Springtime sweeps have come and gone, but don’t turn off your TV just yet. While you can expect more than your fair share of reruns, there are lots of new shows hitting the small screen this summer — and some of them are even scripted!
Throw in returning favorites like The Closer, Weeds and My Boys, and it’s shaping up to be a halfway decent TV line-up for women (well, if you don’t count all the reality-show rejects leftover from the fall writers strike). Check out our guide to the good, the bad, and the WTF of summer programming.
(All show times based on EST)
In Plain Sight
(June 1 at 10 PM on USA)
Mary McCormack packs some major heat (oh, and she carries a gun, too) as a U.S. Marshall who relocates people into the federal witness protection program. She’s a pro at helping witnesses start new lives — the problem is she can’t seem to get her own under control.
DVR-worthy! USA has a good track record (Monk, Psych, Burn Notice) for creating this type of cool yet quirky detective series. Now if they’d only bring back the 4400.
(June 5 at 10 PM on CBS)
In the midst of a gas crisis, unrest in the Middle East and the social and political upheaval of 2008 1976, a family moves into an upscale Chicago suburb, looking for a little more peace and quiet. They find just the opposite, thanks to their swingin’ neighbors.
Wow, CBS is airing a show about swingers? Didn’t see that one coming. While it seems better suited for HBO or Showtime, I’m definitely intrigued by the concept — and by Molly Parker (Deadwood), who plays the wife.
(June 5 at 10 PM on NBC)
Each week, a different “Master of Horror” brings his or her (most likely his) thrilling tale of blood and guts to a TV near you. Stars set to appear in an episode include Cynthia Watros (Lost), Shiri Appleby (Roswell), and Elisabeth Moss (The West Wing).
I liked this show the first time I saw it … when it was called Tales from the Crypt. I’ll probably stick with Swingtown in the 10 p.m. slot.
Secret Diary of a Call Girl
(June 16 at 10:30 PM on Showtime)
My favorite companion from Dr. Who plays a different kind of companion in this hit British import based on the bestselling book. When Hannah (Billie Piper) gets done with her tedious day job as a legal secretary, she likes to slip into something a little more comfortable: her alter ego, Belle, who’s a high-class escort.
Does it matter? Billie freakin’ Piper is in it! If that’s not enough to convince you, Showtime gave it the coveted post-Weeds time slot and decided against recasting the series for Americans after realizing how much it rocks just the way it is.
(June 16 at 8 PM on ABC Family)
A young, struggling artist (Natalie Morales) unwittingly finds herself fighting evil aliens and comic-book-like villains at the side of Middleman, a straight-laced superhero/secret agent. The show is adapted from executive producer Javier Grillo-Marxuach’s graphic novels of the same name.
I’m on the fence. As with anything inspired by a comic book, it will either be really good or really bad (there’s no in-between). This show reminds me a little of CW’s Reaper, but with a girl in the lead — so it already gets bonus points for that.
Sordid Lives: The Series
(July 23 at 9 PM on LOGO)
The show centers on a small-town matriarch (Rue McClanahan) and her colorful family, which includes an institutionalized, crossing-dressing son and a grandson struggling to come out of the closet. The impressive cast also features Olivia Newton-John, Bonnie Bedelia, Caroline Rhea and Margaret Cho, to name a few.
It’s a good sign that Del Shores (the author of the play on which the series is based) is writing and directing the episodes. And you can’t lose with a cast like this.
REALITY & GAME SHOWS
Legally Blonde The Musical: The Search For Elle Woods
(June 2 at 10 PM on MTV)
Ten aspiring stage actresses compete to see who will take over the roles of Elle Woods. Haylie Duff hosts the Broadway-style boot camp, which follows the girls through rehearsals, dance routines and probably a few roommate squabbles.
I don’t know about you, but I’m getting tired of all the TV talent shows. It’s like Star Search overload. Plus, Broadway tickets are expensive. If I’m dropping $100, I want a classically trained actress, not a reality-show has-been. I’ll get off the soapbox now.
(June 9 at 10 PM on LOGO)
Five friends attempt to become the youngest female promoters in L.A. by kicking off their own lesbian club night. Lots of dyke drama and processing are sure to follow.
Sounds a little like the She-Bar/Planet subplot from The L Word, right? Count me in!
I Love Money
(July 13 at 9 PM on VH1)
This game show — which should have been called I Love Fame — reunites contestants from Flavor of Love, I Love New York and Rock of Love with Brett Michaels, and then pits them against each other in a sort of Battle of the VH1 Stars.
Pass. It was bad enough when we had to watch these reality “stars” whore it up for the cameras on their original shows.
THE REST OF THE SHOWS
That’s about as much speculating as I can do (sorry, the last show killed too many brain cells). Here’s a quick rundown of some other programs on the airwaves this summer:
Dance Machine (June 27 at 8 PM on ABC):
How many dance shows are we up to now? 2,012?
Celebrity Family Feud (July 1 at 8 PM on NBC):
What can I say about a D-list celeb version of Family Feud hosted by Al Roker? Yawn.
America’s Greatest Dog (July 10 at 8 PM on CBS):
I never quite got the whole Best in Show thing, but if you’re really into your pooch, this is the reality competition for you.
High School Musical: Get in the Picture(July 20 at 8 PM on ABC):
Host Nick Lachey helps young fans realize their dream to be in HSM 3? No, wait … the winner just gets a role in the music video during the end credits. Really? That’s the prize? Aim higher, kids!
Cleaner (Date TBA on A& E):
Details are still sketchy on the exact release date (possibly July) of this scripted drama. But Benjamin Bratt and — hold onto your hats, Battlestar fans — Grace Park are set to star.