Now coming from Australia, I have a very confused concept of summer TV. In Australia over the Christmas holidays TV really couldn’t be worse. The TV series that usually screen over the summer in the US actually tend to screen in Australia over the second ratings season beginning in August so once it gets to Australian summer there really is absolutely nothing on except for ‘Carols By Candlelight’ which is so terrible, I’ve been known to god forbid, read a book to avoid it. The only good thing about summer TV in Australia is that broadcasters replace their usual painful news shows like ‘A Current Affair’ and ‘Today Tonight’ with reruns of ‘The Nanny’ and ‘The Simpsons’.
But now that I have been ushered into the download age and tragically no longer even have free to air, I am now encountering what the Americans understand as summer TV. As strange as it sounds those crazy people over in American TV land actually have money to make TV programs particularly for the summer season and lost without my usual favorites I am mining the depths of what the 2012 US Summer season has to offer.
Now the thing to do when when choosing a new summer TV show is to understand, this is not ratings season TV, the actors aren’t recognizable, the rules aren’t as clear and anything is possible, the good and the bad and the truly terrible. But given there is very little point wasting your time on the really bad TV, I am going to take you through my quality and not so quality picks for summer TV 2012.
First up, ‘The Glades’ with Australian actor Matt Passmore, a quirky cop show about an antagonistic detective whose solves crimes in the hot sexy heat of the Florida Glades. Not nearly as inspiring as ‘The Mentalist’ but with a similar bite, Matt Passmore’s Jim Longworth is both funny and drool worthy and the show has a great romantic sub plot to boot. Underdeveloped and a little lacking in an important overarching storyline, it isn’t perfect but it’s addictive.
Another show which is perhaps a cut about the rest is the Canadian cop show ‘Rookie Blue’. it’s ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ of cop shows about a group naive sexually active rookie cops. ‘Rookie Blue’ is sexy and touching and has it’s own romantic flagship couple to rival Meridith and Derek in the pairing of the beautiful and naive Andy McNally rookie extraordinaire and the soulful and brooding Sam Swarek a bad ass rogue cop who looks great without a shirt. One of my favorite shows, summer or not Rookie Blue is a real naughty pleasure.
Another less impressive offering is ABC Family’s Bunheads. From the creator of ‘Gilmore Girls’ Amy Sherman Palladino, I like this show for the dialogue but little else. This show seems seriously lost in plot and not in a ‘I don’t know what will happen’ kind of way in an ‘I don’t care what will happen’ kind of way. This show seemingly has no rule book and it seriously needs one. The small town thing is not getting me in and neither is the young ballet dancers. This show needs a jolt of drama stat as it is already stale. To be fare ‘Gilmore Girls’ suffered from these exact same problems but not this early in the season. Give it go but if it doesn’t pick up, give up.
Now my last offering for the summer TV schedule is ‘True Blood’, arguably the the most universally popular choice, though starting to dwindle a little in popularity in its later seasons. It might surprise some to think of True Blood as summer TV but it has been ever since it’s second season. it is incredibly gripping if not rather irritating in its romance plot lines. Side note: I really, really wanted Sookie and Erik to get together in the 4th season but making that happen by making Eric lose his memory and removing everything about him that made him cool was not a good way to do it. The reason you want your protagonist to get together with a bad boy is because they are a bad boy. You don’t sit there wishing you could change everything about them so the character can be with them, you want to see the sexy explosion that is a hero – villain pairing.
Anyway moving on from that, season 5 is shaping up quite well especially because it has separated Bill and Eric from Sookie and is starting to pursue the Sookie – Alcide sexual tension which is a nice change of pace from the vampire angle. And what with Sookie killing Alcide’s old girlfriend Debbie at the end of last season the pairing looks to be filled with obvious dark emotional complications which is what ‘True Blood’ does best.
So there you have it, four summer series with much to offer, from vampires to ballet dancers. My honorable mentions include the USA series ‘Suits’ which can be summed up as fabulously good looking lawyers playing power games, good watching though takes itself a touch too seriously. ‘Necessary Roughness’ about a sports therapist that helps athletes over come their emotional trauma’s to get back in the game, it has its moments but lacks punch. And ‘Jane By Design’ a super sweet series about a teenager masquerading as an adult to be an executive assistant as a fashion house. Keep an eye out of Jane’s best friend, a way more attractive underager than Justin Bieber if you ask me.