Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Are you ready for the summer?

Tonight marks the end of the official 2007-8 TV season, though that distinction is becoming more and more meaningless as everyone moves to year-round programming. (It's especially meaningless this year because the strike pushed back things like the "Grey's Anatomy" (tomorrow night) and "Lost" (next Thursday) finales past the Nielsen-mandated end date.)

Still, a good chunk of the shows I regularly write about won't be back until the fall, and so once again it's time to talk about what the summer months will bring for the blog. Tentative plans coming up just as soon as I clean off my propane grill...

Obviously, we still have the aforementioned "Grey's" and "Lost" two-hour finales to deal with, plus additional episodes of "Battlestar Galactica" (3 left) and "Doctor Who" (6 left), though both are, like me, taking Memorial Day weekend off.

While the strike disrupted some summer programming, "Mad Men" and "Burn Notice" will both be back in July (no specific date yet for the former, July 10 for the latter), "My Boys" is back on June 13, HBO's David Simon-produced miniseries "Generation Kill" bows on July 13, CBS' "Swingtown" (which I haven't watched yet) is on June 5, and USA's "In Plain Sight," which I have high hopes for, starts on June 1. There are probably a few other new and returning shows that will work their way into the rotation before the summer's out.

In addition, I'm finally going to attempt two projects that I originally mentioned in the early days of the strike: revisiting the first seasons of "The Wire" and "Sports Night." Last summer, I ran through the entire run of "Freaks and Geeks," and I spent the strike watching the original version of "Cupid" on YouTube, so these will be continuing that trend.

The "Wire" reviews are a definite; I've already gone back and watched the pilot and will attempt to do them on at least a weekly basis (give or take some disruptions for press tour and/or vacation) starting some time late next week. (I'll announce the exact day ahead of time; I just wanted to put the thought in people's heads so they'd know to make sure they had DVDs handy.) I don't want to 100 percent commit to "Sports Night," simply because it's 22 episodes and I don't know that I want to be doubling up on them. Once I figure out the logistics, I'll make an announcement.

That's what I have in my head so far. As always, I'm open to suggestions, though, as always, I reserve the right to not use them.

74 comments:

Kristin said...

I know you didn't like it and won't watch it again, but do you know when "Damages" will be back for its second season?

renton said...

These sound great, Alan.

Thanks for all the great reasons you give me to avoid work.

What's In Plain Sight about?

Ben said...

Thanks for doing the Wire! God I miss it so...

Andrew said...

Kristin, the second season of Damages won't be back until early 2009. That's not so much to do with the writers strike so much as FX's strange decision to basically have no original programming over summer, thereby pushing every show back three months.

Alan, any chance you might try some sort of David Simon correspondence for The Wire like you did with Rob Thomas and Cupid? Granted, Simon's done so many interviews over the years that it might just be bunch of retreads, but it could still be informative.

Alan Sepinwall said...

What's In Plain Sight about?

Mary McCormack is a U.S. Marshall arranging security for people in the witness protection program.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Alan, any chance you might try some sort of David Simon correspondence for The Wire like you did with Rob Thomas and Cupid? Granted, Simon's done so many interviews over the years that it might just be bunch of retreads, but it could still be informative.

That's a very good idea, Andrew, and I'll ask him. As you say, Simon hasn't exactly been a recluse when it comes to talking about the show, but if he has the time and feels like he has something fresh to bring to add to the experience, that would be cool.

chris w said...

Andrew above said that FX isn't having any summer programming...

When the hell is the final season of The Shield coming? I was under the impression that's all shot and in the can. Why the long wait?

I'm sad because I assumed it was going to air this summer.

At least, Mad Men is coming back.

Mac said...

Maybe you could do a sentence for each "Rescue Me" minisode.

David J. Loehr said...

Maybe you could do a sentence for each "Rescue Me" minisode.

Based my experience of the last season, I think the sentence should be "Make it stop."

denis said...

Not to be "that guy" but aren't there more than 6 Dr. Who's to go. I think there have only been 4 + the XMas one. So there are at least 2 more months of it.

Andrew said...

Hooray for The Wire s1 recaps. I started watching the DVD's during the strike and found myself missing the comprehensive reviews and discussions.

Interestingly (a point that wasn't directly addressed at the Paley Center panel on Monday) is that shows with obsessive online fanbases may encourage more same-day (even if time-shifted) viewing, because if you watch a few days (or weeks, months, years) late, you've missed the boat on being an active participant in the online community analysis.

