’Tis the summer of Shakespeare.
The Bard will be big on TV in the coming months — showcased in not just one, but in two promising new summer series.
The first is “Still Star-Crossed,” premiering at 9 p.m. May 29 on ABC. The other is “Will,” scheduled to debut at 8 p.m. July 10 on TNT.
“Still Star-Crossed” is a “Romeo and Juliet” story with a twist: The famous unlucky-in-love duo will die tragically in the first episode, so don’t get too attached to them. The real focus is what happens to their feuding families, the Montagues and Capulets, after the lovebirds are laid to rest.
The result is a youth-skewing prime-time soap, with all the requisite fighting and kissing, spying and scheming, but it happens in Renaissance-era Italy instead of modern-day New York or L.A.
“Still Star-Crossed” counts Shonda Rhimes, of “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Scandal” fame, among the executive producers — which explains how this CW-style show wound up in the House of ABC.
As for “Will,” it will introduce viewers to an up-and-coming William Shakespeare in a rock ’n’ roll Elizabethan world. It’s a period drama that embraces incongruity, using a hard-driving modern music soundtrack to match the edgy London theater culture in which the brilliant young playwright lives.
In the title role is Laurie Davidson, an English actor who literally was still in drama school when he was cast. “Will” is going to put this guy on the map.
Ours is a short-term-memory society. What’s hot this morning is history this afternoon. So it’s remarkable how Shakespeare has endured for more than four centuries — always ready for re-invention.
Will “Still Star-Crossed” and “Will” enjoy even a fraction of that staying power? Not a chance.
But based on early samplings of both shows, they’ll be fun to watch during the here and now.
Summer TV channel hopping
Let’s take a trip around the TV landscape in search of the most promising new dramas and comedies of summer.
“Twin Peaks”: The surreal crime drama/soap, all 18 episodes directed by David Lynch, picks up the story 25 years later, with most of the original cast returning. Premieres at 8 p.m. Sunday on Showtime.
“I’m Dying Up Here”: This drama explores the stand-up comedy culture of 1970s Los Angeles. Oscar winner Melissa Leo heads up the cast. Premieres at 9 p.m. Sunday, June 4, on Showtime.
“Claws”: This edgy dramedy celebrates female “bad-itude” in a Florida nail salon where a lot of illicit stuff is going down. Niecy Nash and Dean Norris star. Premieres at 8 p.m. Sunday, June 11, on TNT.
“Blood Drive”: In the tradition of grindhouse flicks, this series features L.A.’s last good cop in a cross-country race, using vehicles that run on blood! Premieres at 9 p.m. Wednesday, June 14, on Syfy.
“The Mist”: A small town, an eerie mist and a brutal crime. Stephen King’s horror novel/movie has been adapted into an unsettling 10-episode series. Premieres at 9 p.m. Thursday, June 22, on Spike TV.
“GLOW”: Alison Brie stars in this series as an out-of-work 1980s actress who finds fame in the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling. Available for streaming on Netflix beginning Friday, June 23.
“Prime Suspect: Tennison”: This three-part series involves a 1973 case for Jane Tennison, with Stefanie Martini in the role that Helen Mirren made famous. Premieres at 9 p.m. Sunday, June 25, on PBS.
“Gypsy”: Naomi Watts stars in this thriller as a Manhattan therapist whose life spirals out of control because of a series of illicit relationships. Available for streaming on Netflix beginning Friday, June 30.
“Snowfall”: This John Singleton-produced drama explores the birth of the crack cocaine/crime culture of Los Angeles in 1983. Premieres at 9 p.m. Wednesday, July 5, on FX.
“The Bold Type”: The women staffers of Scarlett magazine lean on each other and find their own voices as they explore sexuality, identity and fashion. Premieres at 8 p.m. Tuesday, July 11, on Freeform.
“Salvation”: Jennifer Finnigan stars in this race-the-clock, end-of-the-world thriller: An asteroid is just six months away from crashing into Earth. Premieres at 8 p.m. Wednesday, July 12, on CBS.
“I’m Sorry”: Andrea Savage stars as a seemingly well-adjusted comedy writer, wife and mother who hasn’t got it all together after all. Premieres at 9 p.m. Wednesday, July 12, on TruTV.
“Hooten & the Lady”: A couple of globetrotting treasure hunters follow in the footsteps of history’s great archeologists in pursuit of lost riches. Premieres at 8 p.m. Thursday, July 13, on the CW.
“Raven’s Home”: Raven-Symone reprises her “That’s So Raven” character of 2003-2007. Now she’s a single mom with 11-year-old twins. Premieres at 9 p.m. Friday, July 21, on Disney Channel.
“Somewhere Between”: Paula Patton stars in this thriller as a superstar news producer from San Francisco who must prevent her son from being murdered. Premieres at 9 p.m. Monday, July 24, on ABC.
“Midnight, Texas”: This quirky drama, based on the books by Charlaine Harris, is about supernatural shenanigans in a small West Texas town. Premieres at 9 p.m. Monday, July 24, on NBC.
“Room 104”: This 12-episode anthology comedy, produced by the Duplass Brothers, tells the stories of the various occupants of an ordinary hotel room. Premieres at 10 p.m. Friday, July 28, on HBO.
“The Sinner”: Jessica Biel stars in this eight-part crime thriller as a young mother who has no idea why she has committed a startling act of violence. Premieres at 9 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 2, on USA.
“Mr. Mercedes”: David E. Kelley adapted the Stephen King novel about a demented killer and the retired police officer he delights in taunting. Premieres at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 9, on Audience.
“Get Shorty”: Chris O’Dowd and Ray Romano star in this comedic crime series, based on the Elmore Leonard novel that also inspired a hit 1995 movie. Premieres at 9 p.m. Sunday, Aug. 13, on Epix.
“Marlon”: Marlon Wayans stars in this family sitcom as a loving but often inappropriate father committed to co-parenting his two kids with his ex-wife. Premieres at 8 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 16, on NBC.
“Marvel’s The Defenders”: At last, the street-level superheroes from “Daredevil,” “Jessica Jones,” “Luke Cage” and “Iron Fist” team up. Available for streaming on Netflix beginning Friday, Aug. 18.
“The Tick”: The goofy adventures of an accountant with no powers whatsoever who nevertheless becomes a costumed crime fighter. Available for streaming on Amazon beginning Friday, Aug. 25.
“Disjointed”: Kathy Bates stars in this comedy (from Chuck Lorre of “The Big Bang Theory”) as a woman running an L.A. cannabis dispensary. Available for streaming on Netflix beginning Friday, Aug. 25.