I was sitting having a good sulk the other day. At the time I was in the upper stand of BMO Field watching Toronto FC play out an anticlimactic 1-1 draw with some shower of slick fellas called New York City FC.
Andrea Pirlo had failed to appear for the event. There was a chill wind sweeping in off Lake Ontario and I was shivering. Hence the sulk. "Will it ever be summer?" I asked myself. Later I consulted that complex set of statistics known as the calendar and was gobsmacked to discover the first long weekend of summer was almost here.
And summer is here, in spirit if not traditional intent. How do I know this? The Bachelorette (ABC, City, 9 p.m. on May 23) is back. It signals the start of summer TV. And what a cascade of extravagant delights are coming – the summer of sexy stuff, soccer and shocking shenanigans. Herewith, a skeleton guide.
Baroness Von Sketch (CBC, June 14) is part of CBC's sort-of summer schedule. In the midst of a lot of repeats comes this: an "all-female, single-camera sketch comedy series [that] takes a fresh look at the world's narcissistic contemporary culture." Collaborators include Carolyn Taylor, Meredith MacNeill, Aurora Browne and Jennifer Whalen, and some of it looks good but CBC takes the fun out by announcing, "the series is insightful and emotionally grounded." Which sounds like an advance plea for understanding.
More interesting is CBC's acquisition of a Scandinavian drama. That's Follow the Money (June 18), a Danish series about financial crime and murder and such. Of course it starts with a dead body and soon the polite veneer of Danish society is revealed to be hiding terrible greed and corruption.
In other Euro-themed drama, there's The Tunnel, a remake of Scandinavian crime series The Bridge, now done for British and French TV. It comes to PBS on June 19.
Two mismatched police officers, the Brit played by Stephen Dillane and the kooky French one played by Clémence Poésy, investigate murder in the Eurotunnel and find it spirals into the inevitable international conspiracy.
And continuing in a similar theme, Marcella arrives on Netflix July 1. Anna Friel stars as a London detective in what is the first English-language series from Hans Rosenfeldt, creator of the original Swedish version of The Bridge.
In the arena of U.S. network and cable, the outlandish soap opera sexiness that is Mistresses returns to ABC on May 30. Most of the original firecrackers and hunks are gone but you can be assured that there will be lots of lingerie and locked lips when it's back, this time filmed in Vancouver.
That same night (May 30), the remake of the Roots miniseries starts on A&E. The new adaptation of Alex Haley's novel will air on four consecutive nights and stars Forest Whitaker, Anna Paquin, Laurence Fishburne, Jonathan Rhys Meyers and James Purefoy, with LeVar Burton, a star of the original series, as executive producer.
BrainDead is new on CBS starting June 13. A comic-thriller from The Good Wife creators Robert and Michelle King, it is allegedly about bugs eating the brains of members of Congress and their staffers. Seriously. Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Tony Shalhoub star.
The Night Of is much-anticipated, starting on HBO on July 10. Adapted from the BBC series Criminal Justice, it was intended as a starring vehicle for James Gandolfini. After his death, Robert De Niro signed on but backed out and now John Turturro takes the lead as a lawyer whose Pakistani client (Riz Ahmed) is accused of murdering a woman in a ritzy New York apartment.
The big documentary event of the summer, ESPN's O.J.: Made In America, lands in Canada on CTV and begins on June 11. The five-part series has already been acclaimed at Sundance at the Hot Docs festivals.
And if you want truly strange, there is Stranger Things, starting on Netflix on July 15. Set in small-town U.S. in the 1980s, it's about a young boy who vanishes into thin air "under highly suspicious circumstances." Naturally. His mother (Winona Ryder) opens an investigation into the boy's disappearance that, it seems, discloses "top-secret government experiments, terrifying supernatural forces and one very strange little girl." Oh my.
And yes, there's soccer. The Euro 2016 tournament starts June 10 (on TSN) with host France playing Romania. It goes on for a month and for the first time, a European Championship tournament will be contested by 24 teams. No doubt somebody will elbow somebody else who will claim to be both mortally wounded and outraged and it will be just like the House of Commons in Ottawa.
Before that, the Copa America unfolds on June 3. Three weeks of soccer with national teams from North, South and Central America, as well as the Caribbean. To mark the 100th anniversary of the first Copa America tournament, it is being hosted by the United States. I wish I could say how to access it easily in Canada but I can't. I feel a summer sulk coming on.