A Field Guide to Summer TV: Monday

Hello intrepid Lemoners! I see you’ve been crawling through the wilds of summer, swatting mojitos and drinking mosquitoes. Strike that. Reverse it. Anyhoo…

Yet another terrible heat wave has hit the Midwest and East Coast, and I want my readers to stay cool and entertained. How? Find some air conditioning, a drink with an umbrella, and watch some summer TV. The afternoon is easy. Either you’re by the pool or in the office or watching HGTV, but how do you decide when everything’s at 9 and 10 PM, set up against each other?  Let’s make sure you know what you’re getting into.

Monday’s Child Is A Little Bit Geeky, But Stronger Than She Looks

9 PM

The Closer (TNT)

The final (seventh) season for Kyra Sedgwick (but not necessarily the end.) TNT has ordered a ten episode season of a spin-off  series, Major Crimes, with Mary McDonnell’s Captain Raydor taking over for the fierce and fiery Brenda Leigh Johnson.

This season offers more of the same for fans in a lot of ways. (Not that there’s anything wrong with that.) Pope and Commander Taylor are being shady and bureaucratic, Provenza and Flynn are being silly, and Sgt. Gabriel is the conscience of the outfit. The case of the week format works well for the show, but the season arc finds new complexity in a show that was always about fish out of water Brenda using her differences to get the job done. Thanks to the events of Season Six’s finale, Brenda’s found a little moral ambiguity, and in many ways this season is about weaning us off Deputy Chief Johnson and preparing us for the reign of Raydor. So if you’re a fan of the show, strap yourself in, things are about to get bumpy, especially in terms of our trust in the title character. Things are about to get dark.

vs.

Warehouse 13 (SyFy)

I have a soft spot for this steampunk MacGuffin of the week genre show, co-created by Battlestar Galactica and Whedon writer Jane Espenson. It’s one of those shows that is genuinely different from everything out there, much like SyFy’s originals used to be when they were still Sci Fi. (I’m mostly thinking of The Invisible Man, still my favorite genre show, including all of Whedon’s oeuvre.)

In the world of Warehouse 13, the Secret Service don’t just protect the President and other heads of state, they also contain and store strange and dangerous artifacts that appear throughout the United States. Artifacts that kill, maim, and make people think they’re superheroes. (It happened. Really. Photo proof: )

Yes that's Simon and Kaylee from Firefly, another project Espenson worked on

Warehouse 13 is at a pretty good jumping on point for newcomers, so if you’re deciding between The Closer and this little beast, it’s ready for you.

P.S. If you want extra geek points, watch Eureka just before it at 8 PM. SyFy is unapologetic with its crossovers. So if you don’t want to be lost, it might be required reading. Kind of like Buffy was for the Angel series in its early seasons. It did help to know why Seth Green was there. Also why he was a werewolf.

10 PM

Rizzoli and Isles (TNT)

The sisterhood / same-sex sexual tension driven crime drama is back for another season, and that Boston themed title sequence is still overkill, but at least the formula is a little different from the other crime unit based shows. Angie Harmon (Law & Order) and Sasha Alexander (NCIS) play a butch (for TV) detective and a femme medical examiner who solve crimes when they’re not dealing with the personal stuff, most of which involves Harmon’s mother, played by the excellent Lorraine Bracco (The Sopranos.) The show really shines when Rizzoli deals with her family, which is undergoing some pretty major changes this season. It’s fun to watch Harmon suppress her sadness and frustration as she deals with Dr. Melfi and her kid brother. Overall, Rizzoli & Isles lacks the depth of supporting cast that The Closer can muster up, but Harmon and Alexander are almost able to distract you from that. Also, did we mention BOSTON?!!?

BOSTON!!!! (Did you notice it’s set in Boston?!?! It’s very important that you know this is Boston!!!)

vs.

Teen Wolf (MTV)

I got so excited when I heard about this because I though Michael J. Fox was returning to TV. I was wrong. If it sounds like a warmed over Twilight / Vampire Diaries mashup, well, that’s because it kind of is. But it sure looks shiny. (It’s partially helmed by Highlander director Russell Mulcahy so it better be.) And sometimes it can be genuinely terrifying. Also the teenagers act like real teenagers, so their bad decisions are a little more justifiable. (More so than Glee, in fact.) If you can ignore some funky special effects, an unrealistic obsession with lacrosse, and really, really need a Vampire Diaries / shirtless man fix, Teen Wolf is your ten o’clock.

Or maybe it’s…

Alphas (SyFy)

So you really liked X-Men and X-2, but you were traumatized by X-3 and Wolverine? Disappointed by Heroes? Well SyFy may have an answer for you. Who could replace Patrick Stewart? David Strathairn of course! (Strathairn is the only actor I trust more than Ian McKellen actually. His voice is so soothing in this reedy, intelligent way.) In many ways, Alphas improves on the super-team formula by making sure each superpower has a clear, very dangerous trade-off. Unlike Heroes, season arcs take a back seat to case of the week, so it’s a good show to jump onto at your convenience. Also, there’s Ryan Cartwright (Bones)  as an autistic kid who can see electromagnetic waves (basically he sees the world as a huge iPad.) Mr. Nigel Murray lives! [Least annoying fanvid I could find. Sorry.]

See you on Wednesday for your field guide to Tuesday!

Don’t be confused Luke Skywalker! Just know I’ll see you again soon!

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4 thoughts on “A Field Guide to Summer TV: Monday

  1. Lil – You didn’t cover any of the USA series (White Collar, Covert Affairs, Burn Notice, etc.) Please do –
    Ingrid

    • I promise I will Ingrid! USA tends to air WWE on Mondays, but White Collar and Covert Affairs will get all my love in my Tuesday post coming up later today! USA really gets me in trouble on Wednesday and Thursday. Their lineup is so solid but FX’s sitcoms are great too.

  2. Pingback: A Field Guide to Summer TV: Tuesday | Lillian Lemoning

  3. Pingback: A Field Guide to Summer TV: Wednesday | Lillian Lemoning

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