Summertime has long been associated with pool parties and barbecues. But with so many new programs and series' finales on the way, the TV remote could be just as crucial this season as sunscreen and hot dogs.
It used to be that reruns and reality TV shows were the stars of summer TV. And while reality staples such as "Big Brother" and "Wipeout" still stand, they're now offset by a slew of original dramas and comedies, some of which boast a star power that's relatively new to the summer season.
This shift has been in the works for a while, since innovative cable shows began forcing networks to up the ante about six years ago, said Matt Whitfield, features editor at Yahoo! TV.
"This is the most highly anticipated summer in TV history," he said, adding that the lineup "seems more exciting than the fall TV lineup."
HBO's new series "The Newsroom" will take viewers behind the scenes of a fictional cable news network when it premieres on June 24. It's one of the most buzzed-about new dramas, thanks in part to series creator Aaron Sorkin. The Oscar-winner is known for helming the Emmy-winning drama "The West Wing," which aired for seven seasons on NBC.
Starring Jeff Daniels, Emily Mortimer and Dev Patel, the series "has award winner written all over it already," Whitfield said. HBO is owned by CNN's parent company.
"True Blood" has been a summer staple since season 2 kicked off in June 2009 on HBO. Returning on Sunday, season 5 boasts a new draw -- "Law and Order: SVU" veteran Chris Meloni has joined the cast as a vampire.
Three-time Oscar-nominated actress Sigourney Weaver will also grace the tube this summer on USA's "Political Animals." She'll play divorced, former first lady Elaine Barrish, who now serves as the secretary of state.
Joining Weaver are Ellen Burstyn and Carla Gugino, among other notable stars. The series is set to premiere in July.
The Weaver series is hardly USA's only lure this summer. "Royal Pains," "White Collar," "Burn Notice" and "Suits" will all be back.