LOS ANGELES (thefutoncritic.com) -- With nearly 70 new series launching this summer (and another 40 or so returning), the months of June, July and August are no longer the programming wastelands they used to be. What follows then is a complete breakdown of what to expect in the coming months, with separate sections for comedy series, drama series, reality competition series, unscripted series and original movies.
(listed by premiere date)
PREMIERING IN MAY
EMPIRE FALLS (4-hour mini-series)
(premieres Saturday-Sunday, May 28-29 at 9:00/8:00c on HBO)
How HBO describes it: "Adapted by Richard Russo from his Pulitzer Prize-winning novel, EMPIRE FALLS is a two-part miniseries event that brings together some of the finest film talent ever to grace the small screen, telling the humorous and poignant story of a declining New England town. At its center is Miles Roby, who runs the Empire Grill, a restaurant that becomes the crossroads for a captivating mix of characters whose lives and pasts are inextricably intertwined. The all-star cast includes Ed Harris, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Helen Hunt, Paul Newman, Robin Wright Penn, Aidan Quinn and Joanne Woodward."
FREDERICK FORSYTH'S ICON (4-hour mini-series)
(premieres Monday, May 30 at 7:00/6:00c on Hallmark)
How Hallmark describes it: "The manifesto of a new Russian presidential candidate has been found�a disturbing blueprint for returning his country to a military dictatorship. Only one ex-CIA operative is qualified to stop him and a life and death fight to save the future of Russia and its people has begun. Hallmark Entertainment brings New York Times bestselling author Frederick Forsyth, the fiercely original master of intrigue and international suspense, to television in a dramatic, action-packed four hour miniseries. Stars: Patrick Swayze, Annika Peterson, and Michael York"
FAITH OF MY FATHERS
(premieres Monday, May 30 at 8:00/7:00c on A&E)
How A&E describes it: ""Faith of My Fathers" is the true story of one man�s honor in the face of adversity. From his rookie years at the Naval Academy in Annapolis, we watch John McCain's journey from brash Pensacola pilot to courageous Vietnam POW. There, caught in a political power play, the young McCain is forced to choose between the country he loves and his own survival. Through gripping flashbacks, we see how each experience and the enduring strength of his family legacy shapes the man--and the public servant--he would become."
ROMY & MICHELE: IN THE BEGINNING
(premieres Monday, May 30 at 8:00/7:00c on ABC Family)
How ABC Family describes it: "The story begins in 1987, when new high school graduates Romy and Michele are desperate to get away from their hometown of Tucson, Arizona. The goal of this lovable and lucky duo is to leave their square town behind and be among the beautiful, hip people in Hollywood, California, where they can realize their dream of socializing with the rich and famous. "Romy and Michele: In the Beginning" stars Katherine Heigl ("Roswell") as Romy, Alex Breckinridge as Michele, Paula Abdul as herself, Nat Faxon as Chad, Scott Vickaryous as Taylor, Kelly Brook as Linda Facciabella, Dania as Elena, Alexandra Billings as Donna, Rhea Seehorn as Ashley Schwartz, DJ Johnson as Rafael and William Ragsdale as Kevin."
(premieres Monday, May 30 at 9:00/8:00c on Lifetime)
How Lifetime describes it: "Ed Asner receives information about a downed jet fighter that may have belonged to his son, who has been missing since the Vietnam War. He travels to Vietnam to search for his son's remains, accompanied by his two other sons (Robin Thomas and Richard Cox) and grandson (Adam Brody)."
SECONDS TO DIE
(premieres Tuesday, May 31 at 9:00/8:00c on Lifetime)
How Lifetime describes it: "Erika Eleniak portrays a woman who thought that if she was wealthy, she would be happy. After marrying for money, however, she realizes that she is still unhappy and plots against her husband (John Wesley Shipp)."
PREMIERING IN JUNE
(premieres Wednesday, June 1 at 9:00/8:00c on Lifetime)
How Lifetime describes it: "Mia Sampson (Sarah Lind) naively agrees to have her pictures displayed on a members-only 'modeling' website, but soon learns her photos are being exploited by the owner. Her mother (Mimi Rogers) fights to get the pictures off the Internet and restore her daughter's privacy."
