Yes, we just published a list of The Best Film, TV and DVDs for Summer, and yes, it was all-inclusive, brilliantly written (especially the Drive Angry and Green Lantern recommendations), and essentially informative. Yet there are still a few more TV shows that didn’t make the cut, but are deserving of your slightly glazed summer gaze. Let’s face it, summer television isn’t made up of merely reruns anymore. The following represents the incredibly entertaining programming now airing in the hot, sweaty summer months, even if it’s not (yet) good enough to make the fall schedule.
The Bachelorette has just begun Ashley’s quest for love part deux (don’t trust Bentley!). The show is in that category of reality show that’s just so earnest as to make you feel good even when it’s making you feel bad. Ashley’s being billed as the girl next door who’s ready to do it right this year, but a few weeks into this season all she’s gotten is heartbreak and the same-old insecurities flaring up. Debate amongst yourselves as to whether The Bachelorette bastardizes gender politics or brings them to life; no matter what, it’s still a pretty fascinating character study. And look out—there’s always Bachelor Pad for those who don’t want to get too serious and prefer Temptation Island-style exploits.—Kate Dries
Royal Pains and White Collar
If you prefer fiction, there’s always USA network’s Royal Pains and White Collar. Royal Pains is perfect summer fluff; it takes place in the breezy Hamptons, and the lead’s younger brother is played by Paulo Costanzo, better known as Josh Harnett’s wise-cracking best friend in 40 Days and 40 Nights. But White Collar is really the gem of this batch; subtle performances by some of your most “Hey! I love that guy!” actors (Matt Bomer from Chuck, Willie Garsson from Sex and the City, and Diahann Caroll from Gray’s Anatomy and A Different World). Of course, there’s always catching up on Burn Notice, Covert Affairs, Fairly Legal, or tuning into the forthcoming Necessary Roughness... I’m sensing a theme here…—Kate Dries
Top Chef: Canada
I’m all about the reality competition series, and this year Top Chef Canada - of all things - is shaping up nicely. Despite my initial misgivings, it turns out Canuck cheftestants are capable of generating fully as much deliciously dramatic fun as their American counterparts, and they’re not apologizing for it either. Besides which, redoubtable Toronto catering legend Mark McEwan provides way more eye candy at the judges’ table… even when the cheftestant from Newfoundland served up seal flipper… on the very first episode. Take that, Marcel.—Kerrie Mills
Since summer down here is in January, by the time summer arrives in the Northern hemisphere we are getting started on the coldest, wettest time of the year. However for the past two years I know that, pardon the pun, my TV screen will catch fire with the freakishly sexy True Blood. Sookie, Bill and especially Erik have become requisites for the month of June, and I even crave watching them during the nine months they’re gone from my TV. Honestly, I never thought Alan Ball could deliver something as brilliant as Six Feet Under again, yet he has created the TV version of cocaine.—Jose Solis Mayen
Game of Thrones
With the current programming gap between Mad Men seasons, a surprise hit that I can’t wait to see every Sunday night is HBO’s Game of Thrones, a gorgeous drama based on the eponymous 1996 fantasy novel by George R. R. Martin. An intense power struggle between seven noble families in the mythical land of Westeros, the cinematography is stunning, from the costumes to the landscapes (shot in Northern Ireland, Scotland, and Malta, for the most part) to the fabulous introductory credit sequence, with its steampunk-animation overview of the kingdoms. HBO even hired a linguist to create a new language for one of the tribes (the Dothraki) before renewing the series for a second season after airing only a single episode.—Lara Killian
We all know how critical it is to keep independent voices alive and strong online. Please consider a donation to support our work as an independent publisher devoted to the arts and humanities. Your donation will help PopMatters stay viable through these changing and challenging times where advertising no longer covers our costs. We need your help to keep PopMatters publishing. Thank you.