Your Summer TV Bible: What to Watch—and What to Avoid Like the Plague

summer_07 | Hace 9 años

Entourage Cast

Claudette Barius/HBO

Yoo-hoo...Do you see the Printable Version icon waaay down at the bottom of this item? You're gonna want to print out this here page, because it is your official handy dandy bible of all the shows coming out this summer.

If you don't think there's anything to watch now that McSteamy and Sawyer are off the air, think again, my friends! There is plenty to keep your gluteus maximus molded to the couch in the hot summer months.

I'm running down all the June, July and August TV premieres (in order of premiere date, so you can sync up your TiVo and BlackBerry calendars) and breaking them down into four categories, so you know what's worth your time:

  • Hallelujah! It's a TV miracle. (Awesome)
  • This one's a blessing. (Good)
  • What? Sorry, I was sleeping in church. (Mediocre)
  • Pray for deliverance. (Bad)

Are you noticing a theme here? It's inspired by the show I consider to be the best new series coming out this summer (which just so happens to be about a guy with the moniker "J.C."). Read on to find out!

Starter Wife

Paul A Broben/USA Network


May 31:  Pirate Master (CBS)
Got Dramamine? This mashup of Survivor and Pirates of the Caribbean makes me a little seasick.
Verdict:  Pray for deliverance.

May 31:  The Starter Wife (USA)
Hollywood Wives with a boho twist, this is six hours of pure escapism. Wheee! Plus, it's the return of our beloved Grace (Debra Messing) to the small screen, which is definitely worth celebratin'.
Verdict:  This one's a blessing.


June 3:  Army Wives (Lifetime)
The name says it all. Earnest, well-produced and kind of dull, like everything on Lifetime.
Verdict:  What? Sorry, I was sleeping in church.

June 4:  Hell's Kitchen (Fox)
New set, new contestants, same ol' premise. Gordon Ramsay berates and belittles aspiring culinary whizzes through a competition that may land them a gig as head chef of a restaurant in Henderson, Nev...Zzzzzz...Sorry, couldn't even finish that sentence.
Verdict:  What? Sorry, I was sleeping in church.

Life on the D-List: Kathy Griffin

Jake Johnson/BRAVO

June 5:  Kathy  Griffin: My Life on the D-List (Bravo)
She works twice as hard to get half as far, and we love her for it. This season she performs at Carnegie Hall and dips a toe back in the singles pool with some very unlikely candidates.
Verdict:  Hallelujah! It's a TV miracle. 

June 5:  The Loop (Fox)
This series is in its death throes, but at least you can study up on Bret Harrison in preparation for Reaper in the fall.
Verdict:  This one's a blessing—till it heads to the big rerun channel in the sky. 

June 6:  Lil' Bush: Resident of the United States (Comedy Central)
With the addition of Lil' Bush, originally created for a mobile platform, Comedy Central's political hit squad is officially the deadliest on television.
Verdict:  This one's a blessing.

June 6:  American Inventor (ABC)
George Foreman joins the judging panel this summer, giving a second season of hopeful inventors the chance to make their homemade gadgets and doohickeys into a marketable product. As the show is well-produced by our boy Simon Cowell, you'll find yourself tearing up over these contestants stories and rooting for their success. Still, I'd rather be watching Blake on Idol.
Verdict:  What? Sorry, I was sleeping in church.

June 6:  Tyler  Perry's House of Payne (TBS)
Tyler Perry brings his big-screen big mama, Madea, to the boob tube to set the world around her straight. The half-hour comedy starts off cringingly slow but supposedly picks up speed by the second ep.
Verdict:  What? Sorry, I was sleeping in church.

June 6:  Top Chef (Bravo)
Be sure to tune in for season three's sneak preview, which brings four former contestants back to battle it out in the kitchen and introduces the next group of culinary competitors. Tasty, as always.
Verdict:  This one's a blessing.

June 7:  Footballers' Wives (BBC America)
Joan Collins joins the show in its fifth and final season as Paulo's evil lover, fitting right into the drama, given her Dynasty background. In case you hadn't heard, there's a cult brewing among people who are ape-dung over this show, so I recommend you check it out.
Verdict:  This one's a blessing.

June 7:  Fast Cars and Superstars (ABC)
If you're dying for a fix of Denny Crane now that Boston Legal's on summer break, then I suppose you could check out William Shatner's appearance on this new reality show that pairs your favorite celebs with pro stock-car racers for a little lesson of sorts. But I wouldn't recommend it.
Verdict:  What? Sorry, I was sleeping in church.

