Need a summer TV rec? The ATX Television Fest has you covered

Festival leaders share the highlights from this year’s return to in-person programming, plus what they’re loving on TV right now.

By Laura Rice & Gabrielle MuñozJuly 1, 2022 7:52 am, ,

When the news is heavy, many of us turn to entertainment for an escape. If your routine includes a bit of TV at the end of the day – you are certainly not alone.

The ATX Television Festival knows a thing or two about TV. On the heels of the June festival, Emily Gipson, co-founder and co-executive director, and Jennifer Morgan, programming director, reflected on their return to in-person programming and shared their top recommendations for summer shows.

The Festival’s Season 11 in Austin, and being back together as a community, was even better than they could have dreamed of, Gipson said.

“Everyone had such the spirit of excitement and kindness and generosity, and everyone just so loved being back, even waiting in line,” she said. “The amount that our attendees love waiting in line – just because that means they get to talk to each other and talk about what they’re watching and what they’re seeing and connect in that way – it’s something that I don’t see elsewhere.”

The festival premiered AMC’s “Dark Winds” and the latest season of HBO’s “Westworld,” both of which have been generating buzz, as well as the second episode of the CW’s “Tom Swift” alongside a majority of its cast and creatives.

“That’s a show that, because it had just launched, people were still finding. But the thing that’s so great about our attendees is: they do their homework,” Gipson said. “So we give them shows starting at the beginning of May – here’s what we’re going to be having, whether it’s an old show, new show in the middle of its run – and our attendees will go do all of their homework, so when they come they’re ready to dive into whatever the conversation might be.”

As far as TV recs, Morgan’s looking forward to the upcoming final stretch of “Better Call Saul” and has been loving “For All Mankind,” an alt-history of the space race in which Russia beats the U.S. to the moon, which just returned for its third season on Apple TV+.

“I know it’s a little tough to convince folks to jump into a show that’s a few seasons in at this point, just because there’s so much volume-wise just across the board,” Morgan said. “But it’s such an amazing character drama … and it is really firing on all cylinders.”

Gipson’s been enjoying season two of “Rutherford Falls” on Peacock and “The Summer I Turned Pretty,” a coming-of-age summer story on Amazon, while getting ready for the second season of “Only Murders in the Building” on Hulu.

“Season one premiered in September, so to already have a season two is actually pretty phenomenal because I feel like, especially with the pandemic, we’ve had years between seasons of things,” she said.

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