Summer television used to be a complete joke. A placeholder between fall premiers and summer finales. But I honestly believe that in recent years, SOME networks, SOME shows have reached the level of excellence we have come to expect from our regular season fair. And for a TV addict such as myself, that means I don’t spend 3 months of the year pulling my hair out, bored out of my mind, waiting for September to finally come along. (And I guess that makes me just about the only person in the world who sometimes actively wishes for summer to go quicker!)
To what am I referring? I am so glad you asked! Here is my rundown of this summer’s best offerings and a couple suggestions for yourselves and the networks.
Though the amount of original programming decreases for the summer hiatus, the number of crime shows seems to stay the same.
The Glades, Rizzoli & Isles, Perception, Major Crimes, Franklin & Bash, Rookie Blue, Graceland… just to name a few. Proving that all year long we just cannot keep ourselves away from the blood and guts and mysteries for long. And none of these programs suffer from quality even if we are given much smaller quantities (Summer shows normally range from 8-13 episodes a season).
Summer is for “reality”
Another genre that thrives all year long is reality and competition programming. And while I do not have much to say on the reality front (yes, I actually do not watch everything and reality is a big, fat general “no” from me), the competitions sure do heat up. Fall season shows (Project Runway, ANTM, Masterchef) along with some made just for summer (Big Brother, Summer Camp).
One of my favorite new shows is a competition one called Whodunnit; A mindlessly entertaining program that actuallyengages your mind. The premise; 13 people are put together in a house, “murdered” one-by-one and the survivors must hunt for clues to save themselves and unmask, yes you guessed it, “whodunit” all. Because who hasn’t watched Law & Order and thought they could do better?! And while it is seriously over dramatized and they are all clearly being coach on how to (over)react, its fun to see if and how the layman solves a murder. And if you could survive the game.
USA Network is still King
While TNT is quickly building a more solid, larger schedule and ABC Family expands onwhat is arguably the best guilty pleasure programs available any season of the year, I still have to give the award to USA. Between a spectacular final season of Burn Notice, Covert Affairsand Necessary Roughness giving the fans what they’ve been waiting for (Auggie/Annie and Dani/Nico respectively) and a great new show in Graceland, they just keep delivering hit after hit! Why is that? For one, they seems to have a slightly lighter, more “summery tone”. There’s a bit more of a joking and fun flair to them.
As though they don’t all take themselves too seriously, too much of the time. They know that the weathers hot, people want to have fun outside and when season of Burn Notice, Covert Affairs and Necessary Roughness giving the fans what they’ve been waiting for (Auggie/Annie and Dani/Nico respectively) and a great new show in Graceland, they just keep delivering hit after hit! Why is that? For one, they seems to have a slightly lighter, more “summerytone”. There’s a bit more of a joking and fun flair to them. Like they don’t all take themselves too seriously, too much of the time. They know that the weathers hot, people want to have fun outside and when they are inside, they still aren’t quite ready for the heavy baggage too serious TV can bring. For another, they all feature great looking young actors, which never hurts. Fox should take some notes from their head of programming.
Premium Channels do it right, no matter what the season
Because of the short seasons HBO, Showtime, etc. have its not really fair to separate them into fall and summer shows when new seasons premiere almost every 3 months. But I’d be remise to forget about them entirely. Dexter, True Blood, The Newsroom, and so on all were on during our warm months and all perform well for their respective networks. Whether you want to hunt down killers with a killer, play with vampires or (my personal favorite) rewatch the news with Sorkin, you’re going to have a good time.
Where’s the laughs?
My last word on summer viewingIf there is anything summer programming is missing (listen up networks) its some good comedies. Now granted, the regular season is having some trouble with the 30 minute sitcom (and what the hell are they doing canceling shows like Don’t Trust the B, Happy Endings and Go On), I don’t think there are any on all summer worth their time slot. If any of you out there are watching one worth recommending please let me know.
If in doubt, and you still don’t have anything to watch, summer is the perfect time to catch up on shows both new, and old. (And most can be found on Netflix) My summer binges this year included;
Discovering The Walking Dead (LOVED and really have no idea how I wasn’t watching before)
Rewatching Battlestar Galactica and season 1 of Veronica Mars (YAY VM movie!!)
Continuing my love affair with The Newsroom and Aaron Sorkin (and finally getting my Don and Sloan moment!)
Devouring Top of the Lake (Elizabeth Moss is amazing and completely deserves her 2 Emmy nominations)