Premiering TV Shows in July 2023
Starts 18th July // FX
Official Synopsis: "Having left the hollers of Kentucky 15 years ago, Raylan Givens now lives in Miami, a walking anachronism balancing his life as a U.S. Marshal and part-time father of a 15-year-old girl. His hair is grayer, his hat is dirtier, and the road in front of him is suddenly a lot shorter than the road behind. A chance encounter on a desolate Florida highway sends him to Detroit. There he crosses paths with Clement Mansell, aka The Oklahoma Wildman, a violent, sociopathic desperado who's already slipped through the fingers of Detroit's finest once and aims to do so again. Mansell's lawyer, formidable Motor City native Carolyn Wilder, has every intention of representing her client, even as she finds herself caught in between cop and criminal, with her own game afoot as well. These three characters set out on a collision course in classic Elmore Leonard fashion, to see who makes it out of the City Primeval alive."
Why you should watch it: City Primeval is Raylan Givens triumphant return to our screens, in an 8 episode miniseries. It is based on a novel by Elmore Leonard, whose other works inspired the parent show (Justified), but didn't feature the Raylan character at all. They've kept elements from 1980s novel, and shoe horned Raylan into the mix, instead of the detective originally on the case. And, by early reviews, it's a success. With a whole new set of extras, this is not a Justified sequel, so don't expect Boyd Crowder to make an appearance. Raylan is taking his 15 year old daughter to camp when a bunch of badguys get in their way, sparking events that put them in the way of danger. But, Raylan always gets his man. If you're looking for a cure for the modern western itch that you didn't know you had, Justified is back!
Starts 27th July // Peacock
Official Synopsis: "A high-octane action comedy about a motor-mouthed outsider offered a chance at a better life, but only if he can successfully deliver a mysterious package across a post-apocalyptic wasteland. With the help of a trigger-happy car thief, he'll face savage marauders driving vehicles of destruction and other dangers of the open road, including a deranged clown who drives an all too familiar ice cream truck. Based on the hit video game franchise by Sony Interactive."
Why you should watch it: It has cars! It has guns! It has comedy! What? Based on the PlayStation game of the same name, Twisted Metal is a weird blend of extreme violence and, from the preview given or by the network, a "sense of humour" that only millennials will understand. There is no guarantee they'll appreciate it though, as the show is already under fire from the release of a fight scene that descends into a dance to Sisqos Thong Song. What?? The official trailer looks better, but brutality of the game has been updated with a jovial tone that fans of the game might not appreciate. I'll give the customary three episodes...
Starts 23rd July // Paramount+
Official Synopsis: "Special Ops: Lioness, inspired by an actual US Military program, follows the life of Joe while she attempts to balance her personal and professional life as the tip of the CIA's spear in the war on terror. The Lioness Program, overseen by Kaitlyn Meade and Donald Westfield, enlists an aggressive Marine Raider named Cruz to operate undercover alongside Joe among the power brokers of State terrorism in the CIA's efforts to thwart the next 9/11."
Why you should watch it: Inspired by true-ish events, this star-studded show puts Zoe Saldaña in the path of the worst people on the planet, when she infiltrates the friends and families of high level terrorists, in order to eliminate her ultimate target. Nicole Kidman stars as her boss, alongside Micheal Kelly (also currently staring in the final season of Jack Ryan) overseeing the Lioness program, who hires a combat veteran marine to join the team. But will her aggressive personality expose the undercover operation, and spell doom for the others and the mission. Morgan Freeman also stars as the US Secretary of State.
Returning TV Shows in July 2023
Returns 14th July // Network: Apple TV+
Official Synopsis: "When revolutionary Dr. Hari Seldon predicts the impending fall of the Empire, he and a band of loyal followers venture to the far reaches of the galaxy to establish The Foundation in an attempt to rebuild and preserve the future of civilization. Enraged by Hari's claims, the ruling Cleons - a long line of emperor clones - fear their grasp on the galaxy may be weakening as they're forced to reckon with the potential reality of losing their legacy forever."
