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Top 5 Shows That Break The Summer TV Mold

Summer is to TV shows what winter is to bears: that is, a time for deep slumber and for living off the fruits of last season’s labors. But some pretty lofty original programming has interrupted this year’s hibernation, sweeping aside reruns of tired crime procedurals (ahem, SVU). A few networks are debuting something brand new (or, in some cases, something we didn’t know we were missing), and a few series are picking right up where they left off:

1. The Strain, FX
Guillermo Del Toro has a way of making fanboys such as myself clamber for whatever project he has in the pipeline. Last year it was the raucous, unapologetically entertaining Pacific Rim. Now it’s The Strain, a bloody romp channeling everything great about the horror B-movie genre. It features parasitical worms and something to do with vampires. If that brief description doesn’t leave you wanting more, then I can’t help you. Sundays, 10 p.m.

2. Rectify, SundanceTV
I’ve been aware that SundanceTV (formerly the Sundance Channel) existed for several years now. Little did I know that the network, spawned from its film festival papa, has been around since 1996, and Rectify is its first original series. The Southern Gothic-style show—think William Faulkner adapted for television—premiered earlier last year and quickly gained a following thanks to rave reviews. Thursdays, 9 p.m.

3. Halt and Catch Fire, AMC
With the end of Breaking Bad and the slow burn of Mad Men’s final season, AMC has the Herculean task of replacing at least one of the shows partly responsible for this “golden age” of television. Cue Halt and Catch Fire, a series revolving around the birth of the personal computer and the big wigs that constantly stick their pudgy fingers into invention and innovation. Sundays, 10 p.m.

4. You’re the Worst, FX
Scanning early reviews of this new FX comedy, what immediately jumps out is a description of the show’s two leads as “relationship atheists.” It’s safe to assume the show won’t appeal to those with schmaltzy notions of love. But there will cynicism and narcissism aplenty for those who are so inclined. Thursdays, 10:30 p.m.

5. Crossbones, NBC
I watched the pilot about a month ago. It was ok, but it features John Malkovich portraying the pirate Blackbeard. So I’ll be back. Fridays, 10 p.m.