Ah, summer: a time for day drinking, seasonal allergies, and lamenting the loss of good TV amidst the dreck the networks cart out in its place. At least, that's the way I've thought about summer TV for years. This time around, though, there are plenty of shows I'm legitimately excited about. Here's a worthy slate of promising small-screen send-ups:
Louie (June 29, FX)
The premise: Brilliant stand-up comic Louis CK plays fledgling stand-up comic Louis CK, struggling to maintain a normal life and a relationship with his daughters after a divorce. Also: plenty of awkward dates.
Why it's worth getting excited about: The show has stand-up bits throughout, meaning Louis CK's twisted sense of humor gets plenty of screen time, too. Plus the gritty, almost documentary-like quality of the show lets Louie really amp up the uncomfortableness of the situations he puts himself in. He lets himself be shown as vulnerable, and the laughs keep coming.
The Good Guys (returns June 7, FOX)
The premise: Bradley Whitford plays a mustachioed, caustic cop who teams up with the more sensible Colin Hanks and the duo sticks its nose where it doesn't belong—linking petty crimes to grander affairs.
Why it's worth getting excited about: The special preview a few weeks back demonstrated The Good Guys' ability to keep things light among heavy gunfire, particularly with casual, silly banter. Showrunner Matt Nix got the formula right with Burn Notice, and it looks as if lightning might strike twice after all. Plus, c'mon, with Parks & Rec not back till next spring, I need my 'stache fix.
Big Lake (August 3, Comedy Central)
Why it's worth getting excited about: Besides that awesome cast? The show is produced by Will Ferrell and Adam McKay. Plus, it's a multi-camera sitcom, a welcome throwback that worked for Rob Corddry's grossly underrated The Winner.
Kids In The Hall: Death Comes To Town (August 20, IFC)
The premise: Actually, the name almost says it all: The Grim Reaper appears in a small town, and its citizens, all played by the Kids In The Hall, react badly.
Why it's worth getting excited about: Dude, it's the Kids In The Hall. The guys' live tour a few years ago showed they haven't lost their touch or their knack for playful, surreal humor. Early previews of the series have a similar vibe, and IFC is using the show as a touchstone to expand its comedy brand.
Childrens' Hospital (July 11, Adult Swim)
The premise: Based on the web series of the same name, this satirical show tracks doctors who work at a children's hospital (though the name references the donor it's named after, last name Childrens).
Why it's worth getting excited about: The series was created by Rob Corddry—remember him, from that blurb about Big Lake?—and co-stars some of the funniest guys and gals in the biz: Rob Huebel, Lake Bell, Erinn Hayes from that grossly underrated The Winner (seriously, watch that show). Plus, David Wain is a producer, and most everything he touches turns to gold.
Are We There Yet? (June 2, TBS)
Just kidding, not really.
Your turn! Which new shows are you excited to watch this summer?