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17 upcoming summer shows here to rescue our attention

Petrana Radulovic is an entertainment reporter specializing in animation, fandom culture, theme parks, Disney, and young adult fantasy franchises.

In times of need, TV is a valuable resource — but one can only rewatch The Office so many times before it feels stale. Fret not: Though some shows and productions have been delayed due to COVID-19 concerns, many are still set to premiere and return. While they can’t offer the exact comfort of a tailored-to-coronavirus Parks and Recreation special, the new and returning shows of the summer promise to whisk away our collective attention to a different time and place far, far away from any global pandemic

The summer’s big shows will come from every direction. Netflix boasted that its 2020 slate is relatively unchanged since the streaming service’s original productions are done so far in advance, but it’s not the only platform in the play. Both NBC Universal’s Peacock and HBO Max will enter the fray later this summer. Peacock, which banked on the Tokyo Olympics to boost its launch, has now pivoted to focusing on its back catalogue, but HBO Max is readying its own originals for the next four months.

Below, we’ve gathered the most exciting shows of the summer — final seasons of She-Ra and the Princesses of Power and The 100! Premieres of Stargirl and Space Force! The Falcon and the Winter Soldier on Disney Plus! — for easy planning.

Dead to Me

judy and jen Photo: Netflix

The Netflix dark comedy returns in May with a second season. Dead to Me follows two women who end up bonding through a grief support group — though one of them is hiding a dark secret about the other. Not to spoil, but there are multiple murderous turns in what might look like another innocuous Netflix sitcom. Starring Christina Applegate as Jen and Linda Cardellini as Judy, the second season will likely follow through on the first season’s big cliffhanger.

Available on Netflix on May 8

The Eddy

Elliot Udo and Maja Photo: Lou Faulon/Netflix

It’s Damien Chazelle, so obviously this one’s about jazz. The La La Land and Whiplash director makes his Netflix debut with a series about a failing jazz club in Paris. The Eddy is a musical drama miniseries (which given the jazz club setting totally tracks), starring Andre Holland stars as Elliot Udo, the owner of the club called The Eddy, with Joanna Kulig (Cold War) as his on-and-off again girlfriend and Amandla Stenberg (The Hate U Give) as his teenage daughter.

Available on Netflix on May 8.

Solar Opposites

an alien family on the animated series Solar Opposites Image: Hulu

The Hulu original is like a wacky alien-themed blend of Rick and Morty and Family Guy. From one of the co-creators of Rick and Morty, Solar Opposites follows an alien family taking refuge in suburban American. Expect out-of-this world hijinks and a dose of wacky Adult Animation-brand humor.

Available on Hulu on May 8.

I Know This Much Is True

two mark ruffalos Image: HBO

What’s better than one Mark Ruffalo? Two Mark Ruffalos! Ruffaloo? Ruffali?

Ruffalo stars as twins Dominick and Thomas Birdsey in this adaptation of Wally Lamb’s bestselling 1998 novel. The twins grapple with mental health issues, dark family secrets, and navigating their own tense relationship.

Premieres on HBO on May 10.

She-Ra and the Princesses of Power (May 15) on Netflix

glimmer, adora, and bow gear up for battle in she-ra Image: DreamWorks Animation

The final season of the beloved animated show raises all the stakes. After a tense season 4 finale, the Best Friend Squad of Adora, Glimmer, and Bow find themselves split up. Adora must grapple with her destiny, while Glimmer, trapped aboard the villainous Horde Prime’s spaceship with foe Catra, comes to terms with her own actions. Will the power of friendship be enough to save the day?

Available on Netflix on May 15.

The Great (May 15) on Hulu

elle fanning as catherine the great Image: Hulu

It’s the life and rise of Russia’s Catherine the Great, but, like, in a cool Dickinson-meets-Marie Antoinette type of way. In The Great, from The Favourite screenwriter Tony McNamara, Elle Fanning stars as Catherine, who’s married to Nicholas Hoult’s incompetent Emperor Peter III. Realizing that her husband is not the best at his job, Catherine begins to plan the coup that will put the country in her capable hands.

Available on Hulu on May 15.

Snowpiercer (May 17) on TNT

daveed diggs in snowpiercer Image: TNT

The television prequel of Bong Joon-ho’s Snowpiercer was originally slated to air on TBS as a sort of rebrand of the network, but Turner pivoted the series back to the more drama-focused TNT. Adapting material from the original French graphic novel, this version of Snowpiercer also takes place on the train hurtling through the frozen post-apocalyptic landscape. Daveed Diggs stars as Layton Well, a third-class passenger aboard the train, with Jennifer Connelly as Melanie Cavill, a first class passenger and the Voice of the Train.

