As you might be able to tell by the brighter evenings and the soaring temperature — well, depending on where you live, of course; here, it’s warmer but rainy right now — we’ve already made it to June without too much complaint. But as the summer gets into full swing, television strikes back with some welcome returns (And a much-anticipated show debuting). Here are the five you should be watching.
HBO’s vampire drama returns for a fifth season — showrunner and creator Alan Ball’s final season in charge — with 12 more episodes as Sookie has to deal with the dead bodies of Debbie and Tara. Based on the fifth of Charlaine Harris’ Sookie Stackhouse novels, expect this season to divert even more from the source material than ever; Bell is on record as saying it might draw on later books from the series, as well. Blood, sex and surprises, as ever, then. (June 10, HBO at 9 p.m. ET/PT)
The spy comedy that isn’t afraid to go for the jokes as quickly as the explosions is back — and, for those of us who’ve been wondering what the fate of Fiona is after the season finale for the fifth season, not one moment too soon. Will Michael go up against the FBI in order to save the woman he loves? Well, duh. But the fun will come in seeing just how he goes about it. (June 14, USA at 9 p.m. ET/PT)
Who says that you can’t do movie-scale sci-fi on television? Not executive producer Steven Spielberg and the rest of the team behind Falling Skies, a series that takes War of the Worlds to the next level. The first season of the TNT show dragged more than a little in the middle, but the finale turned out to be well worth the wait. Will we see more of that kind of intensity in the show’s second year? It won’t be that long before we find out. (June 17, TNT at 9 p.m. ET/PT)
Aaron Sorkin’s new show — about, as the title suggests, a newsroom — makes its long-awaited debut, giving diehards like me a chance to see the writer redeemed after the uneven-at-best Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip a few years back. Admittedly, the trailer suggests that we’re going to be seeing many, many familiar tropes, and the fact that the show-within-the-show is called News Night doesn’t bode well for fans of Sports Night, but … it’s Sorkin, dammit. Even if it’s a complete mess, it’ll be an interesting complete mess. (June 24, HBO at 10 p.m. ET/PT)
I was one of the latecomers to Louie CK’s FX sitcom; I read reviews and saw people talking about it, but I didn’t actually see an episode until it showed up on Netflix. As soon as I did, though, I was as hooked as I should’ve been from the start. Like some kind of sincere Curb Your Enthusiasm with more heart, there’s a lot going on in each episode of this series beyond the regular sitcom formula, but damn if it doesn’t provide all the laughs you’d be looking for while making you think about the big questions (and some of the little ones, too). If you haven’t caught it yet, you really should. (June 28, FX at 10:30 p.m. ET/PT)