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The Best New Shows to Binge-Watch This Summer

Stay cool, stay safe, stay inside and watch these

Tim Surette

It's getting hot out there as summer creeps across the country, so do the right thing and stay inside, stay cool, stay safe, and stay entertained by watching television. That's not that big of an ask, is it? If the pandemic excuse is wearing thin to avoid going out into the world, just tell your friends, "Sorry, can't meet up for a social-distancing hard lemonade, I gotta watch some Lovecraft Country."

Thankfully, the pandemic hasn't totally dried up television releases yet, especially with all the streaming services producing and hoarding series in advance, so you'll still get plenty of new options to check out over the next few months. We've picked out 10 of the best.

Looking for more recommendations of what to watch next? We have a ton of them! We also have hand-picked selections based on shows you already love.


Premieres: Monday, May 25 at 9/8c | Where to watch: National Geographic

Once you get over the odd title -- it's named after the book it's based on, which itself is a reference to the slurs used against indentured servants brought over from Europe -- you'll find Barkskins to be a well-acted, well-produced saga about French colonies in the spectacular untamed wilderness of 1600s Canada. It's got the potential for epic drama with French traders battling both rival English settlers and natives for highly valued land, the smarmy types and their nefarious plots to gain territory, the women brought over to become wives for landowners, and a pair of indentured servants fighting for survival. It's gritty and violent, the sets and attention to detail are upper-tier, and Fargo's David Thewlis barely leaves enough scenery for everyone else in the potent cast, which includes Marcia Gay Harden, Matthew Lillard, and Aneurin Barnard.   

Central Park

Premieres: Friday, May 29 | Where to watch: Apple TV+

Bob's Burgers co-creator Loren Bouchard takes a big swing in the animation game with this 'toon that's also a *gulp* musical. It follows a group of New Yorkers who gather together to help keep New York City's Central Park green and out of the hands of an evil real estate developer who wants to turn the park into more buildings. The talented voice cast includes Kristen Bell, Stanley Tucci, Tituss Burgess, Josh Gad, and more. If it works, great! If it doesn't, well, just pretend you didn't see it on this list. 


Premieres: Sunday, May 31 at 9/8c | Where to watch: AMC

To all of you who love cheats, scammers, and cons, have I got a show to sell to you. Quiz, which aired in the U.K. earlier this year, comes to AMC with the story of Charles Ingram, who pulled off one of the United Kingdom's most notorious heists… on national television. Ingram managed to win the grand prize on the television sensation Who Wants to Be a Millionaire? in 2001 through an elaborate cheating scam with the help of his wife and her brother. Even though you know where it goes, Quiz still manages to harness all the tension of a live quiz show and the dogged pursuit of the truth by television execs as they sniff out Ingram's ploy. Bonus: Michael Sheen plays the exuberant game show host. 

I May Destroy You

Premieres: Sunday, June 7 at 10:30/9:30c | Where to watch: HBO

Michaela Coel (Chewing Gum) stars in and created this show about a carefree Londoner with a burgeoning writing career whose life is changed after her drink is spiked one night in a bar. As she tries to put the pieces together of what happened that night, I May Destroy You becomes a sharp look at consent in today's society, and one woman's journey to discover who she is and navigate what is right and wrong. The teaser doesn't give a lot away, which makes it all the more exciting. 

The Woods

Premieres: Friday, June 12 | Where to watch: Netflix

This Polish series is the latest Netflix adaptation of a book by Harlan Coben, following the popular mysteries The Stranger and Safe, and stays in those same murky waters of crime and secrets, oh so many secrets! In The Woods, a man looks for answers about the disappearance of his sister 25 years earlier, when four teens went into the woods and never came out, hoping that she's alive even as bodies and new evidence are being pulled out. 

Love, Victor

Premieres: Friday, June 19 | Where to watch: Hulu

This Is Us executive producers Isaac Aptaker and Elizabeth Berger are diving back into the world of Love, Simon -- the 2018 film starring Nick Robinson that they also wrote together -- with a charming sequel series, Love, Victor. Michael Cimino leads the series as the eponymous teenager who moves with his family to Atlanta and finds himself at Simon's old high school, living in the shadow of what seems like the most romantic coming-out story of all time. As Victor struggles to figure out his own identity, he reaches out to Simon for advice about navigating his new school, the rules of dating girls and guys, managing his religious family, and figuring out exactly what Victor wants for himself. It's a more in-depth look at the emotional struggle of becoming yourself as a teenager, and relatable content for everyone no matter what they label their sexuality. –Megan Vick

Perry Mason

Premieres: Sunday, June 21 at 9/8c | Where to watch: HBO

The Perry Mason your grandfather grew up with gets the adaptation that you'll appreciate in HBO's new drama miniseries. Set in the depths of the Great Depression, Perry Mason follows the titular criminal defense lawyer as he wrestles with the case of the century and uncovers corruption in a booming Los Angeles. Plus, he swears up a storm! We normally wouldn't be happy that Robert Downey Jr. dropped out of the lead role because of scheduling problems (he's still a producer), but he was replaced by The Americans' Matthew Rhys, so we're going to be just fine. 

The Baby-Sitters Club

Premieres: Friday, July 3 | Where to watch: Netflix

Ann M. Martin's cherished books about a gaggle of girls who set up their own baby-sitting business are updated for modern audiences with Netflix's new adaptation. I know what you're thinking, "For real, TV Guide? The Baby-Sitters Club?" The show is a delight for all ages, faithfully adapting the books while also adding in episodes dealing with important current-day topics, such as transgender visibility and racism. It's light and refreshing, perfect for an easy summer binge.

Brave New World

Premieres: Wednesday, July 15 | Where to watch: Peacock

One of the best books you read in high school gets the television treatment courtesy of upstart streaming service Peacock (Comcast/NBCUniversal's shot at entering the streaming wars). You know the plot, but here it is again: A futuristic society has achieved utopia through medicating and classism, but at what cost? Oh yeah, medicating and classism. One man decides that idea sucks, and a revolution agains a totalitarian government begins. I'm sure everything will go great. TV Guide favorite Harry Lloyd (Game of Thrones, Counterpart) is in this, and that's only half the reason this is on the list. Aldous Huxley's novel has been made into a film (twice), but never a television show.

Lovecraft Country

Premieres: Sunday, Aug. 16 | Where to watch: HBO

One of the most anticipated shows of the summer, new or otherwise, the supernatural drama Lovecraft Country features grotesque monsters who must be purged of this Earth. And that's just the racists! The horror series, from Underground creator Misha Green, is based on the 2016 book by Matt Ruff and follows a black man as he traverses 1950s Jim Crow America in search of his missing father. In addition to the bigoted folk he crosses path with, he must contend with monsters that could be plucked from the pages of H.P. Lovecraft.