Summer TV preview: What the networks are offering, and what families can expect

By Chris Vander Kaay

For the Deseret News

Published: Thursday, May 1 2014 4:25 p.m. MDT

Starring John Malkovich in the lead role, NBC's "Crossbones" brings the notorious pirate Blackbeard to the small screen. Centered on an island in the Bahamas, the series chronicles the international mystery and intrigue of the rogue island nation and how the pirate life affected navigation and trade and changed the world forever. Family audiences can expect some unsavory behavior from pirates, which might not be agreeable to younger audiences.

“Halt and Catch Fire,” Sunday, June 1, AMC

Following on the heels of FX’s “The Americans” in portraying America in the early 1980s, AMC’s series takes place in a different (but no less intriguing) world: the high-stakes arena of the PC. Set in the aftermath of IBM’s debut of its personal computer in 1981, the series follows a former IBM employee and his new company attempting to get into the game by using less-than-honest methods to get their own PC to market. Starring Lee Pace (“Pushing Daisies”) and Scoot McNairy (“Argo,” “12 Years a Slave”), the period thriller looks to be AMC’s next hopeful critical darling now that “Breaking Bad” is over and “Mad Men” is starting its final season. Family audiences can expect a typical AMC series, which includes occasional foul language and violence, often with complex moral plot issues.

“Chasing Life,” Tuesday, June 10, ABC Family

After the misstep of the “Pretty Little Liars” spinoff “Ravenswood” (which was recently canceled), ABC Family is steering clear of mystery and intrigue and going back to the arena that fuels most of its hit series: high-concept melodrama. Joining “Switched at Birth” and “The Fosters” as straight drama on ABC Family, “Chasing Life” will chronicle the complications arising when a young newspaper journalist learns that on top of juggling a busy home and work life, she is now dealing with a cancer diagnosis. Family audiences can expect content closer to family-appropriate, with the occasional subject matter concern; best to read up on episodes before watching.

“The Last Ship,” Sunday, June 22, TNT

An epic action series from “Transformers” producer Michael Bay, “The Last Ship” is a military sci-fi series that will pair well with TNT’s current “Falling Skies.” Following a naval destroyer and its crew struggling to survive a worldwide plague outbreak, the series is equal parts gritty action and cutting-edge medical thriller, making it only the second straightforward science-fiction series for the drama-driven network. Family audiences can expect a series similar to "Falling Skies" with its science-fiction action violence and occasional language.

“Young & Hungry,” Wednesday, June 25, ABC Family

The worlds of technology and cuisine collide in ABC Family’s new comedy series “Young & Hungry,” about a food blogger (Emily Osment, of "Hannah Montana" and younger sister to “The Sixth Sense” actor Haley Joel Osment), who is given a once-in-a-lifetime chance to be the personal chef for a wealthy entrepreneur. The series is produced by “High School Musical” actress Ashley Tisdale, and real-life celebrity chef Michael Voltaggio appears as well. Family audiences can expect similar content to other ABC Family series, which can go from fully family-friendly one moment to surprisingly risque the next.

“Extant,” Wednesday, July 2, CBS

After the enormous success CBS had last year with the summer scripted series “Under the Dome” (which returns for a second season June 30), CBS brings actress Halle Berry and producer Steven Spielberg to the network for another huge summer series, “Extant.” A sci-fi drama focusing on astronaut Berry and her life back on Earth after a yearlong mission alone in space, it is another serialized offering from the normally procedural-driven network that hopes to tap into the fantasy-tinged melodrama that made “Under the Dome” a ratings smash last year. Family audiences can expect a sci-fi thriller with some mature subject matter, which might best be read about prior to watching.

"The Quest," Thursday, July 31, ABC

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