Looking to Cure the Summertime (TV) Blues

As the song goes, I'm blue da-ba-dee-da-ba-die. The May Sweep is pretty much over and done with, the traditional television season has come to an end, and outside of Lost, which ends next week, tonight marks the last night of traditional scripted programming for me for quite a while. It's all very distressing. Oh sure, I have tons of DVDs I can watch, and the shows I only watch when the full season is available on DVD will be available soon, but it's just not the same.

I have here, sitting on my desk, a screener of the Inspector Lewis series from Masterpiece Mystery! And I'm told that series five of Foyle's War is going to air this summer. This is what it's come to — Mystery! on PBS and, eventually, some cable scripted fare. Now, I know that I love the cable scripted fare, and I know that Mystery! is pretty swell usually, but it's not quite normal television viewing and it distresses me.

Oh, there are good reasons for the end of scripted programming over the summer, mainly the lower HUT (houses using televisions) levels and the higher cost of scripted versus non-scripted programming, but that doesn't satiate my desire to watch television.

And, do you want to know what's worse than all of the above? I just ran out of old episodes of Top Gear. I've been TiVo-ing older episodes, letting them stack up, and last night I watched the last one that was sitting there waiting for me. Now I have to wait for next week for another dose of my favorite show.

Are you sick of hearing about Top Gear? If the answer is “yes,” that's only because you haven't actually bothered to watch an episode of it.

But, I'm not going to focus on Top Gear today; sure, it's wonderful, fantastic, and a great deal of fun, but I'm still reeling from NBC not picking up the pilot for a US version. How is that possible? This is the network that butchered Coupling, one of the funniest comedies in a long time; they couldn't be bothered to give Top Gear a few episodes?

No. I'm not focusing on that series, it only deepens my funk. Instead, I will focus on the happy: new scripted stuff on USA, HBO's upcoming Recount, the new Andromeda Strain mini-series. I've seen none of these yet (though I do have In Plain Sight sitting next to Inspector Lewis), so I'm not advocating them, I'm just stating that they will be watched by me and eventually we will talk about them.

There is TV in the summer, and I will be watching it (and telling you all about it), but it's just not the same.

On the upside, we're only about three and a half months away from the start of the new television season. It'll be here before we know it, and what with the political conventions this summer, there will be some scripted drama on the networks between now and then.


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