Noel said...

Alan, I'm sure you're already aware of this, but you might want to hold off on SportsNight until the new DVD sets come out this September from Shout Factory. It'll make it a whole lot easier for readers to play along at home, since I believe the old set is out of print (and devoid of extras).

Alternate suggestion: How about NewsRadio? Keep it InterCapped!

Juan said...

Alan -

Can't wait for Mad Men to start again. I particularly enjoyed your analysis of the season 1 episodes. I found them very insightful.

Also, can't wait for Dexter to start up again, though, I think that will be in September. To me, these are the 2 best shows on tv.

Juan said...

Alan -

Can't wait for Mad Men to start again. I particularly enjoyed your analysis of the season 1 episodes. I found them very insightful.

Also, can't wait for Dexter to start up again, though, I think that will be in September. To me, these are the 2 best shows on tv.

Grunt said...

Alternate suggestion: How about NewsRadio? Keep it InterCapped!

OMG! I totally agree with this. What a fabulous show, at least the first 3 seasons we wonderful. I was just watching an episode on Hulu.com today. Not only do you have Moira Kelly, Dave Foley, Phil Hartman, Khandi Alexander, Vicki Lewis and Stephen Root being amazing but even Andy Dick and Joe Rogan are used to their best advantage. The writing is so sharp and quick. And NO ONE appreciates it. At least until you sit them down with the Season 2 DVD and show them the first episode. Then they're an adict like you are.

Question: Why has Hulu.com provided most of the first three season episodes but not all of them?

Anonymous said...

Interestingly (a point that wasn't directly addressed at the Paley Center panel on Monday) is that shows with obsessive online fanbases may encourage more same-day (even if time-shifted) viewing, because if you watch a few days (or weeks, months, years) late, you've missed the boat on being an active participant in the online community analysis.

I tend to watch a DVR-ed show sooner if I know this site will review it, because if I don't, I know I'll visit the site and be tempted to read the review before I have actually seen the episode.

Oh, and Alan, you should review "The Prisoner."

Rachel said...

I'm looking forward to your Wire posts, Alan, though I won't be able to watch-and-follow, since I'm using Netflix to catch up on Deadwood right now!

I'm intrigued by In Plain Sight as well and of course, I cannot wait until Mad Men!

Alan Sepinwall said...

Not to be "that guy" but aren't there more than 6 Dr. Who's to go. I think there have only been 4 + the XMas one. So there are at least 2 more months of it.

I think I might have miscounted. Looks like we might have 8 left, rather than 6.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Interestingly (a point that wasn't directly addressed at the Paley Center panel on Monday) is that shows with obsessive online fanbases may encourage more same-day (even if time-shifted) viewing, because if you watch a few days (or weeks, months, years) late, you've missed the boat on being an active participant in the online community analysis.

Where were you when the pages were passing around microphones, Andrew? That would have been a great discussion point (though it might have prevented me from dropping in a gratuitous and confusing Fibber McGee and Molly reference).

Alan Sepinwall said...

Alan, I'm sure you're already aware of this, but you might want to hold off on SportsNight until the new DVD sets come out this September from Shout Factory. It'll make it a whole lot easier for readers to play along at home, since I believe the old set is out of print (and devoid of extras).

I actually was not aware of that, though I am on the Shout Factory mailing list. You may have just given me the excuse I needed to put off Sports Night until later.

NewsRadio on the other hand? Hmm... I'd been reluctant to do a straight sitcom (with the possible exception of something as dense as Arrested Development) because there isn't as much meat to pick at, but I do love me some WNYX.

Plus, they did a Christmas episode with their own gratuitous (and much funnier) Fibber McGee and Molly joke, so...

Susan said...

Looking forward to "The Wire" recaps. I was looking to start watching the series this summer (yes, I am a Wire newbie), so your commentary will be invaluable.

Tim said...

I cancelled my HBO after John Adams. Other than Generation Kill are they going to have anything worth watching this summer? If not...what's wrong with them?

LA said...

I am positively drooling in anticipation for season 2 of Mad Men.

Your F&G revisit last summer prompted me to watch it during the strike for which I am grateful. I graduated high school in 1981, so it was especially meaningful for me.

Question... do you have Six Feet Under reviews published on the internet anywhere? That was the other series I watched (and loved) during the strike. I checked the archives of this blog for any reviews but couldn't find any. Perhaps they are archived elsewhere online?

Alan Sepinwall said...

