The summer of 2017, like the summers of Peak TV before it, has been overloaded with buzzy hot-weather series like GLOW, Preacher, Twin Peaks, Rick and Morty, Orphan Black and, of course, Game of Thrones, to name just a few. Fortunately, there weren’t any other, below-the-radar shows that you’ll need to add to your catch-up cue once you’ve had enough of the sun and the outdoors and whatever the hell else life away from the screen offers, right?
Wrong. Here are 10 you probably missed:
The Jim Jefferies Show (Comedy Central): The overworked late-night talkers have done an admirable, if repetitive, job of taking the piss out of our Made-for-TV president. But none have done it with the glee and zero-fucks-given swagger of Australian comedian Jim Jefferies, who backs up his barbs with cold facts, on-location bits and “weatherman” Brad Pitt (yes, really) consistently predicting climate doomsday.
Blood Drive (Syfy): In the “distant future of 1999,” environmentally ravaged America’s favorite new spectator sport is the Blood Drive, wherein the cars run on human blood! The jarringly perverse and stoopid series is just Death Race 2000 with a cartoon-grindhouse twist (real Syfy complaint line: 325-400-DGAF), but emcee Julian Slink (Colin Cunningham) is a delicious villain for the ages.
Claws (TNT): Women chew Florida scenery and buff cuticles in this nail-salon crime thriller, led commandingly by Niecy Nash, drawing upon her comedy and drama backgrounds equally. Somehow, Claws’ colorful characters (like Dean Norris as Uncle Daddy, “a Dixie Mafia crime boss who’s deeply Catholic and actively bisexual”) never overwhelm the tense drugs-and-money-laundering narrative.
The Strain (FX): Eternal darkness has fallen, and a totalitarian regime that rules though fear and intimidation has taken over. Relax, it’s only Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan’s vampire-apocalypse epic The Strain, now in its fourth and final season. Interest has waned (ratings are down to half of Season 1’s), but The Strain is still bigly more compelling and creepy than The Walking Dead.
Queen of the South (USA): The path by Teresa (Alice Braga) toward becoming a future drug queenpin got even more tangled than her hair in Season 2—surely, she can afford a brush by now—upping the stakes and the body count along the way. Also, the woman she’ll eventually replace, Camila (Veronica Falcon), transformed from an icy caricature into a fleshed-out, almost-sympathetic character. But only almost.
Wynonna Earp (Syfy): The demon-hunting great-great-granddaughter of Wyatt Earp may have a bit of that Jessica Jones smolder, but she’s ultimately a goofball, pushing Wynonna Earp closer to Buffy the Vampire Slayer territory. As Wynonna, Melanie Scrofano bites into an impressive array of emotional flavors when the show gets serious; when it’s not, Earp is Syfy’s funniest series after Blood Drive.
Odd Mom Out (Bravo): It’s Season 3—does Bravo even know this is still on? Odd Mom Out, an adaptation of author Jill Kargman’s Momzillas (and starring herself; Kargman’s also an adept comedic actress), is everything the Real Housewives are not: smart, self-aware and funny. In particular, SNL cast-off Abby Elliott shines as a Manhattanite so dim and self-absorbed that she’s practically a black hole.
Wrecked (TBS): Much improved from its first season, which apparently didn’t map out anything past, “Let’s mash up Gilligan’s Island and Lost,” Wrecked found its groove in Season 2 by adding outside conflict (pirates!) and internal lust (hot … well, weird castaway-on-castaway action!). Watching pampered idiots struggle to survive on an island is better when Jeff Probst isn’t calling the action.
I’m Sorry (TruTV): Longtime comedic side-player Andrea Savage’s first all-about-me vehicle doesn’t care to differentiate itself from other Comics as Themselves But Not Really half-hours—it’s all about the jokes. I’m Sorry, referring to mom/comedy writer “Andrea” and her tendency to say the most hilariously wrong things, is a white-wine spritzer of a sitcom: not too heavy, not too sweet, perfect for summer.
Decker: Unsealed/Mindwipe (Adult Swim): The shoot-first-think-never action hero ’Merica needs returned in Season 2 of Decker: Unsealed, Tim Heidecker’s … tribute? … to Tom Clancy novels, Steven Seagal movies and the comedic power of incompetent, but patriotic, production. Then Decker segued into Mindwipe, because who cares? Heidecker could probably upsell this to InfoWars as a documentary.