Summer TV Preview Gallery

Jace Lacob rounds up what’s worth watching in the coming months, from True Blood and Torchwood to British period drama The Hour and the return of Damages.

USA/Eric Ogden

White Collar (USA)

The slick and smart series White Collar returns for a third season of more con artistry and crime investigation. Following the cliffhanger ending of Season 2, Neal Caffrey (Matthew Bomer) and Peter Burke (Tim DeKay) deal with the fallout in their friendship after experiencing a return of the distrust that once colored their professional relationship, even as Neal tries to get to the bottom of just who arranged for him to find that hidden cache of stolen Nazi treasure. This season, Hilarie Burton gets upgraded to a series regular, which means more sizzling screen time between Bomer and Burton, as Neal and Sara continue their burgeoning romance. Also on tap: Neal wrestles with whether he’s a good guy or a criminal; the audience learns the backstory of Agent Jones (Sharif Atkins) and finally meets the girlfriend of Marsha Thomasson’s Diana; and the deliciously enigmatic Mozzie (Willie Garson) gets a flashback episode. (Returns June 7 at 9 p.m., followed by the return of Covert Affairs at 10 p.m.)

Bwark Productions

The Inbetweeners (BBC America)

Pariahdom never looked so awkward… or felt so painfully funny. Iain Morris and Damon Beesley’s hit U.K. comedy The Inbetweeners returns for the U.S. premiere of its third season, catching up with Simon (Joe Thomas), Will (Simon Bird), Jay (James Buckley), and Neil (Blake Harrison) as they finish up their final year of high school. But despite looking toward what the future holds, the guys still manage to find themselves embroiled in yet another round of raunchy sexual misadventures and truly embarrassing situations. Before the boys head off to their big screen debut in the Inbetweeners feature film, witness six episodes of cringe-worthy comedy gold. You’ll laugh until you cry. (Returns June 18 at 11 p.m.)

TNT/Frank Ockenfels

Falling Skies (TNT)

From executive producer Steven Spielberg comes the taut and gritty drama Falling Skies, which depicts the aftermath of a global alien invasion and the thrown-together group of civilian survivors who organize a resistance movement to combat their reptilian invaders. (Yes, this is the show that ABC’s short-lived V should have been.) Noah Wyle ( ER) stars as former university professor Tom Mason, whose knowledge of American history (and specifically key battles throughout history) serves him well in his new role. The project, which launches with a two-hour premiere, also stars Moon Bloodgood, Drew Roy, Jessy Schram, Maxim Knight, Peter Shinkoda, and Seychelle Gabriel, and takes a realistic look at how humanity survives in the face of such terrifying odds. (Launches June 19 at 10 p.m.)

BBC

Masterpiece Mystery! (PBS)

The venerable anthology franchise returns this summer with some familiar sleuths—Hercule Poirot and Miss Marple—and a new one with Aurelio Zen. David Suchet’s Poirot kicks off the season with three new mysteries, as he unravels the truth behind a murder at a cocktail party (in Three Act Tragedy), frozen clocks (in The Clocks), and a deadly festival (in Hallowe’en Party). Julia McKenzie reprises her role as Miss Marple in a single new Marple ( The Pale Horse), in which she avenges the murder of an old friend. And finally, there’s the three-part Zen, starring Rufus Sewell and based on the books by Michael Dibdin, which follows detective Aurelio Zen as he attempts to enact justice in modern-day Italy, while wearing some the coolest 1960s fashion this side of Mad Men. (Returns June 19 at 9 p.m.; check your local listings)

FX/Michael Becker

Wilfred (FX)

Based on an Aussie comedy of the same name, the slightly absurdist single-camera comedy Wilfred stars Elijah Wood ( Lord of the Rings) as Ryan, a hopelessly introverted guy who can’t cope with the demands of everyday life. That is, until he meets Wilfred, the beloved canine companion of his sweet and attractive neighbor Jenna (Fiona Gubelman). While the world at large sees Wilfred as a dog, Ryan sees him as a man in a dog suit. As played by original series co-creator Jason Gann, Wilfred is loud, uncouth, and extremely territorial… and might just be the thing to snap Ryan out of his perennial funk. Unless, of course, he’s just losing his mind altogether. Wilfred will anchor FX’s one-hour comedy block on Thursdays, leading into the second season of Louis C.K.’s Louie. (Launches June 23 at 10 p.m., followed by the return of Louie at 10:30 p.m.)