I cancelled my HBO after John Adams. Other than Generation Kill are they going to have anything worth watching this summer? If not...what's wrong with them?

The strike is what's wrong with them. At the very least, I believe Entourage and Flight of the Conchords would be on this summer, if not also Big Love, but the strike pushed the start time too far back.

And, yes, I know some other shows like Mad Men and Burn Notice and The Closer will be back on or close to on time, but circumstances are different, show to show and network to network. The Conchords, for instance, are doing a nationwide concert tour right now, which wouldn't have been an issue had they been able to stick to the regular, non-strike schedule.

Antid Oto said...

Much as I love it, I think I have to vote against NewsRadio, as it doesn't really fit some of your criteria. It was around long enough to begin to weaken, for one thing, and it was never really all that meaty.

Someone suggested My So-Called Life. I think that's an excellent idea. Or Firefly.

Linda said...

Oh, Alan, please do Sports Night. Please? I would love that, and I would promise to come and read and drive you bazoo with overly analytical remarks. That might be my favorite TV show ever.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Question... do you have Six Feet Under reviews published on the internet anywhere? That was the other series I watched (and loved) during the strike. I checked the archives of this blog for any reviews but couldn't find any. Perhaps they are archived elsewhere online?

The blog came into existence in October '05, two months after 6FU ended.

While I liked the show for the most part while it was on (more in the early seasons than the later ones), I don't know that I loved it enough to revisit it the way I did Freaks & Geeks or Cupid or, now, the seasons of The Wire that predated the blog.

LA said...

re: SFU

No problem, Alan. I just thought that maybe you had reviewed it at the time it aired for another (nonblog) publication and that old write-ups might be archived at some other website.

Thanks for responding so promptly.

Andrew said...

Where were you when the pages were passing around microphones, Andrew? That would have been a great discussion point (though it might have prevented me from dropping in a gratuitous and confusing Fibber McGee and Molly reference).

I didn't think of that point until now. The question I was going to ask did get addressed by the panel fairly early on, although not entirely directly. Sorry I didn't get a chance to say hi afterwards, but was running late for a dinner downtown...)

Bobman said...

Looking forward to "The Wire" recaps. I was looking to start watching the series this summer (yes, I am a Wire newbie), so your commentary will be invaluable.

I'm in this same boat - I actually just watched the first three episodes of season 1. I'm very anal about not watching a show if I haven't watched it from the beginning, so while I've had HBO for going on 3 years now I've never watched an Ep of the Wire because I haven't had time to "catch up."

Looking forward to the recaps.

And FWIW, I would LOVE if you did Arrested Development write-ups. I've been looking for an excuse to go back and watch that series again from the beginning. Not that you need an excuse.

The only problem being, between that and Firefly, I'd be so aggravated that they both ended long before their times.

Figgsrock2 said...

Alan,

Does this mean you will be blogging about Burn Notice? I know that you didn't write much about it last summer, but it was one of my favorite shows of last year. (And Jeffery Donavan is in the new Clint Eastwood film, which I look forward to seeing.)

And I must say, I am anticipating In Plain Sight. Mary McCormick can do no wrong in my book.

domino87 said...

Hooray for Wire Recaps. Promised myself I would stop re-watching it for a few months so when I started again it would be that much better(as if it's not ALWAYS good), so whenever you start them again I'll have to hop back on the wagon.

mike c said...

I vote for Sports Night as well. My wife and I just started our 3rd trip through and it's still amazing.

Mac said...

NewsRadio works for me, because I have all the seasons already (even the Lovitz season) and I think that it's at least work a try. (And, oh, BTW Maura Tierney, not Moira Kelly.) Or how about The Tick?

dez said...

^THE TICK cartoons would be great, not so much with the live-action version.

Maybe you could do a sentence for each "Rescue Me" minisode.

What is a "minisode"? And when is RM coming back?

Mac said...

Rescue Me isn't coming back until next year because of THE STRIKE. To fill the gap, they're running five-minute "minisodes" over the summer.

D. said...

I'm still in shock that the new SPORTS NIGHT dvds commemorate the tenth anniversary of the show. Where does time go?

R.A. Porter said...

Alan, any thought about adding Charlie Jade to the blog's review rotation for the summer? I'll be doing recaps of it for a friend's website, but I'd love to read your thoughts.

Mo Ryan said...

I'd certainly be up for Swingtown recaps this summer, if you find the show at all appealing, Alan. You might find it worth your time. Or not. Just putting that out there...

