TV Gal Seeks Summer Substitutes
It went a little something like this:
TiVo: I'm totally out of room. You're stressing me out.
Me: How can you be out of room? This is the summer. There's hardly anything I need from you.
TiVo: Well, you insist on saving every episode of "Lost."
Me: I've explained several times I'm merely waiting for the season two DVD to come out.
TiVo: And you still have the series finale of "NYPD Blue."
Me: I've tried to make you understand how I felt about Andy Sipowicz.
TiVo: Yes, but you've never watched the series finale again.
Me: I know but it's comforting to know I could if I wanted to.
TiVo: OK fine, but what about the five episodes of "The 4400" you have yet to watch.
Me: Um, right. Good point.
So after my tete-a-tete with my TiVo, I sat down and had myself a "The 4400" marathon. And I have to tell you I think this is the show's best season yet. I love how the series has moved away from "The 4400 of the week" episode structure to an overall story line this season of the evil (so very evil) Isabelle, the master plan of the 4400, the power struggle for leadership while nicely mixing in story lines like Alana's confrontation of the man who killed her family or the sweet romance between Diana and Marco. The series manages to have gasp-out-loud surprises (is Garret Dillahunt doomed to die on every series he's on? This might help Alex and Sam on "ER"), excellent guest stars (Brian Dennehy, Sharif Atkins), and easy to pick up mythology. I decided it's the summer's version of "Lost" -- intriguing, compelling, must-see-TV that requires a lot less heavy lifting.
So it got me thinking, what are the other summer counterparts to our favorite regular season shows?
What are your summer substitutions? Talk about it on the TV Gal Message Board.
Where Have I Seen Them Before?
James Frain, Eli Szura on "Invasion," poor Paul Raines on "24," and I loved him as Forney in the movie "Where the Heart Is," was the man who killed his wife and daughter on "The Closer." I've officially moved Frain into the "deserves his own show" file.
Aaron recognized Maggie Lawson, Liz on "It's All Relative" and Andrea on "Crumbs," as Juliet on "Psych."
A Preview of "Nip/Tuck"
I won't give to much away of the new season that starts Tuesday, Sept. 5, but you may want to totally stop reading if you want to know nothing.
The big news I have to report is that the series seems to be back on track with no Carver shenanigans. In fact, executive producer Ryan Murphy promises we'll never see the Carver or his freaky-deaky sister again. Let's hope so because as you know my concern with this series is that they push the characters to such an outrageous point that they become caricatures who we no longer care about.
But this season looks to be much more grounded. Sure, there are still the stunt guest-stars (Kathleen Turner, Brooke Shields and Larry Hagman all pop up in the first episode), pulsating soundtrack and preposterous plot lines (Julian beds a mother/daughter duo in the premiere. All together now, "yuck."), but the characters are back to expressing real human emotions and behaving in intrinsically believable ways. So I'm actually looking forward to this season. My only complaint? I wish it wasn't starting up right at the time we'll have so much more TV to watch.
Highlights of the Week Ahead
All times listed are Eastern Time for July 31 to August 6
I've heard from so many of you who secretly subscribe to my theory that Lily is the mom of Ted's children on "How I Met Your Mother" (Monday, CBS, 8:30 p.m.). Could that be possible? What do you think?
Tune in to this episode of "Veronica Mars" (Tuesday, UPN, 8 p.m.). Veronica investigates a rape at the local college. This is a story line that will continue to play out next season.
It's the season finale of "Last Comic Standing" beginning Tuesday at 9 p.m. on NBC and concluding Thursday at 8 p.m. Look for former host Jay Mohr to return, along with past winners.
All the summer series are winding down in anticipation of the new fall season. The top four contestants compete in part one of the season finale of "So You Think You Can Dance" (Wednesday, FOX, 9 p.m.)
This was one of my favorite episodes of "Everybody Hates Chris" (Thursday, UPN, 8 p.m.). Chris desperately wants a new outfit to wear for class picture day.
Get ready for the brand new season of "Laguna Beach" beginning Wednesday, Aug. 16, by catching up on an all day "Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County" marathon Saturday beginning at 9:30 a.m. on MTV. Relive all the Lauren, Kristin and Jason drama before meeting the new Orange County kids who are living the good life.
You can get a sneak peak at all new shows and a look at the new seasons of returning shows on FOX Sunday at 7 p.m. Tune in now to see just how bad "Happy Hour" actually is.
I really wanted to like "Three Moons Over Milford" (Sunday, ABC Family, 8 p.m.). I've loved Elizabeth McGovern ever since the movie "Racing the Moon." But the show just falls flat -- a combination of not-so-great writing and even worse acting (not from McGovern of course, but the others could stand an acting class or two).
Matthew Perry stars as the title character in "The Ron Clark Story" Sunday at 9 p.m. on TNT.
That's all for today. I will be back next Monday with a look at the new season of "Weeds," thoughts on the Fantasia Barrino movie on Lifetime and much, much more. Have a question, seen a familiar face, have an inside scoop or want to nominate a quote of the week? Write me at firstname.lastname@example.org .