Summer TV: At the Starting Gate

I missed plenty of brand new shows in my previous overview of the summer TV schedule. Let’s rectify that oversight with a look at what else is coming up.

In my earlier post about summer television, I talked about ‘The Good Guys’ (Fox), ‘Persons Unknown’ (NBC), ‘The Gates’ (ABC), ‘Rookie Blue’ (ABC), ‘Rizzoli & Isles’ (TNT), ‘Memphis Beat’ (TNT), and ‘The Big C’ (Showtime). It turns out that those are barely the tip of the TV iceberg.

Scoundrels‘ on ABC looks like it could be fun. Virginia Madsen stars as the head of a family of small-time con artists. David James Elliott (‘JAG’) is her imprisoned husband. I’m writing this in advance of the first episode on June 20th. It’s on opposite ‘True Blood’, so I probably won’t be watching it Day One. But I plan to check it out.

ABC is also trying out a new “docu-series” called ‘Boston Med‘ starting June 24th. It’s scheduled to run as an 8-part miniseries. I mention this only because I live in Boston and will surely recognize most of the hospitals involved. Other than that, this isn’t something I plan to watch.

CBS really likes Canadian cop shows, apparently. The network’s success with ‘Flashpoint’ has inspired it to pick up ‘The Bridge‘. All I know about it is that the title refers to the division between a wealthy and a poor neighborhood in Toronto.

Everybody loves Betty White, right? Especially after her recent stint hosting ‘SNL’. That’s what TV Land is counting on with its new sitcom ‘Hot in Cleveland‘. White plays the free-spirited, pot-smoking landlord for a bunch of cougars: Wendie Malick (‘Just Shoot Me!’), Jane Leeves (‘Frasier’), and Valerie Bertinelli (Jenny Craig commercials). It sounds dreadful and looks worse. The first episode aired June 16th. My wife recorded it, and then left it playing while she did other things and didn’t pay much attention to it. I watched about 30 seconds and walked out of the room.

Speaking of bad sitcoms, Comedy Central will bring us ‘Big Lake‘ on August 3rd. It stars former ‘SNL’ cast members Chris Parnell and Horatio Sanz, and is produced by Will Ferrell. I can only hope this one isn’t as horrible the Ferrell-produced HBO series ‘Eastbound and Down’, but I’m not exactly holding out much hope for it.

Comedian Louis C.K. gets yet another shot at sitcom stardom with ‘Louie‘, which premieres June 29th on FX. I liked his character on ‘Parks and Recreation’ a lot, but I really just hated his short-lived HBO series ‘Lucky Louie’. The previews for this one look more like the latter, unfortunately.

Syfy gives us a new series called ‘Haven‘ on July 9th. It’s based on a Stephen King novella and is described as being about “as small town in Maine that attracts people with supernatural abilities.” Sounds like every Stephen King story, doesn’t it?

A&E has a new scripted series called ‘The Glades‘ on July 11th. It’s a police procedural set in a Florida resort town, and comes from the creator of ‘White Collar’.

Covert Affairs‘ on USA July 13th stars Piper Perabo (remember her from ‘Coyote Ugly‘?) as a CIA cadet rushed into the field early. Peter Gallagher is also in it, presumably as her superior at the Agency.

Rubicon‘ is AMC’s latest foray into scripted drama. The show is a conspiracy thriller about a 9/11 widower at a political think tank. Given AMC’s track record with ‘Mad Men’ and ‘Breaking Bad’, this one could have a lot of potential. It starts August 1st.

Now, this is just weird. Comedy troupe Kids in the Hall return to television with a new serial murder mystery (yes, really!) called ‘Kids in the Hall: Death Comes to Town‘. It starts on IFC August 20th. On the one hand, I feel like the Kids lost their edge a long time ago and have been out of the spotlight for too long. On the other hand, something this bizarre has to be worth giving a shot.

MTV has spun off ‘Greg the Bunny’ character ‘Warren the Ape‘ to his own show, which started on June 14th. Not my thing, but I guess some people think he’s funny.

Hairspray‘ star Nikki Blonsky is going to be ‘Huge‘ on June 28th. At least, that’s what the ABC Family channel wants us to believe. She stars as one of several teens at a weight loss camp. The same network also premiered ‘Pretty Little Liars‘ back on June 8th, based on a series of young adult novels about pampered rich teens wrapped up in a murder mystery. In other words, it’s ‘Gossip Girl’ meets ‘Desperate Housewives’. No thank you.

If you haven’t quite gotten over the reality TV fad yet, you’re probably a fan of the ‘Real Housewives’ Channel (aka Bravo). The network’s latest semi-interesting offering is ‘Work of Art: The Next Great Artist‘, in which a host of up-and-coming artists are put through a competition in the ‘Project Runway’ template. It premiered on June 9th. My wife has been watching and says she digs it. Personally, I take issue with the notion of forcing people to churn out art on demand. (You’ve been given one purple crayon, a tube of Super Glue, and a roll of aluminum foil. You have 30 minutes to produce a masterpiece. Make it work, people!) And I don’t like the idea that the judges seem to place so much emphasis on the commercial value of the work, rather than its actual merit in a, you know, artistic sense. But I’ll admit that I haven’t actually sat down to watch a whole episode. These shows are always really driven by the personalities of the contestants more than anything else, anyway.

That’s what I’ve got for now. Tell me what I’ve missed.

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