Now Streaming: Summer TV shows

[Streaming movies and TV shows—on services such as Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Instant Videos—are ephemeral: Here one day, gone the next. The purpose of the Now Streaming series is to alert you to what movies and shows are new to streaming, what you might want to watch before it disappears, and other treasures that are worth checking out.]

The end of the summer means many of cable’s summer shows are wrapping up their seasons, but it also means their previous seasons are showing up online. Here's a round-up of great summer shows you can find on streaming services.

Warehouse 13

Warehouse 13

★★★½

Netflix, season 3 just added

Warehouse 13 (Syfy, 2009-Present) is a secret government agency dedicated to tracking down and recovering rare and powerful historical artifacts. While that makes it sound a bit like National Treasure: The Series, the show is a much more tongue-in-cheek take on the premise. The artifacts are less like secret codes in the constitution and more like Jimi Hendrix’s guitar, which threatens to shred the entire eastern seaboard with the electric power of rock. The show was co-created by Jane Espenson who spent years on Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Warehouse 13 shares that show’s sense of humor and love of season long story arcs.

Burn Notice

★★★

Netflix, season 5 just added

Michael Westin is a former spy who was unjustly “burned” (excommunicated by his handlers at the CIA) and dropped in Miami. Now he and his friends use their espionage skills to protect clients in the city and try and figure out who burned Michael in the first place. Burn Notice (USA, 2008-Present) sometimes drags as the long arcs about the conspiracy that tossed Michael out of his comfortable life as a spy never manage to surprise. The weekly cases on the other hand, and supporting players including Evil Dead’s Bruce Campbell, make for some good, clean fun.

White Collar

White Collar

★★★★

Neflix, season 4 just added

White Collar (USA, 2009-Present) has a fairly standard “procedural with a twist” setup with FBI agent Peter Burke and captured super-thief Neil Caffery striking an uneasy alliance to catch white collar criminals and foil elaborate thefts. But the show’s writing team, and the easy rapport between its two leads have turned what could be another small twist on the cop show genre into a great blending of the best tropes from buddy cop films and heist movies.

Alcatraz

★★½

Amazon Prime, complete series just added

In this JJ Abrams series, the inmates at Alcatraz mysteriously disappeared in the 1960s and now it’s up to an FBI team and Dr. Diego Soto (Lost’s Jorge Garcia) to figure out what’s going on as the inmates reappear in modern day San Francisco. Alcatraz (Fox, 2012) never really managed to find its legs during its short run but Abrams fans will probably find at least a few episodes worth watching as it shares many of the qualities (time travel, banter, and a complex central mythology) that made his other shows so popular.

Alphas

Alphas

★★★★

Netflix, season 1 just added

At first glance Alphas (Syfy, 2011-Present) seems like the most direct X-Men rip-off possible. The show features battling teams of good and evil superhuman mutants. But the series has made a number of tweaks to create an interesting world all its own. Unlike the Marvel comic the mutants of Alphas have very specific and limited powers that keep the stories grounded. Over its first season Alphas has also shown a willingness to ask more dark and interesting questions of its characters and their powers than the X-Men have in years.

Wilfred

★★★½

Netflix, season 1 just added

Wilfred (FX 2011-Present) saw its first season get lost in the shadow of its older FX comedy sibling, Louie (also available on Netflix), which had one of the most critically beloved seasons of television in comedy history last year. But under Wilfred’s bizarre high-concept premise (Elijah Wood’s Ryan avoids his responsibilities and hangs out with Wilfred, a man in a dog suit who may or may not just be a product of his imagination) there’s a smart and well-written comedy about growing up.

What’s new

  • Code Lyoko (Cartoon Network) seasons 1-4: Nexflix
  • Inbetweenters (MTV) season 1: Hulu

Expiring Soon

  • Bill Moyers (PBS): Netflix (9/1)
  • Electric Company (PBS) Season 1: Netflix (9/1)

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