Ed said...

Propane grill?!?

You strike me as more of a charcoal and Weber grill kind of guy.

Nicole said...

I thought that when you said that there were only 6 episodes of Doctor Who left that you were secretly revealing that you have been watching them at UK pace all along... guess not. Anyway, coincidentally they are taking next week off for Eurovision, so the pace won't change with the Memorial Day break.

I am excited for Mad Men though, and can't wait for that and your wire recaps.

Also, please add my vote for the mind-bending The Prisoner. It puts Lost to shame.

Zach Haldeman said...

Arrested Development posts would be PERFECT. I just rewatched it for around the sixth time, and I wouldn't mind doing it again. (Of course, I know so much by heart now I wouldn't really need to watch it again to follow the reviews, but I would anyway.) I've always thought the only part of your blog that was missing was reviews of Arrested Development. And maybe you could even go back and revisit season one of The O.C., perhaps...?

Zach Haldeman said...

The Prisoner would rock too, actually.

Steve said...

Hey Alan, have you picked up the new Old 97's cd? It's their best since Too Far To Care.

Mrglass said...

Count me in for "Burn Notice" reviews, that show's first season was the definition of entertaining.

Eric said...

For those interested in "My So Called Life" and "Six Feet Under" commentary, TWOP did great recaps of both of them. The Six Feet Under recaps Aaron though, may be a bit too in-jokey. You kind of had to also be reading his Sopranos recaps to get the full impact.

"The Prisoner" would be interesting, but it's very well-trod ground. It's an interesting though experiment though, to imagine what on-line analysis of it would have been like at the time. And something tells me Patrick McGoohan wouldn't have been the most fan-friendly of creators.

Tom said...

Alan, I loved you Wire reviews. Any recommendations for summer tv viewing on DVD? Will check out Mad Men season 1 when it comes out in July. Anybody else want to throw something out there? Open to pretty much anything except for Sci-Fi.

R.A. Porter said...

@tom, if you don't mind the blood and the mayhem, you can't go wrong with Dexter.

Tom said...

I will put Dexter on the list. Thanks.

Anonymous said...

I nominate a criminally overlooked show: The Adventures of Pete and Pete. It was totally hidden on Nickelodeon but it's definitely one of the best shows of the 90's. Surreal, goofy, funny, sweet and filled with guest stars galore. There's nothing serious about the show but it captures the joy and weirdness of suburban adolescence.


It holds up waaaay better than My So Called Needless Voice Over Angst Filled Exposition.

Pamela said...

Add me to the Firefly list please. That show is just...perfection.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Hey Alan, have you picked up the new Old 97's cd? It's their best since Too Far To Care.

Not yet, but that's high praise indeed, as I consider TFTC by far their best album. How much iTunes credit do I have lying around...?

Anonymous said...

My 2 cents.
HBO is done...ebbs and flows, they had a great run but Showtime has picked up the baton and is running with it (though with Weeds, The Tudors, and Dexter, they are a weak comparison). Alan, you should do an analysis of why HBO has stumbled and why Showtime is moving ahead.

While we are talking about downtime reviews...the Wire is awesome. But, perhaps the first 1.5 seasons of Homicide would be better from a lead-in POV (a primer if you will) before launching into David Simon's crowning achievement.

And here is the problem I have with SportsNight, a show of which I saw two episodes. It's not that I question the quality or relevance of the show, but much like, or to a greater extent than, Cupid, you can't find the episodes anywhere. SportsNight is on DVD, but I defy you to actually acquire said DVDs except on eBay. For the first time ever, I asked Amazon for something (they said they could deliver), and nine months later they canceled my order for failure to obtain. SportsNight is no longer available in the primary market, and can only be obtained though shady dealings.

Do Firefly.

Art Fleming said...

What about Weeds? Its coming back june, doest the omission mean you won`t blog about it?

Alan Sepinwall said...

What about Weeds? Its coming back june, doest the omission mean you won`t blog about it?

Not very often, if at all. I know it has a lot of fans (relatively; it is on Showtime, after all) but I've never been a huge fan. I love Mary-Louise Parker, but the show has always seemed a little too pleased with itself and not nearly as funny as it thinks it is.

lambertman said...

chris w: last I heard, The Shield's final season is expected around September.

filmcricket said...

Chiming in late to say I'm thrilled you're going to be revisiting The Wire, as I just borrowed S1 from a coworker and haven't had a chance to start it yet.

