USA – Unique Summer (Television) Amusement Continues…

I can remember back when the summer months meant we couldn’t find anything new to watch on television… maybe a reality program here, or a two-hour made-for-TV-special there, but no new series.

But not anymore.

We’ve already discussed all of the terrific summer nighttime television specific to TNT, but TNT is not alone.

The USA Network also has some of the best summer programming of any other channel today.  This year, I count six series (five returning favorites and one new) that my household will watch, keeping our TV schedules full of unique summer television amusement.

Last week, we shared three of the network’s veteran programs premiering in their third, fifth, and seventh seasons later this June.  And today, we’re talking about two more of USA’s returning hits PLUS a new freshman series starring some nice eye candy…

*****

Graceland

No, this is not Elvis’ Graceland…

This “Graceland” is a beautiful Southern California beachfront property where a handful of young and attractive roommates cohabitate.

But these aren’t your normal everyday roommates… these roommates have a secret; a secret that if exposed could get them all killed.

Why?  Because each and every one of them are undercover.  Some with the FBI.  Some with the DEA.  And some with US Customs.

The new series stars: Aaron Tveit (Gossip Girl and Les Miserables) as Mike Warren, an FBI agent fresh out of the academy and thrust into Graceland; Daniel Sunjata (Rescue Me) as Paul Briggs, an experienced FBI agent who takes Warren under his wing; Serinda Swan (Breakout Kings) as Paige Arkin, the rough and tumble, yet sexy DEA agent; Vanessa Ferlito (CSI: NY) as Charlie Demarco, an FBI agent with chameleon-like characteristics and some attitude; Brandon Jay McLaren (Harper’s Island and Falling Skies) as Dale Jakes, a territorial US Customs Agent—don’t touch his stuff; and Manny Montana as Johnny Tuturro, a former Navy Seal trainee who has joined the FBI.

Graceland premieres Thursday, June 6th.

*****

Suits

Suits follows Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht), a recently appointed senior partner at a Manhattan law firm instructed to find another brilliant Harvard Law graduate to work as an associate.  Enter Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams), a brilliant man with an eidetic memory (perfect recall) whose recitation of Bar review materials lands him a position at Harvey’s law firm—despite the fact he never graduated college.

These two unconventional minds work together, balancing the law AND lying to everyone.  But how long will it be before the shunned senior partner (Louis Litt, played by Rick Hoffman) discovers the truth?  The boss (Jessica Pearson, played by Gina Torres) already knows and she loves holding it over Harvey’s and Mike’s heads…

Yes, I realize this would NEVER happen in real life, but it sure makes for some good TV…

Suits also stars Meghan Markle as Rachel, a paralegal at Harvey’s and Mike’s law firm, not to mention Mike’s love interest… and Sarah Rafferty as Donna, Harvey’s spitfire assistant, and one of the very few that actually knows the big secret.

Two years ago, when I reviewed Suits as a part of my Why It’s Worth a Watch Wednesday series, I ranked the then freshman series with a Mac TV rating (equivalent to three stars).  If asked to review again, I believe Harvey and Mike would find themselves upgraded into five-star status.

The one where Harvey lets loose… probably my favorite episode ever.

Season three premieres Tuesday, July 16th.

*****

Covert Affairs

Abandoned on a deserted island by her love, Annie Walker (Piper Perabo) joins the CIA and is immediately thrust into the world of undercover assignments.  With the help of her blind CIA tech expert, Auggie Anderson (Christopher Gorham), Annie jumps into the toughest cases.  Her boss, Joan Campbell (Kari Matchett), and her boss’s husband, current CIA director Arthur Campbell (Peter Gallagher), constantly throw Annie into veteran situations, testing her abilities, and assessing her loyalties to the CIA.

While keeping her cover story as a researcher at the Smithsonian Institution intact, Annie lives her double life… showcasing her kick-ass CIA training, and battling her insecurities one day at a time, making Covert Affairs a fun summer pick.

Despite her training and attributes, Annie isn’t superhuman.  Sometimes I think she makes the worst spy ever, sometimes even one of the most annoying characters on TV today.  But I still keep coming back for more.  Regardless of how I feel about Annie, I always find myself fighting alongside with her in her corner, and it has nothing to do with how adorable Auggie is.  Okay, so maybe it does…

That’s my Auggie… so cute!

