June 1, 2006

Just When You Thought it Was Safe.... The Summer TV Season is Here

May has come and gone, the finales have all run their course, it's time to settle in for the summer of reruns. You remember NBC's slogan from a few years back: "It's new to you." Well, it isn't quite that simple anymore. The past few years have brought with it some wonderful new series to tempt your ocular sockets. For the longest time it was believed that summer was for the outdoors, you know, sun and fun, barbecues, the beach, all those things you do in the sun. It wasn't believed that there would be a market for new, first run television programs. I'm not sure what brought about the shift in thinking, but the cable networks that dwell in the higher numbers of your television dial (well, it's not a dial, but you know what I mean), have started to deliver some compelling television. It is a masterful strategy too, the shows can cultivate a following without having to compete with the much more pervasive major networks. It has gotten to where the majors are also getting in on the action, granted it is primarily reality TV, which I despise, but the market is being tapped.

I thought I would give you a preview of the shows that I am looking forward to, as well as some that I am not interested in. Just when I was all set to give the VCRs a much deserved rest in favor of working the DVD player, but that may not come to be. There is just so much and so little time.

Shows are listed alphabetically. All times listed are EST.

Angela's Eyes (Lifetime, Premieres 7/16, 10:00). I'm not exactly a Lifetime kind of guy, how many guys are? However, this show looks interesting. It is about a young FBI agent, and is described as Alias meets The Closer. Could be interesting.

Blade: The Series (Spike, Premieres 6/28, 10:00). I've enjoyed all three of the films and was intrigued when I heard about the television prospects. I am hoping that this turns out to be good, the commercials look promising. The series stars Kirk Jones, aka the rapper/actor Sticky Fingaz, who was very good on Over There last year. The series will follow Blade's further vampire hunting adventures. This will be Spike's first foray into original scripted programming.

The Closer (TNT, Returns 6/12, 9:00). This show caught me offguard last year. I figured it was just another crime procedural, but I was immediately hooked by the compelling Kyra Sedgewick. She plays Brenda Johnson, a Southern gal transplanted to the LAPD homicide unit. Her character is a breath of fresh air among the machismo that can permeate cop shows. This is definitely a show worth spending some time with.

The Dead Zone (USA, Returns 6/18). I had my doubts about this series when it started a few years back, but from the second season on it really came into its own. It stars Anthony Michael Hall as the resident psychic. It has been so long since this has been on that I forgot where we left off. I do remember that it had a very good mix of stand alone episodes as well as those mytholoy building entries. I look forward to picking this back up.

Dog Bites Man (Comedy Central, Premieres 6/7, 10:30). Don't know much about this, outside of it being about four comedians posing as an investigative news team. Looks pretty funny to me. Whenever I see the commercial I think of Stella.

Eureka (Sci-Fi Channel, Premieres 7/18, 9:00). A US Marshal and is daughter encounter a tower occupied by the government and scientific geniuses. Not sure what to think about this, but I am willing to give it a shot!

The 4400 (USA, Returns 6/11, 9:00). The mini-series was interesting, if not completely compelling, but the series turned out to be downright addictive. The 4400 are people who were victims of alien abductions, who all returned having not aged a day. They came back with strange abilities, for an unknown reason. The end of last season had a government created disease attacking the 4400, as well as main character Tom Baldwin's son turning himself in for the assassination of the leader of 4400 group, even though it was revealed that he is still alive. Looking forward to what the new season holds. This is a captivating series.

Hustle (AMC, Returns 6/28, 10:00). This series is about a group of con-artists plying their craft in London. I watched a few of the episodes last year and really enjoyed the of-kilter humor and intricate capers. The series stars Robert Vaughn. Hopefully I will remember to watch more episodes this year.

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia (FX, Returns 6/29,10:00). This was an interesting little oddity that popped up last year. It is about a trio who own an Irish bar in the City of Brotherly Love, and their attempts to remain entrenched in immaturity as adulthood creeps up on them like the grim reaper. I thought it was funny, but it strived to hard to the bizarre side. This season adds Danny DeVito to the cast as a businessman who has returned to his childhood neighborhood.

