Summer TV Wasteland No More
There was a time when TV during the summer months consisted of sports and reruns and that was about it.
Not any longer as networks offer a host of short-season programs in the hopes of garnering ratings during the least-watched time of year. I have not gotten into any of the regular network shows but a trio of summer programs on premium channels are among my favorites.
“Magic City” just finished its second season on Starz and what a season it was for Jeffrey Dean Morgan, who must have set some kind of record for cigarettes smoked while trying to hold onto his Miami Beach hotel and family in 1959. Also back for a second season is “The Newsroom” on HBO and Jeff Daniels is brilliant as cable-TV News Anchor Will McAvoy. While the show is a work of fiction it follows real-life political stories and is incredibly well done.
The new show I’ve picked up this summer is “Ray Donovan” which airs on Showtime and will remind some of the ABC series “Scandal.” That’s because Liev Schreiber who plays Ray Donovan is a fixer (like Olivia Pope) for a Southern California law firm and he needs to fix many of his own problems. The show is gritty, violent, dark and tremendous and Jon Voight is terrific as Donovan’s hated father.
Another summer favorite of mine which recently wrapped up its ninth season is “Deadliest Catch” on the Discovery Channel which chronicles the struggles of captain and crew on fishing vessels in the Bering Sea searching for Alaskan king crabs and opilios. There is never an episode where I don’t shake my head and say out loud “I can’t believe these guys do this.” Hopefully it will be back for a 10th season next April.
Among the prime time network shows earning strong ratings this past week were Under the Dome, America’s Got Talent, 60 Minutes, The Bachelorette, NCIS, Big Brother and Pre-Season Football, none of which I watched.
You can only give so many hours to TV in the summer and I clearly prefer to stick to the racy ones.