Summer 2014 Television Diary

I tend to do these in the fall when a lot of new shows are starting, but between mid-season replacements and all the shows the cable channels schedule in the summer these days there’s new TV shows all the time it seems. I missed talking about mid-season stuff entirely, but for lack of anything better to write about at the moment I thought I would do a round up of the stuff I’ve been watching this summer. Some of it started in the late spring so is already over and a few shows won’t be starting again until next week, but this is essentially what I have been or will be watching this summer.

Rectify

Rectify is now in its second season on the Sundance Channel. This is a show that’s definitely not for everyone, but I love it. I imagine most people would be bored by it, but I love this kind of character work. If you’re not familiar with the show it’s about a guy who was in prison for 19 years after being convicted of murdering his teenage girlfriend. He gets out on a technicality, and not necessarily because people don’t think he did it. We still don’t know if he did or not, and the show doesn’t seem particularly interested in telling us. I imagine they will at some point, but it’s not really the focus of the story at all. It’s really more about what it’s like for him to reenter the world after 19 years as well as the effect that his return has on his family. Not much happens plotwise week to week, but as I said it’s a lovely character study, and I like it quite a lot.

Melissa & Joey

I have no idea what season this show is in at this point because the way ABC Family splits seasons. I can’t keep track. It’s probably at least it’s third or fourth. It’s a goofy little sitcom that seems like a throwback to sitcoms from earlier days. It’s sweet, but also has some much more adult humor than I would expect from something on ABC Family. I still laugh at it quite a bit, and it was always something I looked forward to watching it when it was on. The teenagers on the show have obviously aged out of the demographic ABC Family is trying to appeal to, so they wrote some dumb storyline at the end of this season whereby Joe finds out he has a long lost teenage daughter he never knew about. I’m kind of annoyed with that plot line. I hate when shows do that. I beg of you TV writers please stop it with addition of previously unknown children to shows. Nothing good ever comes of it. I hope somehow this turns out not to be the case for this show, but I doubt it.

Chasing Life

ABC Family is also great for kind of old school feeling dramas. The kind that you used to get on the WB back in the day. Chasing Life is it’s newest addition. It’s about a girl named April, who finds out that she has leukemia but continues to try and juggle her messy family life, a new boyfriend, and her stressful job at a newspaper. It’s not the greatest of shows, and for a show whose central character has cancer it would have been nice if they had cast somebody who cried realistically, but it’s good enough for summer viewing. I’m also amused that this show is single-handedly trying to support actors from 90s sitcoms. Steven Weber plays April’s uncle, the actress who played Fay on Wings plays her grandmother, and the woman who played the mom on Major Dad plays the mom here as well.

The Fosters

The Fosters is now in it’s second season on ABC Family. I like this show a lot. It’s about a lesbian couple and their 5 (soon to be 6) children, most of whom are adopted or foster kids. Again it’s a great family drama. They don’t always know what do with all of the characters all of the time, but there are some really great relationships on the show, and there are some decent plotlines. If you haven’t watched it I would recommend checking it out. The first season is on Netflix streaming or at least it used to be.

Covert Affairs

I’m still watching Covert Affairs on USA despite the fact that this show is past it’s prime. Not so far past that it’s completely horrible like Burn Notice at it’s end, but I don’t look forward to watching it the way that I once did. It’s a fine background noise show for now, but I don’t think I’m going to bitter end it the way I did with Burn Notice. Once it starts building up on the DVR I’ll decide it’s time to let it go.

The Leftovers

We are now two episodes into The Leftovers on HBO based on the book by Tom Perotta. I haven’t read the book, so I don’t know how this compares so far, but I have to say I’m not really taken by it. I’m not sure I’m going to keep watching. My husband and I were discussing that so far we’re still trying to figure out what the point is. Maybe there’s not one and that’s the point. The show is set three years after some percentage of the population just up and disappears. No one knows what happened to them or why certain people were taken. There doesn’t seem to be any connection between them. Now we’re focused on those who remain in one suburban town. The focus seems to be on Justin Theroux’s cop character and the members of his family who have all scattered from each other in trying to deal with what happened, though there are many other characters too. So far nothing has grabbed me, and as I said I’m not really sure why I should keep watching as there seems to be no point to the show. I’ve heard from critics that the third episode is a departure from the style of the first two, so I’ll at least watch that. I’m not sure about past that though.

