Here’s your guide to all the best TV shows of the summer

Get ready for all the TV hits this summer

Now that we’ve got a great big, Game of Thrones-shaped hole in our lives, it’s time we had some new and exciting TV to fill it with. Happily, there are plenty of options this summer with the return of some old favourites and some intriguing debut seasons. Here’s our pick of the best.

‘Big Little Lies’ Season 2

The residents of Monterey are back after a dramatic conclusion to season 1. Just as they think things are getting back to normal, Mary Louise Wright (Meryl Streep) arrives and starts to question everyone about the dubious circumstances surrounding her son’s death. Cue massive tension from the get-go.

The success of season 1 ensured that a second season was commissioned by HBO despite the fact the narrative felt, well, essentially done. The danger facing the new season could be its pace: can an entire season survive around the fallout from season 1, or will the show take us in another unexpected direction? Early signs suggest the show runners are going with the latter in a season that has so far impressed.

Where can I watch? Sky Atlantic
When? Now

‘The Boys’

This new Dan Trachtenberg-directed drama is already making waves thanks to the way it turns the traditional superhero genre on its head. Based on the ultra-violent comic books of Garth Ennis, The Boys is the story of a secret group of superheroes employed by the CIA to bring rogue colleagues to justice.

Working on the premise that superheroes have plenty of flaws like their human counterparts, the characters are supposed to be relatable and their storylines are based in the here and now, with a timely #MeToo storyline. The superhero characters are all satirical takes on DC and Marvel faves, with nods to The Flash, Aquaman and Supergirl. Expect graphic violence, sex and lots of swearing.

Where can I watch? Amazon Prime
When? July 26

‘The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance’

Fans of legendary Muppets creator Jim Henson will love this prequel to The Dark Crystal. Released in 1982, Henson’s movie told the story of Thra, a land controlled by evil creatures known as Skeksis who are steadily doing their best to eradicate the peaceful, elf-like Gelflings.

The new show will take place a thousand years before the film and show the origins of Henson’s universe. With many novels and comic books in the series yet to be adapted, it feels as though Henderson’s fantastical treasure trove is finally getting the screen treatment it deserves.

Where can I watch? Netflix
When: August 30

‘The Handmaid’s Tale’ Season 3

After two brutal seasons of The Handmaid’s Tale, viewers were left emotionally drained by the never-ending will-she-won’t-she escape storyline. Add to that graphic torture scenes so violent it led to a debate about TV ethics, and many viewers turned off.

It’s looking like a long-overdue resolution is finally on the way, though, giving viewers the catharsis they’re craving. Everyone just wants to see the evil oppressors get their arses well and truly kicked, sot let’s hope we get this and the female uprising soon.

Where can I watch? Channel 4
When? Now

‘Killing Eve’ Season 2

The new season of Killing Eve has lost none of its style with more smart writing and twisted storytelling from the offset. Show runners explore the vulnerability of Villanelle (Jodie Comer) and Eve (Sandra Oh) more explicitly than in season 1, which leads to some disturbing revelations. You’ll find yourself feeling sorry for people you probably shouldn’t, until something shocking jolts you back to reality. It’s just as good as season 1.

Where? BBC iPlayer
When? Now

‘Orange Is The New Black’ Season 7

When the first season aired in 2013, Orange Is The New Black was celebrated for the way it depicted America’s prison system and gave a voice to the marginalised. Season 7 promises to offer more of what made the show great from the start: powerful social commentary.

After Piper’s release from prison, season 7 will focus on how she copes away from jail. The overpowering feeling from long-term fans is that we’re probably not going to get a happy ending: too often in the past, hopeful endings for OITNB characters have been crushed. Will the end of the season leave the characters with a couple of small positives? Don’t bet on it.

Where can I watch? Netflix
When? July 26

‘Peaky Blinders’ Season 5

The introduction of an infamous rival gang from Glasgow – The Billy Boys – is sure to set sparks flying for The Shelbys in season 5. A BBC teaser clip shows Tommy Shelby looking aghast after a huge car explosion leaves someone close to him injured. Cradling the victim (whose identity remains a closely guarded secret), it’s the first of many violent images the show’s creators have teased.

There’s more politics, too, as Tommy takes up his role in parliament – and it’s likely to prove controversial. With Sam Clafin playing fascist leader Oswald Mosley, there may be as many harrowing political moments in this season as there are gang-related ones.

Where can I watch? BBC 1
When? August/September – date TBC

‘Stranger Things’ Season 3

Now, this is a prime candidate for show of the summer. We know we’ll see some new monstrous creatures, and cast members have teased that this season is “the most gory yet”.

Meanwhile, creators the Duffer brothers have revealed that season 3 will explore the idea of change as the kids start to grow up and ultimately apart. Billy Hargrove (Dacre Montgomery) is expected to feature more prominently, and David Harbour (Chief Hopper) has said the final episode will take things to a new emotional level: “I think episode eight is the most moving thing we’ve ever shot.” We can’t wait.

Where can I watch? Netflix
When: July 4

‘This Way Up’ 

The highlight of Channel 4’s summer schedule, This Way Up is a new black-comedy written by and starring comedian Aisling Bea. She plays Aine, a character who’s had a nervous breakdown. The show follows Aine and her fellow mental health patients as they strive for recovery in a world which too often dictates what happiness should look like. It promises to be a smart, funny and insightful exploration of a very complicated issue.

Where can I watch? Channel 4
When? July 4