5 Biggest New TV Shows Of June 2024

June sees the return of Orphan Black.

june the acolyte

For fear of filling up these lists with the latest season of some big beast – this June sees the return of House Of The Dragon, for instance – I always try to limit myself to full-on premieres and new properties. Unfortunately, it seems the industry very much saw me coming, and this month sees a sequel show, a remake of a film from the ’90s, a spiritual remake of a cancelled show from Mexico, and the latest Star Wars thing. The one original show is about Renaissance fairs, which trade on nostalgia for an earlier time which was itself harking back to an earlier time. Clear lesson: people like the familiar.

1. Ren Faire | June 2nd, 2024

A reality show/documentary in the vein of Succession and its legion of imitators, where the old guy at the top is on the way out and everyone under him is jostling to take his place, but with a twist – this time it’s that they’re trying to take over, record scratch, a Renaissance Faire. The world’s largest, no less.

Despite it being a reality show, Ren Faire is inevitably going to be a bit less cut-throat than the likes of Succession. Case in point, while most people involved will have a prop sword handy, nobody’s actually going to be getting their throat cut. And of course actually running the show will mean less time wandering about in costume and in character, so many of the contenders may quickly find it’s a poisoned chalice.

Produced by the Safdie brothers, one of whom co-starred in Nathan Fielder’s shaky but venomous look at reality television The Curse, we can only hope that Ren Faire understands the slightly corny appeal of the ren faire – rather than, as the media is prone to, taking a tone of ‘look at these nerds’ while simultaneously leaning on the charm of those nerds.

2. The Acolyte | June 4th, 2024

Disney continue to wring Star Wars dry, but having paid for the expanded universe as well, they might as well use it. Otherwise, as Peep Show’s Jez once said of a less salubrious subject, it’d be like only using the hob and never using the oven.

The Acolyte has taken a House Of The Dragon approach, set about a century before the stories we’re familiar with – though a mere hundred years means Yoda can still be there, and still be old as balls. If he’s there it’ll be a cameo, though, since this focuses on him off Squid Game and her off The Hate U Give teaming up to investigate a conspiracy that’s bumping off Jedi.

Even more than its ostensible protagonists, though, the trailer’s trying to gin up excitement for its Sith antagonist, who it leaves unseen but seeds as incredibly powerful. The villains have been one of the weaker points of Star Wars-by-Disney, with them either relying on natural baddy character actors like Giancarlo Esposito, or falling back on twaddle like Palpatine somehow returning.

3. Fantasmas | June 7th, 2024

With Los Espookys cancelled after two seasons, Julio Torres gets the consolation prize of a show that’s pretty much the same thing in all but name – more self-consciously kooky vignettes, more fanciful set and costume design.

Despite the general air of wackiness, and the kaleidoscope colour scheme, Torres still manages to present a custom-character-in-cutscene vibe whenever he’s onscreen. Can it really just be a matter of having brightly dyed hair?

Fantasmas is clearly being sold as a surefire winner, though, having secured big names like Steve Buscemi, Emma Stone, Aidy Bryant, Kate Berlant, Bowen Yang, and Paul Dano to poke their heads into its world.

4. Presumed Innocent | June 12th, 2024

An adaptation of a novel that previously become a feature film in 1990 – a very respectable gap for reboots, these days – Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Chicago prosecutor Rusty Sabich, who’s charged with a crime he may or may not have committed, murdering another lawyer. It’s taking too serious a tone to have Gyllenhaal conduct his own defence or sock the judge, though.

The reason a man who represents himself is said to have a fool for a client is that when it’s your own case, you’re simply too close to it all, you are prone to emotion in a way a disinterested third party wouldn’t be. And the key to the story here is that guilty or not, Gyllenhaal’s character is close to it all, it’s one of his professional colleagues who’s been killed, this is a crime that happens within a rarefied inner circle that he’s very much part of. As mysteries go it’s only missing the actual locked room.

5. Orphan Black: Echoes | June 23rd, 2024

37 years on from the original Orphan Black, Kira – now a full-grown woman and played by Keeley Hawes – finds herself looking after Krysten Ritter’s amnesiac Lucy, who’s apparently ‘been through a procedure’, a phrase normally used when even the sci-fi technobabble would seem a bit strong. If you wake up not knowing who you are and someone tells you that, pray it’s only your brain they’ve been messing with.

Per the press releases, Ritter isn’t the only person in the mix trying to work out her own identity. Are they all going to be clones, or will some of them have been hit in the head, to mix things up a bit? We shall see.

The centrepiece of the original Orphan Black was obviously Tatiana Maslany playing about a dozen different people, and often several at the same time. Maslany isn’t making a return here, but Ritter is credited both as Lucy, and as a younger version of Kira’s wife, suggesting some real trouble in paradise in the pipeline. Though the real hope is she’ll end up acting against herself, even if it can’t possibly be as much as Maslany did.

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