TOUCHING WILD HORSES
(premieres Thursday, June 2 at 9:00/8:00c on Lifetime)
How Lifetime describes it: "After a tragic car accident kills his sister and father while leaving his mother in a coma, 12-year-old Mark (Mark Rendall) is sent to live with his Aunt Fiona (Jane Seymour), where they befriend an abandoned wild horse; the relationship helps Mark heal emotionally."
STEVE & CLAIRE & ERIC & AMI
(premieres Friday, June 3 at 9:00/8:00c on Lifetime)
How Lifetime describes it: "Two couples, Steve and Claire (John Stamos & Tara Westwood) and Eric and Ami (Daniel London & Meredith Salenger) swap partners as a joke to insert some excitement into their lives. The joke turns serious and the couples examine the potential ramifications. "
(premieres Saturday, June 4 at 9:00/8:00c on Sci Fi)
How Sci Fi describes it: "With Earth's energy reserves rapidly dwindling, a manned mission is sent to Mars in hopes of unlocking a recently detected energy source. But the astronauts crash-land after plunging into the crossfire of a previously unknown Martian civilization's brutal civil war. Tony Amendola (Stargate SG-1) stars."
MYSTERY WOMAN: VISION OF A MURDER
(premieres Sunday, June 5 at 7:00/6:00c on Hallmark)
How Hallmark describes it: "Samantha lands a job photographing a new spa in Southern California for their brochure and brings her best friend Cassie along to enjoy some pampering. When one of the guests staying at the upscale retreat turns up dead, Samantha is once again on the trail of a murderer. As the investigation progresses, Samantha uncovers a scam that the spa doctor was testing unapproved drugs, filler and implants without the patients' informed consent."
(premieres Sunday, June 5 at 8:00/7:00c on FX)
How FX describes it: No official description has been released other than it is a fictional documentary about the ramifications of 1 million barrels of oil being destroyed.
(premieres Monday, June 6 at 9:00/8:00c on Lifetime)
How Lifetime describes it: "Golden Globe nominee Emmy Rossum, who starred in the movie adaptation of Phantom of the Opera along with featured performances in The Day After Tomorrow and Mystic River, portrays an aspiring songwriter in an enchanting Lifetime Television romantic comedy, Nola, which makes its United States television premiere Monday, June 6 at 9PM (ET/PT) as part of the network's popular "New Movie Mondays" showcase."
MCBRIDE: THE DOCTOR IS OUT, REALLY OUT
(premieres Sunday, June 12 at 7:00/6:00c on Hallmark)
How Hallmark describes it: "McBride is representing his friend Harry Evans in a custody case until Harry's therapist turns up dead and the Harry is blamed for the murder. Harry is distraught at the thought that he might be found responsible for Dr. Prescott's death, but after investigating the crime scene, McBride thinks Prescott was dead before Harry shot him. Stars John Larroquette, Marta Dubois,and Matt Lutz."
(premieres Monday, June 13 at 9:00/8:00c on Lifetime)
How Lifetime describes it: "Marcus Green is wrongfully accused of raping blind lawyer Diana Scott. While locked up behind bars, he hears Anthony, a fellow inmate, brag about being the one who actually committed the assault. Marcus also overhears Anthony vowing to get out and kill his victim. Marcus must now find a way to warn Diana before her real attacker strikes again. Will he save her in time? You'll be biting your nails during each suspenseful moment! Stars: Jamie Luner, Josie Davis, James Thomas, Thomas Mitchell, Theresa Russell and Todd Sandomirsky"
(premieres Saturday, June 18 at 9:00/8:00c on Hallmark)
How Hallmark describes it: "Career-obsessed advertising executive Phillip Fielder is quite accustomed to his busy life alone. But the death of his sister leaves him with a new responsibility: becoming surrogate parent to his eight-year-old nephew. Now Phillip is faced with a choice that will change the lives of all those he loves. Stars Chad Lowe, Marin Hinkle, and George Segal."
