Under the Dome (Thursday, June 25, CBS), season premiere: It’s on a new night, opposite a better mystery series that’s actually providing answers and staying true to its one-season-and-done mission, Wayward Pines—dick move, Under the Dome. Season 3 finds the townsfolk of Chester’s Mill on both sides of the bubble, with new characters joining the mix, and maybe some more clues, and … to quote Peter Griffin, “Oh my god, who the hell cares?!” Just watch Wayward Pines instead.
Teen Beach 2 (Friday, June 26, Disney), movie: I know what you’re thinking: “Wait, I haven’t seen Teen Beach—how will I be able to follow Teen Beach 2?” Easy: In 2013’s Teen Beach, Brady (Ross Lynch) and Mack (Maia Mitchell) wiped out while surfing and were magically transported into the 1962 summer flick—wait for it—Wet Side Story; much singing and dancing ensued. Now, in Teen Beach 2, the gang from Wet Side Story have suddenly appeared in Brady and Mack’s modern world (yes, they made it back at the end of Teen Beach—keep up), and your little sister is going to lose her damn mind. I know that you’re also thinking, “Hey, has there ever been an adult film called Wet Side Story?” and the answer is, surprisingly, no.
Humans (Sunday, June 28, AMC), series debut: It’s not the future; it’s a “parallel present” (?). Whenever it is, Humans is a British production, which means a more subtle take on sci-fi than ’Merican fare: A busy suburban London couple (Tom Goodman-Hill and Katherine Parkinson) buy a refurbished “Synth” (a human-like robot servant, Anita, played by Gemma Chan) who displays flashes of organic emotion and passive-aggressive tendencies. (Never, ever buy “refurbished”—that’s eBay 101.) Anita’s not the only Synth developing feelings, and—shades of another Brit series, Black Mirror—the eight-episode Humans is chillingly effective at both pointing out the possibilities of technology and questioning our over-reliance on it. It’s also creepy enough to hold you over until the premiere of Fear the Walking Dead (whenever that is).
Zoo (Tuesday, June 30, CBS), series debut: Meanwhile, back in the U.S. of A., the best we can come up with is an “animal uprising”—based on a James Patterson book, no less. In Zoo, James Wolk plays … I can’t believe I’m about to type this … “renegade zoologist” Jackson Oz … the first to make the connection between an uptick in critter-on-people violence and his father’s “crazy” theories about human extinction at the paws of fed-up animals. What follows is dumb, expensive-looking proof that CBS should stay well away from sci-fi (see also: Under the Dome, Extant), but you likely already made up your mind, one way or the other, at the first mention of “James Patterson.”
Scream (Tuesday, June 30, MTV), series debut: As a movie franchise, Scream slid hard from great idea (the 1996 original) to tired asterisk (2011’s Scream 4), so how’s MTV going to rehab it as a series? By adding a social-media angle and aiming it at the Teen Wolf crowd. Now, stoopid programming for tweens can still be entertaining. (I’m currently hooked on ABC Family’s new Stitchers, which could be the most ridiculous show the network has ever produced—and that’s saying something.) But this Scream is more straight-up slasher-flick drama with, admittedly, genuine scares, but little of the humor and the self-aware winks that Wes Craven and Kevin Williamson introduced in ’96. Then again, the intended audience wasn’t even born then, so …
Extant (Wednesday, July 1, CBS), season premiere: Yes, really. Last summer’s debut season of Extant was technically a hit, even if everyone was just tuning in to watch incredulously as Halle Berry slogged through her most WTF? role since Catwoman. Season 2 picks up six months after Not Without My Space Baby, with ex-astronaut Molly Woods (Berry) escaping a psychiatric hospital to investigate a series of murders seemingly carried out by the aliens she thought she’d stopped from invading Earth. In keeping with Extant’s promise of a “sexier, edgier” season, Molly’s boring husband (Goran Visnjic) has been sidelined in favor of a roguish bounty hunter (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) with a Fox Mulder-like taste for weird cases, and the new partnership actually produces some sparks. Ignoring remnants like Molly’s annoying robo-kid (seriously, just return him to SkyMall), Extant might just redeem itself this season. I can’t believe I just typed that, either.