what is going ON with all the crazy-good television that's on this summer? first there's a bunch of shows that returned that i'm not even watching like the 4400, Dead Zone, The Closer, Rescue Me etc. - but on top of THAT there's been new shows that are either refreshingly good or just plain blowing me away!
there never used to be "new" TV shows in the summer... and now there's too many!
first was John from Cincinnati. this show has managed to be brilliant, boring, and infuriating - sometimes in the same episode. i've written about it before, but the best way to sum this show up is that you can "see" the writing as you watch it - it's like a play. also, you know you're being played with, toyed with, and it's almost like an exercise (sometimes in patience) to try and figure things out. this week is episode 8 out of 10, and no word on future seasons. my hope is that they wrap everything up all nice and neat by the end of this season because honestly, i don't know if they have enough material for a second season - unless John visits another family...
next there was Burn Notice, a refreshing mix of action and comedy that has a dry, sarcastic main character and a pretty wild (compared to him) supporting cast around him, including of course the one and only Bruce Campbell. i'm not sure how long this first season is set to run (i believe this week is episode 5), nor if it's doing well enough to warrant another season, but as long as the formula remains fresh enough and the main character keeps learning little by little why he got burned, i'm on board for a few seasons.
just this past Sunday i started watching my third original series of the summer, The Kill Point. you can check the post i did on it just a few nights ago, but basically it's a bank robbery turned hostage situation from a bunch of different perspectives AND it's a nice character study, quieting down to focus on a number of the various characters from all sides. with the surprise ending of the pilot, i think that this series has enough for the planned 9 episodes, and i'll be glad if they end it at that.
and now - Damages.
they started advertising for this show on FX while The Shield was finishing up its season two months ago. series looked like it dealt with a team of lawyers going after a big-shot billionaire for screwing his employees out of money (i thought Erin Brockovich, i don't know) but with lots of dirty dealings, backhanded moves, and even possibly murder. out of the preview, what caught my eye?
i don't usually check out something based solely on an actor/actress alone, but Glenn Close playing a hard-ass is an exception to the rule. now i know she's been acting for a while, but i've never really had her in my "great actress" category - until i saw her on The Shield during Season 4 (probably my second favorite season of the show, mostly because of her). to see her in another FX show, looking like she's playing a hardball lawyer (on The Shield she played a pretty hard-ass captain)? oh hell yes sign me up.
the show? basically what i described above, what i got from the preview - except taken even further than i even thought possible. beside the two or three twists that happen throughout he episode, there are two major twists at the end of the episode (well, one's more of a reveal that you could sort of see coming, but the other was a TWIST) and wow... maybe i wasn't paying close attention but it really caught me off guard.
oh, and the story is told kind of in a flashback - well, the main character's future is playing out in front of our eyes as well as her past (6 month time difference) and, while a little gimmicky and often overused, it seems like it will work well with this series, where things aren't as they seem and, as Glenn herself said - trust no one.
to sum it up - great story, good presentation of said story, surprising twists, and excellent, EXCELLENT acting. i think this "season" (it's what FX called it in their promos) is 8 episodes, and that seems about right. and honestly, if there IS a second season of this... i couldn't think of what it would be. plus, getting Close and even Byrne (the main actress, also pretty good) back for a television show i think would be tough.
four really good, original shows this summer. not bad.
but wait! in researching Damages tonight online i came across ANOTHER show that just started last week on AMC called Mad Men - it's supposedly about an ad agency in the 60s, 13 hour-long episodes. it looks GOOD... going to catch a rerun of the first episode tomorrow hopefully and try to tune in Thursday night for the second one. oh, and there's a miniseries coming too! The Company on TNT about the CIA duing the Cold War. also looks good.
summer used to be about "going outside" and "playing" - now it's about watching TV. good TV.