HAMMERHEAD: SHARK FRENZY
(premieres Saturday, June 18 at 9:00/8:00c on Sci Fi)
How Sci Fi describes it: "An alienated scientist lures his ex-colleagues to a remote island � and turns them into the prey for his bloodthirsty, mutant hammerhead-shark creature. William Forsythe (SCI FI Pictures' Larva) and Jeffrey Combs (SCI FI Pictures' Beyond Re-Animator) star in this tale of science run amok."
JANE DOE: THE WRONG FACE
(premieres Sunday, June 19 at 7:00/6:00c on Hallmark)
How Hallmark describes it: "With the CSA on the verge of cracking a long-term investigation, Cathy is brought in to find the U.S. Attorney's missing Wife and to ensure the case does not fall apart at a crucial point."
CYBER SEDUCTION: HIS SECRET LIFE
(premieres Monday, June 20 at 9:00/8:00c on Lifetime)
How Lifetime describes it: "Kelly Lynch ("Homeless to Harvard: The Liz Murray Story," "The Jacket "), Jeremy Sumpter ("Peter Pan," "Clubhouse") and Lyndsy Fonseca ("I Do, They Don't," "The Young and the Restless") star in "cyber seduction: His Secret Life," the story of a popular suburban high school sophomore whose addiction to Internet pornography wreaks havoc on his life and begins to tear his family apart."
THE GIRL IN THE CAFE
(premieres Saturday, June 25 at 8:00/7:00c on HBO)
How HBO describes it: "A tenderly funny and poignant love story by award-winning screenwriter Richard Curtis ("Love Actually") Directed by David Yates, the film stars Bill Nighy ("Love Actually") and Kelly Macdonald ("Finding Neverland," "Gosford Park"). THE GIRL IN THE CAF� faces perhaps the most important issue of 2005: Will this be the year when world powers seriously address the issue of world poverty once and for all? The film is a passionate plea to everyman - wrapped in a love story, a comedy and a unique drama."
NADINE IN DATE LAND
(premieres Saturday, June 25 at 8:00/7:00c on Oxygen)
How Oxygen describes it: "Nadine in Date Land - a romantic comedy starring Janeane Garafolo, Swoozie Kurtz, Brad Rowe, and Tamala Jones, about an unlucky in love woman who just happens to run a dating service and needs to land her dream man in order to save her business."
(premieres Monday, June 27 at 9:00/8:00c on Lifetime)
How Lifetime describes it: "Jennifer Beals, whose series The L Word recently completed its second season -- and who's expecting her first child -- stars as a woman shattered by a dark secret in Desolation Sound, which makes its United States television premiere on Lifetime Television Monday, June 27 at 9PM (ET/PT) as part of the network's New Movie Mondays showcase."
PREMIERING IN JULY
A FRIEND OF THE FAMILY
(premieres Monday, July 4 at 9:00/8:00c on Lifetime)
How Lifetime describes it: "After moving into a seemingly ideal town, Alison learns that a dangerous serial killer is on the loose. She suspects her neighbor David, but when she shares her theory, Alison loses support from those closest to her � including her husband. As she becomes more isolated, Alison is convinced that she's next on David's list! Don't miss this edge-of-your-seat thriller that's based on the true story and book by Alison Shaw."
ATTACK OF THE SABRETOOTH
(premieres Saturday, July 9 at 9:00/8:00c on Sci Fi)
How Sci Fi describes it: "A resort owner in Fiji expects to get rich running a wildlife preserve stocked with previously extinct animals. Then a smilodon fatalis � a vicious, gigantic sabretooth tiger � gets loose and turns the theme park into a killing field."
(premieres Saturday, July 9 at 9:00/8:00c on Hallmark)
How Hallmark describes it: "In 1864, during one of the bloodiest pitched battles of the Civil War, the men of the First Michigan Cavalry are trapped, injured and outnumbered in a Virginia forest when one of the soldier�s mares unexpectedly gives birth to a beautiful, chestnut colt. Defying a directive from his commander to destroy the colt at once before it endangers their survival, the trooper is suddenly separated from his unit by a freak, but violent, rear ambush. Now the young trooper is at the heart of two battles � keeping himself, his mare and her majestic foal alive in �The Colt,� a Hallmark Channel Original movie premiering Saturday, July 9 (9/8 c)."
