Hump Day Report: Summer TV
Rants and raves about burning topics that have caught my attention midweek, be it greedy corporate shenanigans, frustration or joy in regards to the Philly sports teams, a movie, show or DVD that has fired up my imagination, an intriguing personality, or my on-going battle to lose weight in our fast food world. — Lori Hoffman, Associate Editor, Atlantic City Weekly
I’m old enough that I remember when TV series in the fall started right after Labor Day, ran for 39 weeks without reruns, and the summertime TV slots were filled with musical variety shows. I get really peeved when a show, even my beloved Lost, decides to rerun an episode that only ran three weeks earlier. You have to give 24 its props — even though the show has decided to turn Jack Bauer into a psycho for the final few episodes, at least that show runs straight through without annoying reruns.
However, television has certainly improved the summertime choices that were available in the good old days when we only had the big three networks to provide us with fresh programming. So even though I will miss Lost, Fringe, Justified and Flash Forward, I can look forward to fresh episodes of my off-season favorites. Here are the shows I’m looking forward to watching in between Phillies games.
1. Burn Notice
USA, Mondays, 10pm, starting June 28
My nephew turned me on to this story about an ex-CIA agent who has lost his job and wants to know who took away his life with a “burn notice.” Jeffrey Donovan is terrific as spy-for-hire Michael Westen, who gets to do his thing in sunny Miami with a bit more joviality than Horatio Caine. The supporting cast is aces as well — Sharon Gless as his mother, pistol-packing mama Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar), and former Navy seal Sam (Bruce Campbell). Coby Bell (Third Watch) joins the cast this season.
TNT, Sundays, 9pm, starting June 20
Timothy Hutton heads a team of con artists who settle scores against those who use power and wealth to victimize others. Nate Ford (Hutton) got involved in the con business after his former employer refused to pay for treatment that could have saved his son’s life. The cons are delightful and the wild woman Parker (Beth Riesgraf) is always fun to watch.
3. The Closer
TNT, Mondays, 9pm, beginning July 12
Brenda Lee Johnson is a top detective who is an expert at getting the killers to confess, hence the title. While the fabulous performance of Kyra Sedgwick is the heart of the show, the supporting cast is terrific too — Jon Tenney as her FBI hubby Fritz, J.K. Simmons as her boss and her team —Corey Reynolds, G.W. Bailey, Tony Denison, Raymond Cruz and Michael Paul Chan.
4. Covert Affairs
USA, Tuesdays at 10pm starting July 13
I love spy stories, and with Doug Liman (The Bourne Identity) as a producer, and starring Tom River, NJ’s own Piper Perabo in the lead role, I’ll be watching. Perabo is a skilled young CIA trainee who is thrust into an active operation one month ahead of schedule, for reasons that are initially mysterious. Peter Gallagher, Christopher Gorham (Ugly Betty), and Anne Dudek (House, Big Love) also star.
5. The Good Guys
Fox, Mondays at 9pm starting June 7; special premiere May 19 at 8pm
Fox is giving its new buddy cop dramedy a special premiere next to American Idol. The combo of a washed-up detective (The West Wing’s Bradley Whitford) with an ambitious young cop (Colin Hanks, Tom’s son) looks interesting, especially since it was created by Burn Notice’s Matt Nix.
6. Memphis Beat
TNT, Tuesdays at 10pm, starting June 22
George Clooney is among the producers of this offbeat, Memphis-set cop drama starring Jason Lee as a blues-loving police officer who lives with his mother. The cast also includes Alfre Woodard and DJ Qualls. The Southern setting certainly works for Justified, so I’m looking for the same cool vibe here.
Syfy, Fridays at 9pm starting July 9
In this wacky sci-fi series, a small town sheriff Jack Carter (Colin Ferguson) has to deal with problems way above his pay grade since the titled town is a top-secret government run facility stuffed with scientists doing experiments that quite often can’t be contained in the lab.
8. White Collar
USA, Tuesdays at 9pm starting July 13
You are perhaps detecting a pattern in my favorite summer shows; yep I’m a sucker for spies and con artists. White Collar features a clever conman (Matt Bomer, formerly of Chuck) and the FBI agent (Tim DeKay) who enlists him to track down white-collar criminals. The relationship between the leads is the strongest element in the show.