When most people think of summer, they imagine swimming pools, Fourth of July fireworks and the smell of sunscreen. But TV shows? That's typically the last thing on anyone's mind. While that's a pretty appropriate reaction, you'll miss out on some great TV programs if you're not careful.
Great programs such as HBO's "Game of Thrones," AMC's "Mad Men" and most network shows are on their summer break, but there's a lot more to see. HBO's "True Blood" and TNT's "Falling Skies" will certainly keep you occupied, as will the final seasons of "Breaking Bad," another AMC hit, and Showtime's "Dexter."
While each of those programs is fun to watch, all of them have already aired multiple seasons. What if you've never watched any of them before and don't want to play catch up? Or, what if you're just looking for something new? I've got you covered. Here are new programs airing later this summer that I highly recommend.
"Under the Dome" (9 p.m. Mondays, CBS) - As you've probably seen from its many previews or its just aired pilot, "Under the Dome" tells the story of a small town (and since it's based on a Stephen King novel, naturally that town is in Maine) that is suddenly sealed off by a large transparent dome. The town's inhabitants must deal with surviving the post-apocalyptic conditions while searching for answers about the dome, where it came from and if and when it will go away. The 13-episode serialized drama is a perfect summer TV show.
"Ray Donovan" (8 p.m. Sunday, Showtime) - I've always enjoyed Liev Schreiber but I never realized how much until I watched the first four episodes of "Ray Donovan." Schreiber plays a man of contradictions - a dedicated family man who fixes messy problems for the Hollywood big shots he works for. Sometimes that might mean covering up a drug overdose or dealing with an emerging sex scandal. At times, Donovan shows a deft hand, other times a brutal one.
"Drunk History" (Time TK July 9, Comedy Central) - Based on the "Funny or Die" web shorts, this show is as straightforward as its title: Someone has a few drinks then proceeds to tell a history lesson. While a sloshed person narrates, a historic event is silently acted out, usually with a celebrity guest or two (Will Ferrell, Jack Black, etc.). The show is goofy and funny but also surprisingly informative.
"The Bridge" (8 p.m. July 10, FX) - This gritty mystery, which was adapted from a Scandinavian series, pairs two police officers from different sides of the U.S-Mexico border to solve a murder that crosses into El Paso and Juarez. Diane Kruger ("Inglourious Basterds," "Troy") and Demian Bichir (nominated for an Oscar for "A Better Life") lead a strong cast. And topping it off: "Homeland" writer/producer Meredith Stiehm.
"The White Queen" (8 p.m. Aug. 10, Starz) - Starz is one of my favorite networks because it takes chances. Sometimes they work out ("Spartacus," "Boss"), other times they fizzle out ("Magic City," "DaVinci's Demons"), but they always swing for the fences. "The White Queen" is no exception. Set in 15th century England, this series provides viewers who missed "Game of Thrones" and "The Tudors" with all the period-piece plotting and scheming that's been missing in their lives.