Top five TV shows of the summer

Typically labeled as television’s offseason, this year’s summer slate didn’t quite fit the usual mold as it produced some quality programming distinguished by its witty…
Top five TV shows of the summer

Typically labeled as television’s offseason, this year’s summer slate didn’t quite fit the usual mold as it produced some quality programming distinguished by its witty writing and capable acting.

And while fall is fast approaching, this summer’s surprisingly good crop of shows deserve some recognition:

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The Knick

“The Knick,” is a television drama series on Cinemax directed by Steven Soderbergh and starring Clive Owen. (Twitter)

Cinemax’s newest show stars Clive Owen as Dr. John Thackery, a doctor in the early twentieth century New York City hospital: The Knickerbocker.

As Chuck Bowen of Slant Magazine raves, “Steven Soderbergh’s “The Knick,” is exhilaratingly alien. Though the series is set in a rundown hospital in New York City at the dawn of the 20th century, the director doesn’t invite us to dutifully nod off to another dull wax-museum period piece that renders the past insufferably safe and platitudinous. The show’s so dangerously alive that it inspires gratitude that our society has somehow existed this long, as there’s a palpable sense here of the precarious strangeness of life, both on a micro and macro level.”

Masters of Sex

TV shows of the summer4

“Masters of Sex,” stars Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan as real-life pioneers of the science of human sexuality, William Masters and Virginia Johnson. (Facebook: Masters of sex)

Keeping with the medical theme, Showtime’s sophomore show follows Dr. William Masters who served as a pioneer of the sexual revolution with his research study in the 1950s.

Andy Greenwald of Grantland is a fan: “[It] remains the rare show willing to dissect the stodgy constructs of polite society… It proves that the world as we know it doesn’t need to end to inspire moments of beauty and horror. It just needs to be undressed a little.”

The Leftovers

Justin Theroux on the red carpet at The Leftovers NYC premiere.

“The Leftovers,” revolves around mysterious disappearances, world-wide, and specifically follows a group of people who are left behind in the suburban community of Mapleton. (Facebook: The Leftovers)

Co-written by Damon Lindelof—of Lost fame— this HBO newcomer took viewers by storm with its somber and cringe-inducing scenes as it follows the lives of the residents of a fictional town in rural New York following the supernatural disappearance of 2% of the world’s population.

Critic Kari Croop explains, “The Leftovers puts a sobering spin on the popular post-apocalyptic genre, eschewing action to explore the remnants of a shattered society riddled with pain.”

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver

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Last Week Tonight with John Oliver’ presents a half-hour satirical look at the week in news, politics and current events. (Facebook: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver)

Jon Stewart’s protégé has made the jump from Daily Show correspondent to host of his own show, and so far the move couldn’t have gone much better.

Rob Sheffield of Rolling Stone discards the comparisons with late-night veterans like Stewart and Colbert: “At first blush, Oliver might not seem as sharp as Jon Stewart or Stephen Colbert, but he doesn’t need to be. “Last Week Tonight,” has a huge advantage over the other faux-news roundups: It runs once a week. It’s like the “slow food” approach to topical comedy – instead of trying to compete with social media (or Stewart), he can hit harder with rants like his instant-classic tirade on Net neutrality.”

Orange is the New Black

TV shows of the summer

“Orange Is the New Black,” revolves around Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling), a bisexual woman living in New York City who is sentenced to 15 months in a women’s federal prison. (Facebook: Orange Is the New Black)

Along with “House of Cards,” OITNB is the pride and joy of Netflix’s original programming and its second season was actually a step-up from its already impressive first outing. A.V. Club’s Todd VanDerWerff puts it best by stating that, “It’s great TV because every single character it looks at has a point of view and a need to express themselves, because every single one of them struggles against the same, common enemy of dehumanization.”

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