Summer TV Preview 2018: ‘Patrick Melrose,’ ‘Casual,’ ‘Sharp Objects’

With broadcast networks, cable channels, and streaming services programming year-round, there is never a break from quality television. And why would you want one?

In fact, if you wanted to beat the heat this summer, you could probably sit indoors and binge-watch new and returning series day in and day out. But assuming you don’t have that kind of time, Variety has selected the new and returning series that are most worth checking out this summer.

Dear White People” (Season 2 premiere May 4)
The second season of Justin Simien and Yvette Lee Bowser’s collegiate comedy dives deeper into the racial tensions and complicated relationships of Winchester University students, including Sam (Logan Browning), Lionel (DeRon Horton), Coco (Antoinette Robertson), Troy (Brandon P. Bell), and Reg (Marque Richardson). Picking up where Season 1 left off, the sophomore year will reveal the fate of historic, all African-American dorm Armstrong-Parker, explore the PTSD that comes with being confronted by a rent-a-cop with a gun at a house party, force characters to make tough decisions regarding their futures, and even introduce a mystery around a supposed secret society on campus. — Danielle Turchiano

Sweetbitter” (Series premiere May 6)
Based on the novel by Stephanie Danler, “Sweetbitter” revolves around 22-year-old Tess (Ella Purnell) as she explores the behind-the-scenes culinary world of “waiting” in New York City after she is invited to train at one of the best restaurants in the world. Caitlin Fitzgerald (“Masters of Sex,” “Unreal”), Tom Sturridge (“On the Road,” Broadway’s “1984”), and Paul Sparks (“Boardwalk Empire,” “House of Cards”) also star. Danler will serve as a writer and executive producer on the series. — Tara Bitran

“Patrick Melrose” (Limited series premiere May 12)
David Nicholls adapted Edward St. Aubyn’s five rich novels into an equally captivating limited series spanning the life of complicated protagonist Patrick Melrose. Benedict Cumberbatch stars as the man in his adult form and will dive into the most schizophrenic years of his life when he is stumbling through addiction. But the series will also jump back and forward in time to examine his wealthy, but abusive upbringing, as well as his own shortcomings as a husband and father once he gets clean. — DT

Becca Kufrin

“The Bachelorette” (Season 14 premiere May 28)
The upcoming season of ABC’s “The Bachelorette” with Becca Kufrin will mark the second time in the franchise’s history that the woman who was proposed to on “The Bachelor” ends up in the power position of choosing between a number of eligible potential partners. It has only been a few short months since Arie Luyendyk Jr. ended their relationship, so is Kufrin truly ready to find love? The five suitors introduced during “After the Final Rose” suggest she will have a good range of men to choose from. — Ariana Brockington

“Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” (Season 4 premiere May 30)
Netflix’s hit comedy finally returns for its fourth season — but this time only the first six episodes will be immediately available to the streaming giant. The remaining half of the season will arrive at a later date in 2018. The show will follow Kimmy (Ellie Kemper) and Jacqueline (Jane Krakowski) as they eagerly start their new careers, while Titus (Titus Burgess) must move forward in love. Will he be inspired by another musician’s album to help him reunite with Mikey (Mike Carlsen) or will he simply move on? — AB

Pose” (Series premiere June 3)
This series set in the 1980s ballroom culture is not only going to be monumental for its inclusive representation in storytelling, but also because it is Ryan Murphy’s final new series at FX, now that he has signed a deal with Netflix. “Pose,” which also boasts activist and author Janet Mock as a writer and producer, features a cast of transgender characters who are not defined by their gender identities. They make up a new kind of family on television — one that celebrates fashion and dance and festiveness. — DT