Why you should watch it: Following a trend of the optioning of a pre-existing work, and then mostly disregarding it, the first season of Foundation carried a lot of negativity even before it aired. Why option 70 year old novels that newer generations probably haven't heard of, and change them so much that you'll annoy the older fans of the books? It never makes sense to me. Anyway, I am a massive fan of the novels, having first read them before I was double digits old, and I fell into the second group - I wasn't interested in the show, based on the previews. When I finally did watch it, there's a competent sci-fi lurking in there somewhere. Big ideas and respectful performances by the leads and Season 2 looks to ramp up the problems the Foundation will face. If only they'd changed the last 5% of the original story, and called it something new, maybe the show wouldn't have carried any amount of stigma. If you haven't seen the first season yet, and you're a not a die-hard fan, I tentatively recommend it...
Returns 24th July // Network: Hulu
Official Synopsis: "When Fry, a somewhat dim-witted 25 year-old pizza delivery boy for Panucci's Pizza is asked to make a drop at Applied Cryogenics, it's the beginning of a journey that will take him more than a thousand years into the future. Fry falls into one of the company's capsules and doesn't emerge until the dawn of the year 3000. Here he befriends a beautiful one-eyed alien called Leela (a worker at the New York based cryogenics factory) and a degenerate robot named Bender. The trio track down Fry's great-great-great-etc. nephew, Professor Farnsworth, who hires the three to work for his intergalactic delivery service. Together they traverse the cosmos delivering goods for Planet Express, Leela serves as the ship's captain and Bender indulges in his love of booze, large cigars and pornography. "
Why you should watch it: Some shows are gone before their time. Some shows have their time before they are gone. There are very very few shows that are gone before their time, multiple times. After first premiering in 1999, then being cancelled in 2003, and 2009, AND 2013, Hulu have now renewed the show for a further 20 episodes (at least?). This will be the shows 8th season, with every previous season being nominated, and in most cases winning, awards. From Matt Groening, the show has managed to stay fresh, a criticism of his other major work, The Simpsons. Maybe it's due to the wider scope the show can encompass, or maybe ironically because it repeated goes off the air, it has time to pause and reflect, and come back as strong. Either way, you can either watch the show, or you can bite my shiny metal...
Returns 28th July // Network: Amazon Prime Video
Official Synopsis: "The End of the World is coming, which means a fussy Angel and a loose-living Demon who've become overly fond of life on Earth are forced to form an unlikely alliance to stop Armageddon. But they have lost the Antichrist, an 11-year-old boy unaware he's meant to bring upon the end of days, forcing them to embark on an adventure to find him and save the world before it's too late."
Why you should watch it: It's been four years (May 2019) since the first season of Good Omens dropped, and it was quite the hit. David Tennant and Micheal Sheen play the "buddy cop" of good and evil(ish), after becoming really quite fond of humanity. Tennant high energy performance perfectly counter pointed Sheens stoicism, and endered them to the entire viewing audience (rough estimate). They became firm friends in real life while filming the show, and during the pandemic, this lead to the show Staged, wherein they played themselves. Shortly after the limited series ended, rumours of a second unreleased book by original authors Terry Pratchett and Neil Gaiman began to surface, and fan interest was kept ablaze. It took 2 years, but Amazon reversed the decision to have the show as a one off, and renewed the show for a second season in 2021. Neil Gaiman is back writing - unfortunately Pratchett died in 2015 - but fans got a mild shock recently when he revealed that this season was entirely original material, and that the book that he and Pratchett had outlined would possibly be yet another future season. Jon Hamm is new to the show, playing archangel Gabriel, who turns up at Aziraphale's (Sheen) bookshop, with no memory of who he is, kicking off the events of the season.
