Back in the day, before DVR’s and On Demand, Summer TV consisted of reruns and burn-off’s of all the shows that didn’t make it. Beverly Hills 90210 changed all that in the summer of 1990 when Fox got monster ratings while the other networks were showing reruns and crappy specials.
Every summer since, viewers are offered an ever increasing selection of new shows to watch. I love it because I love TV. There are a bunch of talented people out there who deserve a shot at sharing their creative ideas with us couch potatoes during the dog days of summer.
So what am I going to be watching? Starting with what I think is fun, kicking things off this past Tuesday was my guilty pleasure, NBC’s America’s Got Talent. I couldn’t stand this show when it premiered in 2006 because I don’t like Sharon Ozborne or Piers Morgan who were judges. Host Jerry Springer made the show seem kinda skeevy to me. But these past few seasons with the current cast of host Nick Cannon, and judges Howard Stern, Heidi Klum, Mel B and Howie Mandel, I find myself enjoying the wide variety of performances. The judges sometimes interact with the contestants and even get in on the act. That’s fun to see! The show is like a combination of The Gong Show from the 1970’s and The old Ed Sullivan Show from the 1960’s.
Next up is Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance” which showcases trained dancers and street dancers who compete for a prize of $250,000 and the title of “America’s Favorite Dancer”. Each week we are treated to a variety of performances and dance styles with the contestants being judged on technical skills as well as energy and how well they convey the emotion of a piece. This season introduces Paula Abdul (a seasoned choreographer) and Jason Derulo (whom I know nothing about) as judges. The show got rid of original judge Mary Murphy who was so annoying to me that when she would shriek loudly about the “Hot Tamale Train” after a performance, I wished that the animated Soul Train would suddenly appear and comically run over her face. Murphy will now be hosting the ballroom dancing competition on PBS this year and um…good luck to her.
I am a huge fan of American Ninja Warriors on NBC. Just look at what those competitors can do! They are so strong and athletic, they make me feel like I can get through my basic workouts every day at Planet Fitness.
As I’ve stated in previous columns, I do not like shows with zombie’s or alien babies (sorry Hallie Berry’s “Extant”) or shows with an “end of the world” or mass disease premise (no thanks, Under The Dome (CBS) and The Last Ship (TNT).
I am looking forward to the new season of Ray Donovan on Showtime. Liev Schreiber is mesmerizing in his role as a hard-assed Hollywood fixer who arranges for bribes or payoffs of corrupt police, government officials and or other criminals so his clients can avoid jail. I thoroughly enjoy Jon Voight who plays Donovan’s ex-con yet sorta wacky Dad “Mickey”. Pooch Hall (formerly of BET’s The Game) recurs as Mickey’s biracial son whose mom is portrayed by the fantastic Sheryl Lee Ralph. This show is riveting.
Kevin Hart’s “Real Husbands of Hollywood” returns August 18th on BET. I’m on the fence about this show. When it first premiered, I enjoyed the cast featuring actual Hollywood husbands (Duane Martin, Boris Kodjoe, JB Smoove, Nick Cannon and Robin Thicke) who found themselves in silly situations and played well off of each other because they were friends. Recently, the show has devolved into some kind of farce comedy. Hart has exaggerated his personality and silliness to serve plot lines that seem ridiculous but could work if he and his writers could tone down the pratfalls and return to letting the men interact with each other. This season the producers gave us an episode with all the “wives” that was so over the top, I couldn’t see how it was supposed to work within the story. And please…can we put Nelly on the back burner and bring back original cast member Robin Thicke? Nick Cannon is going through a divorce. If this is the “fakest reality show”, can’t we make him a sad sack now that Mariah’s gone? Comedy is supposed to be a reflection of reality and the jokes are just WAITING to be told.
Coming soon….A look at some of the new summer shows…