Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Summer tv breakdown

Have you been wondering exactly when and with what the summer tv season is beginning? I sure know I have, but there really isn't a good place to track down a simple list. Sure you can find specific previews of new shows at places like TV Guide, but even the usually reliable Metacritic has been slow to the gate this season. In fact I'd wager its easier to find run downs for this coming Fall's schedule than it is for the summer. So what gives? I know the summer season isn't as interesting overall, but man, without some direction, how am I gonna get my fix?!

Well no more fear people, I've found it, and from a very unlikely source, AOL. Yes, the cursed America Online. Any reasonable person hates them, but I have to honestly give them props for their early coverage of the summer shows. They got features on New Shows, Returning Show, and even a pretty comprehensive Calendar. And seeing as it's finale week (the American Idol finale is on as I type this) I thought now would be the perfect time to remind you of some of the cooler shows coming to the small screen this summer. Check the links above for AOL's full list.

American Gladiators - already started, airs Mondays at 8pm on NBC - official - Kicking off season 2 this week American Gladiators looks better than ever. They've got new events like Rocketball, Skytrack, and the Altrasphere, and new gladiators like the super hot Phoenix, and last season's winners on the other side of the area now. I can't help but love this show, and if you've missed it, NBC has just this week started featuring full episodes online. So catch the two you've missed so far and jump in for an awesome summer. btw, Wolf rulz.

Last Comic Standing - premiere's Thurs May 22nd at 9:30pm on NBC - official - Could the fact that they're actually searching outside of the US make a difference? I hope so...

Million Dollar Password - premieres Sun June 1st at 8pm on CBS - official site - It's the gameshow Password just like you remember, this time hosted by none other than Regis Philbin, and guest starring celebrities as Rosie O'Donnell and Neil Patrick Harris!! This is such a classic game show I'm surprised it hasn't been revived it the modern primetime gameshow era before, I expect this to be a lot of fun.

In Plain Sight - premieres on Sun June 1st at 10pm on USA - official - Mary McCormack stars as a US Marshall who works to place people in the witness protection program. Something about the look of the series makes me think it'll be sweet and fun, and fit perfectly into the USA networks kind of shows. Could this be the next Psych? I hope so.

Swingtown - premieres Thurs June 5th at 10pm on CBS - official - 1970s American suburbia, sexual revolution fallout, drug experimentation, rock and roll, a crazy time to be sure. This show if it really sticks to its guns could be great. It sounds like The Ice Storm, only hopefully funnier. I have high hopes for this new show. But if its not edgy, if it can't keep to the boundaries it will fail miserably. We'll have to see what happens.

Fear Itself - premieres Thurs June 5th at 10pm on NBC - official - I already talked about how Fear Itself looks like it could be really cool. It's a new horror anthology series that sounds just about perfect for a breezy summer. Also it bodes well that it's attracted a few big name and some truly stellar horror directors like Stuart Gordon (Re-Animator), Brad Anderson (The Machinist), Mary Harron (American Psycho), and John Landis (a ton of great films). Check out this trailer.

Charlie Jade - premieres Fri June 6th at 8pm on SciFi - official - I have never even heard of this show before now. Its Canadian apparently. And it follows a Private Investigator through three ecologically minded parallel universes. The show features the present day, and then two possible futures, one a ruined shell of the world we know, racked by the fallout of global warming, and the other a Utopian green friendly world where we took Al Gore's advice. Sounds like it could be heavy handed, but screw it, its still kinda a cool idea.

Weeds - premieres Mon June 16th at 10pm on Showtime - official - Man I wish I got Showtime :( If you haven't seen this show, you must. Go rent the dvds!

I Survived a Japanese Game Show - premieres Tues June 24th at 9pm on ABC - official - Don't ask me why, but I think this might be fun. It takes 10 American contestants to Japan for a series of grueling and wacky competitions. Hooray for cultural differences!

Burn Notice - premieres Thurs July 10th at 10pm on USA - official - I got a bit behind about midway through last season and haven't caught up yet, but from what I heard the show really started kicking into high gear for the season 1 finale, I'm interested to see what they do for season 2. If you don't know this show I recommend just randomly watching any episode. It's really fun, lazy Sunday afternoon sort of fare when a Bond movie isn't on. Besides... it's got Bruce Campbell.

Flashpoint - premieres Fri July 11th on CBS - official - Another Canadian show imported to the states, how could you not be interested to see what as far as I can tell amounts to a Canadian version of 24. I'm stoked to see what this show is really all about.

Big Brother - premieres Sun July 13th at 8pm on CBS - official - My personal guilty pleasure. By now you should know either you love it, or you hate it. For me, this is the best reality tv.

Psych - premieres Fri July 18th at 10pm on USA - official - I challenge you to not like this show. It is utterly charming in every way. Check out old episodes online, to prepare yourself for the imminent glory of season 3. I promise it'll make you smile :)

Jingles - premieres Sun July 27th at 9pm on CBS - Mark Burnett's latest reality game show finds contestants making up and performing jingles. It'll be judged live and voted on by the viewers a la American Idol. How can this possibly fail?!

Mad Men - July on AMC - official - Such a truly special show, this is one that almost everyone missed, but man it was phenomenal. I REALLY recommend you check it out. The dvds for season 1 go on sale July 1st. This is a show about advertising men in the 50s and it absolutely blew me away. Seriously, watch this, its just fantastic. Watch this clip and you'll see. The writing, acting, and overall production value of this show are truly amazing.

And I have to say... that's really about all. For a bigger preview list as I said, drop by AOL, and look through their pretty nice Calendar. Or as I search around more I see that Metacritic has in fact put up their summer list since a few days ago. Check them out as well. Mix all these shows in with specials like A&Es Andromeda Strain, airing this coming Monday the 26th, at 9pm, and of course the Olympics, to be shown on NBC and like 27 of the various NBC affiliate networks, and you end up with a jam packed summer of television! Thank goodness you don't have to go outdoors anymore, or like you know, socialize.

What television are you planning on watching this summer? Anything? everything? what big shows did I miss in my haste, let me know before I miss them myself! Thank you everyone, and until next time good night.

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