Television’s Summer Standouts

The summer shows have started, some of them anyway.  We still have The Bridge (FX) set to premiere this week, a few shows about camp life (Camp, an upcoming NBC dramedy, and Summer Camp, a new USA reality series), and The Vineyard (ABC Family) later this month… but out of the series that have already aired, which ones do you consider to be summer standouts?

Crossing Lines (NBC)

Devious Maids (Lifetime)

Graceland (USA)

King & Maxwell (TNT)

Mistresses (ABC)

Motive (ABC)

Ray Donovan (Showtime)

Siberia (NBC)

Under the Dome (CBS)

Whodunnit? (ABC)

For me, Siberia, Ray Donovan, and Whodunnit? are my summer standouts.

Siberia because it’s unlike anything I’ve ever seen on television before.  And not in a good way.  By definition, the show might not fall under the classification of a standout, but it does stand out. Let’s just say it’s a scripted reality program (yeah, might as well call it a drama) with Blair Witch-like cinematography.  Yet, I keep watching…

Ray Donovan because Liev Schreiber is hot.  Ray is a family man; he’s a successful business man (he’s a Hollywood “fixer); he’s a man of few words; and most importantly, he’s not one to cross.  Seriously, hurt his family (either physically or verbally), and just see what happens.  This new Showtime series reminds me a lot of Scandal… meets The Sopranos.

And Whodunnit? because I can’t figure it out.  It may be a corny-murder-mystery-reality series, but I simply can’t figure it out.  I have my suspects… but “the killer” has already proven me wrong once.  Will he/she again?

Your turn… what are your Summer Standouts?  Or Stand Outs?  I’d love to hear from you!

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!