Monk (USA, Returns 7/7, 9:00). The defective detective is back! Tony Shalhoub is absolutely masterful as the ultra-phobic sleuth Adrian Monk. The show is consistently entertaining, and survived the departure of one of the leads, Bitty Schram, who was excellent. Traylor Howard has done a fine job of creating a new character that is equally entertaining. Then there is the fantastic supporting duo of Ted Levine and Jason Gray-Stanford. This is a show for everyone.

Nightmares & Dreamscapes: From the Stories of Stephen King (TNT, Premieres 7/12, 9:00). It's been awhile since I read this collection of stories, but I have fond memories of reading them. It will be interesting to see how they are translated into this series of 8 adaptations fares.

Psych (USA, Premieres 7/7, 10:00). This looks like a spin on Monk. The show is about a guy who is adept at observations. He uses his talent to convince the police that he's psychic. The commercial makes it look pretty funny with a dose of the intriguing. I am also reminded of another show, but I cannot recall the name, about a cop who took a bullet to the head, survived, and came back to the force. It will be interesting to see how this one turns out.

Reno 911! (Comedy Central, Returns 7/9, 10:30). I don't always watch this series, but whenever I do, I cannot help but laugh. This is a wild and wacky show about some of the most inept police officers you're likely to see.

Rescue Me (FX, Tuesdays at 10:00). I love this series, entering its third season. Denis Leary is the co-creator and star of this firefighting drama. This is a series that has a lot going on, yet it never loses its focus. Leary stars as troubled firefighter Tommy Gavin, a recovering alcoholic struggling after losing his son to a drunk driver. It seems that all the characters have serious flaws, yet they also seem like a family. It is constantly entertaining and one of the shows I eagerly anticipate this season. And yes, I know the first episode has already aired, I have it taped and ready to watch. For those who missed it, don't fret, FX likes to rerun shows a lot, check your listings.

Saved (TNT, Premieres 6/12, 10:00). WhenI first saw a commercial for this a single thought sprang to mind, "That looks a lot like Rescue Me." The show centers on a paramedic in personal turmoil, played by Tom Everett Scott. Hopefully the similarities are superficial. I am interested in this, but not if it truly is a Rescue Me clone. I am willing to give it the initial benefit of the doubt.

Stargate: Atlantis (Sci-Fi Channel, Returns 7/14, 10:00). The third season of this spin-off series will take a look at their primary villains. The Wraith are setting their sites on the Earth, looking to turn it into a life sucking buffet. How will the stranded team deal with this threat? This series started slowly but the second season had some good writing and the characters started to take shape, hopefully that trend will continue.

Stargate SG-1 (Sci-Fi Channel, Returns 7/14, 9:00). Entering its 10th season, who would have thought it would have lasted this long? It may not be as strong as it once was, but it is still entertaining. This season makes it the longest running science fiction show of all time.

Thirty Days (FX, Returns 7/12). Morgan Spurlock's accelerated documentary series returns. I found it quite interesting, if not as in depth as it could be. Spurlock was the guy behind Super Size Me. I'm wondering where this season will be going.

Who Wants to be a Superhero? (Sci-Fi Channel, Premieres 7/27, 9:00). I know, I am not a realty TV guy, not by a long shot, but there is something about this one that has piqued my interest. It involves people pitching their superhero ideas to Stan Lee in the hopes of being in a comic book and a movie. I'm sure it will be rather dumb, but I just may be suckered into this one.

Here are the shows I'd be tempted to check out, but don't have the pay cable stations:

  • Brotherhood (Showtime, Premieres 7/9, 10:00). Two Irish Catholic brothers, one a politician, the other, a gangster. I don't know anything else, but that alone sounds good to me.
  • Dane Cook's Tourgasm (HBO, Premieres 6/11). Dane Cook can be very funny, this follows him on the road.
  • Deadwood (HBO, Returns 6/11, 9:00). I have always wanted to check this show out, but do not have HBO, perhaps I will rent the DVDs.
  • Entourage (HBO, Returns 6/11, 10:00). I've always heard good things about this show, and it looks like something I'd like.
  • Lucky Louie (HBO, Premieres 6/11, 10:30). Based on stand-up Louis C.K.'s comedy. Said to be reminiscent of Roseanne.
  • Weeds (Showtime, Returns 8/14, 10:00). The idea of a mom pot dealer is intriguing, but I have never gotten to see the show.

