With Mad Men no longer taking up space on your DVR and Game of Thrones’ gory fourth season over, you may feel like you need something new to get excited about on Sunday nights. Luckily, this summer has a bumper crop of high concept shows and two racy series making triumphant returns. Here's what you'll be watching until football season.
July 13, Showtime
In its second season, this gritty drama starring Liev Schreiber as a Hollywood fixer and Jon Voight as his untrustworthy, ex-con father is about to spend eight weeks rolling around in sun-drenched filth. At the end the first season, Ray found himself entangled with the FBI, torn between his family and his questionable professional decisions. The teasers for the new season show Donovan picking his way through the destruction wrought by his and his clients' choices. We’re especially looking forward to Voight, who won an Emmy last year for his role as Mickey Donovan, getting more screen time.
The Last Ship
June 22, TNT
If the name “Michael Bay” triggers your salivary or adrenalin glands, this is the show for you. Starring Eric Dane, the series follows the crew of a naval destroyer tasked with saving humanity from the brink of extinction. Specifically, our strong-jawed heroes must find the cure for a virus that has wiped out around 80 percent of the world’s population. That may sound somewhat far-fetched, but the show actually looks compelling. Expect explosions, unnecessary destruction, and characters saying things like “Take ‘em out!” very seriously. Michael Bay's Michael Bay impression keeps getting better.
June 29, HBO
Two percent of the Earth’s population has suddenly vanished. Is it the rapture, or something more sinister? That’s the question at the heart of HBO’s new mystery drama, a series based on Tom Perrotta’s novel of the same name and produced by Lost creator Damon Lindelof. The show stars Justin Theroux as a suburban police chief dealing with the repercussions of inexplicable loss. The Leftovers will contain the mysterious of Lindelof's early work and grapple with the sort of questions you can't ask on basic cable. HBO has been on a hot streak and it doesn't look likely to end this summer.
Masters of Sex
July 13, Showtime
Last year, Masters of Sex broke out as the most compelling new TV drama. Following sexologists Bill Masters (Michael Sheen) and Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan), the series deals with the ins and outs of human sexuality (literally). The second season sees the sexologists rising to fame during the sexual revolution and features new guest stars, including Sarah Silverman. It also grapples with the tumultuous relationship between Masters and Johnson, who make a surprisingly compelling TV couple.
July 13, FX
Director Guillermo del Toro and author Chuck Hogan are bringing their trilogy of vampire novels to the small screen. The dark, twisted tale follows Dr. Ephraim Goodweather (Corey Stoll), who is the head of the Center for Disease Control Canary Team in New York City. He and his crew are called on to investigate a mysterious viral outbreak, which may or may not be caused by an ancient evil. It's a frightening premise and FX, the network that gave us Justified and It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, isn't prone to queasiness. All the more reason to watch.