Now that Game of Thrones is over and Mad Men is nearing its end, the television landscape is about to be shaken clean like an Etch-A-Sketch. If you, like me, sat there frozen in dread with the idea that you won't have anything to watch and might actually have to read a book, fear not. I managed to scrape together a pretty good list of upcoming TV to tide us all over. Granted, if you like "crap," your prospects are much greater. But as my momma always says, "If you like crap, the world is your oyster, because it's pretty much full of it."
Mystery Girls, June 25 (ABC Family)
It warms the cockles of my DVR to see Jennie Garth and Tori Spelling working again, even if it's a cornball buddy show about two washed-up actresses who become real life detectives (the fruit don't fall too far from the Peach Pit, amirite?). "Punctuality, Persistence, and Professionalism" is their credo — all skills they will no doubt employ as they stumble across dead bodies during their mani-pedis.
The Leftovers, June 29 (HBO)
Not gonna lie, this show looks bleak. So bleak, in fact, that the beautiful Liv Tyler looks like Madge from those old Palmolive commercials. The Rapture has occurred, sweeping up 2 percent of the world's population and leaving the rest of us behind (face it, you and I will not be seated at the foot of Christ's throne). Justin Theroux channels his years of angst as Jennifer Aniston's boyfriend into a starring role.
Hotel Hell, July 21 (Fox)
If you missed the first, brief season of this show, you missed some good reality TV. Yes, it's yet another Gordon Ramsay Fox vehicle, but if you thought restaurants run by family members were dysfunctional, wait until you see quaint Connecticut inns run by sadistic bastards. Ramsay is forced to actually sleep in the places before he whips them into shape: no easy task after running the blacklight over his bedding.
Welcome To Sweden, July 10 (NBC)
Executive producer Amy Poehler has convinced a major network to run something we usually see on cable; a new kind of sleepy sitcom that takes place in Sweden. A Hollywood accountant to the stars turns his back on everything and moves to his wife's homeland, with the predictable culture clashes and scattering of strange Scandinavians. It's hard to say if the shtick will wear off after the first episode, but we shall see.
The Strain, July 13 (FX)
Yet another viral outbreak, post-apocalyptic vampire show, you say? Yeah, I hear you — though Guillermo Del Toro is involved in this one, and the monsters look hecka scary. FX is a hot network right now, quietly gaining steam with shows like Sons of Anarchy, The Bridge, and Fargo, which put it on par with rivals like AMC.
Dating Naked, July 17 (VH1)
Let's hope this ridiculous premise for a show lives up to the "so bad it's good" watermark. It helps that the network is pitching it as a deeper take on dating shows, stripping the guests (quite literally) of pretense and baring their souls in their quest to find true love. It's the insides that count, and if you can figure out whether someone has a labia piercing or saggy balls before you commit, all the better.
The Honourable Woman, July 31 (Sundance)
In what could perhaps be described as the BBCs answer to Homeland, The Honorable Woman stars Maggie Gyllenhaal as the daughter of a Zionist arms dealer who turns her dad's company into a computer data network between Israel and the West Bank. MI6 and other spies are not amused.
Bachelor in Paradise, Aug. 4 (ABC)
Another Bachelor spin-off, possibly even more exploitative than Bachelor Pad. How so, you say? Well, firstly they are putting all the contestants — all former cast members of the franchise — on a remote island. The producers made sure to invite all the show's villains, which means it won't be long before everything breaks down and someone puts a putrid wild boar head on a stick. Lord of the Thighs?