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This is the time in the TV year when you never know what to expect.  Your regular shows might be showing re-runs already or they might be on a short hiatus, due to return in a few weeks.  At any rate, it’s a good time to stick your toe in the water and try some programs you normally don’t watch.

I’m going to give you a “down and dirty” rundown of some I’ve tried and enjoyed.  If you want to know more details, I’ll let you get those elsewhere. I’m just here to give you the general idea so you can decide if it might be something that would appeal to you.

Justified – This is a cable show on FX and since I don’t have cable, I’ve just finished Season One on DVD.  It’s about a U.S. Marshall named Raylan Givens, a character created by Elmore Leonard and played by Timothy Olyphant, who is transferred from Florida back to his hometown in Kentucky.  There he is surrounded by people he grew up with, many whom are now criminals.  He’s known for being rather quick on the draw, but he never shoots anyone unless it is “justified.”  I can’t take my eyes off of Olyphant.  He’s that good.  Great cast and stories.

The Chicago Code – This show is new this year on Fox and features Jennifer Beals as a police commissioner in Chicago.  She was put in the job by a devious, crooked  alderman who expected her to be his puppet.  It didn’t work out that way.  She has made it her goal to expose him and his criminal activities, with the help of an old friend on the force.  This show really illustrates how dirty politics work.  I didn’t expect to like it, but find myself enjoying it more and more.

Nikita – A spy-like show about a secret government organization which carries out assassinations.  Nikita is one of their former “students” who escaped and has gone freelance.  She has a mole inside in the person of a young woman.  Fast-paced.  Lots of action.

Shark Tank – This show was new last year and just returned.  Five or so venture capitalists listen to regular everyday people make a pitch for a product or service they’ve discovered or invented.  Any one or all of the “sharks” can make an offer to invest in their company.  I find it fascinating to see what people come up with and how they sell their ideas.  This is on Fridays at 7:00 p.m. central time.

Doc Martin – This is a British show on PBS that’s shown at 8:00 Saturday nights.  It’s about a brilliant surgeon who discovered that he passes out at the sight of blood.  Thus, he has opened a general practice in a small town on the British seaside.  He’s goofy-looking, has no bedside manner and is a brilliant doctor.  I would say that he’s like “House,” but without the maliciousness.  This guy just doesn’t know how to act with people, except his elderly aunt who has a farm in the town.  I came across this show by accident and, at first, was mesmerized by the strangeness of this character.  The guy is so rude and yet cares about healing people.  I often find myself getting angry with him and then feeling sorry for him.  The stories are a mixture of humor and pathos.  All I can say is I showed  up by accident and now stay by choice.  Charming show.

Okay, that’s it for now.  I was going to make a crack about that new show, Body of Proof, and how, after seeing a million commercials with Dana Delany’s smug smile, I wouldn’t touch it with a ten foot pole, but then I figured that would be beneath me, so I won’t.

 

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When I heard about who was in the cast of this season’s “Celebrity Apprentice,” I wasn’t overly excited.  There were a few people I was sort of interested in, like Dionne Warwick and David Cassidy, but I didn’t really hold out too much hope that it would be a good great season.  Boy, was I wrong about everything!

First, there’s the cast, which has surely proven to me that appearances are deceiving.  It is made up of:  LaToya Jackson (Michael’s sister,)  Gary Busey (crazy actor,) Star Jones (former “View” co-host,) NeNe Leakes (“Real Housewives of Atlanta,”) Lisa Rinna (actress,) Marlee Matlin (actress,) Dionne Warwick (singer and Psychic Friend,) David Cassidy (’70’s heart throb,) John Rich (country singer,) Richard Hatch (winner of the first “Survivor,”) Meat Loaf (rock legend,) Mark McGrath (former lead singer,) Jose Conseco (former baseball player and steroid user,) Lil Jon (rapper,) Niki Taylor (super model,) and Hope Dworaczyk (Playboy Playmate of the Year.)

The very first episode got off to such a rollicking start that I just knew this season would be a load of fun.  All of my preconceptions were thrown to the wind.  People I thought I liked have turned out to be villains.  People I didn’t like have won me over.  And all of these strong personalities have made for a tinderbox just waiting to be ignited!  Great TV!

