We're in for a not-so-Cruel Summer — at least, for now — as TV serves up the highly anticipated second season of The Bear, the breakout FX series that turned everyone into a sous chef, along with new episodes of The Righteous Gemstones, Claim to Fame, and Warrior this June. Speaking of exciting returns, Kaley Cuoco is back on the murder beat in Peacock's Based on a True Story, and Samuel L. Jackson has to fend off yet another world-annihilating threat as Nick Fury in Disney+'s Secret Invasion. It's also a month of farewells, as Never Have I Ever and Human Resources take a final bow.
The Primetimer staff has once again sorted through the many, many premieres (seriously, just look at the list of notable debuts at the end of this post) to highlight the most compelling new and returning shows of June 2023.
Premieres June 5
Two years after Cruel Summer became a surprise hit for Freeform, the teen drama returns with an entirely new cast, locale, and premise. In Season 2, exchange student Isabella (Lexi Underwood) moves to a sleepy waterfront town in the Pacific Northwest and quickly finds herself in a budding love triangle with rich boy Luke (Griffin Gluck) and his best friend Megan (Sadie Stanley), a computer genius with big aspirations.
The teens are ready to embark upon their senior year of high school, but as Y2K approaches, tragedy strikes, drawing them into a mystery that threatens to destroy their bright futures and reveal their many secrets. Once again, Cruel Summer Season 2 will unfold across multiple timelines as it reveals how the teens' lives changed so drastically from one summer to the next, a slow-burn structure designed to heighten the drama around the season's many twists. — Claire Spellberg Lustig
Premieres June 8
We know what you’re thinking after watching the above trailer: another TV series that sends up the national obsession with true-crime podcasts? But Based on a True Story looks equally poised to fill the void left by the late, great Santa Clarita Diet. In this comedic thriller from Craig Rosenberg and Jason Bateman, a series of grisly murders also reinvigorates a marriage. Instead of chowing down on the neighbors, though, Ava (Kaley Cuoco) teams up with her husband Nathan (Chris Messina) on a podcast that aims to explore and exploit the identity of a local serial killer.
Cuoco more than proved she can handle the hairpin turns in tone that typically hold up this kind of premise in The Flight Attendant, while Messina can be counted on to bring depth (and silliness) to an everyman. So, even if the broad strokes can be spied a mile away, we know we’re in for a good time. — Danette Chavez
Premieres June 8
Props to co-creators Mindy Kaling and Lang Fisher for knowing when to end Never Have I Ever, which succeeds precisely because of its high school specificities. It's senior year, and Devi (Maitreyi Ramakrishnan) has finally accomplished her goal of losing her virginity — not to her longtime crush and ex-boyfriend Paxton (Darren Barnet), but to Ben (Jaren Lewison), her academic rival.
Devi and Ben's enemies-to-lovers storyline has developed so tenderly over the past three seasons, but fans shouldn't expect a complication-free happy ending: Now that she's done the deed, Devi is putting all her energy into getting into Princeton, her dream school. With graduation looming, Devi and her friends, played with unlimited zaniness by Lee Rodriguez and Ramona Young, have one last shot to make their mark at Sherman Oaks High. Unless they follow in Trent's (Benjamin Norris) footsteps and flunk senior year, that is. — Claire Spellberg Lustig
Premieres June 9
Hormones don’t just stop dictating people’s lives after puberty. It’s a lesson that Big Mouth spinoff Human Resources tackled in its first season, using the franchise’s signature grotesque animation to offer a refreshingly real look at issues that plague adults: the physical and psychological effects of pregnancy, the mental and emotional tolls of dementia, and the power of addiction. Despite how dark that may sound, the show manages to deal with it all in a way that is also consistently hilarious. A slew of hormone monsters, lovebugs, shame wizards, logic rocks, ambition gremlins, and more creatures who work in the Human Resources office (Get it? It’s resources for humans!) help their earthly clients get through it all.
