11 new 2014 summer TV shows worth watching

John Malkovich stars as Blackbeard in the promising NBC summer series
John Malkovich stars as Blackbeard in the promising NBC summer series "Crossbones." Photo: NBC

SAN DIEGO, May 27, 2014 – The summer TV schedule used to be as devoid of life as the desert in July and August. With longer days, nice weather and kids out of school, who wanted to spend an evening indoors watching TV?

Fast forward to the summer of 2014 and it’s a different story. It isn’t that we are any less eager to be outside having fun. But thanks to technology, we have can have our fun AND watch some great TV shows, too. DVRs or similar recording systems allow us to watch shows after it’s dark, or spend lazy weekend afternoons binge watching. We can also watch wherever we go thanks to mobile devices, including on vacation or at the beach.

READ ALSO: Summer 2014 TV show debut schedule, May – August

Advertisers are eager to get their goods to us year-round. How about buying a convertible this year? Maybe not, but a new barbecue might be in the budget. And there’s nothing like getting a jump on those back-to-school items. (Sorry, kids).

So networks now roll out summer programming to meet these demands. Along with returning series such as “America’s Got Talent” on NBC, “Under the Dome” on CBS, and “True Blood” in its final season on HBO, there are several dozen new programs debuting between Memorial Day and Labor Day.

Which ones are worth your time? Glad you asked. We’ve got our list of 11 new TV summer shows worth watching. If you think we missed one, let us know in the Comments section. You can see our full summer TV lineup including new and returning shows here.

In alphabetical order

Crossbones, NBC
Friday, May 30 10 p.m.

This show has a superb pedigree. It’s from creator of the outstanding BBC cop thriller “Luther,” starring Idris Elba. It stars the quirky Oscar and Golden Globe nominee John Malkovich, who is more interesting raising an eyebrow than most actors on TV. And it’s about pirates. How much more do you need?

Halle Berry stars in "Extant" starting on CBS in July. Photo: Dale Robinette, CBS
Halle Berry stars in “Extant” starting on CBS in July. Photo: Dale Robinette, CBS

Extant, CBS
Wednesday, July 9, 9 p.m.

Another new summer show featuring a famous name. Halle Berry plays an astronaut returning after 13 months in space alone to find out she’s pregnant. How did this happen? Her earthbound husband wants to know and so do we. Let’s hope finding out is worth the time unlike the frustrating “Under the Dome,” the CBS summer hit last year that promised plot payoffs viewers never got.

The Last Ship, TNT
Sunday, June 22, 9 p.m.

This post-apocalypse drama is from big budget action films producer Michael Bay. It is adapted from the novel by William Brinkley about the crew of a Navy destroyer who turn out to be some of the last living people on earth… but not the only ones.

The Leftovers, HBO
Sunday, June 29, 10 p.m.

This show is getting the most media buzz. Damon Lindelof, who also created “Lost,” is the producer, and it’s on HBO. Religion, profanity, sex – what could be better? Another series based on a novel (by Tom Perrotta), people on Earth try to cope after the Rapture when two percent of the entire global population suddenly disappears.

READ ALSO: On Fox: ‘I Wanna Marry Harry’ gals meet bogus Prince Charming

Legends, TNT
Wednesday, August 13, 9 p.m.

Who is Martin Odom? He is an FBI agent who is a master at taken on new identities to solve cases, but he isn’t sure of his own true identity. Played by actor Sean Bean from ”Game of Thrones,” this drama from “Homeland” producers Howard Gordon and Alexander Cary has received good response during previews at South by Southwest and Wondercon.

The new Musketeers. Pictured: Porthos (Howard Charles), D'Artagnan (Luke Pasqualino), Athos (Tom Burke), Aramis (Santiago Cabrera). Photo: PA Photo/BBC/Photographer: Larry Horricks.
The new Musketeers. Pictured: Porthos (Howard Charles), D’Artagnan (Luke Pasqualino), Athos (Tom Burke), Aramis (Santiago Cabrera). Photo: PA Photo/BBC/Photographer: Larry Horricks.

The Musketeers, BBC America
Sunday, June 22, 9 p.m.

Based on the classic novel, this new version of the story is set as a revenge drama with a flavor of the old American west. Those missing the recently cancelled BBC America series “Copper” should love it. It has already been renewed for a second season.

Partners, FX
Monday, August 4, 9 p.m.

The only comedy on the list, this series about two down and out Chicago lawyers might seem a little stale, but it stars Martin Lawrence and Kelsey Grammer so it’s worth a try. Two episodes will air weekly for five weeks. If the series shows promise, FX has promised 90 more episodes.

Rising Star, ABC
Sunday, June 22, 9 p.m.

With “American Idol” on the skids, ABC hopes to swoop up its audience with this new reality singing show. It has been a big hit in its home country, Israel. The gimmick: it relies on real-time voting from the audience to determine with contestants advance. It’s live only to the Eastern and Central time zones, so the Western U.S. doesn’t get a say. Singer Josh Groban is the host. There are no judges but there is a panel of experts adding comments which will including singers Brad Paisley, Kesha, and Ludacris.

The Strain, FX
Sunday, July 13, 10 p.m.

Can’t get enough of vampires? FX has more for you, but these vampires are just plain scary. This series follows the novels by Guillermo del Toro, who is also a writer on the show. The series follows a Center for Disease Control team investigating a frightening new viral outbreak in New York that threatens the city’s population. The big cast includes Corey Stoll from “House of Cards.”

"The Quest" could be a breakthrough reality TV hit for ABC, or a do-not-miss train wreck. Photo: ABC
“The Quest” could be a breakthrough reality TV hit for ABC, or a do-not-miss train wreck. Photo: ABC

The Quest, ABC
Thursday, July 31, 8 p.m.

A reality TV show so audacious it might actually work. Imagine “Survivor” and “The Amazing Race” as if they took place in Renaissance England. The 12 players called “Heroes” will try to save a mythical kingdom from its enemies including dragons and ogres in battles and competitions. At the end, one hero will be left standing and declared the winner. The show promises high level animation and props. It’s a geek’s role playing costume fantasy come to life if the producers can pull it off. Even if it’s bad, it might be the good kind of bad.

Tyrant, FX
Tuesday, June 24, 10 p.m.

Another new series from the “Homeland” producing team, this series is set in a troubled Middle Eastern nation during the Arab Spring uprising. The exiled son of the dictator returns home for the first time in 20 years with his American family for a wedding and gets caught up in his nation’s politics when his father dies. If this show rings true and avoids stereotypes it could be the new “Breaking Bad.”

Still think we left a promising choice off the list? Let readers know in the Comments section.

Gayle Lynn Falkenthal, APR, is President/Owner of the Falcon Valley Group in San Diego, California. She is also a serious boxing fan covering the Sweet Science for Communities. Read more Ringside Seat in Communities Digital News. Follow Gayle on Facebook and on Twitter @PRProSanDiego. Gayle can be reached via Google +

Please credit “Gayle Falkenthal for Communities Digital News” when quoting from or linking to this story.  

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