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Best TV shows for summer 2015: Top new and returning picks

Click here to see the best summer 2016 TV shows.

What do you need to see this summer? What don't you need to see this summer? Our top picks below could easily have topped 100.

Among scripted series alone, summer TV delivers nearly 40 new dramas/comedies, not to mention another 50-plus returning shows. If we added unscripted entries (both fresh and familiar), our hot-weather tube tally would edge toward 200.

Our advice? Stay tuned to Newsday's TV coverage. We're your guide to the goodies all summer long.

Halt and Catch Fire

Halt and Catch Fire (May 31 at 10,
Photo Credit: AMC / Tina Rowden

Halt and Catch Fire (May 31 at 10, AMC) Lee Pace and Scoot McNairy return in the '80s "silicon prairie" tale of Texas techheads pushing PC innovation.

unREAL

unREAL (June 1 at 10, Lifetime)
Photo Credit: Lifetime / James Dittiger

unREAL (June 1 at 10, Lifetime) "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" insider Marti Noxon delivers this scripted peek backstage at a TV dating show. With Shiri Appleby, Constance Zimmer.

Stitchers

Stitchers (June 2 at 9, ABC Family) Procedural
Photo Credit: ABC Family / Adam Taylor

Stitchers (June 2 at 9, ABC Family) Procedural drama on the youth-aimed cabler has Emma Ishta's secret agent "stitched" into deceased minds to decipher death mysteries.

Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp

Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp
Photo Credit: TNS / Saeed Adyani

Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp (Netflix, July 30): A prequel to the cult film with a ridiculous amount of stars -- Amy Poehler and Bradley Cooper, pictured, plus David Hyde Pierce, Elizabeth Banks, Janeane Garofalo and many more -- the series actually improves on the movie. It's funnier, crazier and has a slightly broader appeal.

Royal Pains

Royal Pains (June 2 at 10, USA) Back
Photo Credit: USA Network / Tim Whitby

Royal Pains (June 2 at 10, USA) Back in the Hamptons for Season 7 with Mark Feuerstein, Paulo Costanzo, Reshma Shetty.

Sense8

Photo Credit: Netflix / Murray Close

"Sense8," on Netflix June 5, is the first TV series from the Wachowskis.

Life Story

(June 6 at 9, Discovery) Because there's never
Photo Credit: Discovery International Networks / Sophie Lanfear

(June 6 at 9, Discovery) Because there's never enough David Attenborough, the eminent naturalist narrates the BBC's latest epic, tracing the survival treks of diverse creatures. Shot (but not broadcast) in 4K.

Power

Power (June 6 at 9, Starz) In Season
Photo Credit: Starz Entertainment / Myles Aronowitz

Power (June 6 at 9, Starz) In Season 2, this strong drama of NYC underworld ambition boosts the role of producer Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, as his character departs prison to confront Omari Hardwick's going-straight nightclub entrepreneur.

Becoming Us

Becoming Us (June 8 at 9, ABC Family)
Photo Credit: ABC Family / Jean Whiteside

Becoming Us (June 8 at 9, ABC Family) Beating Bruce Jenner's July series to air is this unscripted study of a dad who's becoming a woman, as seen by his teen son. It's the first of ABC Family's five summer reality shows.

Odd Mom Out

Odd Mom Out (June 8 at 10, Bravo)
Photo Credit: Bravo / Barbara Nitke

Odd Mom Out (June 8 at 10, Bravo) After scoring with its scripted hour "Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce," the reality-reliant cabler tries comedy: Author Jill Kargman navigates the uppity Upper East Side. With Andy Buckley, Joanna Cassidy.

The Seventies

(June 11 at 9, CNN) First of eight
Photo Credit: AP / Bob Daugherty

(June 11 at 9, CNN) First of eight docuseries films: "Television Gets Real," with "All in the Family," "Saturday Night Live," "Roots." ("The Sixties" encores May 31 starting at 8. "The Eighties" has been ordered.)

Orange Is the New Black

Orange Is the New Black (streaming June 12
Photo Credit: Netflix / JoJo Whilden

Orange Is the New Black (streaming June 12 from Netflix) Back in fashion comes a third season of 14 episodes powered by a women's prison. (Season 4 has already been ordered.)

