We're not done with summer premieres yet. This week, a new post-apocalyptic drama arrives.
Many of the biggest new summer series, including The Leftovers and The Strain, have already hit our screens, but the summer's not over, and neither are the new series hoping to draw us into year-round TV viewing. This week Lifetime goes sci-fi with The Lottery, and the future of the human race is at stake. Plus, those survivors on The Strain get some new symptoms, more trouble hits the Dome, Wil Wheaton talks vampire apes, and we take a look at how the numbers look for Under the Dome, True Blood and The Strain.
Check out the week in TV below. What's on your watchlist?
Highlights of the Week
Under the Dome (CBS) Monday, 10 p.m. - "Force Majeure"
A few weeks ago, when Under the Dome returned for its second season, we talked about how big the series was for CBS last summer, how it furthered the idea of the summer event series, and how it could get even bigger in its second year. So, how's it doing? Well, while its numbers still aren't shabby, Dome is decidedly down from the heights of last year. Last season the series only dropped below 10 million viewers once, but the first two episodes of this season -- including a much-hyped premiere episode scripted by Stephen King -- have failed to rise to the 10-million mark, and episode two was the series' least-watched episode by more than 2 million viewers. Now, even with that said, the show is still pulling in bigger numbers than most shows airing right now. Even its lowest episode, with fewer than 8 million viewers, was the most-watched network hour of its night. For the moment, Under the Dome is still very much a hit for CBS, but it is interesting to see the dropoff in progress. Will it continue? We'll find out. This week, Big Jim conducts a census to see how long the town's resources will last. Check out a preview below.
Inside the Walking Dead: Walker University (AMC) Tuesday, 10 p.m.
One-hour special! - It's been very interesting to watch how AMC has responded to the growth of The Walking Dead from intriguing new horror drama to pop culture monster. We've already heard plenty about the spinoff series that's on the way, and we can't escape the constant flow of merchandising, but in the gap between seasons four and five the network has also upped the ante on its sneak peeks. First we got the season-five preview special of Talking Dead, and now we've got a series of behind-the-scenes specials that both highlight the work behind the series and leave us itching for what happens next. We won't get to see any actual plot unfold on the show until October, but for now we can enjoy this particular special, which gives you an inside look into what it takes to make a Walker, from makeup effects to the perfect zombie shamble.
True Blood (HBO) Sunday, 9 p.m. - "Lost Cause"
Until Game of Thrones really hit the stratosphere, True Blood was HBO's most prominent ratings hit, building from the early buzz of its first two seasons to really hit its ratings stride in seasons 3-5. The numbers were waning by season six, though they were never bad, and we expected a bit more of a dropoff for season seven. As True Blood entered its final season, we expected some casual viewers to depart, leaving a core audiences of diehards to see off Sookie and Bill ... at least, for the most part. So, how big is the dropoff so far? Well, the season premiere was the weakest since season two's debut in 2009, and the second episode of the season was the least-watched True Blood hour since the summer of 2011. That said, the show's numbers are still solid. That core audience is still strong, and they still want to know what happens next. True Blood may be ending, but it's not finished drawing in a respectable number of viewers for HBO. This week, Eric and Pam head to Dallas for a fundraiser, and Sookie throws a party.
The Lottery (Lifetime) Sunday, 10 p.m. - "Pilot"
Series premiere! - After the success of its supernatural drama Witches of East End, Lifetime will add another genre series to its lineup this week with this post-apocalyptic sci-fi drama. In the world of The Lottery, women have stopped giving birth, but after years of research, a scientist (Marley Shelton) has managed to fertilize 100 new embryos. Her discovery is quickly taken over by the government, and a national lottery is established to determine which women will bear these miracle babies. If you think the premise has a more than a little Children of Men flavor, you're not alone, but the series definitely seems to be placing emphasis on the political conspiracy/thriller side of things too. Now we wait to see if it'll catch on. Check out a trailer below.
