Summer TV Preview
By: John Paulsen
I never quite got the summer TV of old. For years,
the networks took a three-month break and just showed reruns of popular shows;
the argument was that nobody watches TV in the summer. In the last few years
there has been a renaissance of sorts -- seemingly led by HBO -- that has opened
the floodgates for new (and good) summer programming. The truth is that people
will watch TV all yearÖif itís good. Most of the networks are now on the
bandwagon, debuting new shows or new seasons of veteran shows. Hereís what Iím
going to watch (or try to watch) this summer:
"Family Guy," FOX (6/5): Technically this on-again/off-again animated series
returned in the beginning of May, but there are still 10 summer episodes left of
this brilliant show.
"Six Feet Under," HBO (6/6): Oscar-winning screenwriter Alan Ball's series about
a dysfunctional family that runs a funeral business is back for its fifth and
"Reno 911," Comedy Central (6/14): An unscripted comedy following members of the
Reno Police Department enters its third season. The first two seasons were
excellent, but you can start watching (and laughing) in June without missing a
"Rescue Me," FX (6/21): Denis Leary stars in this excellent dramedy about Engine
62 in New York City. If you havenít seen season one, go out and get the DVDs.
Stop reading now and go. Go!
"Monk," USA (7/8): An obsessive-compulsive detective fights crime in San
Francisco. Itís funny, dramatic and quite touching.
"The 4400," USA (6/5): The first season of this alien-abductee drama left me
lukewarm, but I like sci-fi, so Iím going to give it another shot.
"Entourage," HBO, (6/5): Surprisingly unfunny* for a comedy, this show does
provide an interesting look at the Hollywood scene.
*After two episodes of season two, the show is markedly funnier this season.
Jeremy Piven has always been great, but the writing for the supporting cast
(mainly Drama and Turtle) is noticeably improved.
"American Dad," FOX (6/5): From the creator of "Family Guy" comes this
animated series about an odd family led by a security-obsessed father who works
for the CIA. Hilarity should ensue.
"The Inside," FOX (6/8): Helmed by two former "Angel" producers, this show
focuses on a female rookie FBI agent who is assigned to the Bureauís Violent
Crimes Unit, which is dedicated to investigating only the most heinous crimes.
"Into The West," TNT (6/10): Steven Spielberg serves as executive producer for
this miniseries about the 19th century American West. If it is half as good as
"Band of Brothers," itís worth watching.
"Empire," ABC (6/28): This historical mini-series is set in 44 BC, around the
time Julius Caesar is assassinated. With a reported budget of $32 million, this
ambitious project has suffered several setbacks, but finally has been given a
"Over There," FX (July): Producer Steven Bochco ("Hill Street Blues," "NYPD
Blue") helms this drama about a platoon stationed in Iraq and their relatives at
home. FX has put out some very good shows of late ("The Shield,"
"Rescue Me" and
"Nip/Tuck"), so this series definitely has promise.
Rookies Worth a Look
"The Comeback," HBO (6/5): Lisa Kudrow ("Friends") returns to television as a
former B-list actress who agrees to star in a reality show following her
attempted comeback. Iíll watch just about anything HBO puts out, so this one is
on the roster.
"The Closer," TNT (6/13): Kyra Sedgwick ("Singles") stars as a CIA-trained
police detective with a grating personality who is assigned to lead a special LAPD unit that handles high profile murders. The ads that have run indicate that
the show might be a clunker, but Iím willing to give it an episode or two.
"30 Days," FX (6/15): Morgan Spurlock ("Super Size Me") hosts this one-hour
documentary series that will put an individual into an unfamiliar situation for
30 days. Iím not a fan of reality TV, but this sounds somewhat interesting.
"Stella," Comedy Central (6/28): Michael Ian Black ("Ed"), Michael Showalter and
David Wain star in this scripted adaptation of the trioís popular stage show,
which follows the misadventures of a trio of "modern-day Marx Brothers."
"Wanted," TNT (7/31): Gary Cole ("Office
Space," "The West Wing") stars in this drama about an elite team of crime
fighters who form a covert, undercover strike force to help track down Los
Angeles' 100 most-wanted fugitives.
Questions or comments? Email John at firstname.lastname@example.org.