Remember when there was nothing on TV over summer?
Those days are long gone, thanks in large part to efforts by streaming giants and cablers to keep us glued to our armchairs in darkened rooms over the summer months.
The following weeks will see a plethora of new shows hitting our screens — from anticipated Marvel favorites such as Loki and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier to supernatural thrillers on Netflix, HBO and elsewhere. And let’s not forget the occasional sweeping fantasy drama or two. But not all shows are created equal. Some attract more anticipation than others, and with good cause.
While it’s too early to announce premiere dates for Lord of the Rings (Amazon), Foundation (Apple TV+) or even that Showtime revival of Dexter, we can at least indulge in some excited hand-wringing over these upcoming April, May and June titles.
LOKI (Disney +)
You didn’t think you’d truly seen the last of Loki, did you?
Tom Hiddleston is set to reprise his role as the lovable villain this summer in a new series that will see the God of Mischief stepping out of his brother’s shadow.
The series will take place after the events of Avengers: Endgame, and stars Owen Wilson, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Sophia Di Martino, Wunmi Mosaku and Richard E. Grant.
Kate Herron directs Loki, and Michael Waldron is head writer.
Loki premieres Wednesday June 9 on Disney +.
SHADOW AND BONE (Netflix)
Shadow and Bone has big boots to fill, but we are quietly confident of its success. Based on Leigh Bardugo’s worldwide bestselling Grishaverse novels, this upcoming Netflix series explores a war-torn world where lowly soldier and orphan Alina Starkov has just unleashed an extraordinary power that could be the key to setting her country free.
With the monstrous threat of the Shadow Fold looming, Alina is torn from everything she knows to train as part of an elite army of magical soldiers known as Grisha.
But as she struggles to hone her power, she finds that allies and enemies can be one and the same and that nothing in this lavish world is what it seems.
There are dangerous forces at play, including a crew of charismatic criminals, and it will take more than magic to survive.
Shadow and Bone stars Jessie Mei Li (Alina Starkov), Archie Renaux (Malyen Oretsev), Freddy Carter (Kaz Brekker), Amita Suman (Inej), Kit Young (Jesper Fahey), and Ben Barnes (General Kirigan).
It bows April 23rd, 2021 on Netflix.
THE NEVERS (HBO)
The Nevers is a 6 episode fantasy action series set in the last years of Queen Victoria’s reign.
London is beset by the “Touched”: people – mostly women – who suddenly manifest abnormal abilities – some charming, some very disturbing. Among them are Amalia True (Laura Donnelly), a mysterious, quick-fisted widow, and Penance Adair (Ann Skelly), a brilliant young inventor.
They are the champions of this new underclass, making a home for the Touched, while fighting the forces of… well, pretty much all the forces – to make room for those whom history as we know it has no place.
The ensemble cast also includes Olivia Williams, James Norton, Tom Riley, Rochelle Neil, Eleanor Tomlinson, Amy Manson, Pip Torrens, Denis O’Hare, Zackary Momoh, Elizabeth Berrington, Kiran Sawar, Anna Devlin, Viola Prettejohn, Ella Smith, Nick Frost and Ben Chaplin.
The Nevers debuts April 2021 on HBO and HBO Max.
LAW AND ORDER: ORGANIZED CRIME (NBC)
The world’s changed. And so has he. Kinda. Christopher Meloni, reprising his role as Elliot Stabler, returns to the NYPD to battle organized crime after a devastating personal loss in NBC’s latest Dick Wolf spinoff.
However, the city and police department have changed dramatically in the decade Stabler’s been away and he must adapt to a criminal justice system in the midst of its own moment of reckoning.
Stabler will aim to find absolution and rebuild his life while leading a new elite task force that is taking apart the city’s most powerful criminal syndicates one by one.
The series kicks off as a crossover event with the long-running Law and Order: SVU on Thursday, April 1 (10:00PM – 11:00PM) on NBC.
THE UNDERGROUND RAILROAD (Amazon Prime Video)
From Academy Award winner Barry Jenkins and based on the Pulitzer Prize winning novel by Colson Whitehead, The Underground Railroad chronicles Cora Randall’s (newcomer Thuso Mbedu) desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South.
After escaping a Georgia plantation for the rumored Underground Railroad, Cora discovers no mere metaphor, but an actual railroad full of engineers and conductors, and a secret network of tracks and tunnels beneath the Southern soil.
Over the course of her journey, Cora is pursued by Ridgeway (Joel Edgerton), a bounty hunter who is fixated on bringing her back to the plantation she escaped; especially since her mother Mabel is the only one he has never caught.
As she travels from state to state, Cora contends with the legacy of the mother that left her behind and her own struggles to realize a life she never thought was possible.
The Underground Railroad stars Thuso Mbedu, Chase W. Dillon and Joel Edgerton. Aaron Pierre, William Jackson Harper, Sheila Atim, Amber Gray, Peter De Jersey, Chukwudi Iwuji, Damon Herriman, Lily Rabe, Irone Singleton, Mychal-Bella Bowman, Marcus “MJ” Gladney, Jr., Will Poulter and Peter Mullan round out the cast.
Barry Jenkins serves as showrunner and directs all ten episodes of the limited series.
It hits screens May 14, 2021.
THE IRREGULARS (Netflix)
It’s the supernatural Sherlock Holmes spinoff you didn’t know you needed.
Set in Victorian London, The Irregulars follows a gang of troubled street teens who are manipulated into solving crimes for the sinister Doctor Watson and his mysterious business partner, the elusive Sherlock Holmes.
As the crimes take on a horrifying supernatural edge and a dark power emerges, it’ll be up to the Irregulars to come together to save not only London but the entire world.
The series drops March 26 on Netflix.