The Strain (FX) Sunday, 10 p.m. - "The Box"
We don't yet know how big (or small) the ratings for the Guillermo del Toro-directed premiere of The Strain were, but we do know the show is off to a very buzz-heavy start. It received a hefty wave of critical acclaim in the lead-up to its premiere episode, and there was plenty of chatter on Twitter as the stomach-turning events of the pilot episode unfolded. People are definitely talking about the show now, and it's definitely got a summer-blockbuster-on-TV kinda feel to it, but now we have to face the important questions that come in the aftermath of any such heavily hyped pilot. The first episode, which ran to near feature film length, was directed by one of the most creative minds in Hollywood, but the second episode (and the third, and the fourth) won't be. Without del Toro's eye to the camera, will The Strain take a visual slide and become just another TV show? Will the audience, no matter how large it was in the beginning, lose interest? Will the show be able to keep up the level of spine-tingling tension it held in the pilot from now until October? If the last 24 hours have been any indication, The Strain is the kind of show some of us will be talking about all week, but when next Sunday rolls around, will it still be that show? We'll find out. Next week, the four survivors of the Regal flight experience new symptoms, but a campaign of disinformation prevents Eph and Nora from keeping them in quarantine. Plus, Setrakian is greeted by an old acquaintance. Check out a preview below.
Monday, July 14
Teen Wolf (MTV) 10 p.m. - "The Benefactor"
Uninvited guests arrive at Lydia's lake house on a full-moon night.
Tuesday, July 15
The Wil Wheaton Project (Syfy) 9 p.m. - "Wil Takes Manhattan"
Wil talks vampires, apes, viruses and how to mash them all up.
Wednesday, July 16
Extant (CBS) 9 p.m. - "Extinct"
Sam gives Molly an ultrasound as they both search for answers about her pregnancy.
Wilfred (FXX) 10 p.m. - "Forward"
Ryan and Wilfred offer up very different explanations of the same event.
Thursday, July 17
Defiance (Syfy) 8 p.m. - "Put the Damage On"
Amanda is stalked, and the stalker's motivations will have ramifications for everyone.
Dominion (Syfy) 9 p.m. - "Something Borrowed"
Alex begins his training with Michael, but goes rogue after a vision.
Adventure Time (Toon) 7 p.m. - "Ocarina"
Jake's son Kim Kil Whan takes action after getting fed up with his father.
Friday, July 18
Crossbones (NBC) 10 p.m. - "A Hole in the Head"
Jagger visits a mental patient. Lowe tries to deliver Blackbeard to the English.
Legend of Korra (Nick) 8 p.m. - "Old Wounds" & "Original Airbenders"
Beifong has to face her past. Tenzin tries to train new Air Nation members.
The Almighty Johnsons (Syfy) 10 p.m. - "This Is Where Duty Starts"
Axl learns that following his heart is a bad idea.
Saturday, July 19
Saturday's quiet, but Sailor Moon Crystal is streaming on Hulu now, if you're into that kinda thing.
Sunday, July 20
The Leftovers (HBO) 10 p.m. - "B.J. and the A.C."
Kevin gets unexpected visitors as he tries to figure out what happened to a holiday display in town.
Witches of East End (Lifetime) 9 p.m. - "The Old Man and the Key"
Freya tracks down Killian as Ingrid gets ready to move out and Dash makes a discovery about his blackmailer.
Falling Skies (TNT) 10 p.m. - "Mind Wars"
Hal tries to lead the remaining Volm and 2nd Mass, while Tom encounters mysterious strangers.
The Last Ship (TNT) 9 p.m. - "El Toro"
A small team heads into the Nicaraguan jungle, looking for monkeys to help with Rachel's vaccination trials.
Halt and Catch Fire (AMC) 10 p.m. - "The 214s"
Bosworth makes a sacrifice as the team makes final preparations for COMDEX.