Summer TV Roundup, Week 8
We're into July and the stream of new shows is slowing a bit. But there's still new ones to discover. In these weekly posts I review the pilot and second episode of new scripted series this summer. Don't see a new show listed below? Check previous weeks.
Dead of Summer, Tuesdays at 9 p.m. on Freeform (Premiered June 28)
About: This series on Freeform is about a summer camp that's about to re-open when some mysterious events begin to occur. Is it a killer? Is it a ghost? Does it have anything to do with the background of the counselors? Is it tied to the history? Those are all the questions that the series poses. It does a decent job of setting the scene and creating something of an engaging murder mystery. I like Elizabeth Mitchell, who leads the cast, and the general idea of this kind of story. But it's possible that it works better as a 90 minute film than as a weekly series. The first episode set the stage and was moderately engrossing. But I thought the second episode was a step back. It didn't feel like enough progress was made, which is likely a sign of things to come for the rest of the series. This show is fine, and probably works well for the 16-24-year-old audience, but if you're looking for more depth of story, this is a miss.
Pilot Grade: C+
Second Episode: C-
The Night Of, Sundays at 9 p.m. on HBO (Premiered July 10)
About: I previewed this series last week since the pilot was released early. The mini-series comes from Steve Zaillian and Richard Price, and stars John Turturro. It was originally built as a starring vehicle for James Gandolfini before his death. But the first episode sets the stage for this crime story and the characters. It has a beautiful slow burn and sets the stage for what's to come. This looks to be one of the more compelling new entries this summer, and is well worth checking out.
Pilot Grade: B-
Marcella, now streaming on Netflix (Debuted July 1)
About: This is the latest series from England to make its U.S. debut on the streaming service. It centers on a former detective (Anna Friel) whose marriage breaks up. Then, when a killer she investigated but never caught, resurfaces, she gets back on the job. But she might also be hiding a deadly secret of her own. All eight episodes of the series are available to stream now. In the first two, the stage is set for the crime and all the players. There are parts of it that are compelling, but some of it that doesn't work. Friel is strong in the lead role, and there's some potential here, but it depends on what you're looking for in a series. I thought it was decent, but not compelling enough to hook my interest after two episodes.
Pilot Grade: C
Second Episode: C