MURDER IN THE HAMPTONS
(premieres Monday, July 11 at 9:00/8:00c on Lifetime)
How Lifetime describes it: "Poppy Montgomery ("Without a Trace," "Blonde"), David Sutcliffe ("Happy Endings," "I'm with Her") and Shawn Christian ("Summerland," "Shopgirl") stars in the Lifetime Original Movie, "Murder in the Hamptons," a provocative drama based on a true story of the high profile murder of powerful multi-millionaire Ted Ammon. The movie unfolds around his relationship with his volatile, estranged wife, her lover with a dubious past, and Ammon's shocking murder that created scandalous headlines."
(premieres Monday, July 18 at 9:00/8:00c on Lifetime)
How Lifetime describes it: "When art professor Jill Thompson receives news that her hubby has just been killed, she is stunned � she thought he had died more than 10 years ago! Now she goes digging into her spouse's secret past and discovers infidelity, embezzlement and other horrors. You'll never guess how this thriller turns out...watch and see!"
BACK TO YOU AND ME
(premieres Saturday, July 23 at 9:00/8:00c on Hallmark)
How Hallmark describes it: "�Back to You And Me� stars Grammy� Award winner Lisa Hartman Black (duet with Clint Black, �When I Said I Do,� also Soap Opera Digest winner for �Knot�s Landing�) as Dr. Sydney Ludwick, a beautiful physician who is grieving the loss of a beloved patient to cancer -- and the emptiness of a relationship of convenience with another staff doctor -- when she reluctantly decides to return to her small hometown long enough to attend her high school reunion. Rue McClanahan (Emmy� Award-winner and three-time Emmy� Award-nominee, �The Golden Girls�) stars as the mother whose misunderstood acceptance of Sydney�s father�s suicide leads to deep resentment between the two women. Sydney rashly decides to go back to the city, but a chance meeting with an ex-boyfriend (Dale Midkiff, �Love Comes Softly�) rekindles romance and a chance for happiness where she could not find it before � at home. �Back to You & Me� also stars Larry Manetti (�Magnum, P.I.�) and Barbara Niven (�One Life to Live�). Hartman Black is married to country superstar, Clint Black, who provides the music for �Back to You & Me.�"
PIZZA MY HEART
(premieres Saturday, July 24 at 7:00/6:00c on ABC Family)
How ABC Family describes it: "A modern day Romeo and Juliet set in the town of Verona, New Jersey. Because of a family feud dating back to the old country, the Prestolanis and the Montebellos have taken to extremes their fight over who truly has the best pizza. The situation is about to come to a head when Joe Prestolani meets Gina Montebello and they begin a secret romance. Will the families be able to survive this union or will their pizza empires flop? Starring Michael Badalucco and Shiri Appleby, directed by Andy Wolk and executive produced by Jane Goldenring."
THE DIVE FROM CLAUSEN'S PIER
(premieres Monday, July 25 at 9:00/8:00c on Lifetime)
How Lifetime describes it: "Michelle Trachtenberg ("Ice Princess," "Buffy the Vampire Slayer"), Sean Maher ("Brian's Song," "Party of Five") and Will Estes ("U-571," "American Dreams") star in the Lifetime Original Movie, "The Dive From Clausen's Pier." Ann Packer's spellbinding novel about a young woman's quest to find herself after her fiance is paralyzed in a diving accident."
(premieres Saturday, July 30 at 9:00/8:00c on Sci Fi)
How Sci Fi describes it: "Joe Lando (Alien Nation: The Enemy Within and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home) and Michael Ironside (Starship Troopers, TV's SeaQuest DSV) star in this high-tech adventure about intergalactic vampire-hunters."
MYSTERY WOMAN: GAME TIME
(premieres Sunday, July 31 at 7:00/6:00c on Hallmark)
How Hallmark describes it: "Samantha is thrilled when she finally gets the reclusive mystery writer Donald Fiske to agree to a book signing in her store. But when Mr. Fiske is found dead, Samantha and the team must solve his lastest mystery, his own murder. Stars Kellie Martin, Clarence Williams III, and Nina Siemaszko."
