Summer TV Roundup, Week 6

We’re in the middle of summer. The days are long. The temperatures are hot and you might find yourself looking to kick back and catch a show. But what of the new series are worth investing in? Let this weekly post be your guide as I review the pilot and second episode of new scripted series this summer. Don’t see a new show below? Check previous weeks.

Black Bird, Now Streaming on Apple TV+ (Premiered July 8)
This new series is based on a true story and comes from writer Denis Lehane, who previously gave us the novels for Mystic River and Gone Baby Gone, among others. So, you know you’re getting something fascinating and gritty. The cast is led by Taron Egerton but also includes a final performance from Ray Liotta, which will spark attention. The one who’s sucked me in through two episodes is Paul Walter Hauser, who is doing a great job as the mysterious Larry Hall. Egerton stars as Jimmy, a guy who gets popped for selling drugs and guns and ends up with a 10-year sentence. He gets a chance to wipe it out if he can get Larry to confess. But it means deep cover in a seedy maximum-security prison. It’s a great set up and the first two episodes built the characters and the story. Greg Kinnear and Robert Wisdom are among the rest of the series’ stellar cast. I’m enjoying it through the two episodes released Friday, with the rest of the eight-episode season dropping weekly. This is another win for Apple TV+.
Pilot Grade: B-
Second Episode: B-

Streaming Series:
Maggie, Now Streaming on Hulu (Premiered July 6)
: Originally conceived as a sitcom for ABC, Maggie has now made its way to Hulu, where the entire 13-episode season dropped last week. Rebecca Rittenhouse plays the titular Maggie, a psychic whose powers have prevented her from finding love. When she reads Ben (David Del Rio), she sees herself in his future. They have a wild date and the next day; Maggie sees a vision of Ben marrying someone else. She breaks it off and that’s that, until Ben and his girlfriend (Chloe Bridges) move into her building a few weeks later. Hilarity ensues. I actually liked the pilot, but the second episode is a bit stiffer and duller. Half way through the third episode, I decided it wasn’t worth the investment. It’s fine but doesn’t feel like anything special, which is likely why ABC eventually passed. It’s a quick binge, with each episode a network-friendly 20 minutes or so. It just depends on how you feel.
Pilot Grade: C+
Second Episode: C

Boo, Bitch Now Streaming on Netflix (Premiered July 8)
: High school is rough. It’s even tougher when you’ve died before you had a chance to live. Such is the set up for Erika Vu (Lana Condor) who is on the cusp of graduation and decides she wants to live her life. Problem is, she runs into a Moose in the early going and has to adjust to being part of the undead world. Her friend, Gia (Zoe Margaret Colletti) is there to help but it’s a rough adjustment. This new comedy dropped on Netflix Friday, with the full eight-episode season available to stream. Condor makes for an affable lead but the first two episodes, and story in general, didn’t grab me. Still, it’s an easy binge with each episode clocking in just under a half an hour.
Pilot Grade: C
Second Episode: C

Trigger Point, Now Streaming on Peacock (Premiered July 8)
Vicky McClure takes the lead as Lana Washington, a bomb tech in London. This original series, a co-production with British TV, is a six-episode drama. It’s already been picked up for a second season, but the whole first season is available to stream on Peacock. The pilot begins with a major incident, the investigation for which takes place throughout the season. McClure makes for a decent lead and the idea is sound. It feels like a typical British procedural, and if you’re a fan this one has a more interesting hook that most. Episodes run between 45-60 minutes, making it a quick binge watch. This one was OK but didn’t feel overly compelling.
Pilot Grade: C
Second Episode: C

Skymed, Now Streaming on Paramount+ (Premiered July 10)
: This Paramount+ original is a co-production with Canadian television and focuses on a group of pilots and flight nurses working in a remote, English-speaking region of Canada. It’s a bit of a low-budget 9-1-1, and I mean that in a kind way. There’s romance and personal drama in addition to varied and interesting cases requiring a flight ambulance. All eight episodes of this one is available to stream, with episodes running about 40-45 minutes. I’ve watched the first four and enjoyed the run so far. This presents an interesting community and a fun format that doesn’t make you think too hard. It’s a bit of popcorn entertainment for the summer TV watching crowd.
Pilot Grade: C+
Second Episode: C+

Matthew Fox is a graduate of the Radio, Television and Film program at Biola University, and a giant nerd. He spends his free time watching movies, TV, and obsessing about football. He is a member of the FSWA. You can find him @knighthawk7734 on Twitter and as co-host of the Fantasy Football Roundtable Podcast.

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