Sabienna’s Top 10 Most Highly Anticipated Shows of Summer 2014

I did not expect choosing 10 summer shows that I am most excited about to become a Sophie’s Choice situation. There was a time not so long ago when the idea of there being more than 10 new non-reality programs on during the summer that were actually quality shows would have been laughable. We are truly living in a golden age and as a result Summer 2014 is full of new and returning shows worth skipping a few nights out for (or at the very least setting the old DVR for).

After much deliberation, I have settled on the 10 series I cannot live without seeing this summer. (Hyperbole? You don’t know.) There are crime dramas, a show about time traveling that is not Doctor Who, a comedy, a cartoon and everything in between. I hereby deem these 10 series must watch TV:

1. The Killing Season 4 (Netflix)

The Killing Season 3 Episode 9 Reckoning (2)

There could be no other choice for number one. Netflix saved The Killing from ending on the most anguishing cliffhanger of all time and is giving us six episodes to say goodbye to Holder and Linden, the most underrated TV detectives ever. Following this modern day noir to its natural conclusion will be the highlight of my viewing experience this summer. The Killing has been maligned by many critics, but for those of us who have gone on a journey with Holder and Linden into the darkest corners of Seattle’s heart, the ride has been satisfying, heartbreaking and beautifully wrought at every turn by creator Veena Sud and her team of writers.

I have no doubt The Killing‘s final stretch will leave us haunted and impressed, and I cannot wait to see it play out.

The Killing season four premieres Friday, August 1st on Netflix.

2. Graceland Season 2 (USA)

Graceland Episode 12 Pawn (4)

Graceland was hands down the biggest surprise of Summer 2013. USA shows can be fun and they can be dark, but I have never seen the network combine those two elements as successfully as they did with Graceland. The chase for Odin, meeting the team, watching the mistrust between Mike and Briggs grow– Graceland season one was heart stopping television that found a way to squeeze moments of domesticity and laughter into all of the crazy intensity.

In season two, Mike is coming back to the house to run point and if you did not see season one, just know that is a huge development. If you are looking for a summer show to get your blood pumping, look gorgeous and fulfill your cravings for good storytelling, Graceland should be at the top of your list of shows to check out.

Graceland season two premieres Wednesday, June 11th at 10PM on USA.

3. Please Like Me Season 2 (Pivot)

I have been told Please Like Me is an acquired taste, but it is definitely a taste that I love. (Wow, this sentence is getting weird.) Josh Thomas, Please Like Me‘s star, writer and creator, has a vision of the world that is personal, but also relatable, particularly if you have ever felt young and lost. Even if you are no longer in that place in your own life, I feel you can watch his journey of self-discovery with all of its awkwardness, silliness and genuine growing pains and see the humor and realism in the stories Thomas tells.

Coming out of Australia, this import’s first season felt like something fresh in the comedy landscape and I am overjoyed to see Pivot bringing the second season to us as well.

Please Like Me season two premieres in August on Pivot.

4. Intruders (BBC America)

The teasers for Intruders have been deeply unsettling– remember the severed head? –and I am all for a dose of creepiness during the summer months. BBC America has been keeping wraps on the plot details, although Intruders looks very much like a descendent of Invasion of the Body Snatchers.

The biggest selling point for me is John Simm. Best known for his roles on Doctor Who and Life on Mars, Simm is an incredible British actor whose extensive body of work is full of hidden gems. Any show with him at the head is going to feature stellar acting.

Intruders will premiere this summer, but BBC America has not yet released a specific date.

5. Outlander (Starz)

Outlander Starz

With all due respect to Ms. Diana Gabaldon, I have not been able to plow my way through the first Outlander book. While the story in its literary form has not captured my attention, I recognize it has all of the makings of a sweeping, romantic and fantasy-fueled adventure. Having Ronald D. Moore at the helm only has me more excited. The things that do not quite captivate on the page should have me begging for more onscreen thanks to a less limited point of view.