The Last Ship

The titular ship is a navy ship that was sent on what turns out was a mysterious mission that kept them completely cut off from the rest of the world. When they return they discover that the scientist who was on board was actually the real reason for the mission as she was trying to track down the start of a virus that has spread quickly around the world so that she can create a vaccine. Now pretty much the people on the ship are the very few who have not been infected. They can’t return to their loved ones on shore, and they have to try and find a way to save the world. Michael Bay is involved somehow, so that should tell you the level of sophistication we are dealing with here. It’s pretty much about blowing things up and ridiculous speeches. I have now seen three episodes of The Last Ship and I still don’t know any of the characters’ names, and I’m perfectly ok with that. It’s not really a show where something like that matters. At this point it’s just bad enough to be worth watching.

Orphan Black

Orphan Black has ended for the season, but it’s still worth a mention. Tatiana Maslany still plays an incredible array of characters in an impressive fashion. I’m sure you’ve all seen people online being outraged that she was once again snubbed for any Emmy nomination this year. It really is a crime. The plot in the second season did get a little convoluted, so it wasn’t as great as the first,  but it’s still a really good show. And it’s definitely worth watching to see Maslany’s impressive acting feat alone.

Orange is the New Black

It took us a couple of weeks to get through the second season of Orange is the New Black, which I think was a good rate. We got to spread it out a little and enjoy it, while still somewhat speeding our way through the 13 episodes on Netflix. This season Piper is not the main focus of the show. I’m not a Piper hater like so many people. She’s definitely not a sympathetic character a lot of the time, but she’s not supposed to be. So the first season focus on her didn’t bother me the way it did a lot of people apparently, but there are enough great actresses and stories in this show that neither does it suffer for shuffling her to the background much more this season. I do think we could now stand to lose her family and friends from the storyline going forward though. It doesn’t make that much sense for them to be as prominent as they were in the first season. Sorry Jason Biggs.

Masters of Sex

The second season of Masters of Sex doesn’t start until Sunday on Showtime, so I obviously don’t really have anything to say about it yet other than I’m looking forward to it’s return. I very much enjoyed the first season, and I am hopeful that it will remain an excellent show this season.

The Bridge

I was really interested in The Bridge when it first started last summer. The plots about life across the US/Mexico border around Juarez seemed like it had a lot interesting stories to tell, but then it got very convoluted and didn’t really focus on the things that attracted it to me in the first place. My husband was interested in it though and since I didn’t completely hate it I kept watching with him. I haven’t watched the Danish show it’s based on, but I gather it followed the same general story arc. Though I also understand that of all the foreign versions of this show the US one is the worst. I don’t know how the second season is following any of those story wise or if it’s going off in it’s own direction this season. At any rate I did get kind of bored with this show by the end of the season. Even more so than I realized because even though I watched the entire first season when I was watching the previously on scenes that preceded the start of the new season this week there was a lot of stuff I totally didn’t remember. I’m guessing the second season isn’t going to magically get so much better that I’ll be in love with it, but as long as my husband is interested in watching it, it’s probably something I’ll keep watching too.

Mythbusters

Obviously because it’s Mythbusters. Duh. And what says fun summer television more than blowing stuff up.

 

And now to switch gears a little, I often find the time to binge watch older shows during the summer. These are the ones I’ve been working on so far.

Justified

I’ve watched the first four seasons of Justified. I’m still waiting on the fifth season to be released, and then I’ll go ahead and watch the sixth and final season as it airs whenever that is. My husband cheated on me and watched it all without me despite knowing that I wanted to watch it. For shame on him. I was surprised that the first season was much more episodic than I was anticipating with every week being a case of the week plus a little overarching storyline for the season. Based on what I had gathered about the show before watching it it wasn’t what I was expecting. The rest of the seasons definitely abandon that though and became much more of the show I was expecting. Definitely the second season was the best, which I don’t think anyone would argue. I enjoyed three and four too though. I’m curious about five since I gather it wasn’t that popular, but I’ll have to wait and see what I think about that I guess.

The OC

I am two episodes away from finishing the first season of The OC. I’m not really loving it, and yet I also can’t stop watching it for some reason. I don’t know if I’ll watch all the seasons though because I do remember people thinking the show dramatically dropped off after the first season and became a real mess. Since I kind of already think it’s a mess character and plotwise, and am not super invested in anyone on it I’m not sure that I’ll be able to stick it through. I’m a little disappointed because I thought I would at least love the first season that everyone raved about back in the day. I’m a sucker for a good teen drama. Need I remind you of my binge watch obsession over One Tree Hill? I also loved Chuck, which was also created by Josh Schwarz, but this doesn’t have the same heart behind it that Chuck did. This show just isn’t doing it for me and I’m a little sad about it.

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