Season four premieres Tuesday, July 16th.

*****

Do you enjoy Suits or Covert Affairs?  Will you check out Graceland?  I’d love to hear from you! 

USA – Unique Summer (Television) Amusement

I can remember back when the summer months meant we couldn’t find anything new to watch on television… maybe a reality program here, or a two-hour made-for-TV-special there, but no new series.

But not anymore.

The last two weeks, we discussed all of the terrific summer nighttime television shows specific to TNT… but TNT is not alone.

The USA Network also has some of the best summer programming of any other channel today.  This year, I count six series (five returning favorites and one new) that my household will watch, keeping our TV schedules full of unique summer television amusement.

Over the next two weeks, we’ll discuss these USA series.  First up, three of the network’s veteran programs, premiering in their third, fifth, and seventh seasons this June…

*****

Burn Notice

Why is Burn Notice white hot? Sexy stars, massive explosions, and intricate plots combined with explorations of relationships between family members, best friends, and lovers make for some of the best programming on television today.

Burned by the U.S. government, former spy Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan) wakes up bruised and sore in a run-down Miami motel with no memory of how he got there.   A burned spy has nothing—no job and no money.  It’s as if the last few years of Michael’s life didn’t even happen.  He takes on odd jobs as a private investigator to make some cash, and builds a team of former acquaintances, ex-girlfriends, and family members to help him unravel the truth behind why the CIA blacklisted him AND discover who was the mastermind behind his burn notice.

Michael’s team consists of Sam Axe (Bruce Campbell), a former Navy SEAL and friend who was forced to inform on Michael to the FBI; Fiona Glenanne (Gabrielle Anwar), Michael’s ex-lover and current girlfriend, and a former IRA agent who doubles as an arms dealer and bounty hunter; Madeline Westen (Sharon Gless), Michael’s chain-smoking mother; and, the most recent addition, Jesse Porter (Coby Bell), a former counterintelligence agent that Michael accidentally burned while uncovering truths behind his own burn notice.

Every season answers a few more questions pertaining to Michael’s burn notice, but similarly adds even more fuel to the fire.

Season seven premieres Thursday, June 6th.

*****

Necessary Roughness

Necessary Roughness follows Dani Santino (Callie Thorne), a New York woman attempting to balance her family and her career following a recent divorce.  She accepts a position as a therapist for a professional football team, and is assigned to assist the team’s star receiver in actually catching the ball.  She sees other clients, sometimes a new client per episode, but primarily Dr. D focuses her time and energy on the New York Hawks and T.K. (Terrance King, aka Mehcad Brooks).

The series also stars Scott Cohen as Nico, the team’s head of security, and Marc Blucas as Matt, the team’s general manager… both of whom are Dani’s love interests.

As an added bonus, the show is inspired by a true story.

Season three premieres Wednesday, June 12th.

*****

Royal Pains

Royal Pains stars Mark Feuerstein as Dr. Hank Lawson, a former New York Emergency Room doctor dismissed after an alleged wrongful death case.  He moves to the Hamptons and begins making house calls to the rich and famous as a “concierge doctor,” and sometimes even helps the less fortunate.  Hank’s company, HankMed, also consists of his brother/CFO (Evan played by Paulo Costanzo) and his invaluable assistant (Divya played by Reshma Shetty).

The series also stars Henry Winkler as Hank and Evan’s father, Eddie Lawson, and Campbell Scott as Boris Kuester von Jurgens-Ratenicz (isn’t that a great name?!?!).

Season five premieres Wednesday, June 12th.

*****

Do you enjoy any of the above USA Network original programs? Which one are you most looking forward to and why? I’d love to hear from you!

TNT –Terrific (Summer) Nighttime Television Continues…

I can remember back when the summer months meant we couldn’t find anything new to watch on television… maybe a reality program here, or a two-hour made-for-TV-special there, but no new series.

But not anymore.

TNT has some of the best summer programming of any network today.  This year, I count six series (five returning favorites and one new) that my household will watch, keeping our TV schedules full of terrific (summer) nighttime television.

