There’s nothing good on TV tonight anyway

When I was growing up, summer meant nothing but re-runs. Today, summer is a TV season is pretty much synonymous with a glut of reality series. But two of my favorite shows have summer seasons, so I’m not all that convinced by that reputation.

I’ve been meaning to write this entry for a long time, but I’ve been sidetracked all summer by work in my recording studio. As I’ve mentioned before, TiVo has actually been responsible for my watching more shows but fewer hours of television. How is that possible? Maybe it’s all just perception.

Here’s what I’ve been watching:

  • Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List Most of the time, Kathy is performing for her own reality series. Even though she takes you behind the scenes of an almost-celebrity life, there’s always a sense that Kathy Griffin is ratcheting it up for the camera. Not that I’d mind, because damn the woman is funny. But this season, real life threw some big curves, and Griffin let the camera catch her at her most vulnerable. That ain’t acting. Griffin revels in being the underdog, because America loves underdogs. But if being "real" doesn’t make her star, what will?
  • Traveler Matthew Bomer must have been very, very pretty indeed for me to sit through the entire run of this show. Because, really — the amount of belief required to suspend just to get through an entire episode taxed my wherewithal. There were moments while watching the show that I muttered, "Wow. This sucks." Not even Viola Davis could pull this one off. Its cancellation was not a surprise, but I wish the show wasn’t so starkly unreal.
  • Burn Notice I tried watching Jeffrey Donovan’s previous USA series, Touching Evil, and in the beginning Donovan pulled off the loose cannon really well. But then the writing got all weepy with the family angle, and the character got muddied after that. Burn Notice, on the other hand, fits Donovan perfectly. He can do steely resolve and cold efficiency with a hint of humanity and good dose of heroism. It’s what Touching Evil should have been, with an actual sense of humor thrown in. No, I didn’t believe Gabrielle Anwar was from Ireland either, so I’m glad they her character is adopting "an accent". Also, Bruce Campbell.
  • The Closer Yeah, it feels like the production team is calling this season in. Brenda seems more annoying than quirky this season, and the cases aren’t as compelling as seasons past. I wish I could like the growing pains happening in the relationship between Brenda and Sgt. Gabriel, and I wish I could appreciate the softening of Lt. Provenza. Also, what’s going on with Daniels and Sanchez?
  • The 4400 The show got rid of the Freak of the Week and concentrated on the conspiracy, making the fourth season of The 4400 the best since, well, the miniseries. Seasons two and three had a lot of dead moments, but this season has been so watchable, I actually want to find spoilers. So two factions from the future are duking it out in the past? That is so going to bite both their asses by the series’ end.
  • Eureka For a while there, I thought Henry was still holding a grudge against Jack for preventing the alternate future of the Season One finale from happening. I kind of dig how the writers have made his character darker, especially with Joe Morton in the role. I also like how the overriding conspiracy with "the Artifact" is very much a secondary story. (Much like the mystery behind why Donovan’s Michael Westin got burned in Burn Notice.) The characters are rounding out as well. Zoe (Jordan Hinson) and Jack (Colin Ferguson) have the most believable parent-child relationship outside of Friday Night Lights.
  • Psych This show has fallen out of favor. The second half of the first season started getting really slapstick, and this season, it’s all gaffes. James Roday looks hotter when he’s clean-shaven, which he’s not for this round. Too bad.

Not exactly summer shows, but I did start watching them this summer.

  • Mythbusters The first of two TiVo recommendations I actually tried out and liked. Add to the list of Hot Asian Guys on TV one Grant Imahara.
  • BleachThe second of two TiVo recommendations I actually tried out and liked. That’s not entirely true — I would catch an episode here and there, but TiVo started grabbing them for me, and I got hooked. I know he’s just a cartoon character, but Captain Aizen — w00t! I also love Chad’s succinctness.