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Summer shows -- 3 vets, a newbie -- land today

Posted: June 19, 2014 at 2:15 a.m.

Series star Aden Young (left) and creator Ray McKinnon discuss a scene in Sundance TV’s Rectify.

Strap yourselves in, TV fans, this is a big night for summer TV. Three shows are returning and one is making a debut, with the 8 p.m. hour overheating your DVR.

Here they are:

Rectify is back for a second season at 8 p.m. on cable's Sundance TV (check your provider to see if you get it).

Defiance returns for Season 2 at 7 p.m. on Syfy.

Dominion premieres at 8 p.m. on Syfy.

Rookie Blue is back with Season 5 at 8 p.m. on ABC.

Rectify. This engrossing drama was created by former Arkansan Ray McKinnon, who also writes and directs the series.

It is a thoughtful, introspective jewel that explores the psychological journey of an innocent man who spent 19 years on death row for the rape and murder of his girlfriend, Hannah. He's finally released through DNA evidence.

Aden Young portrays the stoic, broken Daniel Holden, who is struggling to adjust to freedom in a world he no longer recognizes.

Season 1's six episodes (which covered only one week after Holden's release from prison) ended with a gang of townsfolk, including Hannah's brother, beating Daniel unconscious at her grave site.

Season 2, which has been expanded to 10 episodes, picks up hours after the beating with Daniel in a medically induced coma in an Atlanta hospital. There are those who wish he had died from the beating.

Executive producer Melissa Bernstein says, "Season 2 is about who Daniel is going to be and how is he going to live his life moving forward. The series is looking at a moment in a man's life that is really extraordinary."

McKinnon adds, "What [the audience] won't be aware of is that he affected, whether willingly or unwillingly, so many people. You won't know when the emotional hammer is going to be dropped and you don't know how Daniel's going to react.

"Rectify is about human beings' need to continue to grow and to seek and to wonder and to challenge and all of those things that make us feel alive. So, Rectify is about being alive."

Don't come to Rectify looking for fast action and broad adventure. This is a thoroughly satisfying, but slow-paced character study for a discriminating audience that appreciates quality work.

Defiance. Syfy claims its futuristic drama is the most ambitious project in the network's 20-year history. One reason for that is the series is "the first-ever convergence of television and online gaming, featuring an interconnected world and storylines that co-exist on both platforms."

Yep. Defiance is a TV series and a video game. But you don't have to play the game to enjoy the series.

Defiance takes place about 30 years in the future on an Earth that has been radically transformed by the arrival of alien races (collectively called the Votans) and war. There are human survivors around, but also other species created by contamination.

The setting is the city/state of Defiance at what once was St. Louis (note the ruins of the Gateway Arch), but thanks to the alien terraforming, there are towering mountains nearby.

At the center of the action is town lawman Joshua Nolan (Grant Bowler) and his adopted alien daughter (she's an Irathient) Irisa (Stephanie Leonidas), who have settled in Defiance.

As the story of resumes, the lives of the Defiance townspeople are in turmoil. There's a new mayor, played by James Murray, who has a charming, polished exterior, but is ruthless and merciless.

More big news this season is that Linda Hamilton (The Terminator movies) joins the series as Pilar McCawley, the long-separated wife of Rafe McCawley (Graham Greene). Her motives for returning are unclear.

Dominion. Dig out Sunday's TV Week insert for the full scoop on this new series. To briefly recap, Dominion is a supernatural drama set in the near future 25 years after "The Extinction War" between humans and angels.

(Aside: If Defiance and Dominion are any indication, 25 to 30 years in the future is going to be a very, very bad time.)

In the war, the archangel Gabriel assembled an army of lower angels and waged terrible war against mankind. The archangel Michael chose to side with humanity.

The series is set in the city of Vega, a fortress empire with a strict caste system that was built atop the ruins of what was once Las Vegas.

Rookie Blue. This Canadian production is practically a summer staple now. Think of Rookie Blue as Grey's Anatomy with cops instead of doctors.

The series follows the adventures of five rookie officers in Toronto. The fetching Missy Peregrym plays Officer Andy McNally, the main protagonist in an ensemble full of complicated relationships.

The Canadian producers must be happy with the show. Season 5 has been super-sized with a full 22-episode order, but ABC will air only the first 11 this summer.

The TV Column appears Sunday, Tuesday and Thursday. Email:

mstorey@arkansasonline.com

Weekend on 06/19/2014

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