The month of May, and the last of the 09-10 sweeps periods, is done and gone. We wave a fond farewell to 24, Lost, Heroes, and Law & Order (OF)*. But for those of you who may be tempted to swallow your remote, turn blue, and slip into a summerlong coma … don’t go gently into that long, televisionless summer of darkness just yet. There yet remains a reason to stay indoors during all that warm weather, avoiding the harsh, cancer-inducing sunlit days of June, July and August. September seems so very far away, but I am here to offer you a lifeline … a “cable”, if you will.
Buck-up, fellow worshippers of The Almighty HD. Television still loves you.
First, lets dispense with the reality shows in general. I won’t blame you for watching So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD). Young hotties of various genders and persuasions cavorting about on stage in remarkably revealing states of dress (or undress) … hey, that gets my vote. The rest of it … meh. Last Comic Standing returns, if you like the (occasionally) funny, or Wipeout if you just admire the pain and/or humiliation our fellow humanbeings are willing do endure for our amusement. But if you’re even slightly attempted to watch Losing It with Jillian (as in Jillian “Manthing” Michaels) … just go ahead and eat that remote as originally planned. Now there’s a diet. Also making my avoid-at-all- cost-lest-mine-eyes-bleed list: The Bachelorette, Bachelor Pad, Downfall, True Beauty, Dating in the Dark, Big Brother, Wife Swap (really, this is back?), Bridal Bootcamp, America’s Got Talent (uh … no … we really don’t), and Dance Your Ass Off.
Whew. I feel so … unclean. Excuse me a second …
That’s better … sorry about that. I feel much, much better … though we may want to call in a haz-mat team. I wonder if that’s what Jillian means by “losing it”. I must have just lost a good two pounds …
Well, with that painful nonsense behind us, let’s take a quick peak at television which might actually be worth watching (and won’t induce violent regurgitation). A few highlights returning on your local networks in June: Lie to Me; Friday Night Lights; Flashpoint; Past Life; and Law & Order: Criminal Intent (sort of). Throw in a few new shows we might like: The Good Guys (recommended!); Persons Unknown; Scoundrels; The Gates, and Rookie Blue. One might even suspect that the ‘nets haven’t totally given up on summer programming after all. Still, that list is pretty damn thin.
Fortunately, the landscape is a little less arid once we leave the big boys behind.
Leading the pack (as is often the case of late) is the USA Network with several solid returning series, plus a new show or two: White Collar (season 2); Covert Affairs (new!); Psych (season 5); Burn Notice (season 4); and Royal Pains (season 2). Really, you can’t lose with any of those. And note that In Plain Sight and Law & Order: CI will air on USA for a few more weeks yet. TNT remains a major contender for summer viewers returning several very good series: The Closer (season 6); Hawthorne (season 2); Dark Blue (season 2); and Leverage (season 3). New from TNT this June is Memphis Beat (akaDelta Blues) followed something called Rizzoli & Styles in early July.
Other cable networks are also in the game this summer. ABC Family has a solid enough Monday block with The Secret Life of the American Teenager (season 3), Huge (new!), and Make It or Break It (season 2). Also from ABC Fam, Pretty Little Liars is a new drama that looks intriguing. It will air through August when it will be replaced by Melissa & Joey … which looks anything but. FX, once Justified leaves the air later this month, steps in with the return of Rescue Me (season 6) which will be paired with Louie (new!) on Tuesday nights. Amid a whole pant-load of their usual reality crap, A&E is offering us a new cop drama called The Glades.
Styffy (aka SyFy) offers some appealing summer viewing options as always. Leading off is Eureka (season 4) which will be paired with the newcomer, Haven. Later in July, Warehouse 13 (season 2) returns. Did I fail to mention Ghost Hunters? Good. They also gots wrasslin’! AMC (which still stands for American Movie Classics as far as I know) returns Madmen (season 3) to Tuesday nights and gives that critically acclaimed program a potentially equal partner with Rubicon. While I’m likely to tune in for one or both, I’m really just killing time until The Walking Deadpremiers in October.
Now on to the real meat of the summer menu this year on pay cable. Leading the pack (I know, I used this phrase already. But c’mon … they’re gonna have werewolves!) is HBO with True Blood (season 3), a bloody true pleasure every Sunday night. Less inspiring is the follow-up pairing ofHung (season 2) and Entourage (season7), two shows I routinely miss and barely notice when I do. HBO also has Hard Knocks, this year with the surprise of last NFL season, the New York Jets. It is an exception to my general dislike of (almost) all reality programming … but only if you like football. Showtime has Weeds (season 6) and The Big C (new!), a couple of oddball comedy/drama/comedy series that mine previously untapped sources of humor in the fun fields of drug-dealing and cancer. Weirdly, it works. Two more exceptions to my anti-reality-tv rules are the semi-reality comedies Penn & Teller: Bullshit (season 8) and The Green Room with Paul Provenza (new!). I don’t know what to expect from this last one, also a reality show, The Real L Word. I would occasionally catch The L Word (unreal version), but that was mostly for the hot lesbians and the nudity … interesting dramatic stories and characters were an unexpected bonus. I might have to tune this one in just to see what the hell they’re thinking … and in case there are hot lesbians and nudity.
There you have it … the quick and dirty on what to expect during the Summer of 2010. Expect a review or two, depending on how crazy life gets during the next three months. Check out the Summer Series page for more info!
*OF = Original Flavor