In its final season, Human Resources will do its best to go out with a bang, bringing in guest stars like Florence Pugh, Miley Cyrus, Eugene Levy, Sam Richardson, Niecy Nash-Betts, Jason Mantzoukas, and Isabella Rossellini. Returning cast members include Aidy Bryant, Nick Kroll, Randall Park, Keke Palmer, David Thewlis, Brandon Kyle Goodman, and Maya Rudolph. — Brianna Wellen
Premieres June 18
The Gemstones are back, baby! And that’s a blessing after the many close calls the family faced fighting off motorcycling assassins and many other close calls in Season 2. Now, Eli Gemstone (John Goodman) is officially stepping down as the church patriarch, leaving his legacy in the hands of his spoiled, bumbling, and power-hungry kids: Jesse (Danny McBride), Kelvin (Adam Devine), and Judy (Edi Patterson).
The siblings, now in a position of power, have to team up to take on even more threats to the Gemstone throne, including a militia led by a right-wing gun nut (Steve Zahn) and someone from the family’s past played by Kristen Johnson. Helping (or maybe hurting) them along the way are Jesse’s wife, Amber (Cassidy Freeman); Kelvin’s companion Keefe (Tony Cavalero); Judy’s husband, BJ (Tim Baltz); and Uncle Baby Billy (Walter Goggins), who is looking flashier than ever. — Brianna Wellen
Premieres June 21
It's been an atypically long period between Marvel TV series, but the MCU returns to the small screen with its original ringleader at the center. The last time we saw Samuel L. Jackson's Nick Fury, he was chilling on a spaceship, reclining on a simulation of a bright, sunny beach, all while his Skrull pal Talos (Ben Mendelsohn) was filling in for him down on Earth. Talos and his nomad Skrull brethren were introduced in 2019’s Captain Marvel, and they play a major role in the plot of Secret Invasion.
A rogue Skrull played by Kingsley Ben-Adir is leading an insurgency down on Earth that, due to the Skrulls' shapeshifting abilities, is happening in plain sight. Fury teams with Talos, along with old allies like Maria Hill (Cobie Smulders) and Everett Ross (Martin Freeman), to battle against the secret plot. The cast also includes Don Cheadle, reprising his role as Colonel James Rhodes/War Machine, Emilia Clarke as Talos' daughter, and Olivia Colman as an old contemporary of Fury's at MI6.
Secret Invasion kicks off the TV portion of Marvel's Phase 5 at a time when the MCU could seriously use some structure and direction. It would be welcome, not to mention thematically appropriate, for the whole Avengers enterprise to get back on track with a Nick Fury project, even one that looks as potentially grim and serious as this does. — Joe Reid
Premieres June 22
Season 2 of FX’s The Bear will follow the characters as they open a new restaurant, and if Top Chef’s Restaurant Wars challenges have taught us anything, then this season might actually be more chaotic than the first. At the same time, it could add an exciting new dynamic to the storytelling to have everyone working together to build something new, as opposed to fighting over the legacy of an existing place. It’ll be interesting to see what happens when Carmy (Jeremy Allen White) and Sydney (Ayo Edibiri) aren’t interlopers anymore and Richie (Ebon Moss-Bachrach) can’t fixate on the way things always were. Maybe they’ll come together, or maybe the stress will tear them apart again. Or maybe they’ll finally decide to stop making sandwiches. — Mark Blankenship
Premieres June 23
Cootie (Jharrel Jerome) has been stuck inside for 19 years. His Aunt Lafrancine (Carmen Ejogo) and Uncle Martisse (Mike Epps) kept him hidden for his own good — the world didn’t seem ready for a 13-foot-tall Black man to suddenly walk among them. But when Cootie sneaks out with some neighborhood kids, he learns that isn’t necessarily the case. Yes, there will always be people fetishizing him and out to get him, but with his new activist friends he finds community and acceptance. Together they try to figure out how to use their strengths and differences for good, but it’s not as easy as it seems.
