Tuesday June 21, 2011 00:33
Best TV Shows of Summer 2011
Recently I was trying to make sure that I had my DVR all set up to catch the increasing number of seasonal summer shows that are out. If you want to watch shows on more than one station and not read a bunch of reviews it can be a bit hard to keep up. So I cherry picked some stuff that you might enjoy. I recommend checking out epguides.com for info on all current series that you might want to watch. In this day and age you don’t have to have every channel to watch a show. Check out the official sites or, ahem, other methods at your discretion. This is a little long winded. Of course you can just look through the pictures and watch the shows with the prettiest people (which is what we often do anyway).
*Clicking the series title will take you to the show’s official site. Series that are already in progress will not have a date next to them. If the current season hasn’t begun yet you will see a start date next to the title.
Leverage-Sundays 9PM ET TNT (6/26)
Leverage is about a really fun gang of criminals who each have different talents that they utilize to solve cases in a Robin Hood sort of way, plus occasionally they get some dough too. I originally started watching because I’m a big fan of Timothy Hutton and Christian Kane. However the other actors are all terrific as well. The cast is passionate about the show and often participates in web chats and things of that nature. The show costars Gina Bellman, Beth Riesgraf and Aldis Hodge. Although there are plots that continue during the series you can watch one episode here and there and find it enjoyable without being completely confused or anything. Plus Christian Kane fighting people! Oh and lots of disguises!
True Blood-Sundays 9PM ET HBO (6/26)
True Blood is entering it’s 4th season. It’s about vampires, werewolves, sex, booze, blood, religion, love and obsession. I’m guessing that you are already watching though. The series is based on the Sookie Stackhouse or Southern Vampire Mysteries by author Charlaine Harris. The series was created by Alan Ball (Six Feet Under). The talented cast includes Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Sam Trammell, Ryan Kwanten, Rutina Wesley and Kristin Bauer.
Drop Dead Diva-Sundays 9PM ET Lifetime
If you’re not a woman or a gay man then Drop Dead Diva is probably not for you. The series stars Brooke Elliott as Jane Bingum (who is great), April Bowlby, Margaret Cho, Kate Levering, Jackson Hurst, Ben Feldman and Josh Stamberg. When the series first started I almost unwillingly watched the premiere episode, was disgusted and decided that I would never watch it again. I assumed that it was feeding off of that whole let’s put a “plus size” woman on a series and debase her. However I caught a couple of episodes of the second season here and there later and then caught up with both seasons while ill a few months ago. The initial set up is about a thin wannabe model who swaps bodies with a lawyer when they are both in accidents. Okay, you know I’m a sucker for body switcher stuff. The thing is that once you get past all of the ridiculous “fat stuff” the show is usually pretty fun and a little insightful. There are also dream sequences/hallucinations that put me in mind of Ally McBeal. That and the cases mirror the characters lives. I really love the dynamic between the lead best friends of Jane and Stacy. And for those who are watching, ah, big Grayson stuff is happening yall! (I could do without Paula Abdul but nothing’s perfect.)
Watch season 1 on Netflix Instant Streaming
Falling Skies-Sundays 9PM ET TNT
Falling Skies is the new apocalyptic alien series from Steven Spielberg . I watched the first part of the first episode so far (give me a break, it’s 2 hours and populated by tweens). I like the idea of the series, that humans are left without technology after/during an alien invasion and have to forage for themselves. However it’s slow moving, some of the characters are idiots and it smacks of ridiculous over the top every demographic is represented casting which feels forced and a little racist. I have a feeling that if you like The Walking Dead that this is right up your alley. I’m going to try to hang in there because I have a thing for Noah Wyle post ER and there are no new Librarian movies on the horizon.
Breaking Bad-Sundays 10PM ET AMC (7/17)
Breaking Bad is a fantastic show about a chemistry teacher who becomes desperate for money after being diagnosed with cancer. He turns to meth as a way to pay cash. Chemistry, you see? The 4th season starts soon. You may be worried that it could run out of steam quickly but it’s exactly the opposite. Once he’s in that lifestyle he’s forced to examine/change who he is to survive. The series stars Bryan Cranston, Anna Gunn, Aaron Paul, Dean Norris, Betsey Brandt and RJ Mitte.
Curb Your Enthusiasm-Sundays 10PM ET HBO (7/10)
I have to admit that I haven’t watched an entire episode of this show yet and it’s been on for years. I don’t know why, I just haven’t gotten around to it yet. I guess that the series is a black comedy starring Seinfeld creator Larry David as a fictionalized version of himself. I’m a big fan of the series Seinfeld and I thought that David was great in Whatever Works so I need to get around to checking this series out. Cheryl Hines and Jeff Garlin costar.
