Summer TV Roundup, Week 4

May is rolling right along and the new series keep coming. But what’s worth checking out if you have a little time heading into the long holiday weekend? Let this weekly post be your guide as I look at the pilot and second episode of new scripted series this summer. Don’t see a new show listed below? Check previous weeks.

High Dessert, Streaming Wednesdays on Apple TV+ (Premiered May 17)
Ben Stiller serves as an executive producer for this series, which finds Patricia Arquette as a down-on-her-luck woman who stumbles her way into a job as a private investigator. Sort of. Rather she cajoles a private investigator (Brad Garrett) into giving her an internship. Can she find her calling and find a way to solve her financial woes? It’s possible. The series comes from Jennifer Hoppe, who served as a writer on a number of series, including Nurse Jackie. Jay Roach directs all eight of the first season episodes. The first three episodes are available now with new episodes streaming each Wednesday. I liked Arquette in the lead role and there were some interesting moments in the first two episodes. It’s a unique blend of comedy and drama, with episodes running around 30 minutes. It didn’t completely hook me but there was enough potential in the first two episodes to make me wonder where it’s going.
Pilot Grade: C+
Second Episode: C

Ghosts of Beirut, Sundays at 10 p.m. on Showtime (Premiered May 21)
The latest Showtime series is a four-part docudrama that spans from the 1980s to the 2000s and focuses on the hunt for Imad Mughniyeh. The series is a combination of live action and documentary interviews with those who were involved from the intelligence services and other agencies. The first episode took the action back to the early 1980s and set in motion the conflict between Mughniyeh and authorities that could lead to a decades-long manhunt. Some of the action here is dry and the story is taking some time to roll out. It’s an interesting idea and there’s some potential, but it’s taking some time to build.
Pilot Grade: C

Streaming Series:
XO Kitty, Now Streaming on Netflix (Premiered May 18)
: Anna Cathcart reprises her role as Kitty from the To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before films of Netflix that come from the novels by Jenny Han. In this series, Kitty gets the opportunity to head to Korea and spend her junior year abroad with her pen pal boyfriend Dae (Minyeong Choi) at the same school where her mother attended. She heads there and decides to surprise Dae, only to be surprised herself. Dae has a girlfriend already—or so it would seem. Despite the setback, Kitty decides to hang around and find a way to make it work. The episodes here are about 25 minutes, with the full 10-episode season now available to stream. It’s a quick and easy binge. Those who are fans of the films will be happy to see an expansion of the world here. The series is likely aimed at younger viewers, while the story feels like something we’ve seen before. This has a lot of the classic tropes of teen entertainment. Still, for fans of the material, it will work fine.
Pilot Grade: C
Second Episode: C

Primo, Streaming on Freevee (Premiered May 19)
: Hailing from writer Shea Serrano, and based on his life, this comedy centers on Rafa (Ignacio Diaz-Silverio) who is being raised by his mother Drea (Christina Vidal) and his five brash and opinioned uncles. It’s a family comedy that captures culture and a unique family experience. The full eight-episode season is available to stream on the ad-based streaming service attached to Prime Video. I enjoyed the first two episodes, the pacing, writing and performances. I’ve enjoyed Serrano as a writer previously and I think there’s some strong potential in this new series. Freevee is a smaller streaming brand, but it’s generated some interesting original content. Primo is a series worth checking out.
Pilot Grade: B-
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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