‘Luke Cage,’ Season 2
The Marvel Cinematic Universe’s Harlem hero is back for a second season after a stellar first season as Netflix’s most recent Marvel series. While season one featured a Luke Cage who sometimes shied away from using his powers and defending his community, season two will see Cage emerge as the confident leader and protective guardian of his community, as expected of Marvel heroes.
Dropping on Netflix on June 22, season two is expected to continue to develop Cage’s character, aided by the outstanding on-screen performance of lead Mike Colter. Using humor and brute masculinity to communicate his character’s strength, Colter carries the show, though appearances from Alfre Woodard as Cage’s nemesis and Reg Cathey as Cage’s father will likely be series highlights.
‘Jack Ryan,’ season 1
John Krasinski, the romantic hunk we didn’t know we needed, returns to the small screen from his ventures in thrillers like “A Quiet Place” and “13 Hours” to deliver a new soft-guy-turned-secret-agent persona in “Jack Ryan,” an adaptation of author Tom Clancy’s super-analyst character.
Stepping up from an office in Scranton to an office in Foggy Bottom, a clean-shaven Krasinski is set to illuminate Clancy’s Department of State employee with energy and charisma for a streaming-era action series. While appearing to tread the tried-and-true formula for spy thrillers, “Jack Ryan” may be ramping up the action and speed of older, slower paced iterations of Clancy’s story.
Amazon’s latest action-packed pitch will premier Aug. 31, bringing Krasinki’s soft smiles and comforting grins to a character known more for bashing skulls and stopping terrorist attacks.
‘Cloak & Dagger,’ Season 1
Despite the damage Thanos wrought upon the universe in Marvel’s “Avengers: Infinity War” blockbuster this spring, the Marvel Cinematic Universe continues to expand across the entertainment world with “Marvel’s Cloak & Dagger.” The series follows the lives of two teenagers played by Aubrey Joseph and Olivia Holt, whose roads intersect when they discover their superpowers complement each other and grow stronger in a “divine pairing.”
Embracing the intersection of both the teen-drama and superhero thriller genres, “Cloak & Dagger” has all the potential for a summer hit, following the formula created by DC Comic’s “Arrow,” “The Flash” and “Supergirl.” Viewers should look out for Joseph and Holt’s evident chemistry and the show’s graphics package, which makes the stars’ superpowers shine on the small screen.
“Cloak & Dagger” will premiere June 7 on Freeform, a network trailblazing in young adult programming like “Grown-ish,” “Alone Together” and “The Bold Type.”
‘Arrested Development,’ Season 5
The fifth season of cult classic “Arrested Development” will return to the small screen this summer and feature the latest shenanigans of the dysfunctional Bluth family, as well as the unfortunate gaffes and bad luck that seem to plague the Southern Californian family.
Following the Bluth family’s efforts to win a “Family of the Year” award and sister Lindsay Bluth’s congressional election campaign, this season will pick up chronologically from the cliffhangers left in season four, including questions surrounding the disappearance of a family rival, the future of the Bluth Company and the construction of a border wall between the United States and Mexico.
The first half of the 16-episode season will return to Netflix on May 29 and follows the re-release of season four, which was edited from its original nonchronological, vignette-style production to fit a linear storyline. Netflix picked up the series in 2011 after three seasons of the show aired on Fox from 2003 to 2006. Though initially a ratings and viewership failure, the series has received widespread critical acclaim, securing six Primetime Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe Award. Netflix revived the series with a fourth season in 2013.
The re-edited fourth season is currently streaming on Netflix.
‘Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,’ Season 4
Like “Arrested Development,” the final season of the Netflix original “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” will also be split in half, with episodes streaming on Netflix starting May 30. The series follows 29-year-old kidnapping survivor Kimmy Schmidt, a rural country girl who moves to New York City after being rescued from an apocalyptic cult. Always optimistic in the face of misfortune, Kimmy navigates the challenges of adulthood, including working a job, going to school, paying bills and looking out for her mishmash of friends.
A Netflix favorite, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt” received rave reviews and acclaim for its first season, which premiered in 2015, and its superb performances from Ellie Kemper, Tituss Burgess and Jane Krakowski, who are all returning for the final season. The show has been nominated for 16 Primetime Emmy Awards, though the second and third seasons received more modest critical reception.
Still, “Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt,” will navigate new water this summer, tackling issues like race and privilege and workplace harassment and the #MeToo movement. Jon Hamm, Aidy Bryant, Bobby Moynihan and Amy Sedaris are all slated to guest star.
‘Casual,’ Season 4
Operating at the intersection of comedy and tragedy, “Casual” offers the quality acting, heart-tugging storylines and sophisticated writing that seems lacking in many family-centered dramas. This trifecta of television qualities will return to Hulu for the fourth and final season of “Casual” on July 31.
Zander Lehmnan’s story of a tight-knit but dysfunctional family centered on a newly divorced single mother Valerie, played by Michaela Watkins, her brother Alex, played by Tommy Dewey, and her daughter Laura, played by Tara Lynne Barr, skillfully handles issues of gender, sexuality, adolescence, adulthood, loss and self-fulfillment in a nuanced and emotionally mature tone.
“Casual” benefits from Watkins, Dewey and Barr’s perfect chemistry and accessible acting, which perfectly communicates dry wit, crass humor and condescension without sacrificing emotional growth and character development. The show won Hulu its first Golden Globe nomination in 2015 and launched the streaming service’s exploration of high quality, premium content.