Before I get to the Good and the Bad and the Busey, I want to take a minute to talk about players who didn’t have a chance.  David Cassidy whom, by the way, I never had crush on in his “Partridge Family” days, has joined the club of “celebrities-who-have-had-too-much-plastic-surgery.”  Seriously!  He’s 61 and his face is as smooth as a baby’s behind.  But it’s stretched so tightly that I feared that any moment his stitches would pop and all of his facial skin would collapse around his jaw like a basset hound’s!  I think David had hoped to be more of a hot-shot than this show allows.  He turned out to be whiny and was soon sent home.  Lisa Rinna, who I kind of didn’t mind, forgot to make friends and when the sharks began to circle, she had no allies and was gulped up quickly and sent home.  Niki Taylor was really soft-spoken and nice and on this show nice girls finish, if not last, then pretty fast.  She’s gone.  And Richard Hatch who was absolutely diabolical on the first “Survivor,” thinks he’s going to win this, but I can tell  that the guys are less than impressed with him.  I think his days are numbered.

As for the Good – Marlee Matlin, whom I have never much cared for before, has become my hero.  She’s one of the few women who will step up and tell it like it is to Donald Trump.  Her translator is so good and fast, that her deafness hasn’t been a problem at all.  She calls people on their hypocrisy and doesn’t allow herself to be rolled over.  I’m pulling for her.  LaToya Jackson, while not exactly a powerhouse of initiative, seems so sweet that I can’t help but like her.  And NeNe Leakes, whom I’ve never seen on the “Real Housewives of Atlanta,” is coming across as a real person, not perfect, but trying. Hope Dworaczyk, the Playmate, has kept a pretty low profile, but so far she hasn’t pissed me off.

On the men’s team I’ve taken a real shine to Meat Loaf, who, surprisingly, has a very sentimental streak and cries when talking about his charity.  Mark McGrath, John Rich and Lil Jon all seem to be really nice guys.  I’m wondering if any of them will be able to sharpen up their knives when they need to.

Now for the Bad – On the men’s team, Jose Conseco is the baddest of the bad.  This guy is not only rude, but lazy, as well.  On the last task, while others were working their tails off, he spent most of the time relaxing in a recliner or playing catch with Gary Busey.  Since he’s a former baseball player, I’m very surprised that he has no concept of being a team player.

But the real baddies are on the women’s team.  Here we have two.  Star Jones is the slippery kind of villain.  She is totally nice to your face and when you turn around, she’ll stab you in the back.  Honestly, when she’s explaining herself, she’s so persuasive that I can see why someone would buy into it.  But I also see how she manipulates everyone and everything.  I believe she’s probably the most dangerous player and has a good chance of winning.

Then there’s Dionne Warwick.  Oh boy, did I ever have her wrong!  She has been the most despicable, rude, arrogant and lazy player I’ve ever seen.  I got so mad watching her that I often wanted to throw something at the television!  For one task the teams had to write a children’s book.  As the women brainstormed the idea of diversity, Marlee suggested that one of the characters could be deaf.  Dionne piped up and said, “Oh no!  That would be too sad and pathetic!  We don’t want the kids to feel sorry for a character like that.”  Marlee came right back with “Well, I’m deaf and I’m not sad and pathetic!”  Dionne just ignored her, like she ignores everyone who disagrees with her.  She insisted on having her way and the team lost.  Since then, I could tell that the other team members were becoming frustrated with how slowly she does things and how she’ll refuse to listen to anyone.  Up until last Sunday they left her alone in the Boardroom because “Well, she IS a legend,” or “Well, when I get to be her age…”  But she pushed them too far.  She’s so rude and mean-spirited that I refuse to play any of my Dionne Warwick albums ever again.  It was a joy to hear Donald Trump tell her: “You’re Fired!”

And then there’s Gary Busey!  I’ll admit he’s a bit out there and I know he’s driving his team crazy, but I see a bit of underlying sweetness in him.  He’s told people that after a bad motorcycle injury he had a traumatic brain injury and that’s the charity he’s playing for.  When his team complained in the Boardroom that he doesn’t always listen to them, he made an interesting admission.  He said that just the week before Marlee told him she thought his hearing was compromised and fixed him up with a specialist.  He said he now has a hearing aid and exclaimed, “she changed my world!”  It kind of brings home the idea of not judging someone too soon, doesn’t it?  It wasn’t that he wasn’t listening.  It was that he couldn’t hear. And, crazy as he may be, when he was Project Manager, his team won.  Maybe it was his very spaciness that made his team work harder.  Who knows?  That could be his strategy…although I doubt it.

