In the past, it used to be that the best shows only premiered during the fall but over the years, production teams have come to realize that the wide-open time slots during our lazy summers can bring in huge audiences. As a result, the space has become competitive which means that the selection has only gotten better.  Here’s a guide to some of the most highly-anticipated shows of this summer.

True Blood (Sunday, June 22, at 10 p.m. on HBO)

This is it. The final season of True Blood is upon us and, hopefully, the series will redeem itself and exit gracefully rather than continuing to limp along like it has the last two seasons. This seventh season will have just 10 episodes and will be preceded by the special, Farewell to Bon Temps, during which the cast and crew will talk about the history of the series as well as provide a preview of this final season.

The Leftovers (Sunday, June 29, at 10 p.m. on HBO)

If you’ve seen the creepy trailers for it on HBO, you will know that thrill-seekers will probably really enjoy this new HBO series. Based on the novel by Tom Perrotta, the plot follows life in a small suburban community in the aftermath of a global Rapture. After seeing the population drop drastically right before their eyes, it’s hard to keep people from feeling hopeless and lost.

Under the Dome (Monday, June 30, at 10 p.m. on CBS)

The series based on Stephen King’s novel hopes to continue to bring in an audience of viewers who want to know what happens to the inhabitants of Chester’s Mill. In the first season, we saw that a massive dome suddenly just appeared over the town which, of course, created sheer chaos. There were murders, possible ghost encounters, weird butterflies, smaller domes within the dome and other things that, hopefully, will never happen in real life.

The Strain (July TBA on FX)

Continuing on the spooky theme, Guillermo del Toro brings us this new show about a CDC official dealing with an outbreak of a virus that seems to be somehow associated with “an ancient and evil strain of vampirism.” In case you’re already rolling your eyes, the show promises that this isn’t another cheesy vampire show but, rather, errs more towards The Walking Dead since the plot centers on humanity’s efforts to survive against the undead. Viewer discretion – early reviews suggest incredibly gory, stomach-turning content.

Extant (Wednesday, July 9, at 9 p.m. on CBS)

Science fiction fans may find themselves drawn to Steven Spielberg’s new thriller about a female astronaut who realizes she’s expecting after returning from 13 months in outer space. If she’s been away from earth that long, how did she get pregnant? This limited 13-episode series will have you guessing about what she saw in space and what she brought back with her until the very end.

Masters of Sex (Sunday, July 13, at 10 p.m. on Showtime)

Based on the real lives of researchers William Masters and Virginia Johnson, this intensely entertaining period drama takes us back to the 1950s as the pair pioneer research into human sexual response and behavior. The first season was riveting and filled with almost every conceivable plot twist and fans are expecting this second season to be just as good, if not better. Of course, there is mature content but the storylines and struggles faced by the characters take center stage in this show that was voted a 2013 top ten pick by The American Film Institute.

The Killing (Full season available Friday, Aug. 1, on Netflix)

It is hard to believe that, after being cancelled twice, fans are going to get a final season of The Killing. While it’s only six episodes, viewers will see what happens to Detective Linden after she fatally shot her former lover/boss when it was discovered that he was responsible for the brutal killings of homeless teenagers. Another question lurking – will she finally end up with Detective Holder? Should be very interesting.

The Knick (Friday, Aug. 8, on Cinemax)

This ten-part series directed by Steven Soderbergh tells the story of a physician who works at The Knickerbocker Hospital (The Knick, for short) in New York at the turn-of-the-century. Long before antibiotics and anesthesia could be administered to his patients, this doctor took risks by performing experimental surgeries in hopes of saving lives.

There may be a lack of warm and fuzzy shows this summer in favor of more intense viewing but there are some decent titles to choose from. Kick off your flip-flops and curl up on the couch. You deserve it!