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June 20, 2016

The 10 TV shows that will matter this summer


The Rio 2016 Olympics, set to run on NBC from August 5 to August 21, will not doubt be the big draw on TV this summer. But unless you are a fan of reality stalwarts like “America’s Got Talent,” “The Bachelorette” or “Big Brother,” finding new, engaging content until then might be a challenge. Luckily, there are a handful of proven or promising shows that aren’t taking a summer vacation. Here are 10 shows that are worth staying inside for.

1. “American West” (AMC) — premieres Saturday, June 11 at 10 p.m. ET
AMC is known for scripted fare like “Mad Men,” “Breaking Bad,” “The Walking Dead” and the most recent entry, “Better Call Saul.” But “American West,” from Robert Redford’s Sundance Productions and Stephen David Entertainment, is a docudrama that explores the legendary figures who transformed America’s frontier from 1865 to 1890. One interesting twist: It will lean heavily on interviews with actors who’ve appeared in beloved Westerns, including James Caan, Tom Selleck and Kiefer Sutherland.

2. “Animal Kingdom” (TNT) — premieres Tuesday, June 14 at 9 p.m. ET
Inspired by the 2010 Australian movie of the same name, a 17-year-old boy (James Frecheville) moves in with his grandmother (Ellen Barkin) after his drug-addicted mother dies of an overdose. But his grandmother, Janine “Smurf” Cody, is no “Suzy Homemaker.” She happens to be the matriarch of a crime-family empire with three unruly sons.

3. “Greenleaf” (OWN) — premieres Tuesday, June 21 at 10 p.m. ET
When the estranged daughter (Merle Dandridge) of a Memphis pastor returns home following the mysterious death of her sister, she finds a church environment riddled with sexual abuse and infidelity. Featuring Oprah Winfrey in her first regularly scheduled television role since ABC’s “Brewster Place” in 1990, “Greenleaf” also stars Keith David (“Enlisted”) and Lynn Whitfield (“The Josephine Baker Story”) as the powerful church owners.

4. “American Gothic” (CBS) – premieres Wednesday, June 22 at 10 p.m. ET
No relation to the short-lived drama of the same name that aired on CBS in 1995, this drama, from Stephen Spielberg’s Amblin Entertainment, centers on a prominent Boston family as they discover that one of their own is linked to a string of murders involving their recently deceased patriarch. The ensemble cast includes Antony Starr, Elliott Knight and Virginia Madsen.

5. “Queen of the South” (USA) — premieres Thursday, June 23 at 10 p.m. ET
Adapted from Spanish-language telenovela “La Reina del Sur,” “Queen of the South” tells the tale of a woman named Teresa Mendoza (Alice Braga) who rises from poor circumstances in Mexico to become a powerful drug lord in America.

6. “Roadies” (Showtime) — premieres Sunday, June 26 at 10 p.m. ET
Created by Oscar winner Cameron Crowe (“Almost Famous”), this dramedy centers on a group of rock band roadies touring the United States for the fictitious Staton-House Band. The cast includes Luke Wilson as the tour manager and Carla Gugino as the production manager. J.J. Abrams is listed an executive producer.

7 “Mr. Robot” (USA) — premieres Wednesday, July 13 at 10 p.m. ET
USA’s first social media hit, drama-thriller “Mr. Robot” will feature musician Joey Bada$$, Chris Conroy (“Two Night Stand”) and former “The Office” co-star Craig Robinson in season two. Already the winner of two Golden Globes and three Critics Choice Awards, “Mr. Robot” premieres the day before the Primetime Emmy nominations are announced; expect the show to be among the names listed.

8. “Stranger Things” (Netflix) — premieres Friday, July 15 (complete first season available for streaming at 3:01 a.m. ET)
Set in Indiana in the 1980s, the story begins when a young boy vanishes into thin air. As friends, family and local police look for answers, they are drawn into a mystery involving a government conspiracy, supernatural forces and a very strange little girl. Winona Ryder plays the boy’s mother, with David Harbour as the town’s chief of police.

9. “Vice Principals” (HBO) — premieres Sunday, July 17 at 10:30 p.m. ET
Described as a dark comedy, two rival vice principals at a high school (Walton Goggins and Danny McBride, in a role that calls to mind his tour de force performance in “Eastbound and Down”) are at constant odds as they compete for the top job of principal. Optimistic HBO has ordered two seasons of “Vice Principals” off the bat, with a total of 18 episodes.

10. “Beat Bugs” (Netflix) — premieres Wednesday, August 3 (complete first season available for streaming at 3:01 a.m. ET)
The animated tale of five bug friends as they undertake various adventures in an overgrown suburban backyard. What elevates this above the usual kiddie fair is the inclusion of Beatles songs performed by contemporary artists, including Eddie Vedder (“Magical Mystery Tour”), Pink (“Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds”) and Sia (“Blackbird”).