Like I said, I can tell this show is going to get better and better with each week.  You don’t have to be a regular viewer to enjoy it.  So, if you want to have a peek, it’s on NBC Sunday night from 8 to 10 central time.  It’s a great escape.  And it’s fun to watch.  Just thought I’d share that with you.

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Free TV…and More!

I’ve never felt the need for cable TV, a fact which I think some of my friends find a bit odd, since I often buy entire seasons of certain cable shows on DVD.  But, when you weigh the cost of a DVD set against the outrageous monthly rates for cable, which go on forever, I’m sure I’m getting the better deal!

So, instead of having cable boxes on my TV’s, I actually still have antennas.  Then, when the government made the switch from analog TV over to digital on June 13, 2009, I had to hustle to get coupons and then buy converter boxes for those TVs, since they were too old to be wired for digital. ( I have since hooked them up to digital recorders which do the converting without a box.)

I had no idea what to expect after the conversion.  Turns out, I was pleasantly surprised!  A lot of my channels had babies!  My public TV channel 19 was suddenly 19-1 and I discovered I had a 19-2 and a 19-3, as well.  Each of those channels had a huge range of broadcasting, everything from travel and cooking shows to do-it-yourself, hobby, and cultural shows.  And 19 wasn’t the only channel to have offspring.  So did 41, which only had one baby, 41-2 but also 50, which had triplets!  Before I knew it, I began to have a whole new slew of shows to watch.  At first, Channel 9 was the only major network to create a baby and for a while it didn’t really show much other than weather broadcasts.  That was until one night I noticed that some dumb football game was scheduled for the same night and time as the “Grey’s Anatomy” season finale, which was a rather big deal to me.  I guess viewers gave them enough advance warning because they got out the word that “Grey’s” would be shown on 9-2, and by golly, it was!

So, for a couple of years now I’ve enjoyed having far more channels than I ever did before.  But the real treat came about a month ago.  I was surfing the channels and noticed that, out of the blue, Channel 4 now had a baby called 4-2.  And 4-2 turns out to be this wonderful channel called “Antenna TV.”  All of the shows I grew up with have surfaced once more on this network.  According to Wikipedia, Antenna TV  “is being offered to would-be affiliates on a barter basis, an agreement in which the station will get the programming at little or no cost in exchange for giving a certain amount of commercial time to the network.”

Just some of the programs they offer are The Partridge Family, Gidget, Father Knows Best, Good Times, Three’s Company, The Nanny, Married…with Children, the Monkees, Sandford and Son, All in the Family, The Three Stooges, Hazel, The Ropers, The Flying Nun, Too Close for Comfort, and Three’s a Crowd. Any of those bring back memories for you?  The show I’ve been catching after the local evening news is Maude. Just seeing it several times so far has already taken me back to other, more innocent, times in my life and has reminded me how much I used to love that show.  Catching just the tail end of a Monkees episode made me question how a younger me actually thought they were so cool.  And Good Times for some reason has evoked a “Saturday-night-hair- washing-and getting-ready-for-Sunday-church” vibe.  This network is such a cool place to escape when you want to think back to simpler times.  It’s all your little retro heart could hope for.  The only problem is that I’ve only found a programming guide on-line, but that might eventually change.

So hey!  Who needs cable?  I’ve got all the shows I’ll ever need and the beauty of it is…they’re all free!  How fun is that?  Think of that the next time you pay your cable bill.  🙂

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Being somewhat of a reality show junkie, I had watched “American Idol” every season from its beginning in 2002.  Twice and sometimes three times a week, there I was, watching the auditions or whatever they dished up, like a happy zombie.

But when Simon Cowell announced last year that he was leaving the show, I made the decision that I was leaving with him.  For me, his leaving was a big reason, but it wasn’t the only reason.  I first started becoming disillusioned when Adam Lambert, who was undeniably the most creative and entertaining contestant the show had ever  had, didn’t win.  I thought to myself, “If he isn’t what America considers to be the ultimate American Idol, then I don’t know who is!”  Nonetheless, I did return the following year, only to be put to sleep by the total dullness of the contestants.  Sure, there were a few good singers, but where was the personality?  There was none.  The winner was about as exciting as watching paint dry.  Nope, Adam had set the bar far too high. Adam was an entertainer.  These kids were in a talent show.

Before this season began, the media bombarded us with information about the two new judges, but that didn’t influence my decision in the slightest.  Jennifer Lopez seems to be a nice enough person but she doesn’t belong there.  As for that Stephen Tyler guy, from the ads I’ve seen, he’s no replacement for Simon.  Nope, I haven’t watched a single episode, not even five minutes worth, and I’m totally fine with that. I will never go back.

