The Hamilton Spectator - - GO - MAR­GARET LYONS

Sweep­ing dra­mas, juicy soaps and se­ri­al­ized drame­dies are all on the hori­zon as the sum­mer TV sea­son gets un­der­way — even if the mem­o­ries of what ex­actly hap­pened the last time we were in King’s Land­ing have faded in the in­ter­ven­ing months. (There are a hand­ful of re­turn­ing come­dies, too, like “Carmichael Show” and “Dif­fi­cult Peo­ple,” but those don’t re­quire any catch­ing up.) To help bring you up to speed, here’s a quick re­fresher course.

House of Cards (Sea­son 5, Net­flix, May 30)

The most im­por­tant mo­ment in Sea­son 4 was the fi­nal one, where Claire joined Frank in a fourth­wall-break­ing stare, right after they mu­tu­ally vowed to “cre­ate chaos” and to “at­tack” Amer­i­cans’ hearts. It’s part of a wag-the-dog plan to dis­tract vot­ers from the dam­ag­ing news about how Frank ma­nip­u­lated the pre­vi­ous pres­i­dent and about Frank’s in­volve­ment with (the am­bi­tious and ul­ti­mately mur­dered) Zoe Barnes all the way back in Sea­sons 1 and 2. Re­call, too, that it’s elec­tion sea­son: Frank and Claire are run­ning to­gether, with her as his vice-pres­i­den­tial can­di­date. “House of Cards” is good at mood and style, but it’s not as good at plot me­chan­ics, or main­tain­ing a sense of mo­men­tum. Don’t worry too much about un­der­stand­ing ex­actly who is mad at whom and why, be­cause the show it­self doesn’t worry too much about it. Just re­mem­ber that ev­ery­one main­tains a dis­creet sim­mer­ing rage.

Game of Thrones (Sea­son 7, HBO, July 16)

“Where did we leave off on ‘Game of Thrones’?” is like ask­ing “How did the Earth come to be what it is?” Fire, vi­o­lence and mo­tion, mostly, but it’s a long, long story. Briefly, then: Cer­sei or­ches­trated an ex­plo­sion and mas­sacre that wiped out her en­e­mies but also prompted her son’s sui­cide, and thus has as­cended to the Iron Throne; Arya is back in Wes­teros and killing the peo­ple on her to-mur­der list; Jon Snow and Sansa are back in Win­ter­fell, where Jon is be­ing hailed as King of the North; and Daen­erys has set sail for Wes­teros. It also ap­pears that win­ter has fi­nally ar­rived. Also a mil­lion other things.

Or­ange Is The New Black (Sea­son 5, Net­flix, June 9)

The most im­por­tant thing to re­mem­ber from last sea­son is that a prison guard killed Poussey, by kneel­ing on her back and even­tu­ally suf­fo­cat­ing her. En­raged by this lat­est in­jus­tice, as well as the con­stant abuse and degra­da­tion they’re ex­pe­ri­enc­ing, the pris­on­ers at Litch­field Pen­i­ten­tiary start to riot, and the sea­son fi­nale ends with Daya hold­ing a gun to the head of the corrections of­fi­cer Humphrey. (He’s the one who brought the gun to prison in the first place.) “Or­ange Is the New Black” has grown in­creas­ingly dif­fuse, with char­ac­ters that barely in­ter­act with one another; more of the meat of episodes takes place in the char­ac­ter-devel­op­ment flash­backs, while the go­ings-on within Litch­field tend to take a back seat.

Younger (Sea­son 4, TV Land, June 28)

Liza’s big se­cret fi­nally caught up on her on “Younger”: that she’s not in her 20s, but in her 40s. In the clos­ing mo­ments of the sea­son, she fi­nally — fi­nally, fi­nally, fi­nally — told Kelsey about her (not ac­tu­ally con­vinc­ing) ruse, although that’s prob­a­bly the least of Liza’s trou­bles. Her could-be ro­mance with her boss, Charles, seemed like it was about to go some­where when they shared a kiss — a kiss that Liza’s boyfriend, Josh, caught a glimpse of when he came to sur­prise Liza with a mar­riage pro­posal. Josh later dumps her, but per­haps it’s for the best.

Queen Sugar (Sea­son 2, OWN, June 20)

The old­est sis­ter, Charley (DawnLyen Gard­ner), per­suades her fel­low sugar-cane farm­ers to use her startup mill, which she fi­nances partly with money gar­nered by black­mail­ing a bas­ket­ball player who as­saulted sev­eral women. The mid­dle sis­ter, Nova (Rutina Wes­ley), gets back to­gether with her mar­ried white-cop boyfriend. But the big­gest shake-up comes from the youngest brother, Ralph An­gel (Kofi Siri­boe), who dis­cov­ers his fa­ther’s re­vised will, which leaves the en­tire farm to him.



Far left: Frank and Claire are run­ning on a ticket in the pres­i­den­tial elec­tion in “House of Cards.”

Samira Wi­ley as Poussey met her end last sea­son on “Or­ange Is the New Black.”



Kofi Siri­boe as Ralph An­gel, Rutina Wes­ley as Nova and Dawn-Lyen Gard­ner as Charley in the OWN drama “Queen Sugar.”

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