Good TV in the Summer Heat?

Recently we sat in with the crew from The Next Issue podcast to discuss the upcoming Fall television schedule. Outside of a few returning shows, there was a general apathy for the fall. During the discussion, shows that generated the most excitement from the participants were shows that are on now. Typically summer is a television dumping ground full of reruns, 4th rate reality shows, and networks burning off episodes of show they had canceled months ago. However some networks like USA,TNT, and SyFy are premiering a slew of new and returning shows during the summer months. While there seems to be a plethora of new and returning shows (Don’t sleep on Drop Dead Diva. Yes we said it!), lets dissect a few shows that have either stuck our fancy or have us planning our lives around each episode.

Suits

The Premise

While running from a drug deal gone bad, Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams), a brilliant young college-dropout, slips into a job interview with one of New York City’s best legal closers, Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht). Tired of cookie-cutter law school grads, Harvey takes a gamble by hiring Mike on the spot after he recognizes his raw talent and photographic memory.

Our Take

We really didn’t expect to like this show. The advertisements made it seem like any other lawyer show that was already on tv. I mean how many different lawyer shows can you make? However Suits has made us fans with its witty writing and great characters. The duo of Adams and Macht are a very good on-screen pair who are entertaining and at times engaging to watch. The supporting characters of the show are great, but in actuality it is Gina Torres who portrays the firm’s managing partner Jessica Pearson who steals the show. Actually, we would watch anything that she is in (except Cleopatra 2525). Suits can be found Thursday nights on USA.

Alphas

The Premise

Five ordinary people are brought together to form one extraordinary team of Alphas, people with the unique power to stretch the capabilities of the human mind giving them superhuman physical and mental abilities. Operating within the Defense Criminal Investigation Service of the U.S. Department of Defense and led by preeminent neurologist and psychiatrist Dr. Lee Rosen (David Strathairn), an expert in Alpha phenomena, the team investigates cases that point to others with Alpha abilities. As they work against the clock to solve this new brand of crime, they must prevent their own personality differences and disparate backgrounds from interfering with their ultimate mission to catch the enemy.

Our Take

We were very excited about this show. However a show of this nature (superhero team) will always be compared (for better or worse) to shows/ideas that have come before it (i.e. Heroes, X-Men, etc.). Alphas doesn’t just have the challenge of having to be a quality show, but it also has to find a way to standout and to be unique on its own merits. With one episode in does it do this? The answer unfortunately is no! However even as predictable as the pilot episode was, it laid an interesting groundwork for future episodes. From what we see, character development will be key to the quality and possibly the longevity of the series. Standouts from the eclectic cast of Alphas include the adrenaline fueled douche that is FBI agent Bill Harkan (Malik Yoba) and the seductive Nina Theroux (Laura Mennell). Alphas can be found Monday nights on SyFy.

Torchwood: Miracle Day

The Premise

One day, nobody dies. All across the world, nobody dies. And then the next day, and the next, and the next, people keep aging. They get hurt and sick, but they never die. The result: a population boom, overnight. With all the extra people, resources are finite. It’s said that in four month’s time, the human race will cease to be viable. But this can’t be a natural event, someone’s got to be behind it. It’s a race against time as C.I.A. agent Rex Matheson investigates a global conspiracy. The answers lie within an old, secret British institute. As Rex keeps asking “What is Torchwood?”, he’s drawn into a world of adventure, and a threat to change what it means to be human, forever.

Our Take

Many simply write off Torchwood as just a simple Dr. Who spinoff. Those that do are sadly missing one of the best sci-fi shows on television. With its third series Children of Earth in 2009, Torchwood was thrust into a new stratosphere. Miracle Day seems poised to continue the detailed storytelling that was personified in Children of Earth. The show’s premise is an intriguing one. If no one died, the Earth would be overrun with human beings in very short amount of time. What would happen to the resources? In many ways this problem harkens back to the very real issues of our exponential growth as a species on this planet and how we are utilizing the resources that are available to us. Also the very question of are we even still human if we do not die is a perplexing conundrum. One that I hope is revisited as the series continues.

Returning cast members John Borrowman (Jack Harkness) and Eve Myles (Gwen Cooper) are joined by new cast members Mekhi Phifer, Bill Pullman, and Alexa Havins in this new adventure which looks to shake the world to its very core. Torchwood: Miracle Day can be found Friday nights on Starz.

@websterstyle

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