Premieres on TNT on May 17.


courtney whitmore in costume Image: The CW

Regular ol’ high school sophomore Courtney Whitmore (Brec Bassinger) discovers a powerful artifact in her basement which transforms her into the superpowered Stargirl. Unlike other adaptations of the superheroine as seen in Smallville and Legends of Tomorrow, the new series will focus on Stargirl’s high school days and her heroic origins.

Premieres on the CW on May 18.

The 100

clarke griffin in the 100 Photo: Sergei Bachlakov/The CW

The final season of the post-apocalyptic CW show premieres in May. What started an exploration of a decimated Earth now has the main cast 125 years into the future, on a distant planet, battling for human survival. Who will make it to the end of show?

Premieres on the CW on May 20.


Image: Amazon Prime

The first season of this Amazon Original followed the plot of the podcast of the same name. The second one, which stars Janelle Monae, revolves around a totally new character and storyline. The psychological thriller follows a government facility designed to help soldiers transition to civilian life — a cause which masquerades its true purpose.

Available on Amazon Prime on May 22.

The Not Too Late Show With Elmo

elmo in a suit Image: HBO Max

Warner Media’s HBO Max is set to premiere with a slate of some original content and the most important and intriguing of all these shows is Elmo’s late night talk show. Let us watch the adorable monster interview somewhat adorable celebrity guests while wearing an undeniably adorable little suit.

Available on HBO Max on May 27.

Central Park

a character in central park, singing Image: Apple TV Plus

From the co-creator of Bob’s Burgers comes a musical comedy about a family of caretakers in Central Park. When the park is threatened by a scheming rich land developer, everyone who loves the park must band together to keep it safe. Hilarity — and catchy showtunes! — ensue. Leslie Odom Jr. and Kathryn Hahn l lead the cast, along with Josh Gad, Kristen Bell, Stanley Tucci, and Daveed Diggs.

Available on Apple TV Plus on May 29.

Space Force

steve carell in uniform standing in front of his team Photo: Aaron Epstein/Netflix

Take the workplace hijinks of The Office and toss in the real life possibility of a “Space Force” branch of the military and you get this Netflix comedy. Starring Steve Carell, who goes back to his roots in a workplace sitcom, along with Sonic the Hedgehog’s Ben Schwartz and Silicon Valley’s Jimmy O. Yang.

Available on Netflix on May 29.

Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts (June 12) on Netflix

kipo triumphantly standing Image: DreamWorks Animation

The fantastical, post-apocalyptic world of Kipo and the Age of Wonderbeasts returns in June. The first season ended with Kipo briefly reuniting with her father, before tyrannical mandrill Scarlemange kidnapped him. The upcoming episodes send Kipo back on a trek, this time navigating her new mutant powers. Her friends, stoic warrior Wolf, aspiring DJ Benson, and talking bug Dave, join her on the journey in this neon-swathed world.

Available on Netflix on June 12.

Love, Victor

Michael Cimino as Victor Image: Hulu

The Love, Simon spinoff was originally set to air on Disney Plus, but was booted to Hulu for the “mature” themes. The first trailer shows some steamy teen fantasy, as new kid Victor gets very distracted by a hot barista. Within the show, Victor will reach out to Simon for guidance in navigating his sexuality and being a new kid.

Available on Hulu on June 19.

The Falcon and the Winter Soldier

Kevin Feige, Sebastian Stan, Anthony Mackie, Emily VanCamp, and Wyatt Russell of ‘The Falcon and The Winter Soldier’ took part today in the Disney+ Showcase at Disney’s D23 EXPO 2019 Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney

Disney Plus’ highly anticipated Marvel series is still set to drop in August, though it’s unknown if COVID-19 concerns closed down production before shooting could wrap. The first of the direct-MCU tie-ins on Disney Plus, the series will follow Sam Wilson and Bucky Barnes after the events of Avengers: Endgame. Steve Rogers since passed on the mantle of Captain America to Sam, but judging by the title of this show it seems the transition won’t be easy.

Premieres on Disney Plus sometime in August.

The Baby-Sitters Club

the characters of the baby sitters club Image: Netflix

The Netflix adaptation of Ann M. Martin’s beloved book series follows a group of four middle school girls who decide to run a babysitting business. The diverse cast handles a wide gamut of issues like divorce, illness, and moving, but packaged in approachable, kid-friendly ways.

Available on Netflix sometime this summer.