Dietland” (Series premiere June 4)
Marti Noxon has adapted Sarai Walker’s debut novel that explores beauty culture and feminism for the small screen. Starring Joy Nash, Julianna Margulies and Tamara Tunie, the AMC drama centers on a woman who gets drawn into a mysterious world of fighting back against the lifestyle standards messaging the magazine she works for sets. With a goal of empowerment and fighting misogyny, the story is timely. With its execution of revenge against sexual abusers it may just be wish fulfillment, too. — DT

So You Think You Can Dance

“So You Think You Can Dance” (Season 15 premiere June 4)
The 15th season of Fox’s hit dance competition series will sashay onto the summer scene with co-creator Nigel Lythgoe and “hot tamale train conductor” Mary Murphy returning as the show’s longstanding judges. “High School Musical” alumna Vanessa Hudgens will fill the third seat for a second consecutive season, while Cat Deeley continues to run the show, returning as host for the 14th season in a row. These familiar faces will bring a chemistry long-time viewers of the show have come to know and love, but the new dancers vying for the top prize will surely elevate the entertainment. — Christi Carras

“The Bold Type” (Season 2 premiere June 12)
Freeform’s women’s magazine-set drama tackled a number of significant issues in its first season, including the importance of getting tested for the BRCA gene, and harassment and assault before Me Too was making headlines. And it did so by showing a supportive group of female friends and their female boss who led by positive example rather than intimidation. The second season comes with a new showrunner, “Sweet/Vicious'” Amanda Lasher, who is bound to further the tone of smashing the patriarchy while Jane (Katie Stevens), Kat (Aisha Dee), and Sutton (Meghann Fahy) juggle moving up in the professional world and moving forward in their romantic relationships. — DT

“Marvel’s Luke Cage” (Season 2 premiere June 22)
The Marvel-Netflix series “Luke Cage” returns for its second season on June 22. The superheroically charming Mike Colter is back as the titular star, who has become a celebrity around Harlem since the events of Season 1. This season will also see the return of Simone Missick as Misty Knight, who will get the bionic arm her character sports in the comic books this season— Joe Otterson

Sharp Objects” (Series premiere July 2018)
It’s a winning formula: Take a best-selling novel (by Gillian Flynn of “Gone Girl” fame), cast an award-winning actress (“Arrival’s” Amy Adams), and put it all in the capable hands of an inventive director (“Wild’s” Jean Marc-Vallee) and a television pro (“UnReal’s” Marti Noxon). That’s what worked for “Big Little Lies” — and HBO is betting that lightning will indeed strike twice. The limited series about a journalist who returns to her hometown and uncovers dark secrets about her past may well be one of the year’s most anticipated. — Debra Birnbaum


“Casual” (Final season premiere July 31)
Hulu will drop all eight episodes of its fourth and final season of sibling comedy “Casual” on the same day for longtime viewers’ binge-watching pleasure. The final run will answer cliffhanger questions from the third season finale, including what Val (Michaela Watkins) will do about her daughter Laura (Tara Lynne Barr) moving in with her grandmother (Frances Conroy), and if Alex (Tommy Dewey) is about to become a father. But the real question is whether or not this brother-sister best-friend duo will be living together permanently again, or if another shake-up is coming by series’ end.  DT

“Making It” (Series premiere July 31)
A reunion for “Parks and Recreation’s” Amy Poehler and Nick Offerman? Yes, please. In a shift from their usual comedy projects, the two are teaming up to host and executive produce a crafting competition show. Over the course of six episodes, eight contestants will show off their DIY talents channeling their inner Ron Swanson in front of Poehler, Offerman, and judges Simon Doonan and Dayna Isom Johnson. — Kirsten Chuba

Jack Ryan” (Series premiere Aug. 31)
In John Krasinski’s first major TV role since “The Office,” it’s out with Jim Halpert and in with Jack Ryan. In the new Amazon Prime series, based on Tom Clancy’s novels, Krasinski stars as the titular CIA analyst who is thrown into a war zone for the first time and uncovers a pattern of terrorist communication. The show also features Abbie Cornish and Wendell Pierce. — KC

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