Television Summer 2009


New Drama Series

Dark Blue (TNT) - June 15, 10pm
Glee (Fox) - Preview May 15, series runs this fall
HawthoRNe (TNT) - June 16, 9pm
The Listener (NBC) - June 4, 10pm
Make it or Break It (ABC Family) - June 22, 9pm
Mental (Fox) - May 26, 9pm
The Philanthropist (NBC) - June 24, 10pm
Royal Pains (USA) - June 4, 10pm
Warehouse 13 (SyFy) - July 7, 9pm


Impact (ABC) - June 21, 9pm
Meteor (NBC) - July 12, 9pm
The Storm (NBC) - July 26, 9pm

Returning Drama Series

Army Wives (Lifetime)
Burn Notice (USA)
The Cleaner (A&E)
The Closer (TNT) - June 8, 9pm
Eureka (SyFy)
Hotel Babylon (BBCA)
Leverage (TNT) - July 15, 9pm
Lincoln Heights (ABC Family)
Mad Men (A&E)
Monk (USA)
Primeval (BBCA)
Psych (USA)
Raising the Bar (TNT) - June 8, 10pm
Robin Hood (BBCA)
Saving Grace (TNT) - July 16, 10pm
Secret Life of the American Teenager (ABC Family)
Torchwood (BBCA)
True Blood (HBO)

New Comedy Series

10 Things I Hate About You (ABC Family) - July 7, 8pm
The Goode Family (ABC) - May 27, 9pm
Nurse Jackie (SHO) - June 8, 10:30pm
Ruby & the Rockits (ABC Family) - June 21, 8:30pm

Returning Comedy Series

Bill Engvall (TBS)
Curb Your Enthusiasm (HBO)
Entourage (HBO)
Scare Tactics (HBO)
Tyle Perry's Meet the Browns (TBS)
Weeds (SHO)


Dark Blue (TNT)

In Dark Blue, Dylan McDermott stars as Carter Shaw, the head of a crack undercover team of police officers who are so covert, many of their own colleagues don’t even know they are involved. Shaw is a deeply wounded character, having lost his wife and much of his former life as he struggles to bring down bad guys through complex undercover assignments. His team includes a recently married cop (Hardwick) who struggles with personal relationships he has developed while undercover; a shoot-from-the-hip officer (Marshall-Green) whose activities make fellow team members wonder if he has gone over to the bad side; and a green patrol cop brought in because of her excellent skill in lying and a shady past (Aycox).
Premieres June 15 at 10/9c

10 episodes



Glee (Fox)

It does seem like we're only getting a "preview" on May 19: "Fox will sell the episode on iTunes all summer and a different version of the pilot will air as the series premiere in the fall."

From Ryan Murphy, the creator of "Nip/Tuck" and "Popular," comes GLEE, a one-hour musical comedy that follows an optimistic high school teacher as he tries to transform the school's Glee Club and inspire a group of ragtag performers to make it to the biggest competition of them all: Nationals.

McKinley High School's Glee Club used to be at the top of the show choir world, but years later, a series of scandals have turned it into a haven for misfits and social outcasts. WILL SCHUESTER (Matthew Morrison, Broadway's "Hairspray"), a young optimistic teacher, has offered to take on the Herculean task of restoring McKinley's Glee Club to its former glory with the help of fellow teacher EMMA PILLSBURY (Jayma Mays, "Ugly Betty"). It's a tall order when the brightest stars of the pitch-imperfect club include KURT (Chris Colfer), a nerdy soprano with a flair for the dramatic; MERCEDES (Amber Riley), a dynamic diva-in-training who refuses to sing back-up; ARTY (Kevin McHale, "Zoey 101"), a geeky guitarist who spends more time avoiding bullies than chasing girls; and TINA (Jenna Ushkowitz, "Spring Awakening"), an awkward girl who needs to suppress her stutter before she can take center stage.

Will's only hope lies with two true talents: RACHEL BERRY (Lea Michele, "Spring Awakening"), a perfectionist firecracker who is convinced that show choir is her ticket to stardom; and FINN HUDSON (Cory Monteith, "Kyle XY"), the popular high school quarterback with movie star looks and a Motown voice who must protect his reputation with his holier-than-thou girlfriend, QUINN (Dianna Agron), and his arrogant teammate, PUCK (Mark Salling).

