The 15 Geeky Coolest-Looking TV Shows Airing this Summer (and Whether They're Worth Watching)

By Greggory Basore in Daily Lists, TV
Thursday, June 19, 2014 at 6:00 am


Back in the old days, summer was a TV wasteland of reruns, but that is no longer the case. I don't know when that changed (haven't had much time for watching the boob tube in the past few years), but there seems to be a fuller-force version of said change in the air for this year.

Please note that with one exception, I haven't seen any of these shows yet. It's also not a guarantee that I'll be watching each and every show recommended due to time constraints. With that in mind, here's a rundown of what to watch this summer.

#15. Defiance Season 2

Votan colonies on earth happened because of what now? There's a lotta crazy stuff packed into this trailer and the concept for the show.

Premiering: June 19th
The Premise (in case you can't watch videos right now):

From what I can gather it's 2046. A few decades ago aliens showed up on earth and things did not go well for humans. Apparently we freaked out and opened fire on them then it all went to crap from there. St.Louis has been destroyed, partially rebuilt and renamed Defiance. There are now a bunch of aliens of different races that are collectively called Votans. Some kind of alien techno super science went haywire and the planet has been terraformed to a great extent but without any control behind it, so nature's all gone wonky.

Also there's a tie-in MMO video game that goes along with it that is apparently free to play online.

Is it recommended as watch-worthy?:

I dunno. There are a lot of ideas I like in the concepts. There'd be 12 eps to catch up on, which might take a week or two to get out of the way and move onto the new season. That's a lot of time that could be spent on other shows or other things. I'm intrigued by the concept of transmedia, but looking at the Steam Store I see that game isn't available for Mac which is a bad mark against it already. This is a total maybe. I might start watching the show one of these years, but this summer probably won't be when I do.

What should you have on hand to enhance the enjoyment of this show?:
Apparently a windows machine if you wanna play the MMO game.

If it's just for the TV show I'd recommend a plate of Toasted Ravioli and some Gooey Pumpkin Butter Cake and some Falstaff Beer to wash it down.

#14. The Leftovers

That looks like some uplifting fun right there! HBO's upcoming unintentional comedy about people left behind after the rapture looks like two hoots, a holler and a yo what up?!

Premiering: June 29th
The Premise (in case you can't watch videos right now):

A whole buncha people have disappeared all of a sudden. The ones who were "Left Below" have tried to adjust to the new state of the world, but there are these creepy douches dressed in white who wanna keep harshing their buzzes. It's looking to be a tense and violent series from author Tom Perrotta and show runner Damon Lindelof of LOST fame... which is gonna draw waaaay too many jokes about recycled religious premises.

Is it recommended as watch-worthy?:

Well, are you up for a tense drama that tries to seriously explore a powerful pop-cultural religious concept from a point of view that is probably a far cry from the guys who wrote those Left Behind books? Then this should be up your alley. If not...

Do you want some damned good comedy fodder that will help you find a good image meme or youtube video to create? Then this should be up your alley.

This trailer has an air of pretentious self importance about it that gives me the vibe that it's going to be trying waaay too hard to be a "serious business" exploration of a well-trodden concept, but I'm still curious to check it out at some point.

What should you have on hand to enhance the enjoyment of this show?:

A copy of at least the first three Preacher graphic novels by Garth Ennis and Steve Dillon so you can wonder what might have been if HBO hadn't passed on Mark Steven Johnson's pitched series, some tacos, and finally a jug of Kool Aid to wash it all down.

#13. Face Off Season 7

Under a rock, guys. That's apparently where I've been as far as the TV landscape goes since there's a reality show about sci-fi makeup artists that's entering its 7th season and I'm just now becoming aware of it. This is one of the coolest things I've ever heard and I only heard about it while doing research for this article.

Premiering: July 22nd
The Premise (in case you can't watch videos right now):

A bunch of make up artists compete in sci-fi competitions to make the coolest movie make up they can for a chance to get cool prizes. It's like Project Runway, but something I want to watch!

Y'all remember when the first X-Men movie came out right? One of my big beefs with the movie was the way Mystique looked. The whole "buck-e nekkid" thing seemed like cheap titillation and the scales were... just plain not what I pictured for her. Even with all that in the mix, I had mad respect for whatever team of make up artists were responsible for putting her look together. By the time X-Men 2 rolled around I was full on digging it. Seeing a bunch of people going for a career like that sounds like a blast.

Is it recommended as watch-worthy?:

I'll be watching a few episodes at least, that's for sure. If you dig make up effects and don't have a passionate hate for reality TV as a concept it seems like something go for. If nothing else, I'll be watch the first episode or two, figure out which contestant I'm rooting for and read updates about how they're doing on the show.

What should you have on hand to enhance the enjoyment of this show?:

A copy of Interviews With B Science Fiction And Horror Movie Makers: Writers, Producers, Directors, Actors, Moguls and Makeup, some Candy Lipstick and a Pan Galactic Gargle Blaster.

#12. The Quest

Remixing The Amazing Race style competition show with Lord of the Rings style fantasy? Damn. That's some cool shit yo.

Premiering: July 31st
The Premise (in case you can't watch videos right now):

A show where people can be in a simulated fantasy world and see how good a job they'd do being heroes against the dark forces of evil. High tech stuff like animatronics, realtime motion capture (which is apparently a process that now exists for practical use), projections and more give the 12 contestants a chance to feel fully immersed in a Tolkeinesque world called Everealm.

Is it recommended as watch-worthy?:

I'm rather miffed that I can't watch it already. If you have any love for The Society for Creative Anachronism or similar groups like AMPT Guard, and the hype is lived up to, then this is a show you'll love. It's also the kind of show that makes me wish I were in better shape and could be a contestant.

What should you have on hand to enhance the enjoyment of this show?:

Lembas Bread, a glass of Arbor Gold, a copy of The Travels of Jain Farstrider and a crushing sense of disappointment that you can't actually have any of these things for real.

11. Penn and Teller Fool Us

Bit've of confusion went through my head when digging up info on this. At first I thought "Oh dang, is there gonna be a US version with all new episodes?" Nope. Turns out it's the British show being aired in the US.

Premiering: July 30th
The Premise (in case you can't watch videos right now):

Penn Jillette and his partner Teller are judges on a show where magicians perform a magic trick and see if the famous duo can figure out how they did it or not. If Penn and Teller's guesses are wrong or they're just plain baffled and can't explain how the trick was done, the victorious performer is given an opening slot on the duo's Las Vegas show.

This is not a new show. It was first aired in the UK back in 2011. So TR readers who live over there have possibly seen this show already. In fact many people here in USAlund have likely seen a lot of the series highlights on the youtubes because those clips have been quite popular. The CW will be airing the original 8 episodes of the first - and so far only - season. If enough people will watch, the CW will hopefully greenlight a second season.

Is it recommended as watch-worthy?:

Yes. Absolutely yes. If you like stage magic (and who doesn't) this a great presentation of if. The only thing cooler than seeing a professional magician do a trick that fools the audience is seeing one do a trick so good other magicians can't figure it out either. Seeing Penn and Teller breaking down the mechanics of a magic trick and then finding out if they're right or not is just an absolute joy.

What should you have on hand to enhance the enjoyment of this show?:

A deck of cards, some red fingernail polish (but only for your left ring finger),a plate of mashed potatoes and a can of lager.

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