Thursday, June 4, 2009

What I'll Be Watching: Summer 2009...

Okay, this might be a bit backwards, but after I put together the compilation of Must See Fall TV, I realized I never put my five cents in about shows that are closer on the horizon. My apologies. Let me do so now, though.

Weeds returns on Showtime next week (June 8) with a baby scandal and a couple of new guest stars (Alanis Morissette and Jennifer Jason Leigh), but the same hotness that is Hunter Parrish and the sick, twisted sense of humor that we have come to count on from these merry band of drug dealers (and the network in general). Plus, Celia (Elizabeth Perkins) was kidnapped after getting exploring the smuggling tunnel at the end of last season, and getting a ransom for her proves to be a tougher feat than one might imagine!

Also on Showtime on the 8th is the new Edie Falco-helmed dark comedy Nurse Jackie. Normally I'm not one for medical shows, but this one has many more laughs than discarded bloody gauze pads. Re-teaming Falco with her Sopranos priest (although this time he's playing a fellow hospital worker who just happens to be her secret lover), Nurse Jackie focuses on the unsung heroes that are those behind the white coats (albeit through quite an unorthodox one). I caught an advanced screening of the first episode and was pleasantly surprised to find a lot of heartwarming character moments amidst the obviously-there-for-shock-value drug use of the character. Falco plays flawed perfectly, especially when she is debating whether or not to save a choking restaurant patron because she has had a long day and just wants to eat in peace.

NBC's The Philanthropist doesn't premiere until the day after my birthday (June 24), but it may prove to be the perfect present in a sea of fluff. Centering on an eccentric billionaire who travels to South Africa to give away his money to deserving tribes in an effort to better their way of life, The Philanthropist is not only a scripted drama, but it is one with a message. And those are becoming as rare as the bald eagle these days! The show was primarily shot overseas in South Africa, Mozambique, and Prague and will undoubtedly feature every last little authentic touch. Plus, it co-stars Jesse L. Martin, and my television set has missed him greatly!

Lifetime is back with the melodramatic primetime soap Army Wives in early June, but after season two brought us watered-down everything, I pretty much gave up with that show. Instead, I will turn my sights this summer to the second season of the overly dramatic Real Housewives of Atlanta on Bravo. Though the season premiere date is still TBA (at press time, all we know is that it will begin after The Real Housewives of New Jersey ends-- sometime in July, though it may be safe to assume ...Jersey was given a thirteen episode order), the claws have already come out among the women. Sheree threw a divorce party and snubbed some of the cast; Kim is back with Big Poppa and still threatening to put out an album; and NeNe may or may not decide to track down her biological father. I can't wait!!!

A little sooner on Bravo (like around the weekend's corner on June 8), Kathy Griffin returns with My Life on the D-List. She may be down one assistant (she's been out-of-characterly-quiet so far on just how bad her falling out with tattooed Jessica was) and one rich boyfriend (though she and Woz still remain "friends"), but Griffin returns with another rotating door of famous celebrity "friend-guests." Bette Midler, Rosie O'Donnell, Whoopi Goldberg, and of course everyone's favorite-- I'm not talking about Cher but of course-- Maggie Griffin!

Griffin is just the smart and cutting shot in the arm the lazy days of summer need!

We have had to wait more than a year for the sixth season of Project Runway, so what's another two months, right? On August 20, the hit fashion reality competition will finally return to television, even if you can't find the channel on which it will air. Finding a new home with Lifetime after lawsuit after countersuit, Project Runway also had a new production home in Los Angeles, and though the designs that debut on this season may no longer be fashion-forward, considering the challenges were filmed over a year ago, the personalities and guest judges are guaranteed to be larger than life. In fact, one guest judge was so awe-inspiring, he or she almost caused a contestant to faint on the spot!

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