USA/Frank Ockenfels

Suits (USA)

USA’s latest offering finds the cable network tackling a legal drama, Suits (formerly known as A Legal Mind). It stars Gabriel Macht as a cutthroat corporate lawyer recruiting a new associate for the firm who winds up hiring Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams), a college dropout turned street hustler who happens to be a legal prodigy... and who can fake his way out of the tightest situation with a smile and a comment about a legal tort. (He takes cash for pretending to be law school students at the LSATs.) The show, created by Aaron Korsh ( The Deep End), also stars Gina Torres, Meghan Markle, and Rick Hoffman. (Launches June 23 at 10 p.m.)

HBO/John P. Johnson

True Blood (HBO)

HBO’s gonzo vampire drama True Blood returns for its fourth season. While details about what’s coming are being kept under wraps, here’s what we do know: Season 4 will be loosely based on Charlaine Harris’ Dead to the World, which revolves in part around a coven of witches that Jesus (Kevin Alejandro) wants Lafayette (Nelsan Ellis) to join. Sookie (Anna Paquin) returns to Bon Temps after disappearing in a flash of light at the end of the season, and things couldn’t be worse between her and Bill Compton (Stephen Moyer); werewolf Alcide (Joe Manganiello) reappears; Jessica (Deborah Ann Woll) and Hoyt (Jim Parrack) squabble over menu issues; and Eric (Alexander Skarsgård) has to contend with some memory problems, even as he tries to mend the rift between vampires and humans following the madness of rampant vampire king Russell Edgington (Denis O’Hare), last seen being buried alive in concrete. Buckle up, True Blood fans… (Returns June 26 at 9 p.m.)

Showtime/Giovanni Rutino

Weeds (Showtime)

Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker) has been put through the ringer over six seasons of Jenji Kohan’s pot-scented black comedy Weeds, transforming herself from widowed mother of two to pot dealer to Mexican mafia trophy wife to on-the-lam murder suspect. Season 7— SPOILER ALERT!—picks up three years after the events of last year’s finale, in which Nancy turned herself into the FBI rather than be killed by her vengeful husband Esteban, as the rest of her family fled to Copenhagen. After being released from federal prison after a three-year term, Nancy tries to start over in Manhattan at a halfway house, but she discovers that her scattered family might not be ready to help her pick up the pieces of her fractured life… and that it’s only too easy to fall back into your old ways. Martin Short, Aidan Quinn, Lindsay Sloane, Pablo Schreiber, and Jennifer Jason Leigh guest star this season. (Returns June 27 at 10 p.m., followed by The Big C at 10:30 p.m.)

Starz

Torchwood: Miracle Day (Starz)

When we last saw Captain Jack Harkness (John Barrowman) and Gwen Cooper (Eve Myles), the survivors of the Torchwood Institute, the duo had managed to save the world from an insidious alien race, but maintained huge casualties—both physical and emotional ones—in the process. Enter Torchwood: Miracle Day—now a co-production between BBC and U.S. pay cable network Starz (which takes over from BBC America as the new U.S. home of the Doctor Who spin-off)—a 10-part story that depicts what happens when no one dies. It’s a world without death, which seems like the titular miracle but which soon precipitates a massive population spike and puts the world’s ecosystem out of whack. Barrowman and Myles are joined in this taut serialized thriller by Bill Pullman, who plays a child killer who is sentenced to die but who becomes an unlikely media darling; Mekhi Phifer as a dashing CIA agent; Alex Havins as a desk-bound CIA analyst who is dragged into the field; Arlene Tur as a Washington surgeon; and Lauren Ambrose as a conniving publicist. (Also look for Dollhouse’s Dichen Lachman to turn up along the way.) (Returns July 8 at 10 p.m.)

HBO/John P. Johnson

Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)

Larry David’s improvised comedy Curb Your Enthusiasm returns for its eighth season. Back for another round of painfully funny situations and incisive social satire are David, Jeff Garlin, Susie Essman, and Cheryl Hines, while guest stars this year include Ricky Gervais, Michael J. Fox, Rosie O’Donnell, Ana Gasteyer, Harry Hamlin, and Curb returnees Wanda Sykes, Richard Lewis, J.B. Smoove, and Bob Einstein. (Returns July 10 at 10 p.m.)