Driven by his secret past, Will is determined to do whatever it takes to make Glee great again, even though everyone around him thinks he's nuts. He's out to prove them all wrong - from his tough-as-nails wife TERRI SCHUESTER (Jessalyn Gilsig, "Nip/Tuck") to McKinley's cheerleading coach SUE SYLVESTER (guest star Jane Lynch, "Best In Show," "Role Models") to an ?ber-hip world that thinks jazz hands and sequined tuxedos litter the road to infamy rather than pave the way to Hollywood dreams.

Featuring a soundtrack of hit songs from past and present, GLEE is produced by Ryan Murphy Television in association with 20th Century Fox Television. Ryan Murphy, Brad Falchuk and Dante Di Loreto serve as executive producers, while Ian Brennan and John Kousakis serve as co-executive producers. Murphy directed the pilot.



The Listener (NBC)

"The Listener" centers on Toby Logan (Craig Olejnik, "The Timekeeper"), a 25-year-old paramedic who has a big secret -- he's a telepath. Until now, Toby kept his ability hidden, exploring its possibilities only with his longtime mentor and confidant, Dr. Ray Mercer (Colm Feore, "24: Redemption"). As he makes the rounds with his energetic paramedic partner "Oz" Bey, "The Listener" follows Toby as he tries to help people in crisis, and in the process unravel the truth about his past. While his professional life is in check, Toby's personal life could use its own rescue. And with the help of Detective Charlie Marks (Lisa Marcos, "Diary of a Mad Black Woman") and his E.R. doctor/ex-girlfriend Olivia Fawcett (Mylène Dinh-Robic, "Da Vinci's City Hall"), Toby realizes his gift can help others.



HawthoRNe (TNT)

HawthoRNe takes place at Richmond Trinity Hospital in Richmond, Va., where the strong-but-caring director of nursing, Christina Hawthorne (Pinkett Smith), continuously fights battles she often knows she won't win. Whether treating the homeless woman in front of the hospital like a human being or trying to talk a suicidal cancer patient off the ledge, Christina must challenge hospital administrators, heartless doctors, apathetic colleagues and a system that sometimes forgets it's there to serve the sick. Recently widowed and the mother of a smart, willful teenager, Christina juggles her career with her equally important role as a single parent. Between the two, she barely has time for herself and has difficulty keeping things together. But she knows she has to and can't give up on anyone. That's what her passion requires; it's what it takes to be a hero.



Make It Or Break It (ABC Family)

Set in the world of competitive gymnastics, "Make It or Break It" follows a group of teen Olympic hopefuls as they train and prepare for their day in the spotlight. The cast includes Chelsea Hobbs ("Lords of Dogtown") as gymnastic newcomer 'Emily Kmetko'; Ayla Kell ("CSI: Miami") as top gymnast 'Payson Keeler'; Josie Loren ("17 Again") as the beautiful gymnast 'Kaylie Cruz'; and Zachary Burr Abel ("The Secret Life of the American Teenager") as the gym's resident hottie, 'Carter Anderson.' Peri Gilpin ("Frasier") and Candace Cameron Bure ("Full House") both make a return to series television in starring roles.



Mental (Fox)

Gosh, the most interesting thing about this show is that most of the promotional materials for it are in Spanish! The program itself is an English-language program, produced for the American market, but also for the Spanish-subtitle-accepting Latino market in Central and South America -- produced in Columbia (SA), actually, to save money.

Estás por llegar a lo profundo de la mente!!!! En junio Fox estrena está superproducción "Mental", la primera serie rodada en inglés en Fox Telecolombia. Protagonizada por Chris Vance ("Prison Break") y Annabella Sciorra ("The Sopranos"), ambientada en un hospital de Los Angeles, tiene como personaje principal a un psiquiatra poco convencional, que llega como nuevo director del servicio de salud mental del centro.
Google Translate said:
You are to reach the depths of the mind! In June Fox blockbuster premieres is "Mental," the first series filmed in English at Fox Telecolombia [studios]. Starring Chris Vance ( "Prison Break") and Annabella Sciorra ( "The Sopranos"), set in a Los Angeles hospital, its main character is an unconventional psychiatrist, who arrives as the new director of mental health service center.



The Philanthropist (NBC)

"The Philanthropist" chronicles the heroic adventures of a billionaire playboy turned vigilante philanthropist. James Purefoy ("Rome") stars as Teddy Rist, a successful tycoon whose life is forever changed after rescuing a young boy during a hurricane in the Nigerian town he was visiting. Rist is spontaneous and impulsive and quickly decides to channel his passion, power and money into helping those in need. Rist's actions are not just about helping others - he is purging his soul to help exorcise the inner demons which have been festering ever since his young son died and he lost everything he truly loved. Since the death of his son, the danger and risk to his life is the only way he can feel genuinely alive and he'll do anything in order to achieve his goals. A man who has everything but can feel nothing, Rist keeps his adrenaline pumping by putting his business head and money-making skills to good use through bargaining with the self-righteous, making deals with drug barons and trading with the nefarious. "The Philanthropist" boasts a heady cast of established and up-and-coming talent.



