9 TV shows to watch this summer

Image: "Dexter," "Breaking Bad," "AGT," "Futurama"
Jennifer Carpenter on "Dexter," Bryan Cranston on "Breaking Bad," Howard Stern on "America's Got Talent" and Leela on "Futurama."Today

Get the latest from TODAY

Sign up for our newsletter
By Ree Hines and Anna Chan

The sun is shining. The birds are chirping. The thermostat is rising. And the TV is on.

Yes, it really is. That's because unlike the days of yore, summer television now is jam-packed with fantastic offerings so viewers can enjoy the AC from the comfort of their couches. And we're not talking about just a few quality shows available once or twice a week -- there's something for everyone every single night, and then some.

The list of all the shows with summer premiere dates -- from returning favorites to newbies -- is quite daunting, so we've taken the liberty of picking out some of the most promising. Now go set your DVRs.

'Arrested Development'
Premiered May 26 on Netflix

Some call it one of the greatest sitcoms ever made. Everyone else? Well, maybe they never watched "Arrested Development" because, frankly, it's tough to argue with that hype. After a seven-year hiatus, the cult-favorite series returned Sunday. Finally fans can find out the latest on the gloriously dysfunctional Bluth bunch. Is Lucille still subsiding on vodka tonics? Is everyone's favorite "never nude" still never nude? And just what tricks does Gob have up his sleeves now? (Please be pennies!) The long wait is over.

'The Killing'
Premieres Sunday, June 2 on AMC

“What is dead may never die.” Oh, wait! Wrong show! But the saying fits the AMC drama. The show was canceled after its second season, but the decision was reversed in January. The story will pick up a year after the season two finale (yes, Rosie’s killer was finally revealed, and Linden quit her job), with Holder working on a case that appears to have ties to an old investigation Linden had worked on.

'America's Got Talent'
Premieres Tuesday, June 4 on NBC

Dog acts and sword swallowers and jugglers -- oh my! "America's Got Talent" stands out in a reality TV landscape packed with singing competitions. Sure, singers can and do make a big impression on "AGT," but so do ventriloquists and, well, other oddities. Last season, judge Howard Stern gave viewers a new reason to watch. This time around? With Mel B and Heidi Klum added to the mix, the panel might just upstage the on-stage talent.

'True Blood'
Premieres Sunday, June 16 on HBO

Forget sunshine, lemonade and beach days! It's time to bring on the vampires, shifters and were-things. For fans of the show, "True Blood" is the real highlight of summer. And this summer, the Bon Temps-based action promises to get bloodier and broodier than ever before. Last season's big baddie -- the spiritual remains of goddess-like proto-vamp Lilith -- was reborn when Bill drank the last bit of holy blood. Now Billith is the one Sookie and pals will have to reckon with.

Premieres Wednesday, June 19 on Comedy Central

Created by "The Simpsons" mastermind, Matt Groening, "Futurama" never enjoyed the megahit status of its sibling series. Instead, the animated sci-fi show relied on a devoted band of fans and loads of critical acclaim to keep it on the air. It survived one cancellation and a network switcheroo already, but, barring another small-screen miracle, the laughs will come to an end soon. That's reason enough to be sure to catch the next adventures of Fry, Leela and the finest drunk robot this side of the Andromeda Galaxy.

'Under the Dome'
Premieres Monday, June 24 on CBS

Is your ideal beach read a Stephen King novel? Then you’re in luck. The horror writer’s bestseller “Under the Dome” is coming to your television screen this summer. The 13-episode drama explores how the inhabitants of a small town cope after a dome is suddenly lowered over their burg, cutting them off from the rest of the world. The show stars “Breaking Bad’s” Dean Norris, “Twilight’s” Rachel Lefevre, Mike Vogel and more.

Premieres Sunday, June 30 on Showtime

This is it, “Dexter” fans, the end of the vigilante killer’s saga on the small screen, and it looks like the final season’s going to be a doozy. Deb’s goes into self-destruct mode after offing LaGuerta in the season seven finale, which could spell trouble for everyone’s favorite good bad guy. Then there’s also the little issue of one Dr. Evelyn Vogel, an expert on the brains of psychopaths, who steps in to help the police capture the latest serial killer -- and maybe Dexter himself. On top of all that, Dex’s love, the deadly Hannah McKay, will be back. Will he be able to make it through the summer alive and free? Tune in and see!

'Here Comes Honey Boo Boo'
Premieres July 17 on TLC

They're baaa-aaack! Or at least they will be soon. Honey Boo Boo, Mama June, Sugar Bear and the rest of the redneckognizin' gang from McIntyre, Ga., return to TV this summer for a whole new season of sketti making, diet tips and, of course, plenty of beautimous vajiggle jaggle. As a bonus this time around, in addition to all of that, fans will finally get to see Sugar Bear put on ring on it -- in what may or may not be a legally binding wedding ceremony.

'Breaking Bad'
Premieres Sunday, Aug. 11 on AMC

Prepare yourself for some major withdrawal, because everyone’s favorite chemistry teacher turned meth kingpin is hanging up his hat after these last eight episodes for the second half of season five. Last viewers saw, Walt had seemingly quit the business, but it may have been too late. While taking care of some personal business in the bathroom, brother-in-law Hank figures out that Heisenberg is none other than Walt, setting up what will likely be an epic showdown as the drama ends its critically acclaimed run.

Also worth checking out this summer:

  • "The Bachelorette," May 27 on ABC
  • "Big Brother," June 26 on CBS
  • "Drop Dead Diva," June 23 on Lifetime
  • "Falling Skies," June 9 on TNT
  • "Get Out Alive With Bear Grylls," July 8 on NBC
  • "Hot in Cleveland," June 19 on TVLand
  • "Mistresses," June 3 on ABC
  • "The Newsroom," July 14 on HBO
  • "The Real Housewives of New Jersey," June 2 on Bravo
  • "Toddlers & Tiaras" June 5 on TLC
  • "Web Therapy," July 23 on Showtime

Which summer show are you most excited for?