Summer TV 2015: Our fearless guide to new shows
Say you were an alien overlord bent on enslaving the human race. You could do worse than have your agents, already in place, create a New Golden Age of Television so that everyone on Earth was compelled, by curiosity or social pressure, to watch TV, and to create new technologies to ensure that they could watch it all the time, and to introduce new shows all year long, so that, instead of spending their summer hiking in the hills or swimming in the ocean or visiting museums, everyone would watch it all the time.
Then when the hypnotic order to submit was broadcast to the world, all humanity would fall in an instant.
So, hey, there’s a summer TV season starting, with a mess of new shows. Let’s take a look at (not even all of) them. Resistance is futile.
Each week, two needy families are given $101,000 and a choice to keep it for themselves or give some or all of it away to another needy family also given the same windfall and conundrum. Sentimental torture is the name I give this genre. CBS, 8 p.m. Wednesdays
David Duchovny is an LAPD detective who runs up against an ahistorically hot Charles Manson (Gethin Anthony) in this creepy crawl through the Summer of What at the Time Looked Like Love. All 13 episodes are also available online to swallow whole. NBC, 9 p.m. Thursdays
‘Golan the Insatiable’
Aubrey Plaza in the role she was born to play after April Ludgate, as a little goth girl whose best friend is a bloodthirsty demon (Rob Riggle). It’s like “Lassie,” if “Lassie” were about a little goth girl and a bloodthirsty demon, and a cartoon. Fox, 9:30 p.m. Sundays
‘100 Things to Do Before High School’
Scott Fellows (“Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide,” “Big Time Rush”) turns his attention back to middle school with this adolescent bucket-list comedy. “Yes,” I picture you saying now, with balled fists. Or maybe that was me. Nickelodeon, 8 p.m. Saturdays
‘Odd Mom Out’
Bravo’s disdainful love for the rich and aggravating finds expression in this scripted sitcom adapted from star Jill Kargman’s novel of Upper East Side maternity and its discontent, “Momzillas.” Joanna Cassidy, Andy Buckley, Abby Elliott costar, so don’t just walk away — I see you. Don’t think I don’t see you, because I do. Bravo, 10 p.m. Mondays
‘The Making of the Mob: New York’
Docudramatic miniseries with a more than usual emphasis on the drama, for those who somehow have never heard this story or need to hear it again. Ray Liotta narrates, with the authority of “GoodFellas” behind him. Episodes will accompany showings of gangster films, like wine pairings at a fancy dinner. AMC, 10 p.m. Mondays
High school classmates wind up working in the same Boston barbershop. You know it happens. Ashley Tisdale is here for the Disney Channel kids, Lauren Lapkus brings the alt-comedy cred, George Wendt establishes the spiritual/geographical link with “Cheers.” TBS, 10 p.m. Tuesdays
‘The Astronaut Wives Club’
Goodbye, Betty Draper; hello, Betty Grissom (JoAnna Garcia Swisher). The stuff behind the Right Stuff is the subject of this ‘60s-set fact-based drama, also featuring Yvonne Strahovski as Rene Carpenter and Dominique McElligott as Louise Shepard. ABC, 8 p.m. Thursdays
Dwayne Johnson as you’ve never seen him before — in a suit, snap! — plays a football player turned financial consultant to football players. Boss Rob Corddry leaves the clown makeup at “Childrens Hospital.” Peter Berg (“Friday Night Lights”) directed the pilot. HBO, 10 p.m. Sundays
Natasha Leggero and Riki Lindhome mash together upper-crust turn-of-the-century period drama with contemporary celebrity reality TV, and about time too. Michael Ian Black, Paget Brewster, Brett Gelman, Jason Ritter, David Wain and Christina Hendricks also star. Comedy Central, 10:30 p.m. Tuesdays
Security tech drone and after-hours cyber-hero Rami Malek finds himself enmeshed in a shadow world of conspiracies and counter-conspiracies. That Malek seems a little reminiscent of Matthew Broderick in “War Games” is probably just my thing. With Christian Slater and Carly Chaikin. USA, 10 p.m. Wednesdays
‘The Jim Gaffigan Show’
Comic Jim Gaffigan plays a version of himself (father of five, fond of food, rumpled, New Yorker) in what will surely not be the last comedy in which a comic plays a version of himself. Ashley Williams (wife), Adam Goldberg (friend, his) and Michael Ian Black (friend, hers) provide contrast. TV Land, 10 p.m. Wednesdays
‘Wet Hot American Summer’
The 2001 cult camp comedy becomes an eight-episode series, set before the original, with Amy Poehler, Bradley Cooper, Paul Rudd, Janeane Garofalo, Ken Marino and Michael Ian Black back in their old but even younger roles, and Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig, Jason Schwartzman and Chris Pine joining the party. Astonishing any way you look at it. Netflix, Fridays
Not a gender-switched musical based on “The Graduate” but a multi-cam sitcom with Craig Robinson as a funk musician, also named Craig Robinson, moonlighting as a high school music teacher. Peri Gilpin (“Frasier”) co-stars, auspiciously. NBC, 9 p.m. Wednesdays
‘The Carmichael Show’
Extra-dry comic Jerrod Carmichael stars as a guy, with a girlfriend, and parents and, you know, the usual stuff. But the parents are played by Loretta Devine and David Alan Grier, and Carmichael himself is a highly funny person. So there is that. NBC, 9:30 p.m. Wednesdays
The superpowerful trio of “SNL” veterans Fred Armisen, Bill Hader and Seth Meyers created this series of phony nonfiction films about things that never happened and aren’t true. But isn’t that just reality TV I hear you ask, or, you know, “The Office”? No, it isn’t. IFC, 10 p.m. Thursdays
Sir Patrick Stewart takes the helm of his first full-fledged sitcom as a difficult Briton crashing American cable news. Jonathan Ames (“Bored to Death”) writes and runs the show. Seth McFarlane, who has something to do with cartoons, is the producer who makes it so. Starz, 9 p.m. Saturdays.
Ed Burns writes, directs and stars as a good cop in a dirty world in the summer’s other ‘60s-set procedural, set at the NYPD’s Public Morals Division, where all is neither public nor moral. Michael Rapaport plays his partner, Elizabeth Masucci his wife. TNT, 10 p.m. Tuesdays
Credits: Produced by Elizabeth Bourke, David Lewis and Jevon Phillips.