The same thing has happened with this season of “The Bachelor,” another show I’ve watched from the beginning.  When I heard they were bringing back a guy who had already been on the show, I felt they just didn’t deserve my loyalty.  I mean, come on, they couldn’t find a great new bachelor?  The guy they brought back, this Brad, was the one who ended up not proposing to either girl at the end of his show.  Unlike most of America, I didn’t hold that against him.  I mean, if you’re not feeling it, you’re not feeling it.  I’ve never believed you should marry someone just for good TV.  No, what amazes me about the franchise bringing him back is that, like last year’s Idol contestants, he’s DULL!  The guy isn’t that attractive and he’s got the personality of a peanut.  So this was another reality show I stopped cold turkey.  And I’m glad.

Don’t get the idea that I’m going to get all crazy and stop all reality shows.  No, I love them too much.  There’s still “The Amazing Race,” “Survivor,” “The Apprentice,” “Dancing With The Stars,” and “America’s Next Top Model” to satisfy my cravings, not to mention “Big Brother,” if it ever returns.

And speaking of TV, I’ve tried two of the new mid-season replacements, “Off the Map” and “Harry’s Law.”  “Off the Map,” by the creator of “Grey’s Anatomy,” is about a group of doctors working in a small clinic in the rain forest.  And while it’s certainly no “Grey’s,” I’ve enjoyed the kind of cases that the whole rain forest setting provides. It’s kind of a read-a-magazine-while-you-watch kind of show.

As for “Harry’s Law” about a burnt out lawyer setting up practice in a show store, I have two words for you:  Kathy Bates.  Even though the plots definitely require you to suspend your disbelief, just watching her is a joy.  She’s sassy and mouthy and says the things you wish you had.  I would highly recommend this quirky, touching program.

So you see, “when a door closes, a window opens.” Or is it “when a show sucks, a channel changes?”  Yes, I think that’s definitely what it is.

See ya later,

 

 

 

 

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Lately I realized that I haven’t done any TV updates in a while and intend to remedy that right now.  Two shows, especially, compel me to comment.

First off, I remember last Fall urging all of you who weren’t already fans of Fringe to give it a try.  I really hope you did because this show just keeps getting better and better.  Last week was the finale before the winter break and I personally felt it was the best episode of the season.

A big part of the storyline this season has been about Olivia, the FBI, Fringe Division agent, stuck as a prisoner in a parallel universe while her “double” Faux-livia, has been living her life, doing her job and sleeping with her partner, Peter, here on earth.  In this last episode, she has made it back and Faux-livia has gone back to where she belongs.  As the show unfolds, Olivia begins to understand how much the other Olivia has taken from her.  When she asks Peter what the other Olivia was like, he smiled and said, “She was much quicker with a smile…less intense than you.”  Ouch.  (If Anna Torv isn’t nominated for an Emmy for her work on this episode, then there’s no justice in the world.)  When Peter made that comment, you could just watch as the joy died in her eyes.  Back at her apartment, she starts tearing her clothes out of the closet and the sheets off the bed.  As she later says to Peter, “She’s taken everything!”  Her performance was so powerful and painful that I cried…yes, like a baby!  The show returns January 21st with all new stories, in case you’re interested.

Now for the downside.  Reality show or not, I’ve always been a fan of “The Apprentice,” the show where sixteen people vie to be the apprentice of Donald Trump.  For quite awhile now he has made it The Celebrity Apprentice, with actors and athletes playing for charity.  However, with the recession, he made the decision this past season to play with real people who were out of work and end up giving a job to someone who needs it.  It took me some time to get back into the “real person” mode because I’m so used to the celebrity diva behavior.

Finally, we came down to the two finalists – Clint, a 40-year-old married father of three boys who is a lawyer, a CPA,  and a real estate developer AND Brandy, a thirty year old single lawyer.

I liked Brandy throughout the show.  She was soft-spoken and smooth and while able to get along with the women, was not above using her sex appeal with the men.

Clint was so gung-ho at every task he was assigned that he, quite frankly, exhausted me.  But throughout the entire show, I never doubted two things – that he was a hard worker and that he was a good, honest man.

Brandy’s final task was to organize a golf tournament at Trump’s Golf Club with Kathy Griffith as the celebrity guest.  Due to her complete ignorance of the game, she made at least three glaring errors.  Clint’s task was to organize a dinner and musical show after the tournament starring Liza Minnelli.  There was an almost-disaster when the program cards showed up with Minnelli’s name misspelled, but he managed to get it corrected before it became a problem.  Other than that, his portion came off flawlessly.

