Summer shows perform better than ever
Published: Tuesday, August 30, 2011
Updated: Tuesday, August 30, 2011 00:08
It used to be that summertime meant lots of reruns on television, but in recent years, summers have been characterized by the premieres of some great new series. With even more fun shows premiering this summer, there was no shortage of programs to watch when trying to beat the heat. Here is a recap of just some of the great series that have been on television this summer:
Burn Notice (USA): USA seems to be the go-to channel for breezy and fun original summer series, as is evident by looking down this list. Burn Notice, which came back this summer in its fifth season, was one of the series that launched the phenomenon that is a summer season of good television. The Miami-set show follows burned spy—meaning he has been blacklisted by all U.S. intelligence agencies—Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan); his on-again, off-again girlfriend Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar) who is an ex-IRA operative; and his friend Sam (Bruce Campbell), a former Navy Seal and military intelligence operative, as they help out local citizens with investigative tasks. This summer's season found Michael recently un-burned and back with the CIA, which has made for some interesting storylines. A real standout in this show, however, is Sharon Gless as Michael's hilarious mother Madeline. If you didn't catch Burn Notice this summer, you can always watch it when it comes back in its fall season.
Covert Affairs (USA): Another USA series, Covert Affairs premiered last summer and stars Piper Perabo as Annie Walker, a young CIA field operative who goes undercover on a different mission in each episode under the guidance of her blind colleague Auggie Anderson (Christopher Gorham). Annie keeps her real job a secret from her sister Danielle (Anne Dudek) and instead maintains a cover that she works at the Smithsonian Institution. However, at the end of this summer's season finale, Annie causes a rift between her and her sister. Like Burn Notice, more episodes of Covert Affairs will be shown in the fall season.
Franklin & Bash (TNT): An entertaining new show this summer, Franklin & Bash stars Breckin Meyer and Mark-Paul Gosselaar as the titular lawyers and best friends Jared Franklin and Peter Bash. They are hired to work at the prestigious law firm Infeld Daniels by the quirky Stanton Infeld (Malcolm McDowell), and they bring their unconventional style with them. Franklin and Bash's ridiculous courtroom antics make the show fun to watch, as does the over-the-top bachelor pad that the two live in. Even more amusing is their agoraphobic legal aid Pindar (Kumail Nanjiani), who lives with them in the outrageous home.
The Glades (A&E): A&E's South Florida-set drama, which premiered last summer, has something major going for it: The characters are believable—not too over-the-top, not too overacted. The Glades stars Matt Passmore as Detective Jim Longworth, a homicide detective from Chicago who transfers to the town of Palm Glade, located near the Everglades, to work for the Florida Department of Law Enforcement. Here, he encounters his fair share of swamp creatures while investigating murders, and he strikes up a relationship with Callie (Kiele Sanchez), a tough nurse who, in this summer's second season, has been hired as the FDLE's forensic nurse. In addition to believable characters and dynamics, the mysteries are not easy to figure out, and the unexpected twists that occur in each episode really keep the show exciting.
In Plain Sight (USA): In this drama, which had its fourth season this summer, U.S. Marshal Mary Shannon (Mary McCormack) works for the Witness Protection Program and is based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. Aside from focusing on the federal witnesses that Mary and her partner Marshal Marshall Mann (Fred Weller)—yes, that's right, a marshal named Marshall—must protect, the series also examines Mary's dysfunctional family, including her recovering alcoholic mother, Jinx (Lesley Anne Warren) and her former wild-child younger sister, Brandi (Nichole Hiltz). But it's Mary's tough-as-nails attitude combined with her snarky quips and clever insight that make her such a likeable character and make the series so wonderful. In Plain Sight will return for a fifth (and unfortunately final) season in the spring.
Necessary Roughness (USA): Another new series this summer, Necessary Roughness stars Callie Thorne as Dr. Dani Santino, a psychotherapist in the midst of divorcing her cheating husband, who is hired by the local professional football team, the New York Hawks, to counsel the team's out-of-control wide receiver Terrence "TK" King (Mehcad Brooks). Dr. Santino must counsel other high-profile athletes and celebrities while dealing with the unpredictable TK popping in unexpectedly on her and her family.
Rizzoli & Isles (TNT): Rizzoli & Isles is based on the series of novels by Tess Gerritsen and stars Angie Harmon as the tough and tomboyish Boston homicide detective Jane Rizzoli and Sasha Alexander as her good friend, medical examiner Dr. Maura Isles. Rizzoli and the slightly high-strung and socially awkward Isles balance each other out, and the two work closely together in each episode to solve murders, each using her own area of expertise. This summer's season has also focused a little more on the two women's families, including Jane's nagging mother (Lorraine Bracco); her brother Frankie Jr. (Jordan Bridges), who is also working to become a detective; and her other brother Tommy (Colin Egglesfield), who has recently been released from prison. Maura's pretentious and slightly cold mother (Jacqueline Bisset) also makes a rare appearance in her life and stirs up some emotions.
Royal Pains (USA): This show about Hamptons concierge doctor Hank Lawson (Mark Feurstein) started its third season this summer. Hank comes to the Hamptons with his brother, Evan (Paulo Costanzo), who convinces him to start HankMed and work as a concierge doctor by making house calls and treating the super-wealthy residents of the Hamptons with the help of his physician assistant Divya (Reshma Shetty). This summer's season has also dealt with Hank and Evan's father Eddie's (Henry Winkler) release from prison and delves deeper into the mysterious life of Boris (Campbell Scott), the wealthy German duke who lends his guesthouse to Hank and Evan.
Suits (USA): Yet another new offering this summer, Suits is a clever comedy-drama about Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams), a college-dropout genius with a photographic memory who has made some poor life choices. After Mike tries to flee from a compromised drug deal at a swanky hotel, he stumbles into an interview with debonair lawyer Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht). Harvey winds up hiring Mike on the spot and the two must make sure to hide Mike's lack of a degree from the rest of the firm. This proves a somewhat hard act to keep up, with the grating, rat-like Lewis Litt (Rick Hoffman), a partner in the firm, constantly badgering both Mike and Harvey. Mike also finds it especially difficult to hide his secret from the firm's pretty paralegal Rachel (Meghan Markle).
White Collar (USA): In White Collar, suave con artist Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer), an expert forger and thief, is finally caught by FBI agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay). Instead of jail time, Neal wears a tracking device on his ankle and works closely with Peter and the other Feds, using his own criminal knowledge to help catch other wanted criminals. In this summer's third season, Neal shows that it is difficult not to go back to his old ways, and he works with his peculiar and always amusing friend Mozzie (Willie Garson) to hide a cache of stolen artwork from the Feds.