June 8:  Standoff (Fox)
This show was a hostage of Fox's schedule wars for most of its first season, but Ron Livingston and Gina Torres are always worth a second look.
Verdict:  This one's a blessing—till it heads to the giant rerun channel in the sky.

John from Cincinnati


June 10:  John from Cincinnati (HBO)
Weird. Bonkers. Hilarious. Freakish. These are all words used to describe this show, the new spiritually minded drama on HBO from Deadwood producer David Milch, which, so far, is my number one pick for the best new series this summer. Austin Nichols stars as John, a seemingly average dude who shows up in a small surf town to politely inform everyone "the end is coming." And when people start walking on water and experiencing other everyday miracles, you'll start to realize that this guy John from Cincinnati has a lot in common with another "J.C."
Hallelujah! It's a TV miracle!

June 11:  Kyle XY (ABC Family)
Hot, blue-eyed sci-fi boys? Consider us sold.
Verdict:  This one's a blessing.

Big Love


June 11:  Big Love (HBO)
It's back! Okay, tell me I'm not the only one who feels all tingly every time those promos for Big Love come on the air—you know, the ones with the picnic and the wind and the creepy looks between Margene (Ginnifer Goodwin) and her "son" (Douglas Smith). Squee! If you watched the first season—meaning, more than one episode—you know this show is as addictive as TV crack. And the second season promises to be just as solid, with the Cult versus Henricksons war coming to a major head—and Bill possibly picking up a fourth wife (hey, we all have hobbies). I. Cannot. Wait!
Verdict:  Hallelujah! It's a TV miracle! 

June 13:  Last Comic Standing (NBC)
Bill Bellamy takes over from last year's dud host Anthony Clark, who turned the show into open-mike night of the living dead.
Verdict:  This one's a blessing. 

June 13:  Rescue Me (FX)
The fourth season kicks off with a woman who not only rescues Tommy (Denis Leary) from a ghastly fire but who also recently gave Bradley Cooper back to the single world: Let's call her Saint Jennifer Esposito. She's sticking around long enough to stir up some love-triangle-ish romance with Tommy and his true love Natalie in a season that looks to be just as smart, engaging, hilarious and edgy as the past three seasons, which of course means you must watch!
Verdict:  Hallelujah! It's a TV miracle! 

June 17:  Entourage (HBO)
Thanks to HBO's weird scheduling setup, we get season four June 17, which means—hooray!—we won't have to wait too long to see what happens next, including Johnny Drama imploding. "His confidence is up," Kevin Dillon says of his alter ego. "He's on a hit show. He gets his own place and moves out of the mansion, but he overextends himself and gets evicted. Which is good, 'cause otherwise, who would cook? These guys would starve!"
Verdict:  This one's a blessing.

June 17:  Meadowlands (Showtime)
This seemingly normal family is anything but, having joined the witness protection program in an attempt to run from their past. Unfortunately for them, things don't always go as planned.
Verdict:  This one's a blessing.

June 17:  Flight of the Conchords (HBO)
If you haven't yet had the pleasure of being introduced to New Zealand folk/comedy duo Bret McKenzie and Jemaine Clement, allow me: The boys star in this fictional account of their real lives, à la Larry David in Curb.
Verdict:  Hallelujah! It's a TV miracle!

June 17:  The 4400 (USA)
The 4400 are no longer the only ones with special abilities; however, the ramifications of  using them are quite complicated. An ideal world it is not. But it is addictive TV for sci-fi fans!
Verdict:  This one's a blessing.

June 17:  The Dead Zone (USA)
Rumor has it the world of Anthony Michael Hall's Johnny will change forever in this season six premiere. The producers are promising strong, personal character work ahead.
Verdict:  This one's a blessing.

June 18:  The Closer (TNT)
Season three of Kyra Sedgwick's LAPD drama is right around the corner and thank God for that. Word around town is these next eps could be the best yet, with Brenda moving her relationship to the next level and getting herself into a whole lot of hot water at work. (Psst...That's an understatement.)
Verdict:  This one's a blessing.

June 18:  Heartland (TNT)
Treat Williams is back on TV, playing a skilled surgeon who puts his work above everything else. He's like Dr. Andy Brown before the move to Everwood. But Everwood this is not. It's sappy and slow. I'm praying for a visit from Bright to spice things up.
Verdict:  What? Sorry, I was sleeping in church.

June 18:  Age of Love (NBC)
More reality dating. Mark Consuelos hosts fight night, as nubile twentysomethings battle tooth and Lee Press On nail against wizened fortysomethings for the favor of a former tennis pro. Insert eye roll here.
Verdict:  Um, this is definitely some kind of venial sin. 