In the boardroom with Donald Trump, Brandy’s errors were minimized, while Clint’s use of “y’all” was criticized.  (He’s a Texas boy.)  I had felt that Clint was a shoe-in to be the Apprentice.  But as Ivanka, Don Jr. and Donald Trump chipped away at him, I suddenly got their unspoken message – “You aren’t our kind of people.”  So, who would win?  A family man who would take a bullet for Mr. Trump or the sexy, feline, breathless single woman?  It wasn’t even close.

“Clint, you’re fired!  Brandy, you’re hired!”

This was the first time since this show began that I’ve been this disappointed in Donald Trump.  He reverted to cliché.  Shame on him!

Okay, that’s it for now.  For some unknown reason, TV stops showing original episodes of all their shows about this time and damned near drowns us in “very special” Christmas shows.  I find it tedious.  Do they really think people don’t watch TV over the holidays?  For some people, it’s their only chance to catch up.  But, hey, I can’t fight the networks.

So what are YOU watching these days?

 

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The summer’s winding down and I just received my Fall Preview issue of the TV Guide.  As a matter of fact, the new season for some returning shows is starting this week.  After watching preview clips and reading about the new shows, there are actually only a few which have piqued my interest.  But, first, let me report on the three new shows I chose this summer.

“Scoundrels” was the show that, in theory, I expected to become a favorite of mine.  I mean, hey, a show about a family of criminals living in a suburban neighborhood sounded fresh and fun!  Unfortunately, the mother decided they would all go straight after the father went to prison and from then on, it was just so-so.  I was disappointed.

“Persons Unknown” about a bunch of strangers waking up in a hotel in a strange place and being watched by cameras 24/7 also appealed to me.  The promos promised that all your questions would be answered by the end of the season.  This show held my interest for quite a while.  But somewhere toward the end, it got so convoluted that I only held on to get the answers as to what was happening.  At the end they sort of answered some questions, but the last scene of the series posed about a hundred new ones.  I don’t know why, but I felt as if I had been had.  Obviously, they intend on returning.

And finally, there was “The Gates” about a police chief moving into an exclusive gated community that houses vampires, shape shifters, werewolves and witches, all appearing to be normal families.  I expected to like this one least because I haven’t really been caught up in all the vampire frenzy these days.  But this is the show that I liked THE MOST!  It has been really interesting watching the police chief as he discovered just who he is “policing.”  The characters have been well fleshed out and the suspense has been good.  There are only a couple of more weeks left of this show and I will miss it.  It may have been a vampire show, but it certainly did not suck.  Who knew?

As for the new shows this Fall, there are only three that have caught my eye so far.

“No Ordinary Family” stars Michael Chiklis (“The Shield) and Julie Benz (“Dexter.”)  It’s about a family taking a plane ride in the Amazon rain forest when their plane crashes into toxic water.  Turns out, the family emerges with superpowers.  Dad has super strength, Mom, super speed, the daughter can read minds and the academically challenged son becomes a brainiac.  But instead of the show having them turn into superheros who go out solving crimes, it has chosen to focus on how something like this affects a family and the people around them.  I’m probably just asking for disappointment, but I’m really looking forward to this show.  it’s on 9/28 on ABC at 7:00 p.m. Central Time.

Another one I think could be interesting is “Nikita.” This is about an agent gone rogue who is out to get the secret government organization that turned her into an assassin.  They showed the pilot of this show this past Thursday and it looked promising, if you like the kind of show where a kick-ass female outsmarts the bad guys time and again.  I do.  It is on the CW on Thursdays at 8:00 p.m. Central Time.

And finally, there’s “Blue Bloods” a show about how police work affects every member of the family.  Tom Selleck plays a New York City police commissioner and widowed father of three.  Will Estes plays his youngest who graduated from Harvard Law School and chose to enter the Police Academy.  Donnie Wahlberg plays the oldest surviving child who is a hot-tempered detective and married father of two.  And Bridget Moynahan is an assistant district attorney and mother of a teenage daughter.  Maybe I’m attracted to this show because I come from a police family, with my dad and two uncles all being policeman.  But I must confess that I think it’s because of Tom Selleck.  Tom Selleck is 65 years old and obviously hasn’t gone the plastic surgery route to try to remain a “pretty boy.”  But, wow.  He has such a presence!  And his masculinity just reaches up and grabs me by the…well, you get the picture.  I feel that with him at the core of this show, it just has to be good.  It’s on Fridays at 9:00 p.m. Central Time on CBS.

