Summer TV 2011 – Part 1

I’m pretty excited that these days there is actually something that can be called “the summer tv season”. It’s mainly courtesy of US cable networks such as USA, ABC Family, etc. who seem to be taking the opportunity of the summer gap to introduce lighter fare, quirkier stuff, and shows that might not find as much success in the fall season.

Burn Notice has found success with a definite formula to most of its episodes as a kind of quasi-spy, MacGyver-esque procedural. This season, Michael Westen is back on the CIA payroll after finally getting back at the people who burned him (Grant Show guests as his CIA liaison). I guess that’s supposed to create a new angle to the show, but so far he’s still working out of Miami with posse Sam and Fiona in tow. We’ll have to wait and see if this season brings anything different (though I already know I don’t like Mikey’s new hairstyle). White Collar, on the other hand, has added a bit of an interesting new dynamic. Charming con-man Neil Caffrey is looking over his shoulder more since he’s trying to sell his stolen Nazi art and Peter, his FBI keeper, is on to him. This adds an enjoyable bit of cat-and-mousery to each episode. Neil’s new girlfriend, however, doesn’t add much to the mix except for the opportunity for double dates (snore). Leverage is also back with its tongue-in-cheek cases of thieves helping the downtrodden. The team was all supposed to split up (again) and lay low, but that’s over. For what it’s worth, they’re back on the case.

Drop Dead Diva returns with two new legal shows in tow (which is great news for me, since I love legal shows). I’m not sure about this season since it seems to be all about soapy relationships. Jane loves Greyson, but has to put on a brave face as his “best man”. Parker still loves Kim, but she’s trying to keep him out of her life. Finally, Stacey and Fred are beginning their new relationship, but he’s still a newbie at being human, never mind being a boyfriend. Remember when this show was about those legal cases (or when it was about Jane’s issues being a model trapped in a lawyer’s body)? Franklin & Bash and Suits make legal shows into the new bromance. When Franklin (played by Breckin Meyer) and Bash (played by Mark-Paul Gosselaar) take their bachelor-pad of a legal practice (complete with hot tub parties) and join a prestigious large firm run by the quirky Malcolm McDowell, hilarity ensues. I definitely expected to write this show off as a fratboy fantasy, but I actually like it a lot. Similarly, Suits takes a premise (young guy with eidetic memory fakes his way into a prestigious law firm, to become partnered with super-slick hotshot closer) and builds a series with some interesting characters, including Gabriel Macht (he played the title role in The Spirit) as the hotshot, and Gina Torres (back from the Whedonverse) as his silk shark of a boss. Newcomer Patrick Adams plays Mike Ross, the newbie with the brain of gold.

Necessary Roughness is another USA Network show that I just stumbled upon. Not being much of a sports fan, I didn’t think to watch a show centred around a therapist working with a football team. As you’d expect, Dr. Dani has other cases, but we also get a healthy glimpse into her family and dating life. As much as I like Callie Thorne in the lead (and her lust interest, former Whedonverse boy toy Marc Blucas as the team trainer), I’m not a fan of Mehcad Brooks (remember him as Eggs on True Blood) as a difficult, self-centered diva of a quarterback. Nevertheless, this show has potential. In a totally different vein, Pretty Little Liars is also back after its cliffhanger. Possible murderer Ian died but with his body gone, who’s going to believe Spencer’s story? The mysterious A continues to plague their lives (always one step ahead of Aria, Spencer, Hanna, and Emily), Alison’s brother comes back to town (played by Drew Van Acker). Now their parents don’t want them hanging out together anymore. As a viewer, I am enjoying all the twists and surprises, but it can’t be easy being a pretty little liar.

Since there is just so much TV to talk about (yay!), I’m saving the more sci-fi/genre stuff for a second post. Stay tuned!

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