Boots Riley helms this series, which channels the surreal, comedic, and multimedia elements of his 2018 feature Sorry to Bother You into a more joyful story, albeit one still tinged with dark satire and mind-boggling twists. — Brianna Wellen
Premieres June 26
The best TV show of summer 2022 returns next month, hopefully with another season of clever, good-spirited reality competition in store. Once again, 12 contestants, each of them related in some way to a celebrity, will compete to uncover each other's secret identities and win $100,000.
Last year, the audience was initially let in on a few of the secret identities — like Whoopi Goldberg's granddaughter Amara and Simone Biles' sister Adria (who went by "Louise" — but left to figure out the rest of the identities as they went along. This season, the audience will be in the dark about everyone. Playing along with the contestants was half of the fun anyway, so this has the potential to be a good change. A lot may depend on whether ABC was able to cast contestants as fun and lovable as L.C. Palmer (sister to Keke) and Logan Crosby (cousin to country music star Jason Aldean), but at the very least we'll be able to hang with dynamic duo Kevin and Frankie Jonas as hosts all summer. — Joe Reid
Premieres June 28
From 24 to Red Eye to the ’90s movie Nick of Time, the best real-time thrillers are fantastically tense, because the urgency is built right into the concept. That’s half the appeal of Apple TV+’s upcoming series Hijack, which uses seven episodes to depict seven actual hours on a flight to London that gets hijacked by terrorists. Even better, Idris Elba plays a business negotiator who suddenly has to apply his corporate skills to a nightmare in the sky. He might never play James Bond, but this role will give him yet another chance to prove he’s got the stuff to be an action hero.
The series is directed by Jim Field Smith, who created the excellent cat-and-mouse drama Criminal. Most of that show happened in interrogation rooms, and the close quarters intensified the impact. Smith has a chance to create equally tense moments as he shoots within the confines of an airplane. — Mark Blankenship
Premieres June 29
It’s a small miracle that we’re even getting a third season of Warrior, the martial arts epic based on Bruce Lee’s writings. The action drama debuted on Cinemax in 2019 and was almost immediately renewed for a second season, which premiered in October 2020. It holds the distinction of being the last Cinemax series to air before the cable network shut down its original programming. A third season was ordered, and now, one streamer rebrand later, we’ll finally get to see the fallout from the race riots in Chinatown that ended Season 2.
That behind-the-scenes turmoil can’t compare with the upheaval in Season 3, as the tongs fight over what little turf is left and Ah Sahm (Andrew Koji) realizes he has to evolve or be lost in the shuffle. Even if you’re not a Bruce Lee fan (really, it’s fine, we won’t judge you), Warrior offers some of the most acrobatic action scenes on the small screen, along with powerful performances from Koji and Dianne Doan, who plays Ah Sahm’s domineering older sister Mai Ling. — Danette Chavez
Manifest (Netflix): Season 4, Part 2 premiere, June 2
Love Allways (Paramount+): Series premiere, June 2
Shiny Happy People: Duggar Family Secrets (Prime Video): Docuseries premiere, June 2
The Idol (HBO): Series premiere, June 4
Stars on Mars (Fox): Series premiere, June 5
It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (FXX): Season 16 premiere, June 7
The Crowded Room (Apple TV+): Series premiere, June 9
The Full Monty (FX): Series premiere, June 14
Strange New Worlds (Paramount+): Season 2 premiere, June 15
Swiping America (Max): Series premiere, June 15
Project Runway (Bravo): Season 20 premiere, June 15
Outlander (Starz): Season 7A premiere, June 16
Real Housewives of New York (Bravo): Season 14 premiere, June 16
John Early: Now More Than Ever (HBO): Comedy special premiere, June 17
The Walking Dead: Dead City (AMC): Series premiere, June 18
…And Just Like That (Max): Season 2 premiere, June 22
Swagger (Apple TV+): Season 2 premiere, June 23
The Bachelorette (ABC): Season 20 premiere, June 26
The Witcher (Netflix): Season 3, Part 1 premiere, June 29
TOPICS: The Bear, Based on a True Story, Claim to Fame, Cruel Summer, Human Resources, I’m a Virgo, Never Have I Ever, The Righteous Gemstones, Secret Invasion, Warrior