As far as old shows returning – This Wednesday “Survivor” returns with an older tribe versus a younger tribe, which I think will make for some interesting interactions.  This time the producer has said he will have no challenges based on just brute strength.  So it really will be a battle of youth versus wisdom.  Naturally, I’m pulling for wisdom!

And Thursday we have “The Apprentice” returning, this time not with celebrities, but with actual people who have been affected by the economic downturn.  If you’ve never watched this show, you might be surprised at how good it can be.

Okay, that’s my TV update.  If you have any shows you’ve been looking forward to, feel free to share.  I’d love to hear about them!

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Well, it happens every year.  All of the dramas and comedies we’ve been watching all winter have their big finales and then we’re stuck with either reruns or summer replacement shows.

Actually, judging from the previews, I was sort of interested in several of the new shows.  One I looked forward to particularly was “Scoundrels, ” starring Virginia Madsen and David James Elliott (formerly of Jag,) about a family of career criminals living in the suburbs.  I felt it was a unique concept filled with many possibilities.  However, after watching the first episode in which the father goes to prison and the mother decides the whole family will leave their life of crime and go straight, I just don’t know what to think.  So far the first three episodes have not exactly carried me away.  I’m afraid I keep watching it just because I’m hoping it will suddenly “turn good.”  I mean, hey!  Virginia Madsen is a big name actress!  Surely she has read the script and knows things will get better…right?

The show following “Scoundrels” is “The Gates,” another brand new Sunday night show for ABC.  It’s about an exclusive gated community filled with supernatural types, as in vampires, werewolves and at least one witch.  The show focuses on the new police chief who has no idea what he has gotten himself into.  I was hoping for more, but it’s starting to feel like something the network threw together to capitalize on the big vampire craze.  I may hang on a little bit longer, only because some of my favorite shows have taken time to get established.

One new show I have really started to like is “Persons Unknown” which is on Monday nights at 7:00 CST.  It’s a 13 episode mini-series about 7 strangers who have been jerked out of their lives and placed in an almost-deserted town filled with cameras which watch their every move.  They don’t know why or if just one of them is the target.  If they try to leave the town, they run into a force field which shoots them full of electricity.  There are a few other people in the town.  One is a night clerk at the hotel where they now live, but he appears to know nothing, even when threatened with violence.  The others are Chinese people who run the only restaurant and who speak no English.  You have your typical TV group of strangers – a soldier, a mother, a jackass, a rich guy, a woman who came from an insane asylum, a rich daddy’s girl and a mysterious hero.

It may not be for everyone, but it has captured and held my attention.  And the reassuring thing is that the show promises that by the final episode, we’ll have all the answers.

The other really good limited show is one I’ve mentioned before, “Boston Med.”  It is not fiction.  It focuses on real doctors, residents and interns in three hospitals as they go about their daily business.  I find it very impressive, with the right balance of seriousness, humanity and silliness.  If you’re interested, it’s on Thursday night at 9:00 CST on ABC.

And the summer brings the return of many of my favorite reality shows.  If you like talent shows, then “America’s Got Talent” on Tuesdays and Wednesdays at 8:00 CST is a lot of fun.  If you’re into stand-up comedy, then you’re sure to enjoy “Last Comic Standing,” Mondays at 8:00 CST.  Then there’s “So You Think You Can Dance,” which showcases some of nation’s absolute best young dancers competing to win the prize.  And, for those of you who enjoy cooking, there’s always “Hell’s Kitchen” with Gordon Ramsey.  I’m no so much into gourmet stuff, but I love Ramsey and I love watching these cooks from all walks of life living together and being challenged to be better by Gordon’s constant harassment.  I always keep my fingers crossed that at least once in each episode he’ll use my favorite, “You Donkey!”

And last, and I’m sure many of you would say “least” is “Big Brother,” which returns on July 8th.  This is a show which, once it gets its claws into you, never lets go.  Watching a group of total strangers living in a house together for weeks and weeks is totally fascinating to me.  Cameras catch every action and conversation.  No, it’s not rocket science.  Instead it is hilarity, sex, gossip, scandal, pettiness, compassion and out-and-out ridiculousness served on a platter for our enjoyment three nights a week.  It drags you down into the mud and totally wastes your time.

I can hardly wait!

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