Summer TV: A new 'Roots,' Cameron Crowe's 'Roadies,' and a guide to all the shows you'll want to watch this season
May 26, 2016 | 9:30 AM
Summer television season is about to kick off, and long gone are the days when that meant working through your DVR recordings or making due with reruns until your favorite shows return. Summer TV shows are as ambitious as ever, and this year's slate includes programs that mark the TV debut of award-winning filmmakers, offer us an animated reboot, revisit landmark TV history and more. And let's not forget the return of established favorites including "Casual," "Mr. Robot" and "UnREAL"
Here is a guide to all the shows you don't want to miss in summer 2016.
Why it was time to reimagine 'Roots' to speak to a new generation
Almost four decades after its premiere, "Roots" still stands as an elite landmark in TV history. The saga of author Alex Haley tracing his ancestral roots to a young African boy kidnapped and sold into slavery was a phenomenon when it first aired on ABC in 1977, gripping a nation with its brutal but ultimately triumphant tale.
The new "Roots" is a more extensive, historically accurate account of Mandinka warrior-turned-slave Kunta Kinte and the trajectory of his family's story through American history. But while the new "Roots" was created to speak to a new generation of TV viewers, the original series continues to resonate.
'Roadies' reminded Cameron Crowe about why he loves directing
Filmmaker Cameron Crowe may be best known for such beloved big-screen teenage touchstones as "Fast Times at Ridgemont High" and "Say Anything..." and hits such as "Almost Famous" and "Jerry Maguire," but beneath his celluloid exterior the former Rolling Stone writer's heart is still pure vinyl.
So much so that when discussing his upcoming Showtime series “Roadies” -- his inaugural foray into television -- Crowe can’t help but deploy musical analogies.
'Casual' Season 2 explores the difficulties of finding friendships as an adult
"Casual," which centers on bachelor Alex (Tommy Dewey) and his newly divorced sister (Michaela Watkins) and her teen daughter Laura (Tara Lynne Barr), was part of a handful of shows that kicked off Hulu's aggressive push into original programming last year.
While the debut season of "Casual" was about dating and sex and the growing pains of adjusting to a new life, this season delves into the complexities and perils of finding friends and meaningful relationships.
Steven Zaillian dives into TV with HBO's nearly abandoned 'The Night of'
Oscar-winning screenwriter and part-time director Steven Zaillian has delved into the crime world over his long Hollywood career, with screenplays for "American Gangster," "Gangs of New York" and "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo."
He embraces cops and criminals once more for "The Night of," his atmospheric drama on HBO.
Billy Ray Cyrus' 'Still the King' is 'Eastbound & Down' goes to Nashville
After spending years portraying the father of a fictional pop star (who of course became one in real life), Billy Ray Cyrus sought something different for his next TV project. Co-created by Cyrus, the comedy “Still the King” tells the story of “Burnin’ ” Vernon Brownmule, a one-hit-wonder who became the “second-best Elvis impersonator” in the business.
I always say there’s a little bit of Elvis in all of us, and sometimes we just don’t know where it is.
'Voltron' reboot aims to capture the magic of the original
Though a hit, the original lion-based "Voltron," created by Peter Keefe and John Teichmann in 1984, only ran for one year. The premise: A quintet of young pilots command five robot lions that can be combined to form Voltron — a giant, sword-wielding robot who defends the universe from the constant threat of alien invasion.
Helmed by "Legend of Korra" alums Joaquim Dos Santos and Lauren Montgomery, "Voltron: Legendary Defender" will feature stronger, inclusive storytelling and will rebuild "Voltron" from scratch.
The new must-see TV shows to check out this summer
Gone is the era where summer meant reruns on TV. Now, for the rest of your life, there will be more new series coming betwixt Memorial Day and Labor Day than you can shake a stick at, or could if you had time to find one. Not to mention a giant international sporting event and the craziest election ever squelching like the Blob through the 24-hour cable-news cycle.
Forget parting -- season finales are such sweet sorrow, especially all these months later when it's time to remember what they wrought. As summer shows make their return, let us help with the memory jogging.