Buy Curb Your Enthusiasm on Amazon
Weeds-Mondays 10PM ET Showtime (6/27)
You can read my previous thoughts on the amazing Weeds here. This season sounds interesting and very different, set in NYC and post jail time. Last season was fantastic and you must watch it as well.
Watch seasons 1-5 on Netflix Instant Streaming
The Big C-Mondays 10:30PM ET Showtime (6/27)
The highly talented Laura Linney stars as a neurotic, suburban teacher who finds out that she has cancer and then struggles with whether or not to tell others and how to actually start living her life in a way that brings her joy. The show costars Oliver Platt (who I love), John Benjamin Hickey, Reid Scott (My Boys), Gabourey Sidibe and Gabriel Basso. You can watch the pilot episode below. I feel that it takes 2 to 3 episodes to really get a feel for the show though. You can participate in The Big C’s C Yourself application on Facebook in which Showtime will donate $5 to the American Cancer Society for every user who posts a photo of themselves with their hand in the shape of a C. This ends on July 25, 2011.
You can watch the first episode of the first season on Showtime’s official site
The Nine Lives of Chloe King-Tuesdays 9PM ET ABC Family
I normally wouldn’t go out of my way to watch a teenage show but the commercials for this series were captivating. It turns out that the series is too. It puts me in mind of a more upbeat Dark Angel. On her 16th birthday Chloe King decides to be more adventurous and fortright. During the next few days she starts getting ancient cat powers. There are probably already 50 reviews about how this is a metaphor for teenagers and puberty or teenagers and alienation or whatever. Who cares? This seems like it has the potentional to be a really great show. The series stars Skyler Samuels as Chloe King, Amy Pietz, Grey Damon, Grace Phipps, Benjamin Stone, Alyssa Diaz and Ki Hong Lee.
Covert Affairs-Tuesdays 10PM ET USA
Covert Affairs stars Piper Perabo (Coyote Ugly), Christopher Gorham (Jake 2.0, Out of Practice, Ugly Betty), Peter Gallagher, Karit Matchett, Anne Dudek (White Chicks) and Sendhil Ramamurthy in a series about undercover CIA agents. I’m hoping for the sexy, blind but capable Auggie (Christopher Gorham) to get more missions this season.
Melissa & Joey-Wednesdays 8PM ET ABC Family (6/29)
I watch Melissa & Joey because I am a sucker for my own nostalgia. I grew up on Sabrina the Teenage Witch (Melissa Joan Hart) and Clarissa Explains It All and to a lesser extent Blossom (Joey Lawrence, sorry you’re not getting a Joseph out of me). Hart often tweets about the series. I think that she really loves making it because she gets to play her age (to an extent, this is an ABC channel) instead of a teen. She has also said something to the effect that it has Two & A Half Men style humor. While there are some adult jokes here and there it’s way more tame. Because this is a fantasy land MJH is a councilwoman with a partying past (so sometimes she gets to wear great dresses) and Joey is a former commodities trader who becomes her nanny (for teenagers). It’s all very zany, you see. I would recommend not overthinking this and just giggling along.
State of Georgia-Wednesdays 8:30PM ET ABC Family (6/29)
The writer/producer for this show is Jennifer Weiner (In Her Shoes, Good In Bed) which is a good reason to give a go. It stars Raven-Symone and Majandra Delfino (Roswell, who never ages). Apparently Raven plays an aspiring actress. I like both actresses but find Symone overbearing at times. I’ll try anything once.
Franklin & Bash-Wednesdays 9PM ET TNT
I freaking love Franklin & Bash. If you follow me on twitter then you know that I shall tweet about F&B and Mark-Paul Gosselaar when the mood strikes me. Franklin & Bash is about dudeish Mutt & Jeff lawyers (Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Breckin Meyers, double yum) who will solve cases despite their goofball antics. Also lots of top and bottomless Mark-Paul scenes (be still my heart, pass the vapors!). Malcolm McDowell costars as their eccentric boss. He seems to be having so much fun in the role and when you see him behind his desk helping hot women half his age you can’t help but recall his short lived and immensely fun role in Fantasy Island. Reed Diamond (i.e. that crazy guy from Dollhouse) costars as their put upon coworker who is getting shown up despite his work ethic. Garcelle Beauvais, Kumail Nanjiani and Alexandra Holden (Drop Dead Gorgeous, Sugar & Spice, Friends) costar.
Watch episodes on TNT.com
Royal Pains-Wednesdays 9PM ET USA (6/29)
Royal Pains is about a doctor (Mark Feuerstein-In Her Shoes, Conrad Bloom) who loses his license but his enterprising brother (Paulo Costanzo-Road Trip, Joey) and he go into business as a concierge doctor (he makes housecalls for rich people) in the Hamptons, which I’m inclined to believe is a real thing. Hayden Christensen has claimed and sued in the past alleging that the series is based on he and his brother’s idea for a show called Housecall with this plot that USA passed on. This sounds feasible but he lost the case. Also you can’t really feel bad for the guy, he should have socked some Star Wars money away. Reshma Shetty and Jill Flint costar. Campbell Scott and Henry Winkler have reoccurring roles. The show is good for clean cut eye candy and opportunities to yell at the screen saying “It was that disease all along?!”.