Last week, we shared three of the network’s veteran programs premiering in their third and fourth seasons later this June.  And today, we’re talking about two more of TNT’s returning hits PLUS a new freshman series starring one of my faves…

*****

King & Maxwell

Based on the novel series of the same name by David Balducci, King & Maxwell stars Jon Tenney (Sean King) and Rebecca Romijn (Michelle Maxwell) as two former Secret Service agents now working together as private investigators to solve crime—by whatever means necessary.

Together they have an abundance of previous life experiences under their belt, making them two of the best at what they do—despite losing his job in the Secret Service (the president he was assigned to protect was assassinated), King attended law school and knows the legal system.. while Maxwell, a former Olympic athlete, uses her attributes and her connections to aid in the investigations.  And as with any good television partnership, opposites attract.

The new series also stars Michael O’Keefe (Caddyshack) as Frank Rigby and Chris Butler (The Good Wife) as Darius Carter, two FBI agents who clash a bit with King and Maxwell’s methods.

King & Maxwell premieres June 10th.

*****

Major Crimes

Over the last few seasons of The Closer, we tolerated Captain Raydor (Mary McDonnell) as she terrorized Brenda Leigh, leading all of the officer-involved investigations (kind of like Internal Affairs).  But we also witnessed a softer Captain Raydor who stood by Brenda Leigh and did everything in her power to protect our favorite Deputy Chief.

And last summer, we watched Captain Raydor take over Brenda Leigh’s team.  That’s right—Raydor stepped in following Brenda Leigh’s departure and took over the Major Crimes Division, including almost the entire cast of The Closer (Provenza, Flynn, Tao, Sanchez, Buzz, Taylor, and even Fritzy on occasion.)

While it wasn’t quite the same without our favorite Southern belle, the series kept this Closer fan watching.  I expect some changes in season two, like the addition of new characters (Nadine Velazquez from My Name is Earl) and perhaps seeing less of a few of the cast members we love (King & Maxwell’s Tenney), but I am still looking forward to the return of Major Crimes.

Season two of Major Crimes premieres June 10th.

*****

Perception

I don’t know much about Perception, other than it stars Eric McCormack as Dr. Daniel Pierce, a neuroscience professor who suffers from schizophrenia.  Despite his internalized demons and hallucinations, he is a brilliant man who assists the FBI with complex cases.

The series also stars: Rachael Leigh Cook as Special Agent Kate Moretti, a former student of Dr. Pierce, and the FBI agent responsible for adding him to the team of investigators; Kelly Rowan as Natalie Vincent, Dr. Pierce’s imaginary best friend… who it turns out is based on a woman (Caroline Newsome) that Dr. Pierce saw once at a party and became infatuated with; and Arjay Smith as Max Lewicki, Dr. Pierce’s live-in teaching assistant who helps keep the good doctor’s real-life and hallucinations straight.

As I mentioned earlier, I don’t know much about Perception.  I watched a few episodes but the series didn’t grab me in a way that makes me want to watch every single episode immediately.  And when my DVR crashed, I lost the rest of the first season… thus, I haven’t seen every episode.  However, the fact that TNT is bringing it back gives me hope.  Maybe the network will offer the first season online or via OnDemand and I can catch up before the premiere of the new season?

Season two of Perception premieres June 25th.

*****

Did you enjoy Major Crimes or Perception last summer?  Will you check out King & Maxwell?  I’d love to hear from you! 

TNT – Terrific (Summer) Nighttime Television

I can remember back when the summer months meant we couldn’t find anything new to watch on television… maybe a reality program here, or a two-hour made-for-TV-special there, but no new series.

But not anymore.

TNT has some of the best summer programming of any network today. This year, I count six series (five returning favorites and one new) that my household will watch, keeping our TV schedule full of terrific nighttime television.

Over the next two weeks, we’ll discuss these TNT series.  First up, three of the network’s veteran programs, premiering in their third and fourth seasons this June…

*****

Falling Skies

Falling Skies follows a group of survivors led by Tom Mason (Noah Wyle) after aliens invade and attack our world as we now know it.