Here are some shows I'm not interested in but perhaps you will be:

  • America's Got Talent (NBC, Premieres 6/21, 8:00). Regis Philbin hosts this talent show which is executive produced by Simon Cowell. That's enough to keep me away.
  • Beach Patrol: Miami Beach (Court TV, Premieres 7/10). Fighting crime in the sun.
  • Big Brother 7: All Stars (CBS, Returns 7/6, 8:00). No thank you.
  • Bride vs. Bride (WE, 8/6, 9:00). Bridal parties in competition.,
  • Bridezillas (WE, 6/11, 9:00). Battling wives-to-be. No thanks.
  • Celebrity Fit Club (VH1, Returns 8/6). Large sized stars try to lose weight.
  • Chappelle's Show: The Lost Episodes (Comedy Central, Returns 7/9, 9:00). Before his abrupt exit, they filmed enough for three episodes. He's funny, but I'll stick to the earlier seasons.
  • The Contender (ESPN, Returns 7/18). Never been much of a boxing fan.
  • Food Network Caters Your Vegas Wedding (Food Network, 6/11, 9:00). Mmmmmkay.
  • Footballers Wive$ (BBC America, Returns 6/4, 10:00). This is the fourth season of the British soap that I do not feel like watching.
  • Hell's Kitchen (Fox, Returns 6/12, 9:00). Would you like fries with that?
  • The Hill (Sundance, Premieres 8/23). Reality series about Congressional staffers.
  • House of Boateng (Sundance Channel, Premieres 6/22). Another reality series, this one featuring fashion designer Ozwald Boateng.
  • HGTV Design Star (HGTV, Premieres 7/23, 9:00). Competing home designers.
  • I Wanna be a Soap Star (SoapNet, Returns 6/8, 11:00). I can tell just from the title that I will stay away.
  • Intervention (A&E, Returns July). A reality show following 46 addicts in rehab. This may actually be good, but I cannot say it interests me.
  • The Janice Dickinson Modeling Agency (Oxygen, Premieres 6/6, 10:00). Reality television about a model opening her own agency..... no thanks.
  • Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List (Bravo, Returns 6/6, 9:00). I don't like her and don't wish to contaminate my VCR.
  • Last Comic Standing (NBC, Tuesdays at 9:00). This show had dismal ratings a few years back when it got shoved off on Comedy Central. Who thought to try it again?
  • Lovespring International (Lifetime, Premieres 6/5, 11:00). Eric McCormack's improv comedy series about a California dating service.
  • The Messengers (TLC, Premieres 7/23). Ten inspirational tales. No thanks.
  • Million Dollar Listing (Bravo, Premieres 6/12, 10:00). High end real estate reality show? Nah.
  • Mo'Nique's F.A.T. Chance (Oxygen, Returns 7/15). A pageant for plus-sized women.
  • Platinum Weddings (WE, 7/23, 8:00). Wedding planning.
  • Project Runway (Bravo, Returns 7/12, 10:00). Another model reality show. Pass.
  • Rock Star: Supernova (CBS, Returns 7/5, 8:00). I lost respect when INXS used this to find a new singer, why would I want to see another series? This time they are looking for a singer to front a supergroup with bassist Jason Newsted (Metallica), drummer Tommy Lee (Motley Crue), and guitarist Gilby Clarke (Guns 'n Roses). I'll pass.
  • Sexual Healing (Showtime, Premieres 7/21, 10:00). Radio host Dr. Laura Berman takes couples into therapy.
  • So You Think You Can Dance? (Fox, Thursdays at 8:00). No, I don't.
  • Treasure Hunters (NBC, Premieres 6/18, 8:00). Reality game show. Seems reminiscent of Amazing Race.
  • Tuesday Night Book Club (CBS, Premieres 6/13, 10:00). Yet another reality show, this time about, you guessed it, a book club.
  • Ultimate Wedding Cakes (Food Network , 6/11, 8:00). Battling pastry chefs.
  • Work Out (Bravo, Premieres 7/19). I'm, allergic to work.

Wow, that's a lot of television! Does anything grab your attention?

It's almost like they have created a complete second season in addition to the usual Fall through Spring jaunt, except without the reruns. Then there are the reruns that you may want to watch, like Fox recently announcing that it will air 24 season 5, two episodes at a time, each Friday starting on 6/16.

Looks like I'm going to be in for a long summer....

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Anonymous said...

well i think sexual healing will be a great show to watch...then again i am biased because i was one of the couples. it should be a good show.

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