As schools lock their doors and students burn their backpacks in large piles or whatever it is they do to celebrate, the first signs of summer are upon us. But though summer technically starts on Sunday, it's coming early this week to TV. The Season 1 finale of Freeform's Cruel Summer airs Tuesday night, and Season 2 of Netflix's Black Summer premieres on Thursday.
Also on the menu is the new Pixar film Luca, The CW's new series The Republic of Sarah, and Season 2 of FXX's smash hit Dave. It's a stacked week of TV!
Our list of editors' picks for the week of June 13-19 is below, but if that's not enough and you're looking for even more hand-picked recommendations, check out our picks for last week or sign up for our free, spam-free Watch This Now newsletter that delivers the best TV show picks straight to your inbox. You can also look at our massive collection of recommendations, as well as our list of suggestions of what to watch next based on shows you already like.
Series premiere Sunday at 9/8c on Starz
If you didn't already know, Blindspotting the show is based on Blindspotting the movie, a (great!) 2018 dramedy starring Daveed Diggs and Rafael Casal as childhood buds whose friendship is rocked after one witnesses a police shooting. In the series, which acts as a continuation of the film, Casal reprises his role as Miles, but honestly, this is the Jasmine Cephas Jones show. Jones returns as Casal's character's girlfriend, Ashley, who is left to care for their young son by herself after Miles goes to prison. Experiencing a sudden existential crisis without her partner, Ashley ends up moving in with Miles' mother, Rainey (Helen Hunt), and half-sister, Trish (Jaylen Barron), who she frequently clashes with. On her own for the first time, Ashley ruminates on her place in the world, all while the strength of her relationship with Miles is tested. The excellent news is that it doesn't seem like Blindspotting has lost any of the film's singularly funny perspective, or its direct-to-camera rap interludes where the characters express how they're really feeling. -Allison Picurro [TRAILER]
Series premiere Monday at 9/8c on The CW
The CW pivots away from superheroes with its new series The Republic of Sarah, which sees a 24-year old history teacher become president of a small country when her rural town of Greylock declares independence to save itself from a soulless mining corporation that wants to level the place to get access to its bountiful supply of coltane. Sarah (Stella Baker) and her friends quickly realize that running a country is more complicated than they expected, especially when the United States refuses to acknowledge them as a valid foreign entity but won't share any resources either. The Republic of Sarah is essentially a small-town Battlestar Galactica with serious Everwood vibes and a pinch of "cool sh-- they never taught you in high school civics." That may sound like a messy cocktail, but it makes for delightfully addictive viewing and could be the first step in a new direction for The CW. -Megan Vick [TRAILER]
Season 1 finale Tuesday at 10/9c on Freeform
According to my calendar, real summer hasn't even started yet, but Cruel Summer is already signing off. Freeform's juicy teen drama has spent its first season jumping between the narratives of two teens who know more than they're saying: Kate (Olivia Holt), the kidnap victim, and Jeanette (Chiara Aurelia), the wannabe popular girl who took over her life. After the intense penultimate episode dove into Kate's experience in captivity, the season finale will send her and Jeanette to court, where more secrets should come to light. Will we get the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth? That's a matter of perspective. -Kelly Connolly [TRAILER]
Season 2 premiere Wednesday at 10/9c on FXX
If you're like me, you watched a couple of episodes of Dave and got turned off by all the sophomoric dick jokes, and gave up. But then you heard it got better, so you watched a bit more, and sure enough, it did. Then by the finale you thought to yourself, "Damn, this IS a good show." All that is to say that Dave -- the show and the neurotic rapper who is simultaneously self-shaming and extremely cocky -- grows on you, even with all the bumps along the road. Season 2 kicks off with two episodes, the first being a chaotic trip to Korea and the second a comedown full of despair back in L.A., and they're both tightly wrapped in Dave's writer's block as he tries to make a new album. The premiere is one of the series' best; the second is quieter, but does feature some of that cutesy auto-tune romance that's irresistible. [TRAILER]
Wednesday at 10/9c on NBC
This is another one of those episodes of The Blacklist where NBC vehemently promises that THE. TRUTH. WILL. FINALLY. BE. REVEALED. But even if this chapter proves to be another half-promise, "Nachalo" is worth a watch as a format-breaking one-off that's shot in black-and-white and goes for a cinematic experience as Red (James Spader) unloads secrets on Liz (Megan Boone). [TRAILER]
Season 2 Thursday on Netflix
We need another zombie show like The Walking Dead needs another season, but Black Summer, a daring twist on a stale genre, can stick around. The series strips down the drama of a zombie apocalypse into just the good parts, abandoning the philosophical discussions of survival and relationship blabbering in favor of intense action sequences that speak louder than words. Rules don't apply to the show; episode lengths vary (the Season 1 finale was about 17 intense minutes long), entire chapters will go on without dialogue (and sometimes without camera cuts), and characters you thought were important will be killed moments after they're introduced. And then an episode like Season 2's excellent "White Horse" comes along to totally change the format. It's organized but effective chaos. [TRAILER]
Thursday on Netflix
I don't know what more you need to know to get interested in Katla except that it's an Icelandic series in which missing persons magically reappear covered in ash walking out of a volcano. Obviously, the question is why, and some ancient folklore might be the culprit. Katla looks to live somewhere between Germany's Dark and France's The Returned, two of Europe's best supernatural thrillers. [TRAILER]
Friday on Disney+
Luca, Pixar's latest, is a coming-of-age story about two best friends (voiced by Jacob Tremblay and Jack Dylan Grazer) who are having a totally normal summer in Italy aside from one pretty big factor: They're both sea monsters. The boys are eager to feel like normal kids, explore the human world, and experience life outside the water, which of course means they have to go to great, and often silly, lengths to keep their secret from the people they interact with. Now, what Disney movie about a sea-dwelling teen who wants to see what that whole walking on land thing is all about could Luca have possibly been inspired by? -Allison Picurro [TRAILER]