Royal Pains (USA)

ROYAL PAINS centers on young doctor Hank Lawson (Feuerstein) who seems to have it all ... thriving career, beautiful girlfriend, and swank NYC apartment. With one fateful and principled decision in the ER, Hank loses it all. Months later, single and blackballed from the medical community, Hank goes for a weekend in the Hamptons with his brother (Costanzo). Crashing a party at a mega-mansion on the beach, Hank jumps into action when a guest requires medical attention that only he is able to diagnose. The next morning, Hank is summoned to another mansion and then another. Hank's career is revived, but in a way he's not exactly happy about, as he becomes the on-call doctor for the rich, famous and infamous. Anyone who's anyone in the Hamptons has a lawyer on retainer. Now meet the newest accessory the concierge doctor.



Warehouse 13 (SyFy)

After saving the life of the President, two Secret Service agents find themselves abruptly transferred to Warehouse 13 — a massive, top-secret storage facility in windswept South Dakota that houses every strange artifact, mysterious relic, fantastical object and supernatural souvenir ever collected by the U.S. government.

The Warehouse's caretaker Artie (Saul Rubinek) assigns Pete (Eddie McClintock) and Myka (Joanne Kelly) the challenge of chasing down reports of supernatural and paranormal activity in search of new objects to store at the Warehouse. The two agents are also commissioned to help Artie control the Warehouse itself, which proves to be a task beyond what either of them could have ever imagined.

Warehouse 13 is an action-packed exploration where the unlikely, becomes what's possible and reality is a limitless phenomenon filled with wonder.



Meteor (NBC)

In a remote observatory, Dr. Lehman (Emmy winner Christopher Lloyd, "Back to the Future"), discovers a meteor approximately three times the size of Mount Everest barreling its way towards Earth. His devoted young assistant Imogene O'Neill (Marla Sokoloff, "The Practice") feverishly types in the coordinates only to find the previously identified meteor named Kassandra is headed their way. It's only the beginning of their troubles as showers of smaller meteorites begin to lay waste to major cities around the globe. The impending disaster brings out the best and the worst sides in people as they cope by either lending a helping hand or taking advantage of the situation.



The Storm (NBC)

In "The Storm," also from RHI Entertainment, billionaire Robert Terrell (Golden Globe and Emmy nominee Treat Williams, "Everwood") has fulfilled a lifelong obsession and made history with "weather creation" technology though his Atmospheric Research Institute. But during a test run, a blast of energy is sent into the ionosphere with unexpected results. The experiments hurtle the planet towards destruction-hurricanes change course, winds go instantly from hot to cold, torrential rains bring regions to a standstill, and buildings crumble into ruins under explosive lightening storms. It's only the beginning. Only one scientist, Dr. Jonathan Kirk (James Van Der Beek, "Dawson's Creek"), steps forward to demand that the system be terminated. Terrell is undeterred and continues to push his team to move forward. His motives for the initially philanthropic technology is in truth far more opportunistic. With government cohort, Army General Braxton (David James Elliott, "JAG"), Terrell envisions the technology as a key military weapon to ensure super power status. Realizing he's powerless to stop the project by himself, Kirk contacts news reporter Danni Wilson (Teri Polo, "Meet the Parents") with plans to expose Terrell and explain the catastrophic weather to a bewildered and frightened world. It's a task that won't come easy, as Kirk quickly discovers the motives and loyalties of authorities are not in his favor. As devastating and extreme weather events hammer down on every corner of the Earth, it will be a race against time to shut down the system before the edge of extinction. Featuring a cast of television favorites including Emmy Winner John Larroquette ("Boston Legal"), Luke Perry ("Beverly Hills, 90210") and Marisol Nichols ("24"), "The Storm" is the ultimate tale of man against nature and an epic miniseries event posing a tantalizing and terrifying what-if scenario.
I cannot find a photo.


