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The Long, Dark Television Summer has Begun

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Wow, what a sad, sad week, televisually speaking.  I deleted my Law & Order "Season Pass," I deleted my Lost "Season Pass," and my TiVo's "To-Do List" is depressingly short.  That sort of thing happens at the end of every television season, but this year it hit me rather hard and I'm not quite sure why that is.  It's not that there isn't going to be a lot of new television on this summer, but man the end of this season seems like a tough one.

It's not that I was some star-crossed Lost fan who has lived and died by how well the mythology all tied together, or that I watched Law & Order for 20 years straight.  It's not that I thought that this season of Scrubs was good or that the show hadn't gone on long enough (or that it even ended this week and not months ago).  But those were three long-term shows that aren't going to be on anymore.  It's a tough thing for me to do deal with (and not just because I watched 100 Questions last night).

I don't at this moment feel as though I'm going to have to dig around for any new television to watch this summer (and will not be resorting to watching 100 Questions ever again).  USA is launching some of its summer programming next week (check back next week for my thoughts on the season premieres of Burn Notice and Royal Pains), Hell's Kitchen is coming, and TNT is gearing up to launch its summer slate as well.  As good as cable summer fare is, however (and it's some of the best television around), there are unquestionably moments where I'd prefer to see my TiVo bursting with new shows as opposed to a scattered one to two every night.

There is, for me, a ray of light, though; something of a "the television season is dead, long live the television season" notion.  The fall schedules have been announced and, while there are no premiere dates as of this moment, pilots are starting to trickle in.  It's too early to say what excites me most about the upcoming fall season, but there are definitely some good looking candidates and some clunkers (though perhaps nothing as clunky as 100 Questions).

And that, perhaps, brings me to the conclusion of this little piece.  The traditional television season is officially over and we're now into the summer TV season.  While in recent years more and more original programming has been aired and that remains true this year, there is certainly still often a sense that networks aren't really 100 percent committed to putting on high-quality – or at the very least entertaining – shows during the summer.  Last night I actually spent 30 minutes (minus commercials) watching NBC's newest addition to their Thursday night lineup, 100 Questions

The basic concept behind the series is that a British woman living in the States (Sophie Winkleman) has entered a matchmaking service where she has to answer 100 questions and tells us an extended story in answering each one so that every episode is a question.  It's a cute little way to easily get the show to the magic 100 episode mark, but there was little else cute to be found.  It's a show I really wanted to like (because it is new and going to be on this summer), but from the opening scene one instantly gets the impression that everything the show has to offer has been seen before.  Watching the rest of the episode that idea was only reinforced – it all felt way too familiar and in a bad way.  If it's way too familiar this summer, I'm going to go with repeats of shows that I like instead of new stuff that I'm somehow absolutely sure I've seen before.

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About Josh Lasser

Josh has deftly segued from a life of being pre-med to film school to television production to writing about the media in general. And by 'deftly' he means with agonizing second thoughts and the formation of an ulcer.
  • vj

    Try Hulu, and Netflix streaming movies are great when you find the Chinese movie that was the basis for some US hit. I gave up watching the major networks and canceled all but basic cable. The major network website capabilities for streaming shows is absurd, compared to the ease of use of Hulu.com and Netflix.

  • Felicity

    I learned some time ago that summer is not the season for network television, however, thanks to basic and premium cable, this is actually one of my favorite times of the year.
    I’m still waiting for the final season of The Tudors to end, plus eagerly anticipating the return of Burn Notice, White Collar, True Blood, Leverage and Mad Men. So there, plenty of quality shows to see! (and one guilty pleasure – still love Entourage 🙂

  • There is too much good stuff out there on DVD and elsewhere I haven’t seen to watch repeats. For the past couple of years, my sister and I use the summer to watch anime because our conflicting schedules (and the amount of TV we both watch) make it impossible normally.