For fans of the books and newcomers alike, Outlander is going to be an event.

Outlander premieres August 9th on Starz.

6. Extant (CBS)

Just a few weeks ago, I was not even planning on watching Extant and could not imagine it making this list with so many other sci-fi/fantasy offerings out there (including The Strain, which I resisted adding due to the trailer not doing much for me). From the images CBS was putting out there, I figured I could dismiss it as Rosemary’s Baby in space.

Then the full-length trailer dropped and Halle Berry’s mysterious space pregnancy was only the beginning of the sci-fi goodies in store on Extant. What caught my attention the most was the reveal that Berry’s character’s son is actually a robot built and programmed by her husband. I am a sucker for robots gaining humanity tales, and seeing a star of Berry’s caliber play a mother expecting a mysterious child and trying to love an android one is the kind of weirdness I live for. Plus, there is a conspiracy! TV does not have nearly enough conspiracies these days.

Extant premieres July 9th on CBS.

7. Gravity Falls Season 2 (Disney XD)

Gravity Falls

Technically, Gravity Falls should be way higher on this list. I need to know what is in Grunkle Stan’s bunker and what all of the books combined unleashed. It has been driving me insane since the finale which frankly feels like it happened a thousand years ago thanks to Disney’s erratic scheduling.

I have so much love for this show, and it just makes me so excited. Yes, it is aimed at kids, but good TV is good TV, and Gravity Falls is…amazing TV. However, Disney XD is being coy about the season two premiere date. Creator Alex Hirsch teased the show would be back this summer, but the radio silence since then is worrying. I do not want to get my hopes up for more mystery solving hilarity and mindblowingness (it is a word because I say so) if it turns out I have to wait until the fall. Seriously though, Gravity Falls is the actual best.

8. Finding Carter (MTV)

Anyone else love those A Face on the Milk Cartoon books by Caroline B. Cooney when they were kids? Well, Finding Carter is sort of like that. The premise of a teen girl with a Gilmore Girls style relationship with her mom discovering her mother kidnapped her as a child and she actually belongs to another family is ripe with dramatic potential. That is a show I will watch and probably become obsessed with. (See also Switched at Birth.)

Finding Carter premieres Tuesday, July 8th at 10PM on MTV.

9. Murder in the First (TNT)

Steven Bochco basically created the gritty crop drama. From Hill Street Blues to NYPD Blue, Bochco has consistently elevated series about police officers. He returns to his beat this summer with Murder in the First which has Taye Diggs as its lead and will follow one case throughout the season. The storytelling looks dense, not disposable. The actors assembled are all incredibly talented, and it is another series that takes its setting (San Francisco) very seriously.

As someone who is as obsessed with The Killing as I am, Murder in the First is the TV equivalent of catnip.

Murder in the First premieres Monday, June 9th at 10PM on TNT.

10. The Lottery (Lifetime)

The Lottery, like Extant, deals with fertility issues in a big brother is watching, apocalyptic kind of way. On one level that is a turn off, on another it is reminiscent of Margaret Atwood’s The Handmaid’s Tale. Given that the series is written by Timothy J. Sexton, who wrote the big screen adaptation of Children of Men, I have a feeling Lifetime will hit the right notes with this story.

The other reason I am excited about this project is its star, Michael Graziadei. Graziadei is not a household name, but I watched him for years on The Young and the Restless and he is one of those actors who possesses a wealth of charisma– too much to be contained on a soap forever. I love that he is getting a chance to shine and hopefully, he will be a household name by next summer because the guy deserves it.

The Lottery premieres Sunday, July 20th at 10PM on Lifetime.


I had to leave so many great shows/potentially great shows off this list, but ultimately these 10 have that little something extra that makes me want to see them immediately. However, I would love to see your lists because there is too much good stuff out there for one article to cover it all. Share your summer TV must list in the comments!

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