On the "sitcoms": I had no idea new Sports Night DVDs were coming out and I'm torn between being really happy and annoyed because my set cost a tonne. I also had no idea you couldn't get them anymore, there's always at least one set at my local HMV, albeit for $80 or more.

I love and own both NewsRadio (well, S1, 2 & 3) and Arrested Development and while I think SN would offer more fodder for discussion I'd certainly participate in discussions on the other two.

Can't vote for any of the current HBO/Showtime shows, being a Canuck with basic cable.

Fernando said...

Been reading your blog for a while, and Im really excited about The Wire Season One post.

Deborah said...

It was great meeting you (however briefly) at the Paley Center on Monday.

As you know, Mad Men is my life, but I'm also a big fan of Saving Grace. I haven't seen any news about its renewal or cancellation. Do you know?

Alan Sepinwall said...

I'm also a big fan of Saving Grace. I haven't seen any news about its renewal or cancellation. Do you know?

Forgot to mention that one in the original post. It'll be back (along with The Closer, which I don't care about) on July 14.

Alan Sepinwall said...

Propane grill?!?

You strike me as more of a charcoal and Weber grill kind of guy.


I recognize the inherent superiority of charcoal-flavored meat to propane, but I have a hard enough time keeping the propane grill clean. Going charcoal would eventually lead to my backyard looking like the lawn from Malcolm in the Middle.

Ben Guest said...

Alan,

Can't wait for The Wire Season One recaps. In my opinion, the best season of the greatest television show to ever grace the airwaves.

Rich C said...

SportsNight, or a trip through Arrested Development togther would be fascinating!

As for the previous comments regarding The Tick; the live action version (while it is clearly NOT the original) holds up surprisingly well. I think Alan, and the rest of us, could have some fun with it. Plus, it's really short!

Dan Murphy said...

Alan - I am trying to get my sister into the Wire and was wondering if the posts will be good for somebody who has never seen the show before, or more for those who have seen all 5 seasons and want to rewatch/relive the experience?

thanks

Alan Sepinwall said...

Alan - I am trying to get my sister into the Wire and was wondering if the posts will be good for somebody who has never seen the show before, or more for those who have seen all 5 seasons and want to rewatch/relive the experience?

I've been thinking on that. I'd like them to be something that a newbie could read without having anything major spoiled for them, but at the same time I want to be able to discuss important foreshadowing when it comes. I may devote a special section at the very end of each review to Things That We Now Understand In Retrospect, but even that would probably prevent someone like your sister from reading the comments.

Heather K said...

Hey I don't know if anyone has mentioned this, but the first season of the wire is available on itunes for less than $30, and that is probably going to be how I get my wire fix for this round of discussions.

It also might be a quicker way for some readers to get their hands on them.

Deborah said...

Thank goodness about Saving Grace!

I agree with you about The Closer, everyone keeps telling me to watch, and everytime (twice) I do I am repulsed.

Don't the rabid Whedon fans (whom I adore, of course) already have great Firefly resources out there? I know there are Browncoat message boards; surely there are high quality episode recaps?

Kent said...

Alan:

Do you know if "Ashes to Ashes" will be on in the US this summer?

barefootjim said...

I'm late to the party, but I'll also cast a vote for the criminally underrated "Newsradio," and cheer the fact that "Mad Men" is coming back so soon.

Anonymous, Tim Goodman over at SF Gate has written a lot of good stories over the past couple of years about Showtime eclipsing HBO.

Zach Haldeman said...

I've been thinking on that. I'd like them to be something that a newbie could read without having anything major spoiled for them, but at the same time I want to be able to discuss important foreshadowing when it comes. I may devote a special section at the very end of each review to Things That We Now Understand In Retrospect, but even that would probably prevent someone like your sister from reading the comments.
You could do two posts, one with the general review for newbies to feel safe reading and discussing, and a second post with the "Things That We Now Understand In Retrospect" section and comments related to that.

Mo Ryan said...

You could do two posts, one with the general review for newbies to feel safe reading and discussing, and a second post with the "Things That We Now Understand In Retrospect" section and comments related to that.

Count me in as thinking this is a very good idea.

LA said...

How about Undeclared?

Hank Hill said...

Be sure to call me if you need some propane or propane accessories.

Sims said...

Great blog as usual Alan. Have you thought about giving "So You Think You Can Dance" a shot? I think you might be pleasantly surprised by the level of talent on display. Not to mention it is pure entertainment.