We're now standing on the cusp of the summer TV season, and, unlike the bleak rerun crap we were stuck with when I was in high school, summer TV isn't nearly so dismal anymore! Media like TV on DVD, iTunes, and internet viewing have made reruns too accessible for viewers so that networks have been smarter to avoid boring us with stuff we've already seen. Ergo, they've been busting out, if not the big guns, certainly the li'ler, more playful guns between June and August. Don't get me wrong: I'd much rather have A-game shows like Fringe and Parks and Recreation than solid B shows like Rookie Blue, but after years of TV coming to a sudden halt after nine months of fairly regular new programing, it's nice to see some variety during the months when not all of us get to go on vacations to strange and exotic and apparently TV-less places!
So, for you, friends, I have compiled an alphabetical list of shows I plan to watch this summer, not including ones that are still going because they awkwardly began their late-season runs in March/April (like The Killing and Friday Night Lights, both of which are levels of awesome that are too high for summer TV, proper). Feel free to peruse at will. What are you watching this summer? Does anyone have any idea when Project Runway is coming back?
Covert Affairs (USA, currently airing): Less angsty Alias-knockoff? Perhaps, but I can't help it: I think this show's a blast! I always enjoy seeing capable people tackle tough situations with superhero-like abilities (which is why the Bourne movies are so much fun), while still maintaining a humanity we can all relate to (and that is the formula for a good action TV show, my friends). In short, Annie Walker (played by Golden Globe nominee Piper Perabo, who is no longer the poor woman's Amanda Peet) is a fun lead to follow on this occasionally formulaic, but never boring spy show.
In Plain Sight (USA, currently airing): I don't know why I like this show so much. It's a fairly run of the mill procedural, with a case of the week type of formula. Yet, there's something kind of hypnotizing about Mary McCormack's performance, as well as her chemistry with co-star Fred Weller. [SPOILER ALERT!] This season, it will be most interesting to see how McCormack's Mary Shannon tackles maternity, and whether it causes her to lighten up a little bit.
Love in the Wild (NBC, 29 June): Granted, this looks a little stupid, and there's about a 60% chance I'll watch one episode, turn it off, and never look back, but as dating shows go, it looks kind of fun. Couples testing their relationships (or going on first dates? I don't know: the ads are vague) through jungle adventures in Costa Rica? Well, why not?
Necessary Roughness (USA, 29 June): Apparently, this is based on a true story, and not, apparently, on the Scott Bakula classic film of the same name from 1991. How fun is that?! I love the idea of pursuing a "sports drama" through psychiatry, because as any athlete will tell you, the mind is sometimes harder to tame than the body.
Platinum Hit (Bravo, currently airing): I posted a little pre-show expectations summary about this show a couple of weeks ago, and I'm happy to report that this show is working for me thus far. It demystifies the songwriting process, which in itself is an interesting thing to see, while maintaining that the writers all need to bring pieces of themselves to the songs they write. Fascinating! The songs they've come up with haven't been half-bad, either. Plus, Kara DioGuardi has been nothing but insightful, previews for upcoming episodes hint at a showmance, and at least two of the contestants seem to be bona fide douchebags (I'll let you figure out whom). I love a show where creativity reigns supreme!
Pretty Little Liars (ABC Family, 14 June): While I'm sad to lose Make It or Break It for a few months, I welcome the return of PLL, a show with such an addictive quality to it that I've forgotten I'm supposed to be embarrassed to like it. Like with The Vampire Diaries, I constantly find myself questioning the long-term viability of the mystery plot-line it pursues, but also like TVD, the show has yet to let me down. I'm looking forward to seeing what it can dish out in season 2!
Rizzoli and Isles (TNT, 11 July): The moment this show won me over last season was when Rizzoli and Isles were running a Boston Marathon-type marathon in Boston, but they had to stop to solve a crime. While I would never stop running a marathon to solve a crime, I like that they were running it in the first place.
Rookie Blue (ABC, 23 June): I hated this show at first, but it grew on me in a major way last season to the point that I was more than a little annoyed to have to wait 10 months for new episodes when the season ended. It's a little like a police version of Grey's Anatomy set in Toronto. If that sounds like something you'd enjoy, and if you ever appreciated Gregory Smith on Everwood or Missy Peregrym on life as we know it, you should tune into this one.
So You Think You Can Dance (FOX, currently airing): While I enjoy the madness of American Idol and the creative punch of Project Runway, SYTYCD is in my opinion the best competition reality show on TV. Unlike Idol, the contestants chosen are always extremely talented. The show recognizes that the kind of skill involved in dancing is something that must be attained through a combination of years of hard work, good body type, natural ability, and artistic sensibility, and it's always nice to see contestants critiqued with these things in mind. On top of all that, back-stories only really matter when the contestant has the dancing chops to accompany their sob story. I love the routines, the gaggle of talented choreographers, the personalities of the dancers, and the apparently encouraging atmosphere among the dancers themselves. I. Love. This. Show.
Suits (USA, 23 June): USA is where it's at this summer, y'all! I like the idea of an ambitious scrapper with a Will Hunting brain and no law degree working for a high powered law firm. Could be fun, right?