It used to be that summer was when no one was watching TV -- everyone was outside barbecuing and playing sandlot baseball -- and so there was nothing on TV to watch. Now, the combination of shorter TV season orders (many shows get orders of 13 or 20 episodes rather than the old standard of 26) and a greater demand for content means that more shows than ever are being positioned for summer viewing.
Here's what's lined up for Summer 2010 so far in science fiction and fantasy.
Fox is burning off the remaining four episodes of the abruptly canceled series across three Friday nights (the May 28 installment is a double-header). Future episodes include "Saint Sarah", "Gone Daddy Gone", "Running On Empty", and "All Fall Down". The first of these, about a girl whose physical manifestations of past lives creates a media phenomenon, features Kyle Gallner (Bart Allen/Impulse from Smallville) and Juliette Goglia; "Gone Daddy Gone" features Melissa Ponzio (Army Wives).
The long-awaited third season of HBO's bayou vampire series returns in mid-June for a 12-episode run. The season is based, very loosely, on the third Sookie Stackhouse novel, Club Dead, with the introduction of various groups of werewolves who intrude into all the vampire nation politics. Casting for the new season includes Joe Manganiello as the key werewolf, Brit Morgan, Cooper Huckabee, Alfre Woodard, Kevin Alejandro, Denis O'Hare, Grant Bowler, and Theo Alexander. Look for these werewolves to be even more ruthless than the vamps.
An all-new sixth season of Futurama is slated to appear on Comedy Central starting June 24, featuring the same voices -- after a great deal of drama over whether that would, in fact, be the case -- but with a smaller writing crew, for what should be 26 episodes (starting with a bloc of 12). (The DVD movies are being counted as a fifth season.) So far not a lot has been revealed about what's going to happen to Fry, Leela, and the rest, but Comedy Central released the a teaser trailer in March for the return of the series, in which they explain where the crew have been in the intervening years. Meanwhile, we wait in trepidation to see if a more-cheaply-produced Futurama will measure up to the original.
Season 2 of Warehouse 13 has a lot of enthusiasm behind it -- by some measures the first season, which aired last summer, was Syfy's most successful series. The 12-episide run airs on Tuesday nights, the new battleground for basic cable original drama, as a continuous bloc starting July 6, with returning regulars stars Eddie McClintock, Joanne Kelly, Saul Rubinek, and Allison Scagliotti; CCH Pounder should be recurring frequently. (No word on whether the unnecessary Leena, played by Genelle Williams, will still be hanging around.) Announced guest stars include Gina Torres (Firefly) as an ex-agent and possible love interest for Pete; Philip Winchester, star of the much underrated, Crusoe; and Paula Garcés (Defying Gravity, The Shield).
Returns for a fourth season on July 9 (shooting began March 18 in Vancouver). We'll be getting James Callis (as a regular, a former resident named Dr. Grant whose return is "a cause for alarm"); a new love interest for Sheriff Carter; Fargo, running through town naked and green; and, supposedly, a musical episode, among other things. Whee!! It's a 20-episode run, most likely broken in two as usual.