new shows to new seasons, there’s a batch of brilliant content that can’t be missed this summer. If you haven’t seen prior installments of the stories we’re returning to or are looking for something juicy to binge, you better grab your popsicles, turn the AC up, and get cracking! Here are the summer’s must-see shows:
Big Little Lies (Season 2)
We return to Monterey for the much anticipated Season 2 of Big Little Lies, rife with tension, wit, and more pressure than ever to “let sleeping dogs lie.” The lie tied around the events of the first season is almost begging to be loosened and unleashed. The world of drop-off moms, petty drama, actual drama, trauma, and relationships gets even more intense this time around as our main characters have united as unlikely friends. Our fabulous five of Madeline (Reese Witherspoon), Renata (Laura Dern), Celeste (Nicole Kidman), Bonnie (Zoë Kravitz), and Jane (Shailene Woodley) must stick together following the murder in last season’s finale as they struggle for stability in the aftermath. Meryl Streep deliciously and terrifyingly enters the scene as Celeste’s mother-in-law, Mary Louise – the weed in the garden, eager to uncover the truth of what happened to her son and break through all defenses much to the dismay of our core characters. Will the truth finally come out? What would it take to keep everything covered?
Big Little Lies airs every Sunday at 9PM EST on HBO.
Creator and director Sam Levinson (Assassination Nation) further explores what it means to be a teenager today in Euphoria. The show delves into a vast array of topics such as relationships, sexuality, mental illness, and identity. At its core is Zendaya as Rue, the recently-out-of-rehab seventeen-year-old, trying to find her footing in the new school year while still struggling with her mental health and addiction. She quickly befriends Jules (breakout star Hunter Schafer), the new girl in town, and we meet more of Rue’s peers such as Kat, Nate, Maddy, and Cassie. While the show has been criticized for seemingly gratuitous use of nudity and displaying of explicit or inappropriate behavior, others argue (teens especially) that Euphoria is more accurate than most depictions of what it’s like to be in high school and college today, especially in our social media-saturated world of likes, leaks, and followers. The show also expertly portrays addiction, mental health, and especially the experiences of transgender people.
Viewer discretion is advised as the show can be graphic and triggering. It is only intended for mature audiences.
Euphoria airs every Sunday at 10 PM EST on HBO.
This crime and action drama follows Daisy “Jett” Kowalski (Carla Gugino), who is a former world-class thief and professional badass. She’s just been released from prison and plans to retire, eager to lay low and be a mother to her young daughter, Alice (Violet McGraw). However, trouble comes knocking when a job comes up that she can’t refuse, forcing Jett to confront her past and compromise her family’s safety. Gugino, known for a plethora of projects (Spy Kids, The Haunting of Hill House, Californication), finally gets the chance to shine in a much deserved lead role and takes the audience on an exciting journey of twists and turns. You don’t want to mess with (or miss) this one.
Jett airs on Cinemax on Fridays at 10 PM EST.
An HBO original (they are killing it with summer shows), Gentleman Jack details the life of famous diarist and lesbian Anne Lister (Suranne Jones) in Victorian-era Halifax. We follow her jaunty escapades throughout the town as she manages her family’s estate at Shibden Hall and is eager to obtain a wife. The latter state of business leads her to meet the ever so lovely Ann Walker (Sophie Rundle), an heiress plagued by an overbearing, judgmental, and greedy family. Over the course of the season, the two women must grapple with the world that is set against them, full of prejudice, shame, and cruelty. Though it’s not all a downhearted affair as writer Sally Wainwright (and Suranne Jones) beautifully captures Anne’s spirit and wit as well as her relationship with Ann, and the queer experience in general. A period drama through and through, Gentleman Jack is sure to tug at your heartstrings just as much as Darcy and Elizabeth did, and perhaps even more.
Gentleman Jack’s first season has concluded airing, but can be viewed on HBO and other streaming platforms.
The Handmaid’s Tale (Season 3)
Each season seems to be darker than the last, and we remarkably remain with June (Elisabeth Moss) in Gilead following her rejection of escaping to Canada with Emily and Nicole/Holly in last season’s finale. June continues to test the patience of the Waterford’s and really any authority figure as she seeks to turn the odds in her favor, to gain allies and sympathy that will further her in the community and allow her to free her daughter, Hannah if she can’t free herself. It also looks like she’s aiming beyond herself, to help other women and create cracks that ripple through the oppressive system, to tear apart Gilead from the inside. It’s a horrifying cat-and-mouse game between Serena and June, who seemed to be gaining higher moral ground. Serena is perhaps even shifting towards being June’s ally until she continually reverts back to her old ways. While the show can be difficult to stomach, and often leaves me staring at the screen in dismay (before quickly moving onto another episode), it’s a necessary look into the ways in which the world has been and could be corrupted. What havoc will June wreak this time? Or will she finally push it too far?
The Handmaid’s Tale streams on Hulu with new episodes out every Tuesday at 12 AM EST.
Do you have any other recommendations? Are you watching any of these summer shows? If so, let me know what you think of them in the comments below!