As if the practically complete destruction of our planet wasn’t bad enough, the aliens want our few surviving children and plan to attach a horrendous apparatus to the children’s spines (the harness). This device controls the children—but what are the visitor’s end goals?

The series also stars Moon Bloodgood as Anne Glass, the resident doctor among the survivors, and Will Patton as Captain Dan Weaver (the title “Captain” should give plenty enough away about his role among the survivors).

I didn’t pay much attention to the first season of Falling Skies… but my guy LOVED it. And yes, I used all caps because he rarely shows this much excitement about a television program. So, I tuned in with him for most of season two, and I must admit, I found myself enthralled and asked him to not watch any more of the episodes without me. Aliens usually aren’t my thing, but Falling Skies I can do.

Season three premieres June 9th.

*****

Franklin & Bash

They’re Totally Lawyers. Totally.

Jared Franklin (Breckin Meyer) and Peter Bash (Mark-Paul Gosselaar) have been friends since high school. And now they live together, party together, and work together, yet never seem to tire of one another. The two are quite unconventional, especially when it comes to the cases they choose to represent and how they win over the courtroom…

It all started with the two sitting at a diner, watching the traffic in Los Angeles while they banter back and forth like best friends do. When a fender-bender takes place directly in front of them, they race out to the scene and immediately offer their business cards and legal representation to the driver responsible for rear-ending another car.

Why is the driver not responsible for the crash when he clearly bumped into the car in front of his? Franklin and Bash explain that it is because the driver was distracted by the interactive advertising sign yards ahead flashing images of a sexy young woman. The young and unconventional (really unconventional) attorneys take the case to court and prompt the beautiful girl in the ad to unbutton her shirt while on the witness stand, thus proving her chest to be guilty of causing an unnecessary distraction to those driving. With that, they win their case against a large and successful law firm.

Witnessing and enjoying the unique techniques of Franklin and Bash, Stanton Infeld (played by Malcolm McDowell) offers the two friends jobs at his very successful and large law firm. Along with their ex-con assistant, Carmen, and their agoraphobic clerk, Pindar, the two join the firm and later become partners.

The series also stars Reed Diamond as Damien Karp, the obvious successor to his uncle at the firm and the classic jerk, as well as Garcelle Beauvais as Hanna Linden, another lawyer at the firm with previous romantic ties with both Damien and Franklin.

Meyer and Gosselaar have great comedic timing and a perfect on-screen chemistry, leaving one to forget they are actually playing characters on television (not to imply they aren’t hilariously funny and friendly in real life because they probably are). And remember, Franklin and Bash are quite unique… the successful bachelors throw weekly parties, and their famous “Margarita-Mondays” have already saved one of their cases and provided them the vision to defend another case successfully.

See? Unconventional… and fun.

Season three premieres June 19th.

*****

Rizzoli & Isles

Based on the novels by Tess Gerritsen, Rizzoli & Isles follows Boston detective, Jane Rizzoli (Angie Harmon), and her best friend/medical examiner, Maura Isles (Sasha Alexander), as they solve crime together.

The two friends couldn’t have less in common — Rizzoli hails from a working class family; her dad’s a plumber, her younger brother (Colin Egglesfield) has just been released from prison, and her other little brother (Jordan Bridges) idolizes Rizzoli and is following in her footsteps, much to the dismay of their overbearing mom (the fabulous Lorraine Bracco). Meanwhile, Isles’ biological father (John Doman) is a Boston mafia boss. She was raised by her adopted parents (her mother is played by Jacqueline Bissett) where she learned to focus on her studies, and adapted a fabulous sense of style… how many medical examiners do you know who perform autopsies in stilettos?

But regardless of their differences, the girls have each other and they make for one of the best crime-fighting duos on television today.

The series also stars Lee Thompson Young as Rizzoli’s partner, Detective Frost, and Bruce McGill as Rizzoli’s former partner/senior detective, Vince Korsak.

If you liked Crossing Jordan, you’ll also like Rizzoli & Isles. Season four premieres June 25th.

*****

Come back next week when we share two more returning TNT summer favorites PLUS a new series that we can’t wait to check out (hint: it stars Jon Tenney from The Closer)!

Do you enjoy any of the above TNT original programs? Which one are you most looking forward to and why? I’d love to hear from you!

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