June 28:  Burn Notice (USA)
A cross between Alias and The A-Team, this new adventure-comedy costars Bruce Campbell as a CIA agent with a whole lotta charm and dry wit. I'm so there.
Verdict:  Hallelujah! A TV miracle.


July 8:  American Body Shop (Comedy Central)
It's Reno 911! in an auto body repair shop. I'm so in.
Verdict:  Hallelujah! It's a TV miracle!

July 10:  Eureka (Sci Fi)
Even though it's usually overshadowed by its darker cousin, Battlestar Galactica, this Sci Fi series holds its own. Check it out if you have a chance.
Verdict:  This one's a blessing.


Monk: Tony Shalhoub

Isabella Vosmikova/USA Network

July 13:  Monk (USA)
Even if Monk is throwback television, Tony Shalhoub's acting and the sharp writing are still ahead of their time.
Verdict:  This one's a blessing.

July 13: Psych (USA)
I see the future, and it is James Roday and Dule Hill returning as the best detective team anywhere on television (yes, I said it!). Psych is back for season two and the prospect of new online outtakes alone makes me a wee bit giddy. These guys are highly entertaining.
Verdict:  Hallelujah! It's a TV miracle.

July 15:  Side Order of Life (Lifetime)
Marisa Coughlan stars as an enlightenment-seeking former career woman. Just your usual Lifetime fare...
Verdict:  What? Sorry, I was sleeping in church.

July 15:  State of Mind (Lifetime)
Lili Taylor is a therapist. Devon Gummersall is a lawyer. And while I love both of them, this series set in a small New England town seems to be setting up shop on Preachy Downer Boulevard.
Verdict:  What? Sorry, we were asleep in church.

July 16:  Chelsea Lately (E!)
I said it when her last show (The Chelsea Handler Show) premiered and I'll say it again: To know Chelsea Handler is to love her. And this summer, the delightfully sharp-witted (and oh so un-PC) improv artist is starting a new late-night talk show that's sooo worth staying up for—so cancel your early morning plans now.
Verdict:  Hallelujah! It's a TV miracle.

July 24:  Damages (FX)
Glenn Close (you may have heard of her) leads this drama about the world of high-stakes litigation in New York City. Definitely solid summer fare.
Verdict:  Hallelujah! It's a TV miracle.

My Boys

Andrew Eccles/TBS

July 30:  My Boys (TBS)
Yay! P.J. and friends return for nine more eps of romantic hijinks and baseball metaphors in a TV comedy that's actually funny. (Rare these days.) Can't wait.
  Hallelujah! It's a TV miracle.


Aug. 10:  Flash Gordon (Sci Fi)
I'll watch this, but only if it includes the villain from the comics: Ming the Merciless, evil ruler of Mongo. (Hee!)
Verdict:  What? Sorry, I was sleeping in church.

Aug. 13:  Californication (Showtime)
David Duchovny as a debauched novelist balancing addictions, creativity and family? Did I mention David Duchovny? Need I say more?
Verdict:  Hallelujah! It's a TV miracle.


Randy Tepper/Showtime

Aug. 13:  Weeds (Showtime)
What the f--k happened next?! That's what we Weeds fans have been dying to know since the second season left us cliffhanging with Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker) surrounded by thugs with machine guns, her b-f presumably shot dead and her son Silas facing the cops with a car full of marijuana. The good news? It appears that at least the Botwins will survive, since Matthew Modine is stepping on board as a love interest for Nancy (for 10 episodes) and Mary-Kate Olsen will be playing Silas' new Christian girlfriend (also for 10 eps). Carrie Fisher and Zooey Deschanel (Andy's neurotic squeeze) will also guest star, which all adds up to awesome, if you ask me!
Hallelujah! It's a TV miracle!

Aug. 21: The Biggest Loser (NBC)
Yay! This weight-loss competition is a reliable feel-good summer fave, and trainer Bob Harper is delicious, fat-free eye candy. Yum. Please, some of us might be able to pick up tips on how we can watch all this good summer TV and still fit into our wedding dresses!
Verdict:  This one's a blessing.

Note: This list only contained the premieres (shows that are starting) in the coming months. However, don't forget about ABC's Traveler, CW's Hidden Palms, FOX's So You Think You Can Dance, E!'s The Simple Life Goes to Camp, the CW's One Tree Hill, NBC's Studio 60 and all the other shows currently airing! 

—Additional reporting by Korbi Ghosh, Jennifer Godwin and Lindsey Osborne