The 2011 summer television season is here, and it includes several new series as well as many returning shows. Of the new series on the schedule this summer, four dramas and one reality show stand out for viewers who enjoy suspense, intrigue, and science fiction.
Summer has become an important and exciting time for television. In recent years, the networks stopped the tradition of airing reruns all summer and instead came up with new shows. Technically, some of them aren’t waiting until summer officially arrives, but their premieres fall within what is known as the “summer television season.” In chronological order, here are my picks for the top five new shows premiering this summer.
The Nine Lives of Chloe King
Chloe King is a girl who learns some interesting things about herself: she has some special abilities, and she’s not human. She’s actually a member of an ancient race. As she struggles to deal with her new abilities, she also has to stay alive, which won’t be easy; human assassins have been hunting members of her race for millennia.
This show is based on Celia Thomson’s book series of the same title. Skyler Samuels stars as Chloe; fans of The Gates will recognize her from her role as Andie, the succubus. Kiko Ellsworth (Port Charles, Guarding Eddy) plays the villain. With the earliest premiere on the list, The Nine Lives of Chloe King debuts June 14 at 9:00pm Eastern on ABC Family, following Pretty Little Liars.
After earth is invaded by aliens, survivors band together to fight back against their oppressors. Noah Wyle (ER) stars as resistance group leader Tom Mason, whose pre-invasion career as a history professor is important; his in-depth knowledge of military history proves vital to the cause.
The official website for Falling Skies includes a web comic by Dark Horse Comics that leads up to the beginning of the series. The two-hour premiere is scheduled for June 19 at 9:00pm Eastern on TNT. Steven Spielberg is the executive producer.
David Straithairn (Temple Grandin, The Bourne Ultimatum) stars as Dr. Leigh Rosen, who leads a team of people with superpowers (Alphas) to investigate crimes suspected to have been committed by other Alphas. This series, which sounds like a combination of Heroes and X-Men, should succeed if it’s done properly.
Other cast members include Ryan Cartright (Bones, Mad Men), Warren Christie (Happy Town), and Callum Keith Rennie (The Killing). Alphas premieres July 11 at 10:00pm Eastern on Syfy, and the network has even posted a fun tie-in website that includes user-submitted Alpha sightings and a test to find out whether you could be an Alpha.
This six-episode reality series follows Ashley Cowie, a Scottish historian and symbologist searching the world for mysterious artifacts. It’s a real-life cross between an Indiana Jones movie and a Dan Brown novel, which makes it a compelling choice for summer viewing.
Legend Quest premieres July 13 at 10:00pm Eastern on Syfy.
The Lying Game
Emma Paxton, a teen in foster care, impersonates Sutton Mercer, her rich identical twin, while Sutton goes off to find information about their birth mother. As if that weren’t enough of a problem, Sutton disappears, and Emma has to decide what to do about it. Alexandra Chando (As the World Turns, Talent: The Casting Call) stars as the twins; Helen Slater and Andy Buckley will portray Sutton’s adoptive parents.
The Lying Game is based on a novel by Sara Shepard, who also wrote Pretty Little Liars. It premieres August 15 at 9:00pm Eastern on ABC Family.