Posted by: wolferiver | May 17, 2009

Worth a Look

Now that the weeping and wailing over the past network television season is winding down — ALL my favorite shows were canceled, and we’re losing an hour of prime time drama to NBC’s killer plan of All-Leno-All-Week-All-Year-Long (oooh, doesn’t that sound delicious?? NOT!) — I’m hoping that we have some interesting cable shows to look forward to this summer.  Like the rest of us, the television networks are all economizing, so we can look forward to even more stupid reality shows and game shows and game/reality show hybrids.  Oh and all sorts of shows dealing with paranormal stuff. 

On USA (Characters Welcome) Burn Notice is returning.  In my last post about this show, I ventured the hope that it would not succumb to the same fate as most of USA’s shows, namely that they sink into formulaic repetition.  Season 2 managed to be just as much fun as season 1, so I’m ready for season 3 to begin.  (June 4.)

USA (Characters Welcome) has a new show airing that same night, Royal Pains, which might be worth at least a look.

Fox is perpetually trying to find ways to cope with its truncated fall season (due to the baseball playoffs), so it is trying to pique our interest in a new fall show by airing a single episode this coming Thursday, right after the finale for American Idol (gag).  The show is called Glee, and I guess you could say it’s a sort of clone of Fame, but with the focus more on geeks.  It’s produced by the same guy that did Nip/Tuck, and based on what I read here, I think I’ll check it out.  Musicals are definitely not my cup of tea, but this one looks like it’s about anyone who went through high school thinking that they were destined for better things.  (And that’s pretty much everyone here, right?)

Also on my summer list is TNT’s (We Know Drama) Saving Grace, and The Closer.  These two are aimed at women audiences.  There’s plenty of action in them, after all, they’re both cop shows, but their focus is on characters, with stories that are mostly a sort of simple framework upon which to hang some strong women characters.  (Er…they have strong men characters, too, but these shows are definitely for women viewers.) 

TNT (We Know Drama) is also bringing back Leverage, which debuted this past winter.  It was a winsome con-caper show, with Timothy Hutton in the lead.  He’s nearly overshadowed by this character, who plays the team’s geek, and who steals every scene he’s in.  (Sigh.  Doesn’t every team has that one guy who knows all about any electronic roadblock they face, instantly and without having to read the manual?)  The show is fun to watch, as long as you don’t examine its premise or its methods too closely.  (If versimilitude and gritty real life street drama is your thing, than skip this.)

Some dates to keep in mind:

  • June 4 (Burn Notice returns and Royal Pain debuts)
  • June 8 (The Closer returns)
  • June 16 (Saving Grace returns,
  • June 16 (Burn Notice AND Saving Grace season 2 released on DVD)
  • July 15 (Leverage returns)
  • July 21 (Pushing Daisies second season DVD is released.)
  • July 28 (the British Life on Mars series 1, region 1 DVD gets released)
  • July 28 (The Middleman complete TV season 1 DVD gets released)
  • August 28 (The Middleman complete season 1 DVD is released.)
  • September 29 (the American Life on Mars season 1 DVD gets released)

Scheduled summer network burn-offs for their canceled shows (from

“Pushing Daisies” (May 30-June 13), “Eli Stone” (June 20-July 11)…and “The Unusuals” (May 27-June 17)

(The Unusuals was an unexpectedly delightful replacement for Life On Mars.  Both shows are set on the gritty, urban streets of NYC, and both were well made.  What’re the odds of a replacement show being as good as the show it replaced?  So of course it was canceled!)

Kings returns to finish its remaining 7 episodes on Saturday, June 13.

Meanwhile, surf on over to Hulu, and check out these two gems of a short-lived TV series, Easy Money and Raines.


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