by Deborah Harter Williams
It’s the dog days of the TV year, even if you don’t count CBS’s new show Dogs in the City. The 2011 season of scripted drama has cliff-hanged and juddered its way to shocking finales, and now June gloom is upon us. Besides looking for some NCIS or Good Wife episodes that I might have missed the first time around, there are a few shows that I am looking forward to.
Newsroom • Sunday June 24th at 10 p.m. on HBO
Aaron Sorkin, need I say more? Creator or writer of West Wing, Social Network, and Moneyball, Sorkin is the guy for fast-paced dialog using words of more than one syllable. Here he takes on TV news.
Jane Fonda has a recurring role as network CEO Leona Lansing (she says her character is a cross between Ted Turner and Rupert Murdoch, but her character’s name sounds like a cross between Leona Helmsley and Sherri Lansing). Sam Waterston is the head of the news division and Jeff Daniels plays a network news anchor, known for his lack of partisanship, who finally says what he really thinks to a college audience and sets things in motion.
Rounding out the cast is Emily Mortimer, Jon Tenney (The Closer), Alison Pill, Dev Patel (Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, Slumdog Millionaire) and plenty of hot young things of all types. Top writing, great actors, politics and behind the scenes intrigue–put the popcorn on, I’m ready.
Political Animals • Sunday July 15th at 10 p.m. on USA
This six episode limited series explores Hammond family values, as in stories about a former first family, out of the White House but still in the news. Now divorced, ex-first lady Sigourney Weaver is the current Secretary of State. Carla Cugino (so good you may not remember it was her in Justified and Karen Sisco, also the mom in Spy Kids) portrays her journalist frenemy and Ellen Burstyn is her mother (a onetime Vegas showgirl–but of course.)
Throw in a good son, wild son and a randy ex-President and it sounds like Dallas on the Potomac. Greg Berlanti (Brothers and Sisters) co-produces, so you can well imagine the potential family drama. For me it’s the strong female leads that are the draw. Here’s hoping they can avoid getting all “soaped” up.
In the MAYBE category
The Closer morphs into Major Crimes • Monday July 9th at 9 p.m. on TNT
The final six episodes of The Closer start in July and by August 13th will segue into a new show, Major Crimes featuring Mary McDonnell (Capt. Sharon Raydor) in the top cop spot. I’m not sure she can fill Brenda’s shoes but I’m willing to give it a chance, and I’m curious to see how they do it.
Perception •Monday July 9 at 10 p.m. on TNT
Eric McCormack (Will and Grace) as a paranoid schizophrenic neuro-scientist who consults with the FBI. What, they don’t have their own in-house crazy people? He is recruited by his former student, Special Agent Kate Moretti (Rachel Leigh Cook). LeVar Burton has a recurring role. Can’t help but be curious and they have a great tagline “This Summer, Reality is Just a Figment of Your Imagination.” I’ll be checking it out.
Latest outrage: dumb-ographics
People who were wild about Harry’s Law are now up in arms about it being cancelled. NBC in its infinite wisdom decided to cancel their number two rated show (with 8.8 million viewers second to Smash, by only a smidge because it “skewed too old”. There is a mounting movement to save the show, and although I don’t hold out much hope, I am impressed with the cleverness of the nascent “Shoe Campaign.” Check their Facebook page for more info.
Fear not, writer/producer David Kelley will not be out of work. He just sold a medical drama to TNT called Monday Mornings.
For more on dumb-ographics revisit our KRL post urging network advertisers to “Love the One You’re With” and the discover the real reason that dumb networks give boomers the cold shoulder.
A Blatant Family Promotion (we have a family member on the crew)
The Great Escape • Sunday, June 24, at 10 p.m. on TNT
This competition series puts ordinary people into their own action-adventure movie. Teams try to find their way out of seemingly impossible situations for a chance at the cash prize. Executive-produced by Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, as well as the producers of The Amazing Race, so it’s not all cheese and sleaze. One episode takes place at Alcatraz.