Project Runway-Wednesdays 9PM ET Lifetime (7/27)
Project Runway is, of course, a reality show about people striving to become fashion designers. Heidi Klum, Tim Gunn, Nina Garcia and Michael Kors are the judges. Often there are guest judges. Being a reality show the contestants are pitted against each other and very catty. Gunn can criticize with just an eyebrow raise and Klum tries to give advice that we often can’t understand through her accent. If you plan to watch this then I recommend catching the new season from the beginning.
Wipeout-Thursdays 8PM ET ABC (Tuesday 6/21)
It should probably embarrass me that I occasionally check out Wipeout when there is nothing else on. It’s just a game show about people doing a ridiculous obstacle course to win money. It’s hosted by John Henson (Talk Soup). It’s only like 1/4 as good as Ninja Warrior but my service provider doesn’t give us G4 anymore so sayonara. Warning: Watching this show may make you want to compete.
Burn Notice is sunny (shot in Miami), breezy episodic television starring Jeffrey Donovan (Blair Witch 2), Bruce Campbell, Gabrielle Anwar and Sharon Gless (Queer As Folk). The show revolves around ex-spies (they were “burned”, i.e. fired) who use their skills to fix shady situations. You can fall into any episode of Burn Notice and enjoy it. I will be forever appreciative of a show that showcases Bruce Campbell like this. In fact during their last hiatus they even gave his character his own made for TV movie, check out the official site for the best posters of him in character. During this, the show’s 5th season, Fiona is supposed to be getting a new love interest.
Suits-Thursdays 10PM ET USA (6/23)
Suits is a show about hot lawyers (one with a degree, one without but who is a genius). It stars Gabriel Macht (who I loved in The Spirit), Patrick J. Adams, Meghan Markle, Rick Hoffman and as browncoats will be happy to hear, Gina Torres. As writer from Rolling Stone said “USA Network continues its stranglehold on breezy Eighties-style dramas about swaggering meatballs in designer threads.” He said this as a dis but that’s why I enjoy shows like this. While someone like Jackie Collins finds escapism in Shameless people like me get a kick out of rich, polished, handsome men because that’s not our world.
This is a comedy about a guy (played by Elijah Wood) who tries to commit suicide and then (hallucinating/dead?) becomes friends with a guy in a dog suit. Looks interesting.
Futurama-Thursdays 10PM ET Comedy Central (6/23)
You remember how I already told you to watch Futurama. Just do it, so funny. Bender forever!
Louie-Thursdays 10:30PM ET FX (6/23)
I admit that I was basically clueless about Louie C.K. until I read an interview with him in a men’s magazine recently (the name/issue escapes me, I read a lot). The article showed how funny, smart and insightful this guy is. He puts me in mind of fellow comedians, Doug Stanhope and David Cross. I watched his Netflix special as well and 2 episodes of this series and I am sold. I will definitely be checking this out. This is his second show. Info on the first one is here. The show is about a fictionalized version of himself. It can be uncomfortable to watch but very funny.
Childrens Hospital-Thursdays 12AM ET Cartoon Network
If you read this blog semi-regularly then you’ve probably already read about my love of Children’s Hospital and ahem, Ken Marino. Children’s Hospital is a hysterically funny satire of medical dramas. The first few times you watch you may be thrown by the “on a previous episode of Children’s Hospital” in which they recap things that often have never happened before during the series. It’s a fun show with a mix of thinking and obvious sight gag humor. The show has a huge, ever changing cast with fantastic guest stars. The regular cast also includes Rob Corddry, Rob Huebel, Megan Mullally, Erin Hayes, Lake Bell and Malin Akerman.
Watch select new episodes on AdultSwim.com
Haven-Fridays 10PM ET SyFy (7/15)
Plot: “A shrewd FBI agent with a lost past who arrives in the small town of Haven, Maine, to solve the murder of a local ex-con only to discover that the curious enclave is a longtime refuge for people with supernatural powers that holds a lot of secrets, including to her own past.” from (IMDB.com), I have not watched all of Haven but it’s basically a monster of the week type of show. I watch for the sex on a stick Eric Balfour (Skyline, Six Feet Under). The show costars Emily Rose, Lucas Bryant and Nicholas Campbell.
Check It Out
How to Create a USA Show in 6 Easy Steps at nymag.com
5 Things TV Writers Apparently Believe About Smart People at Cracked.com
NOTE: This post was last updated on 07/21/11. I rearranged the shows by what day they air on because it flows better and is easier to find what you are looking for this way. Previously the shows were in alphabetical order.