Syfy/Ken Woroner

Alphas (Syfy)

Created by Zak Penn (X2) and Michael Karnow, Alphas revolves around a group of everyday people gifted, thanks to brain anomalies, with extraordinary abilities that are within the realm of scientific possibility. (Think of it as X-Men, only more relatable.) Lead by neurologist/psychologist Dr. Leigh Rosen (David Strathairn), the team operates under the Defense Criminal Investigation Service of the U.S. Department of Justice, and investigates bizarre cases that the CIA and the FBI are unable or unwilling to solve, often involving other people with Alpha abilities. Part crime procedural, part workplace comedy, Alphas—which was originally developed several years ago at ABC under the title Section 8—stars Strathairn, Malik Yoba, Warren Christie, Laura Mennell, Ryan Cartwright and Azita Ghanizada. (Launches July 11 at 10 p.m.)

Sony Pictures Television/David Russell

Damages (DirecTV)

Axed by FX at the end of its third season, the serpentine legal thriller Damages moves to savior DirecTV for its fourth season, which reunites Glenn Close’s Patty Hewes and Rose Byrnes’ Ellen Parsons as they tackle another high-stakes litigation. Season 4—which will also feature John Goodman, Chris Messina, Dylan Baker, Judd Hirsch, Fisher Stevens, Griffin Dunn, Julie White, Bailey Chase and Derek Webster—revolves around a wrongful-death suit leveled against a private military contractor, a well-connected player who has amassed a great deal of wealth supplying the U.S. government with security forces in Afghanistan. But when Patty and Ellen go after Goodman’s Howard T. Erickson, they are drawn into another web of corruption and conspiracy. Expect more whiplash-inducing plot twists, enough red herrings to fill a barrel, and shocking revelations aplenty. In order words: more of the stuff that makes Damages tick. (Returns July 13 at 10 p.m.)

AMC/Ursula Coyote

Breaking Bad (AMC)

While Mad Men has been backburnered until next year, AMC has more than enough content to keep you hooked this summer. When we last caught up with the Albuquerque-set characters of Breaking Bad, Jesse (Aaron Paul) had gone on the run while Walt (Bryan Cranston) was seen negotiating with Gus (Giancarlo Esposito) in order to stay alive… and arranged for his former lab assistant—and possible replacement as head meth cooker—to be murdered by Jesse. In Season 4 of the award-winning drama, Walt and Jesse have to deal with the consequences of their actions, as Walt squares off with Gus and Jesse becomes increasingly aloof. Meanwhile, Skyler (Anna Gunn) commits to laundering Walt’s money in order to keep her sister Marie (Betsy Brant) and Hank (Dean Norris), who is recovering from his shooting last season, financially afloat. What new dangers will the latest season contain for Walter White? (Returns July 17 at 10 p.m.)

Showtime

Web Therapy (Showtime)

Based on Lisa Kudrow’s web series, the 10-episode improvised comedy Web Therapy stars the former Friends star as Dr. Fiona Wallice, a psychotherapist who treats her patients in short weekly sessions via web video, which she believes is more effective than sitting down face-to-face for 50 minutes once a week, though it quickly becomes obvious that, regardless of he methods, Fiona actually offers very little concrete help to her patients. (Those patients include Glee’s Jane Lynch, Cougar Town’s Courteney Cox, Gosford Park’s Bob Balaban, Parks and Recreation’s Rashida Jones, and many others.) And the show will follow Fiona as she heads home, where she must contend with her long-suffering husband Kip ( Alias’ Victor Garber) and her outwardly hostile mother Putsy (Lily Tomlin). (Launches July 19 at 11 p.m.)

Kudos

The Hour (BBC America)

A BBC America co-production, The Hour—created by Abi Morgan ( Brick Lane)—is a six-hour period drama set in a BBC newsroom in 1956 London, where a romantic triangle is forming between Hector Madden, Bel Rowley, and Freddie Lyon, three competitive news team members played by Dominic West ( The Wire), Romola Garai (Atonement), and Ben Whishaw ( Brideshead Revisited). But—surprise!—The Hour isn’t a romantic drama, but instead is a gripping espionage thriller. As our rivals grapple with their individual ambitions, a murder coincides with a controversial investigation and the world begins to change in a number of ways: the U.K. controversially sends military troops to the Suez Canal and the cool façade of polite society begins to melt. Cheekily referred to by the press as “the U.K.’s answer to Mad Men,” The Hours also stars Tim Piggott-Smith, Juliet Stevenson, Anton Lesser, Anna Chancellor, Julian Rhind-Tutt, and Oona Chaplin. (Launches August 17 at 10 p.m.)