Tuesday, June 10, 2008

TV: Summertime TV is Here!

Rob Salem lamented in Monday's Toronto Star newspaper about the coming of summer and the gazillion crappy reality shows that will be coming our way. Cheer up Rob, some entertaining SCRIPTED stuff will be here soon.

Law and Order: Criminal Intent
returned to USA on the weekend. I like this branch of the L&O franchise because I like Vince D'Onofrio and Mike Noth as lead detectives in a mini NBC Mystery Wheel. Having each set of detectives take two weeks per show makes for better results. Yes, I know D'Onofrio can play TOO weird, but that doesn't bother me. After all, USA eagle eye detective shows Psych and Monk are further out and I enjoy them too.

This week, we see the return of two funny shows in the TBS stable. Bill Engvall's eponymously-named show is a decent comedy about a decent middle-America kind of family. Three kids straight out of cliche college don't sparkle. But Engvall has a real connection with TV wife Nancy Travis, who's good in anything she does. This isn't a great comedy, but it's just darn likable.

The Big Engvall Show
leads into the return of My Boys, one of my top twenty shows from last season. First, it's a show about a Chicago sportswriter. They literally had me with the tag-line. Forget the quality. Then, they made said sportswriter a lady played by Jordana Spiro. Spiro is one of those gals who don't get double-takes, but are as sexy as all get out. I wish I could find a set of her first TV series, The Huntress, where she played the younger half of a mom-and-daughter bounty hunter team. Guess she's born to play against sexual stereotype.

As sexy as Spiro is, and as enticing as the environment is, the key to this series is the supporting cast. Nobody's an extreme oddball. No Cliff Claven's, no Latka's, no character screaming he or she can't possibly be for real. Just normal folks doing normal things. Well, except for Jim Gaffigan, who plays the married brother of Spiro's PJ Franklin. He's hilarious. All the time. Doing nothing, or lamenting his married with children status. A very, very funny man.

In the upcoming weeks, Burn Notice comes back for a second season, while Sci-Fi shows like Eureka and Stargate: Atlantis will be be making their summer returns to the little screen. The Closer is on its way as are the return of fact-checking shows like Real Time with Bill Maher and Penn & Teller's BS.

Honestly Rob, things aren't that bad. Just point the remote control at the console and change channels. There's absolutely NO need for you to subject yourself to I Survived a Japanese Game Show.

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