As we settle into our summertime, strike-time lives, here’s a surprise:
Even now, we can find some new, scripted episodes on broadcast networks or basic cable.
Yes, those networks have started their summer slumber … which could be prolonged. The writers’ strike is expected to linger, affecting fall line-ups. We can still find plenty of new scripted shows on premium channels (HBO, Showtime, Starz) or streamers, but are there any on broadcast or basic cable?
Surprisingly, yes. Some nights — Wednesday (“Wonder Years” is shown here) and Sundays — are loaded.
Broadcast networks? ABC saved its second “Wonder Years” season for this summer … Fox has a witty cartoon … PBS will, starting June 18, stuff its Sundays with British mysteries that are smart, subtle and quite somber … And CW – in its last burst before a budget cutback — has six hours of new shows, giving us Superman, Archie Andrews, Nancy Drew and the descendants of Batman and Joker.
Basic-cable? The summer delivers zombies, vampires, teens in trouble and post-apocalyptic warriors in suburbia, plus more. Here’s a sampling, by night:
— “The Rising,” 8 p.m., CW (started May 29). Consider this a micro-trend: In the afterlife, young women try to solve their own murders. That was the plot for “School Spirits” and now for this eight-episode series. It’s British, with Solly McLeod, the “Tom Jones” start, in a supporting role.
— “Barons,” 9 p.m., CW (started May 29). Here’s another eight-parter, this one Australian and based on a true story. Surfing buddies start competing surf-supply companies.
— “Cruel Summer,” 10 p.m., Freeform (after season-opener at 9 and 10 p.m. June 5). The first season was surprisingly good and the second – new characters, new setting – matches it. Sadie Stanley is terrific as a brainy teen whose life transforms after the arrival of a worldly outsider.
— “Miracle Workers,” 10 p.m., TBS (starting July 10). Each season has had a different setting and era, but has retained Daniel Radcliffe, Geraldine Viswanathan and sharp, offbeat humor. Now they’re post-apocalyptic warriors, settling in suburbia, with an iffy mentor (Steve Buscemi),
— “Superman & Lois,” 8 p.m., CW (through June 27, with a rerun June 13). Clark and Lois moved to Smallville, for the sake of their teen sons. One son soon found he has superpowers; also, his mom found big scoops for the Smallville Gazette.
— “Gotham Knights,” 9 p.m., CW (through June 27, with a rerun June 13). Framed for murder, Batman’s son has linked with the Joker’s daughter and two rogue siblings. The result is slickly crafted.
— “Justified: City Primeval,” 10 p.m., FX (starting July 18). The star of one Elmore Leonard series has been transplanted to another Leonard novel. Raylan Givens (played by Timothy Olyphant) finds himself in Detroit with his teen daughter (played by Olyphant’s real-life daughter Vivian). Neither is happy to be there and the opener has a brilliant mix of humor and drama.
— “Nancy Drew,” 8 p.m., CW (through Aug. 30). The young sleuth has just started her final season, filling her days with work (as a waitress), two potential boyfriends, and ominous, supernatural rumors.
— “Riverdale,” 9 p.m.,, CW (through Aug. 30). For six seasons, the sunny, comic-book characters were mired in the modern world. At times, Jughead was a gang leader and Archie was a prison boxing champ. For this final season, however, they were transported back to the 1950s. Oddly, it sort of works.
— “The Wonder Years,” 9 p.m., ABC (starting June 14). The second season starts with two episodes and two key guest shots. In the first, Dean and his dad are in New York, where Travis Burgess plays a surprising neighbor. In both, Phoebe Robinson – the “Everything’s Trash” and “2 Dope Queens” plays Dean’s fun (and wild) aunt. Both are pleasant-enough comedy-dramas.
— “Grown-ish,” 10 p.m., Freeform (starting June 28). This “Black-ish” spin-off starts its season with a visit from the dad (Anthony Anderson) and with the kids catching a music festival. As usual, the comedy/drama mix is so-so, but it’s a great-looking show with likable characters.
— “Mayans M.C.,” 10 p.m., FX. “The club’s in a bad way,” EZ tells his lover. “I’m doing everything I can to hold it together.” His motorcycle club is at war with others, while ducking police and trying to get a new drug pipeline. “Mayans” remains brutal, profane and, often, powerfully well-crafted.
— “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia,” 10 p.m., FXX (starting June 7). This is the 16th season, putting “Sunny” two years past “Ozzie & Harriet” as the longest-running non-cartoon situation comedy in TV history. It’s lost none of its wit or perversity; the season’s first two episodes (10 and 10:30) bring strange schemes, weird dialog and, mostly, large laughs.
— “Archer,” 10 p.m., FXX (starting Aug. 30). It’s the 14th and final season for this action-adventure comedy cartoon for grown-ups.
— “The Blacklist” 8 p.m., NBC. This smart series still has six episodes left in its 10th and final season. It will be pre-empted by golf on June 15, but then continues weekly, leading to a two-hour finale July 13.
— “What We Do in the Shadows,” 10 p.m., FX (startiing July 13). One of TV’s strangest – and funniest – shows is back, with clueless vampires living in Long Island obscurity. This already has had two Emmy nominations for best comedy series.
— “Murdoch Mysteries,” 7 and 8 p.m. ET,. Ovation. This low-key show has a quiet Canadian cop solving crimes in the early 1900s, sometimes using his own makeshift inventions. It continues through June 17, then is followed on June 24 by “Shakespeare & Hathaway,” with British crimesolvers.
— “HouseBroken,” 9 and 9:30 p.m., Fox (but sometimes pre-empted by sports, including June 11 and 18). This is a surprising gem, centering on Honey (Lisa Kudrow), a warm and thoughtful cat, and other housepets, some of them rather thick-headed.
— “The Lazarus Project,” 9 p.m., TNT. The opener (June 4) introduced an elite team that dials back time to prevent a “mass extinction event.” Te second episode instantly leaps to even darker turf – individuals who want to dial back to prevent personal tragedies. It’s an involving (and disturbing) idea.
— “Fear the Walking Dead,” 9 p.m., AMC. Morgan (Lennie James) battles the child-stealing collective. Coming up (10 p.m. June 18) is another spin-off: The six-episode “Walking Dead: Dead City” has Negan and Maggie in New York, trying to find her son.
— “Ridley,” 8-9 p.m., PBS (starting June 18). Adrian Dunbar stars as a solemn ex-cop whose wife and daughter were killed. Now he’s helping with a case that echoes the past. The four movie-length tales are being shown as two-parters; that’s an iffy notion for the opener, which starts blandly, then has a powerhouse conclusion on June 25.
— “Endeavour,” 9-11 p.m., PBS (starting June 18). Like “Ridley,” this has movie-length mysteries … and like “Ridley,” its protagonist is in a funk. In this case, he’s back from alcoholism rehab, a lonely guy whose one romance (with his colleague’s daughter) crumbled. Unlike “Ridley,” his stories won’t be split over two weeks; the opener is a good one.
— “Grantchester,” 9 p.m., PBS (starting July 9), PBS. Not every crimesolver is morose, perhaps. Will, a vicar, has been optimistic … especially after his marriage to Bonnie. But in the final minutes of the so-so opener, there’s an event that will send him spiraling for much of the six-episode season.
— “DI Ray,” 10 p.m., PBS (starting July 9), PBS. Parminder Nagra stars as a cop, newly appointef to probe what the higher-ups consider a “culturally specific case.”