'Rescue Me' to the rescue

Denisleary_rescueme_s4_240 I think you know by now that there are some shows with which I have a love/hate relationship.

I like a show too much to completely give up on it but sometimes I'm so frustrated with the direction it is going in or a particularly annoying character that I think to myself, "That's it. I'm never watching again." And there I am back the next week in front of my television. It's a dysfunctional TV relationship and I've had quite a few.

Ally McBeal was one of those show. Grey's Anatomy is one of those shows. And last season Rescue Me became one of those shows.

When Rescue Me first premiered, I adored it. It may not have changed my life. But boy did I laugh and cry. But then, once Diane Far departed the series, every, single female character was completely neurotic, one-dimensional and more than a little crazy. Every woman who crossed across the screen wanted to sleep with Tommy (really you tell me what purpose Jennifer Esposito served last season). And I know he's the star, but the show became almost exclusively focused on Tommy (Denis Leary). I like Sean, I like Franco, I like Lou, I like the Probie and I want to see more of them. I didn't want a very special episode of The Tommy Gavin Show week after week.

The series won't be back until next spring (Leary has mentioned March 2009 in a few interviews, but FX hasn't confirmed a date yet.) Ten, five-minute minisodes, which premiere Tuesday at 10 p.m. on FX and will be available on www.crackle.com the day after, are meant to tide viewers over until the series returns for a fifth season. And I'm positively delighted with the three minisodes I've seen so far.

Leary said in an interview last week that the minisodes will become more serious as they progress but the three that I saw were mostly played for comedic effect. And that's was what I always loved about the series -- the firehouse banter between the guys.

This week, Sean announces to the crew that he's been on a cleansing fast. And profanity-laden hilarity ensues. (Even though this is basic cable, I'm surprised by what they've gotten away with from a censors perspective) Next week, Tommy has a provocative dream that takes a few uproarious turns.

I'm really hoping these minisodes are a sign of great things to come in season five. After you've watched the minisodes, let me know what you think.

Do you have a series you have a love/hate relationship with? Talk about it below.

Amy Awards

Don't forget that you have until this Friday, June 27 at 5 p.m. EST to cast your vote in the 2008 Amy Awards.

Remember you picked the categories, you picked the nominees and now you will vote on the winners.

Click here to vote.

Can We Survive This Week of Game Shows

Alroker_240 I'm desperately trying to remember the last time I truly enjoyed a prime time game show. Maybe Who Wants to Be a Millionaire, when the series was still in its nascent stages and not on every five minutes. I like the old fashion charm of the current Million Dollar Password. And I always enjoyed Win Ben Stein's Money. I have nothing against game shows, but like most things in television, prime time game shows have become the latest genre to be overexposed. They're popular because they are cheap to produce and quick to move through production.

Let's take a gander at the ones coming our way this week.

Celebrity Family Feud (Tuesday, NBC, 8 p.m.): It's like the perfect storm -- the overuse of celebrities with over exposure of game shows. Such good times. Al Roker hosts (hmmmm . . . will he kiss all the female contestants on the lips?) as famous families try to win $50,000 for the charity of their choice. This week, the families of Joan Rivers, Raven-Symone, Ice T and Wayne Newton compete.

I Survived a Japanese Game Show (Tuesday, ABC, 9 p.m.): Ten contestants are taken on a surprise trip to Tokyo where they compete in -- that's right -- a Japanese game show. Here's an example of a game they'll be playing. It's called "Why is this food so hard to eat?" One person runs in place on a treadmill (that's going very fast) while the other person tries to eat food attached to the first contestant's head. Let's stop there, shall we?

Wipeout (Tuesday, ABC, 8 p.m.): With all the ads ABC has been airing, I feel like I've already seen this one. And I don't like what I've seen so far, do you?

What do you think about the current state of prime time game shows? Talk about it below.

Highlights of the Week Ahead

All times listed are Eastern Standard Time for June 23-28

So I must know what you thought of the season premiere of Weeds (Monday, Showtime, 10 p.m.) and the series premiere of Secret Diary of a Call Girl (Monday, Showtime, 10:30 p.m.) Were you as frustrated with Nancy as I was? Wait until this week's episode. And I was surprised that I heard from so many people who really liked Secret Diary. I just couldn't really get into the show but many of you were quite taken with the premiere.

It gives me hope that ABC News still producing shows like this. Hopkins, premieres Thursday at 10 p.m. on ABC. In the series, executive producer Terence Wrong went inside Baltimore's Johns Hopkins Hospital for four months to chronicle the life and death situations that are part of the daily hospital operations.

Maggielawson_psych_240 Maggie Lawson and James Roday, who star in Psych, are working together again in the latest installment of Fear Itself (Thursday, NBC, 10 p.m.). Lawson plays a bride who gets a note on her wedding day that states "The person you are marrying is a serial killer." Yeah that's gotta put a damper on things.

Okay I know I just complained about game shows and maybe I am a little too cranky today because I do love dancing shows. But enough is enough. Why does TV have to run every popular trend into the ground? Bad TV, very bad TV. Dance Machine, where six people compete in dance-offs, premieres Friday at 8 p.m. on ABC.

If you missed Eli Stone when it premiered in the spring, now is your chance to catch up. ABC is repeating the episodes in order beginning Saturday at 10 p.m.

That's all for today. I'm back on Wednesday with this week's familiar faces and more. Have a question? Seen a familiar face? Want to nominate a quote of the week or a topic for discussion? Write me at amytvgal@zap2it.com.