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Married

Thursday, July 17 (FX)

Series Debut: Judy Greer, Nat Faxon, Jenny Slate, Brett Gelman, Regina Hall, John Hodgman, Michaela Watkins—any one of the players of Married are funny enough to headline their own series; thankfully, they've been assembled for a grownup cable comedy instead of wasted separately on more network filler (as they all have been before). Greer and Faxon are Russ and Lina Bowman, a long-married couple whose three daughters drain them of any impulse for Sexy Time—one of them, anyway, though Russ' wife-"sanctioned" quest for a mistress only lands him a puppy. Married walks the line between sweet and caustic more smoothly as it progresses (Lina and Russ come into focus as real people by the second episode, partially in contrast to their really damaged friends), and could be the most authentic relationship portrayal in years.

You're the Worst

Thursday, July 17 (FX)

Series Debut: On the other end of the authenticity scale in You're the Worst, Chris Geere and Aya Cash play a pair of self-absorbed Los Angelinos who are essentially profane, chain-smoking cartoon characters—again, thank god for cable. Despite their exaggerated flaws and penchants for bad choices, Geere's Brit novelist and Cash's music PR agent (yes, they just keep getting worse) are smart, charming and, from the second they meet, obviously meant for each other. The characters (and actors) click so well, in fact, that it's easy to overlook the surrounding L.A. entertainment-biz clichés and near-Showtime levels of sex and drugs that pretty much scream, "Hey, look at all this decadence! Huh? Huh?" You're the Worst is a dark, cynical, bitingly funny love story, but still just a love story—not a romantic comedy. Rom-coms don't involve bathtub cocaine and spitting on genitalia. Just sayin.'

Rush

Thursday, July 17 (USA)

Series Debut: The usually sunny-fluffy USA Network has had success going off-brand with new comedies (Playing House, Sirens); new dramas, not so much (unless you count Graceland as a "hit," which no one outside of USA PR does). The net's latest attempt to snag some of that gritty FX cred starts with Rush, about "renegade" L.A. doctor William Rush (Tom Ellis), who patches up Hollywood's celebrity elite and criminal underbelly off the books for hefty fees that, in turn, support his own bad-boy lifestyle. Ellis is charismatic and believable in the role but, as usual, USA won't commit to the grit, leaving Rush as just a glossy knockoff of Royal Pains and Ray Donovan.

Satisfaction

Thursday, July 17 (USA)

Series Debut: At least Rush has some ambition; Satisfaction is barely an idea. A well-off-if-bored suburban couple (Matt Passamore and Stephanie Szostak) embark on sexy, dangerous encounters outside of their marriage because, unlike most well-off-if-bored suburban couples, they didn't think to just re-up their Cinemax package.

The Lottery

Sunday, July 20 (Lifetime)

Series Debut: TV is doing its damndest to kill off the human race this summer; Lifetime's The Lottery is just going about it more subtly. In 2025, it's been five years since any woman on the planet has given birth—those of us averse to children call this "heaven," while scientists refer to it as a "global fertility crisis." When one of those scientists, Dr. Alison Lennon (Marley Shelton), finally manages to fertilize 100 embryos, the guv'ment hijacks her project and declares a national lottery to determine who will carry them to term and forestall extinction. The Lottery is frothy sci-fi-lite that would have made an intriguing movie-of-the-week, but a 10-episode series? That's crazier than Extant.

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