Tyrant

Tyrant (June 16 at 10, FX) Considering current
Photo Credit: FX / Vered Adir

Tyrant (June 16 at 10, FX) Considering current crises in the Middle East, this drama's Season 2 steps into a minefield: Adam Rayner's long-Americanized member of a ruling family finds himself dragged deeper into moral and political crosscurrents.

Proof

Proof (June 16 at 10, TNT) Jennifer Beals'
Photo Credit: TNT / James Dittiger

Proof (June 16 at 10, TNT) Jennifer Beals' medical eminence investigates the afterlife for Matthew Modine's terminally ill billionaire.

Clipped

Clipped (June 16 at 10, TBS) Barbershop humor
Photo Credit: TBS / Danny Feld

Clipped (June 16 at 10, TBS) Barbershop humor from the "Will & Grace" team, with Ashley Tisdale, Mike Castle, Matt Cook.

The Astronaut Wives Club

The Astronaut Wives Club (June 18 at 8,
Photo Credit: ABC / Bob D'Amico

The Astronaut Wives Club (June 18 at 8, ABC/7) The distaff side of "The Right Stuff" tracks NASA's 1960s women-who-wait. With JoAnna Garcia Swisher, Yvonne Strahovski, Odette Annable, Azure Parsons.

Complications

Complications (June 18 at 9, USA) In Jason
Photo Credit: USA Network / Daniel McFadden

Complications (June 18 at 9, USA) In Jason O'Mara's latest go, he's a suburban doctor whose life turns upside down when he intervenes in a drive-by shooting.

The Last Ship

The Last Ship (June 21 at 9, TNT)
Photo Credit: TNT / Doug Hyun

The Last Ship (June 21 at 9, TNT) Still on the seas post-pandemic: Eric Dane, Rhona Mitra, Adam Baldwin, now trying to circulate the cure. Alfre Woodard will hop aboard.

True Detective

True Detective (June 21 at 9, HBO) Last
Photo Credit: HBO / Lacey Terrell

True Detective (June 21 at 9, HBO) Last year's closed-end spellbinder starts over with new stars -- Colin Farrell, Vince Vaughn, Rachel McAdams, Taylor Kitsch -- now sleuthing on "the scorched landscapes of California."

Ballers

Ballers (June 21 at 10, HBO) Could this
Photo Credit: HBO / Jeff Daly

Ballers (June 21 at 10, HBO) Could this be that long-sought great take on the great American sport of pro football? Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson's retired superstar mentors the current crowd in this fresh half-hour.

The Brink

(June 21 at 10:30, HBO) The premium cabler
Photo Credit: HBO

(June 21 at 10:30, HBO) The premium cabler rounds out its powerhouse summer Sunday lineup with a geopolitical crisis. Together in this dark comedy: Jack Black, Tim Robbins, Pablo Schreiber, Aasif Mandvi.

Under the Dome

Under the Dome (June 25 at 9, CBS/2)
Photo Credit: CBS / Brownie Harris

Under the Dome (June 25 at 9, CBS/2) Marg Helgenberger joins the cast for Season 3.

Humans

Humans (June 28 at 9, AMC) This
Photo Credit: Kudos, AMC, C4 / Colin Hutton

Humans (June 28 at 9, AMC) This "parallel-present" drama gives William Hurt more than he expected from a robotic family servant.

Zoo

Zoo (June 30 at 9, CBS/2) The star
Photo Credit: CBS / Hilary Bronwyn Gayle

Zoo (June 30 at 9, CBS/2) The star name here is source novelist James Patterson. Merely enacting Patterson's bestselling yarn: James Wolk, Kristen Connolly, Billy Burke.

Scream

(June 30 at 10, MTV) Seen the movies?
Photo Credit: MTV

(June 30 at 10, MTV) Seen the movies? Here's the show. In this particular past-fueled killing spree: Willa Fitzgerald, Bex Taylor-Klaus, Jason Wiles.

Why? With Hannibal Buress

(July 8, Comedy Central) Getting his own show
Photo Credit: Comedy Central

(July 8, Comedy Central) Getting his own show is the comic who called out Bill Cosby. (And is also part of "Broad City" and "The Eric Andre Show.")

