10 must-see TV shows to add to your queue in summer 2021

Nicole Kidman, Keegan-Michael Key, Annie Murphy, Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, and Sandra Oh are back on the small screen this summer

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      Now that we’re starting to talk about resuming life beyond our households (cautiously, safely), it’s understandable if you aren’t feeling the impulse to spend even more time in front of a screen this summer.

      But that’s the thing about television shows: they’ll be there whenever you’re ready. One of these old favourites, new discoveries, and tangled murder mysteries is sure to fill that Mare Of Easttown-shaped hole in your TV schedule in summer 2021.

      Betty (Season 2)

      Of all the “edgy” Gen Z dramas on HBO, Crystal Moselle’s reboot of her dreamy feature film Skate Kitchen is the furthest from pretentious. Season 2 finds the crew of skateboarders played by Dede Lovelace, Moonbear, Nina Moran, Ajani Russell, and Rachelle Vinberg attempting to square more adult financial and relationship pressures with the never-ending quest for good times during what appears to be a break in New York City’s more restrictive pandemic rules. (The chin mask is ubiquitous.) This time around, the drama is even more character-driven and refreshingly digressive than in Season 1. Moselle finds an even better balance between her signature moments of observational beauty, sly social commentary and the demands of TV storytelling. Premieres Friday (June 11) on Crave


      Rose Byrne’s been stealing scenes in everything from Bridesmaids to the Neighbors movies, most recently playing Gloria Steinem against Cate Blanchett in Mrs. America; it’s about time someone built a show around her. Set in the mid-'80s, the dramedy stars Rose Byrne as a miserable San Diego housewife who discovers a new exercise fad called aerobics…and reinvents herself as an unstoppable fitness guru. If you’re still mourning the cancellation of GLOW, this new Apple series—created by Desperate Housewives veteran Annie Weisman, and boasting a pilot directed by I, Tonya and Cruella’s Craig Gillespie—might help you move on. Apple TV+, premieres June 18

      Kevin Can F**k Himself

      Annie Murphy moves from stealing scenes in Schitt’s Creek to carrying her own show. Two shows, actually, since her new AMC series—created by Lodge 49’s Valerie Armstrong—juggles the aesthetics of a multi-cam comedy and a single-camera drama to tell the story of a stereotypical Hot Sitcom Wife who realizes her schlubby everyman husband (Kirstie’s Eric Petersen) is a condescending tool, and sets out to carve herself a life that doesn’t have to be lived in front of a live studio audience. AMC, premieres June 20

      Fear Street: A Film Trilogy Event

      Technically this adaptation of R.L. Stine’s teen-horror novels is comprised of three feature films, but Netflix is rolling them out over the first three Fridays of July, and that’s a miniseries by any other name. Set in 1994, 1978, and 1666, the movies tell the story of the haunted town of Shadyside, where every few years a malevolent spirit possesses people and forces them to commit ritualistic murder. The ensemble cast includes Kiana Madeira, Maya Hawke, Fred Hechinger, Gillian Jacobs, Jordana Spiro, Jordyn DiNatale, and Olivia Scott Welch. Leigh Janiak—who made the distinctly adult Honeymoon, and worked on the recent Scream TV series—directs and co-writes all three chapters. Netflix, July 2, 9 and 16

      The White Lotus

      Year Of The Dog and Enlightened’s Mike White has a unique and scathing outlook on privileged white people with emotional baggage. And in The White Lotus, they’re taking that baggage to Hawaii. White’s latest bitter comedy stars Connie Britton, Steve Zahn and Jennifer Coolidge as the guests who demand comfort(ing) at a resort for the rich. Crave, July 11


      This year’s GIRLS5EVA and We Are Lady Parts built themselves around musical numbers. Apple’s Schmigadoon! is a little bit different: it’s a full-on musical, modelled on classic MGM productions like Brigadoon and Seven Brides For Seven Brothers and stuffed with Broadway ringers like Alan Cumming, Kristin Chenoweth, Aaron Tveit, and Dove Cameron and comic pros like Martin Short, Jane Krakowski, and Fred Armisen. Cecily Strong (who also produces) and Keegan-Michael Key are a backpacking couple who find themselves trapped in the eponymous Technicolor town where everything’s bright and gay, the singin’ and dancin’ never stops…and they can’t leave until they find true love. Apple TV+, premieres July 16

      Ted Lasso (Season 2)

      Late last summer, Apple dropped this oddball sitcom starring Jason Sudeikis as a cheerful but clueless American football coach hired to manage an English Premier League team despite knowing nothing about European football. That bumpkiny premise led to a kind-hearted show about optimism and personal growth that preaches positivity without ever blunting its sharp comic edges—and spreads the laugh lines among Sudeikis’s costars Brendan Hunt (who developed the series with Sudeikis, Bill Lawrence, and Joe Kelly), Hannah Waddingham, Juno Temple, Brett Goldstein, and Nick Mohammed. Since things are still kind of awful, globally speaking, we eagerly await the chance to have Ted back in our lives. Things can only get better. Apple TV+, premieres July 23

      Never Have I Ever (Season 2)

      The first season got better as it went along as the cast, led by Mississauga’s Maitreyi Ramakrishnan, found their groove. And the emotional stakes in the Mindy Kaling-produced high school comedy about an Indian family in Sherman Oaks burrowed its way into our hearts. Season 2 can hit the ground running, with Megan Suri joining the ensemble as a popular new Indian student giving Ramakrishnan’s Devi some competition. Netflix, July TBD

      The Chair

      Canada's Sandra Oh stars in and executive produces this expose on the chair of a University English department, who operates a lucrative hustle selling inconsequential humanities degrees to hapless Gen-Z kids. Actually, we don’t really know what this comedy series created by Amanda Peet and the dudes behind Game Of Thrones is about. We’re just here for Oh. And her costar Jay Duplass is nice too. Netflix, August 27

      Nine Perfect Strangers

      Big Little Lies dangled a murder mystery as a sexy way into a narrative about icy, deceptive, and ultimately resilient relationships among well-to-do women. The mystery isn’t so obvious in Nine Perfect Strangers, which like Big Little Lies is another adaptation of a Liane Moriarty novel starring Nicole Kidman. The latter plays a luxury health resort director who manages a retreat for characters played by a stacked cast that includes Regina Hall, Michael Shannon, and Melissa McCarthy. Broadcaster and release date TBA