Summer TV Report Card: Grading the Top Ten June Premieres

Graceland2

We’re almost at the end of June and I’ve managed to make it through at least the first episode of most of the new television shows that have premiered this month. There’s a couple I haven’t gotten to yet, including NBC’s Crossing Lines, and one biggie — Ray Donovan — still to come, but here’s how I would grade the Top 10 new summer shows:

1. Under the Dome 
You can read my full review of the premiere episode here, but to me this CBS drama, based on the Stephen King book, is off to a great, creepy start. After just one episode, I can’t wait to see what happens next.
Grade: A-

2. Graceland
 
As I wrote in my post Looking Forward to Summer Television, I had high hopes for this show, from the creator of White Collar. The show is a little like The Shield if it was set on the beach instead of the inner city, and if Vic Mackey hadn’t shot the cop who was placed on his team to investigate him. I enjoyed the pilot episode — it was stylishly shot, the dialogue had an entertaining cheekiness, and Daniel Sunjata is compelling (and attractive) as Paul Briggs. The weak link for me, at the moment, is the actor I was most excited about — Broadway veteran Aaron Tveit. He’s a little too earnest, a little too puppyish, and a little too theatrical to be believable as a highly qualified FBI agent. Hopefully he’ll settle into the role and the show will hit its stride.
Grade: B

3. Hit the Floor 
This one was a bit of a surprise for me — between the high energy dance routines, Bring it On-style catfights, and the unexpected gravitas of Kimberly Elise, this VH1 show is a fun, guilty pleasure. Sure, the acting is inconsistent and some of the storylines are ridiculous, but it’s an ideal, sexy summertime diversion. 
Grade: B-

4. The Fosters
As I wrote in my review of the premiere episode, while this Jennifer Lopez-produced ABC Family drama is a little on the 7th Heaven/treacly side, I appreciate that it’s taking its time to develop the characters. So far I’ve only watched the first episode, but I’ll definitely check out at least a few more.
Grade: B-

5. Devious Maids
The potential is there for this show from Desperate Housewives creator Marc Cherry to be  campy fun, but, at least in the premiere episode, it hasn’t yet found the just-right tone the long-running ABC dramedy had. Scrubs star Judy Reyes is the early stand-out for me, but if the show doesn’t find its focus, it may lose me as a viewer.
Grade: C+

6. Whodunnit? 
As I wrote in my review of the show, despite not being nearly as entertaining as the similarly premised The Mole and featuring shockingly low production values and a questionable sense of “reality,” this murder mystery shows promise. It remains to be seen, however, if I’ll still be watching when the murderer is revealed.
Grade: C+

7. Twisted 
I actually enjoyed a lot of the pilot episode (read my review here), but have not felt compelled to tune back in since the first episode. Time will tell if this tale of a maybe-“socio” holds enough mysterious allure to bring me back into the fold.
Grade: C

8. Mistresses 
The second Desperate Housewives knock-off on this list, this ABC dramedy has bitten off a bit more than it can chew, and I’m not confident it has the substance to back up it’s sexy style. I love Alyssa Milano, but I’m not sure even Who’s the Boss nostalgia will keep me tuning in much longer to this soapy mess.
Grade: C

9. King & Maxwell
For the life of me I can’t figure out why TNT greenlit this dramedy — it’s like Castle without that show’s romantic tension, charm or wit. While Rebecca Romijn and Jon Tenney are perfectly adequate as the titular leads, the show just has no spark at all. When the second episode already feels tired, that’s not a good sign.
Grade: C-

10. Motive 
Kristin Lehman has been an intriguing presence in the past on shows like The Killing, but here she is stuck in a totally run-of-the-mill procedural, whose “twist” concept of revealing the murderer at the beginning of the episode accomplishes nothing but removing suspense from the proceedings. Definitely the biggest dud of the summer so far.
Grade: D 

Which of these summer shows have you watched? Do you agree with my assessments? Let me know!

READ: Looking Back at June’s Best TV, Movies, Books and Theater
READ: Under the Dome is Off to a Great, Creepy Start
READ: Summertime, and the Reading is Easy — Or Is It?
READ: Burning Questions From the Big Brother Premiere
READ: Revisiting the Grey’s Anatomy Pilot Episode
READ: ABC’s Whodunnitis Entertaining, But It’s No The Mole
READ: Bates Motel and the Power of Surprising Television
READ: My Complicated Relationship with Book Clubs
READ: Wentworth Miller, Tom Welling and Adrian Grenier — Where Have You Gone?
READ: Emmy Nomination Predictions

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About allinsparetime

Thoughts on TV, movies, theater, books and more from an opinionated pop culture addict
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