The Spoils Before Dying

Photo Credit: IFC / Katrina Marcinowski

"The Spoils Before Dying" (July 8-10, IFC): The three-part spoof from the ?Funny or Die? folks finds bloviating filmmaker Eric Jonrosh (Will Ferrell) putting out the film of the title, a genre mashup of 1950s cinema including French New Wave. With Kate McKinnon and Michael Kenneth Williams (pictured), plus Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph and Lou Gossett Jr.

Masters of Sex

Masters of Sex (July 12, Showtime). The big
Photo Credit: Showtime / Michael Desmond

Masters of Sex (July 12, Showtime). The big '60s sex study is unveiled in Season 3, as Josh Charles joins stars Lizzy Caplan and Michael Sheen.

The Jim Gaffigan Show

The Jim Gaffigan Show (July 15 at 10
Photo Credit: TV Land

The Jim Gaffigan Show (July 15 at 10 p.m., TV Land) find stand-up comic Jim Gaffigan leads his own his single-camera comedy about a dad and husband who isn't always present at home and isn't necessarily "present" when actually there.

Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll

Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll (July 16, FX) Series creator Denis Leary
Photo Credit: FX / Patrick Harbron

Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll (July 16, FX) Series creator Denis Leary is on-screen, too, as a hard-partying '90s rocker whose self-destructed group now tries to reunite. With John Corbett, Elizabeth Gillies ("Victorious").

Cedar Cove

Cedar Cove (July 18, Hallmark) Andie MacDowell's small-town
Photo Credit: Hallmark

Cedar Cove (July 18, Hallmark) Andie MacDowell's small-town saga adds Colin Ferguson for Season 3.

Tut

Tut (July 19-21, Spike) Historic miniseries: Ben Kingsley's
Photo Credit: Spike / Jan Thijs

Tut (July 19-21, Spike) Historic miniseries: Ben Kingsley's military mind exploits young ruler Tutankhamun (Avan Jogia).

The Carbonaro Effect

The Carbonaro Effect (July 19 at 10, truTV)
Photo Credit: TruTV

The Carbonaro Effect (July 19 at 10, truTV) Second season for Oakdale-raised "Magic Clerk" trickster Michael Carbonaro.

Knock Knock Live

Photo Credit: FOX

"Knock Knock Live" (July 21 at 9 p.m. on Fox): Ryan Seacrest hosts a live show from the creator of "American Idol" that sees hosts show up unannounced at the homes of unsuspecting Americans to grant their wishes (think paid-off mortgage or marriage proposal).

Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!

Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! (July 22, Syfy)
Photo Credit: Syfy

Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No! (July 22, Syfy) It isn't just a sequel (of a sequel). It's now a whole week, July 18-25, flooded with more cheese flicks and other thrills. Among the participants: David Hasselhoff, Michelle Bachmann, L.I.'s Chris Jericho and, playing the POTUS, Mark Cuban.

(July 26, E!)
Photo Credit: E!

(July 26, E!) "I am Cait" chronicles the former male Olympic decathlete's recently announced journey toward long-wished womanhood.

The Daily Show

(Aug. 6, Comedy Central) We suspect the departing
Photo Credit: Comedy Central

(Aug. 6, Comedy Central) We suspect the departing host's true moment of Zen comes after this final-night broadcast.

Blunt Talk

(Aug. 22, Starz) Patrick Stewart's British cable newshound
Photo Credit: Starz

(Aug. 22, Starz) Patrick Stewart's British cable newshound takes on American TV, aided by his alcoholic manservant and Richard Lewis' mandated therapist. From Seth MacFarlane.

"Public Morals"

Photo Credit: JOJO WHILDEN

"Public Morals" (Aug. 25 at 10 p.m., TNT): Terry Muldoon (Edward Burns) and his partner, Charlie Bullman (Michael Rapaport), are vice squad cops on Manhattan's West Side during the 1960s. This story of the Irishry of Hell's Kitchen can be dark and grimy, with dialogue that often engages the ear, and sometimes the brain.

"The Carmichael Show"

Photo Credit: NBC / Chris Haston

"The Carmichael Show" (9 and 9:30 p.m. Aug. 26, NBC): This is one crazy-paced show, and one smartly crafted comedy. Whether debating world affairs or family baggage, it's engagingly scrappy, plunging into conversational deep ends, with razor-sharp timing. With Jerrod Carmichael and Amber West (pictured), plus David Alan Grier and Loretta Devine.

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