10 Things I Hate About You (ABC Family)

Inspired by the hit movie, the Stratford sisters, Kat (Lindsey Shaw, "Aliens in America") and Bianca (Meaghan Jette Martin, "Camp Rock"), are two very different people, which is evident as they start at their new high school with very contradictory goals. Kat is a strong-willed, in-your-face feminist looking to save the world and get out of high school as fast as she can. Bianca is a social butterfly carefully maneuvering the minefield of high school popularity. Can each sister find happiness after getting off to a very rocky start at new school Padua High?



The Goode Family (ABC)

"The Goode Family" is a new animated series from Mike Judge ("King of the Hill," "Beavis and Butt-head," "Office Space"), John Altschuler and Dave Krinsky ("King of the Hill," "Blades of Glory"). With standards always changing, no matter how hard you try to be good, it's virtually impossible these days . . . especially for the Goode family. Meet Gerald and Helen Goode, a couple who live by the motto WWAGD ("What Would Al Gore Do?"). Gerald, a college administrator, and Helen, a community activist, are determined to obliterate their carbon footprint on the planet: They're zealous vegans, drive a hybrid, and recycle everything possible. Even the family dog, Che, is vegan. In the words of Helen, all the Goodes want to do is buy organic apples and call minorities by their right names. But despite their best efforts, something always goes haywire with their politically correct plans.


Nurse Jackie (SHO)

NURSE JACKIE is a half-hour dark comedy that is at turns wicked, heartbreaking and funny. Edie Falco stars as the title character Jackie O'Hurley, a strong-willed and brilliant -- but very flawed -- emergency room nurse in a complicated New York City hospital. A lapsed Catholic with an occasional weakness for Vicodin and Adderall to get her through the days, Jackie keeps the hospital balanced with her own kind of justice. Every day is a high wire act of juggling patients, doctors, fellow nurses and her own indiscretions.



Ruby & the Rockits (ABC Family)

"Ruby & the Rockits" follows Patrick Gallagher, a former teen idol who has chosen to lead a quiet life with his wife and two sons. But when his former Rockits band mate and brother, David, shows up unexpectedly with his new-found teenage daughter in tow, the Gallagher family's life becomes anything but normal. David, who refuses to give up his past glory days, comes to Patrick for help in raising Ruby while he continues to perform. Patrick must now put the past with David behind them in order to help raise Ruby and keep order within the rest of the Gallagher clan.



Expedition Africa: Stanley and Livingstone (History)

Twenty miles off the coast of eastern Africa, four modern-day explorers are sailing toward the unknown, the deep interior of Tanzania. They’ll travel 970 miles through African terrain that is as stunning as it is fraught with danger. Using only a compass and basic maps, they will attempt to recapture the spirit of one of the world’s most remarkable adventures—journalist Henry Morton Stanley’s perilous 1871 journey to find Dr. Stanley Livingstone. Their historic exploration has been captured by one of the premiere storytellers of our time, Mark Burnett, for the eight-part television event, EXPEDITION AFRICA: STANLEY & LIVINGSTONE.



Week of May 17

The Summer 2009 television season begins this week...

Thursday, May 21
Premiere of So You Think You Can Dance

Next Week: Premieres of mini-series Diamonds, and of The Tudors and State of the Union, Mental, My Boys, Wipeout, The Goode Family, Surviving Suburbia, and the return of Pushing Daisies


So what are YOU going to be watching?

Summer is typically a pretty dead time for original programming on television. There have been some mumblings over the last few years about "year round television" but that's really bunk. As long as the list above, is, and as good as some of the shows look, this is nothing like the choices we have available in the fall. (Of course, there will be at least seven but as many as ten fewer hours of scripted programming available to us in the fall, but still, there will be more available then is available this summer.)

Having said that, there are some decent choices. Adequately supplemented with backlog from a DVR or Netflix, folks who don't give up television for the summer (as the networks give up television for the summer) still can fill their pail of interest if desired. We're about 60% that way: We tend to watch 16 hours of television per week (not including commercials) during the fall, winter and spring, and watch 12 hours of television per week (not including commercials) during the summer.

We were going to be relying more on DVR backlog this summer, but it didn't work out quite that way. We were storing up episodes of The Cleaner, and Raising the Bar, and Damages. Quite frankly, we didn't like the the first few episode of either The Cleaner, or Raising the Bar, enough to actually bother transferring them to our server when I replaced the hard drive in my DVR. So they're gone. While we do have the second season of Damages on the server, they're probably going to go unwatched; we didn't really like the first season of Damages that much.

We did record all the episodes of the second season of Breaking Bad, and we'll be watching them next week. We also have about a half dozen episodes of Reaper saved up, and they'll fill in some empty spots as well, this summer. We also have the last six episodes of The Sarah Connor Chronicles, but since the show has been canceled, we've lost interest in watching those.