PREMIERING IN AUGUST
(premieres Saturday, August 13 at 9:00/8:00c on Sci Fi)
How Sci Fi describes it: "Detective Vic Holden (Lou Diamond Phillips, Route 666, Supernova, Young Guns), on board a bullet train making its inaugural run to Las Vegas, must overcome his haunted past to save the train's passengers � including his estranged but still beloved wife � from a hostile alien threat that has begun a rampage in the locked, high-speed locomotive."
MCBRIDE: TUNE IN FOR MURDER
(premieres Sunday, August 14 at 7:00/6:00c on Hallmark)
How Hallmark describes it: "McBride's next case involves two larger than life radio stars, they host the highly successful morning show "Ron and Bob", but when Ron is murdered and all the evidence points to Bob, McBride and Phil begin investigating and what they turn up are a lot of unanswered questions. Stars John Larroquette, Marta Dubois, and Matt Lutz."
(premieres Sunday, August 21 at 7:00/6:00c on ABC Family)
How ABC Family describes it: "Violet is in for the shock of her life when she goes from urban to suburban and finds a drastic difference between schools. Not only is there a popular crowd, but even the teachers' show blatant favoritism. With her acerbic wit and acute sense of social justice, Violet decides to take matters into her own hands and use her first amendment right to start a school tabloid that exposes the embarrassing secrets of the popular kids that rule the school. She soon finds out that the pen is mightier than the sword and must now try to heal the deep wounds she has cast. Produced by Julie Yorn, Marc Gordon and Paul Frank. Teleplay by David Kukoff and Matt Roshkow. Director Melanie Mayron ("thirtysomething")."
FIGHTING THE ODDS: THE MARILYN GAMBRELL STORY
(premieres Monday, August 22 at 9:00/8:00c on Lifetime)
How Lifetime describes it: "Emmy(R) Award nominee Jami Gertz ("Still Standing," "Gilda Radner: It's Always Something") stars in "Fighting the Odds: The Marilyn Gambrell Story," (wt) a gritty drama based on a true story about a former parole officer who, despite nearly insurmountable odds, sets up a pioneer program in one of America's toughest high schools to help the children of incarcerated parents regain control of their own lives."
(premieres Saturday, August 27 at 9:00/8:00c on Sci Fi)
How Sci Fi describes it: "Inside a long-dormant volcano, a clutch of dinosaur eggs has weathered the eons. Now it has hatched, and a special ops combat unit on maneuvers in a South American jungle is about to face a foe unlike any they've ever seen before � one that will teach them a new meaning of the phrase "death from above". Cameron Daddo and Amy Sloan star."
MCBRIDE: ANYBODY HERE MURDER MARTY?
(premieres Sunday, August 28 at 7:00/6:00c on Hallmark)
How Hallmark describes it: "When Tracy, an aspiring singer breaks up with her longtime boyfriend Joe on the set of a popular talk show, everyone assumes it's nothing more than tv tabloid hijinks. But when the talk show host turns up dead, all evidence points to Joe. McBride must take center stage and clear his client of murder. John Larroquette, Marta Dubois, and Matt Lutz."
Additional premieres may be announced at a later date. And let us know if we forgot anything!
Revision History: (May 31) Lifetime sets "Nola's" premiere as June 6. (June 2) Lifetime sets "Blind Injustice's" premiere as June 13. (June 3) ABC Family sets "Campus Confidential's" premiere as August 21. (June 13) Lifetime sets "Desolation Sound's" premiere as June 27. (June 20) Lifetime sets "A Friend of the Family's" premiere as July 4. (June 30) Hallmark sets "The Colt's" premiere as July 9. (July 1) Hallmark sets its remaining "Hallmark Channel Mystery Movies" premiere dates. (July 4) Lifetime sets "Secret Lives's" premiere as July 18. (July 12) Sci Fi sets "Alien Express's" premiere as August 13 and "Pterodactyl's" premiere as August 27.