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Turn off for what? Top picks for summer TV

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In the past, summer TV meant reruns and a dumping ground where failed fall shows go to run off their last remaining episodes in obscurity. But in the new era of cable, Netflix and DVR, the landscape of summer television has changed.
“Summer has historically been a problem for TV networks because that’s when people go on vacation or even if they’re not, they have other things to do,” communications professor Kevin Bozelka said. “Now, no one can afford to throw away a season.”

The change comes from various technologies that allow viewers to watch whenever and wherever they want.
“Before, if you wanted to watch ‘All in the Family’ you had to watch it when it was on,” Bozelka said. “But now we can watch ‘True Blood’ whenever we want. Time means something different today than it did in the three network era.”
With so many more outlets, everyone is vying for viewers and the summer season is just as important as the fall. To keep track of all there is to watch this summer, here are some premieres of already established shows and some new ones to keep an eye on.

1. ‘Orange is the New Black’ | June 6 on Netflix

The comedy-drama follows Piper Chapman (Taylor Schilling), a bisexual woman who is sentenced to 15 months in a women’s federal prison. This season explores the consequences of Piper’s attack on Pennsatucky in the season one finale. The show is heart-warming, while being a politically radical and humanizing exploration of incarcerated women and the conditions that led them there. The show features a transgender woman playing a transgender role with Laverne Cox as Sophia Burset. All 13 episodes will be released at once.

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2. ‘Pretty Little Liars’ | June 10 on ABC Family

The summer season of the hit teen drama kicks off with Ali’s return to Rosewood. “Pretty Little Liars” does a good job of showing the ups and downs of female friendships; letting the girls support each other, but also argue while still remaining friends and having personalities. This season will deal with Ali’s return, which causes trouble for the romantic couples on the show. The 100th episode will air this season.

3. ‘Suits’ | June 11 on USA

The legal drama follows Harvey Specter, one of New York City’s best attorneys, and Mike Ross, who never graduated from law school and instead relies on his photographic memory and wits to win cases. This new season picks up after Mike’s decision to leave the Pearson Specter firm and how that impacts the Mike and Harvey dynamic.

4. ‘The Fosters’ | June 16 on ABC Family

The most diverse show of the group, “The Fosters” follows a blended family consisting of an interracial lesbian couple and their biological, adopted and foster children. The show follows Callie, a troubled teen sent to live with the Foster family in the first season. The various relationships within the family is at the center of the show. This season picks up where the last season left us: Callie’s adoption paper problems and Brandon’s hand getting slammed in a car door, impacting his musical aspirations.

5. ‘Defiance’ | June 19 on SyFy

Last year, we were introduced to a strange new earth in the futuristic “Defiance,” where aliens and humans try to coexist despite cultural differences and a terraformed and dangerous landscape. With interracial marriages and familial bonds, the show brought up ideas of multiculturalism and assimilation. Hopefully “Defiance” will continue to bring diversity for the 13-episode second season.

6. ‘True Blood’ | June 22 on HBO

The final season of the blood-sucking drama returns with a deadly virus spreading and the survivors fighting to save themselves and their town. This season will follow a more personal story, executive producer Brian Buckner said in an interview with TV Guide, with the show going back to its roots with the original promise of Bill and Sookie. Romance and sadness will be bountiful.

7. ‘Teen Wolf’ | June 23 on MTV

After the shocking death of a series regular at the end of season three, season four introduces a team of hunters determined to find the long presumed-dead Kate Argent. Scott and Kira’s relationship, only hinted at last season, might be pushed to center stage, along with Scott’s struggles to fill the role of alpha.

8. ‘Girl Meets World’ | June 27 on Disney

The highly-anticipated follow up to “Boy Meets World” finally premieres. The show follows Cory and Topanga’s daughter Riley and her best friend Maya as they navigate the treacherous waters of seventh grade. Verified users of Watch Disney Channel, which is available on tablets, smartphones and desktops, have had access to the episode since May 21. A free download of the pilot will be available on June 13 on iTunes. After the June 27 premiere, the show falls into its regular Friday timeslot of 8:30/7:30c on July 11.

9. ‘Under the Dome’ | June 30 on CBS

At the end of the first season, the characters living in Chester’s Mill, Maine, a town encased under a mysterious dome, learn the true origins of their captivity: aliens, who are trying to protect the citizens of the town. No characters are safe in the second season premiere, written by Stephen King, author of the novel which the show is based on.

10. ‘The Strain’ | July 13 on FX

From the mind of Guillermo del Toro comes FX’s venture into genre TV with a take on the apocalypse, this time brought on by vampires. The story kicks off after a plane lands at JFK airport without power and all the passengers dead, signaling the ancient evil called the Master. The vampires you’ll see in this show aren’t like the ones on “True Blood.” With bald heads, shockingly white skin and talons, “The Strain” is sure to make you squirm in your seat for its 13 episode run.

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Turn off for what? Top picks for summer TV