So basically, we hadn't stored up enough, this past year. With the new (1 TB) hard drive in the TiVo, we'll focus on being a bit more conscientious in that regard, next fall, winter and spring. Basically, we'll record everything that fits on the hard drive, and that we could possibly find interesting, even if we don't plan on watching those shows at that time. Even this summer, I'm planning on recording some of the shows listed above, without any intention of watching them. Sitting on the TiVo hard drive (or stored on our server, using TiVo's TTG feature), they become truly "on demand" programming for us.

However, there is another angle to all this, for us. While having a strong backlog of recordings on the TiVo is great, it is a means to an end. Not only does it foster a more "truly 'on demand'" experience, but it also could end up saving us money. About two years ago, we used the purchase of the five-season set of DVDs for a series to basically take the place of HBO and Showtime. Canceling both services saved us about $20 per month. However, there is no denying, AFAIC, that the best television series are on those networks. So we use Netflix primarily to catch up on those series, which we miss because we no longer subscribe to either premium service. Netflix (for us) is $17 per month, for three months, whereas the premium services would cost more than that, and we'd have to pay it for the full year. Over the summer, we effectively catch up with everything we "missed" on HBO and Showtime, including feature films.

So that's a significant portion of our television watching over the summer. This summer we'll be catching up with True Blood, Secret Diary of a Call Girl, Dexter, L Word, The Tudors, and John Adams, along with films like Twilight, Hancock, Bolt, Seven Pounds, Forgetting Sarah Marshall, The Day the Earth Stood Still, etc.

So far, only one premium series (Meadowlands) has not come out on DVD. And the same applies to cable channels. Which gets me thinking: Where do I draw the line with this. Couldn't we use Netflix to catch up with cable series too? And basically get rid of cable? That would save about $50 per month (with our recent cable price reduction). That's some serious money. However, I'm not seeing that as a serious option, at least not yet. We enjoy too many live cable options, CNN, MSNBC, Weather Channel, etc. Beyond that, this summer would be the wrong time to start that, with so little original programming being presented by the broadcast networks. If we could just find a logical point in time to do it, perhaps in the fall, that might work. However, what happened last year was that we were watching Mad Men, and didn't want to even consider dropping it mid-season. Sci Fi (Syfy) also tends to present series that start in August and continue into the fall.


Based on our viewing preferences, and the descriptions of the programs, above, these are the shows we're going to be watching, or recording and storing for later:

Burn Notice - The chemistry between Michael and Fiona is great, and the mystery of who burned Michael and what he's going to do about it is still, even after two seasons, still incredibly compelling.

Closer - At times, this is the best cop show on television. Our favorite character, remarkably, is Fritz!

Dark Blue - We'll be recording this, not watching it. However, we'll probably fit in the first episode, and if it is really good, we'll probably try to fit it in.

Eli Stone - Four episodes remain; we'd like to see how it ends.

Eureka - This is a wonderful, light show, that makes us smile a lot.

Expedition Africa: Stanley & Livingstone - This looks very intense.

History Detectives - We use this as filler, because each episode is really three 20 minute mini-episodes.

Impact - One of two astronomical catastrophe mini-series this summer.

In Plain Sight - We've loved Mary McCormack since The West Wing.

Kings - This is a beautifully filmed series, and we'd like to see how it ends.

Leverage - This was an incredible surprise this past winter.

Listener - I was originally very interested in this show, but it might end up on the shelf for us.

Mad Men - One of the best shows on television -- pretty much single-handedly kept us subscribed to cable last fall.

Medium - For some reason, this winter/spring series extends into summer this year.

Mental - This didn't originally look like something we'd like, but I'm thinking now that we'll watch this and just record The Listener.

Merlin - We're suckers for a great fantasy series.

Meteor - The other astronomical catastrophe mini-series this summer.

Philanthropist - This was an early favorite for us. It looks very interesting.

Psych - This is a great hour-long comedy.

Pushing Daisies - My wife's favorite show this past year. We have to see how it ends.

Saving Grace - TNT's second (after The Closer) great series.

Storm - Another catastrophe mini-series. They say they come in three's eh? This one we'll just record.

Virtuality - Word is that this television movie is just burn-off (that they're not going to pick up the series), but it will only cost us a couple of hours to check it out.

Warehouse 13 - This wasn't on my radar originally, but some previews convinced me to watch at least the first episode.

Wipeout - Great fun.