Summer television presents a strange balance shift — the cable networks save some of their best fare for the warm weather months when there is less competition, while the broadcast networks have historically aired reruns, reality shows and lower profile series. This year, however, ABC, NBC and CBS are all are premiering new shows that look, at least on paper, somewhat promising. I still can’t help but view these new series with a bit of skepticism, unfair as it may be –the thought “If they were really good, wouldn’t they be on in the fall?” can’t help but creep in. But I applaud the effort, and will do my best to give them the benefit of the doubt.
So, when I’m not frolicking in the good weather (please let there be good weather!), doing summer reading, seeing the new Broadway and Off-Broadway shows around town, checking out the summer movies, or making my way through my overstuffed DVR’s, here’s the new shows I may check out over the next month or so. Along with a description of the show, I’ve included the likelihood of my (a) watching the first episode, and (b) watching all of the episodes that air. Here they are, in order of premiere date:
Motive (ABC), debuting tonight
Starring Kristin Lehman (The Killing) as detective who is also a single mom, this looks to be a pretty straight-up, and possibly straight-up boring, procedural.
First episode: 45%; To completion: 10%
Save Me (NBC), debuting Thursday
This is more a burn-off than a premiere, as NBC is running two episodes a night for just four weeks. The Anne Heche comedy seemed to have good buzz when it was first picked up last spring, though what happened since then is anybody’s guess. I’m willing to give it a try.
First episode: 90%; To completion: 50%
The Fosters (ABC Family), debuting June 3
From Executive Producer Jennifer Lopez and created by Queer as Folk star Peter Paige (that’s an interesting pair), this is a show about a lesbian bi-racial couple who raise biological and adoptive children together. I’m always interested to see how television treats same-sex couples, especially when they are at the center for a show, so I’ll probably check out at least the first episode. This could be groundbreaking, treacly — or just bad. Guess we’ll see!
READ: Could HBO’s New Gay Themed Show Be the Long Awaited Successor to Queer as Folk?
First episode: 85%; To completion: 45%
Mistresses (ABC), debuting June 3
Another show that was announced at last year’s upfront that is just now getting a premiere, this show is based on the British series about the lives of four female friends and their involvement in an array of illicit and complex relationships. Alyssa Milano and Lost star Yunjin Kim definitely earn it some points, but it will need to deliver the soap-y goods to keep me watching.
First episode: 65%; To completion: 25%
Graceland (USA), debuting June 6
Definitely my number one most anticipated show of the summer, this show from White Collar creator Jeff Eastin focuses on a group of officials from various United States law enforcement agencies who are forced to live together in a Southern California beach house, as part of an undercover operation. The premise sounds intriguing, the trailer looks great, and it stars former Broadway hunks Aaron Tveit and Daniel Sunjata. I am so there.
First episode: 100%; To completion: 80%
King & Maxwell (TNT), debuting June 10
Originally developed at CBS, this program stars Jon Tenney (The Closer) and Rebecca Romijn as a pair of private investigators. TNT’s procedurals haven’t really done it for me in the past (I didn’t stick with The Closer and could barely get through one episode of Rizzoli and Isles), so I don’t have high hopes for this one.
First episode: 30%; To completion: 5%
Twisted (ABC Family), debuting June 11
I have such mixed feeling about ABC Family shows — sometimes I give in to the guilty pleasure-ness of it all (the first season of Pretty Little Liars), and sometimes I just can’t (every season since of Pretty Little Liars). Twisted, about a teenager who becomes the suspect in the murder of one of his classmates, could go either way.
First episode: 65%; To completion: 40%
Devious Maids (Lifetime), debuting June 23
Yet another show originally developed for broadcast (this time ABC), it comes from Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry, and follows the exploits of the titular household help. If it captures the campy spirit of Cherry’s big hit I might be willing to go along for the ride.
First episode: 70%; To completion: 40%
Under the Dome (CBS), debuting June 25
The biggest bet by a network this summer, this 13-part series tells the story of the residents of the small town of Chester’s Mill, Maine, who suddenly find themselves cut off from the rest of the world by a mysterious, impenetrable barrier that surrounds the town. I hope it works, (a) because it looks interesting, and (b) so that it inspires the networks to keep taking chances like this in the summer. I’m rooting for it.
First episode: 95%; To completion: 60%
That takes us through the end of June…I’ll check back on July and August debuts in a few weeks. Any of these shows look interesting to you? Will you be watching any of these new programs, or just clearing off your DVR? Let me know!