Returns 10th July // Network: TBS
Official Synopsis: "In the offices of Heaven Inc Craig is a low-level angel responsible for handling all of humanity's prayers. His boss, God, has pretty much checked out to focus on his favorite hobbies. To prevent Earth's destruction, Craig and fellow angel Eliza must answer a seemingly impossible prayer: help two humans, Laura and Sam, fall in love."
Why you should watch it: Originally set up as a limited run, demand for the show after the excellent first season meant that, with the storyline complete, the series morphed into an anthology, akin to Blackadder of yore or more recently American Horror Story. The main cast, led by Daniel Radcliffe and Steve Buscemi, is back every season, but playing very different characters in very different scenarios. This time round we get a Mad Max style postnuclear apocalyptic world, where a Road Warrior and a Warlord try to live a quieter, more normal life and settle down in Boomtown.
Returns 13th July // Network: FX
Official Synopsis: "Set in Staten Island, What We Do in the Shadows follows the lives of three traditional vampires, Nandor, Laszlo, and Nadja; Colin Robinson, an energy vampire; and Guillermo, Nandor's familiar. The series revolves around the centuries-old vampires interacting with the modern world and other supernatural beings."
Why you should watch it: You could be forgiven for previously missing this mockumentary about a group of vampire housemates, but maybe now is the time to sink your teeth into one of the best comedies on TV. Over its four seasons, the show has been nominated for 17 Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Comedy Series in 2020 and 2022. Created by Taika Waititi, it is a spin off of the film of the same name, which also spun off the show Wellington Paranormal. While the TV shows themselves aren't linked per se, they both share a documentary genre blended with deadpan humour. Waititi also uses his considerable Holywood muscle to stage some fantastic cameos, from the likes of Dave Bautista, Tilda Swinton, Mark Hamill and Wesley Snipes, who calls himself the Daywalker...
Returns 27th July // Network: HBO Max
Official Synopsis: "Harley Quinn has finally broken things off once and for all with the Joker, and attempts to make it on her own as the criminal Queenpin of Gotham City. The series features Harley Quinn, Poison Ivy and a whole cast of heroes and villains, old and new, from the DC Universe."
Why you should watch it: A very adult take on the denizens of Gotham sees Harley Quinn break up with the Joker and form her own cabal of misfits. Kaley Cuoco (of The Big Bang Theory fame) brings Harley to life, with a manic performance, while Alan Tudyk (he was in some show called Firefly) is on board as the Joker (and a dozen other characters). Long term shippers of Harley and Poison Ivy are catered to, with the two try to settle down together. Their only problem is everyone in Gotham, including themselves. Seasons 2 and 3 hold 100% Fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes, so maybe it's got something going for it.
Ending TV Shows in July 2023
Final Episode 13th July // Network: NBC
Official Synopsis: "Raymond "Red" Reddington, an ex-US Naval Intelligence officer who had disappeared twenty years earlier to become one of the FBI's Ten Most Wanted Fugitives, surrenders himself to FBI Assistant Director Harold Cooper at the J. Edgar Hoover Building in Washington, D.C. Taken to an FBI "black site", Reddington declares he wishes to help the FBI track down and apprehend the criminals and terrorists he has spent the last twenty years associating with. They are the individuals who are so dangerous and devious that the United States government is unaware of their very existence."
Why you should have watched it: From the moment Raymond Reddington menacingly chuckled his way onto our screens, the show gained a legion of fans, and rightly so. James Spader was regarded as a good actor, a lot in part due to his role as Alan Shore in Boston Legal, but his turn as Red has been legendary. A criminal mastermind that the audience could root for, and empathise with, at home as much in a warlords palace as in a trailer park, the nuances of the character have been unlimited and sometimes surprising over the years. He has been shown to be caring towards his allies and companions, but ruthless to those that cross him. In the final episodes, it is his own name on the list, and whether the outcome is good or bad from Reddington, it will be bittersweet for the audience.