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Saturday, August 23, 2014


Steve Cole reviews summer television shows.

THE LAST SHIP: The start of this show made no sense (the ship sat in the arctic for months without ever turning on a radio to receive sports scores?) and it suffers from the same "main actors must do everything, so the bridge crew is the main away team" syndrome that plagued Star Trek. Even so, I love the three main actors and will watch it.

DOMINION: I have a major hobby reading religious history and biblical archaeology, so I was attracted to a show that began with God almighty just walking away because He was fed up with the actions of His creations. Some parts of it don't make a lot of sense but the internal politics of the secret power factions is interesting. My only questions are where is Jesus in all this? And for that matter, Satan? Maybe they're saving them for Season Two?

DEADLIEST CATCH: One of my favorite male soap operas, made more interesting this year by having women on two of the crews.

ICE ROAD TRUCKERS: I wish they'd go back to Alaska instead of watching this rivalry between two truck companies I don't care about, but at least Lisa Kelly is on it.

LONGMIRE: A detective show with a twist. Walt Longmire is a Wyoming sheriff who has to deal with rural crimes plus the politics of an adjacent Indian reservation that has corrupt cops and mysterious conspiracies. Throw in a few crazy Indians who believe in their primitive mysticism and the hot blonde from Galactia and I'm there.

QUEST: A reality competition show where everybody dressed up for Dungeons and Dragons. I've seen three episodes and I'm willing to watch more.

TAXI BROOKLYN: An implausible concept of a detective (played by an actress who is cute but too scrawny to be believable) who is so good no one can fire her and so bad a driver than she can't be given a police car (so she has to use a taxi driven by an ex-con who has lots of useful connections). Oh, and her mother is dating her boss.

UNFORGETTABLE is an intriguing cop show staring Poppy Montgomery (and I'd watch her hold a phone book, even without reading it). The writers are trying to set something up with her gambling habit, but it makes no sense as her super memory doesn't really apply to poker.

PERCEPTION is about an expert on the human brain who is himself crazy and keeps talking to hallucinations. The fun part is the young FBI chick and her ex-husband and current fiance who are trying to get married again.

MAJOR CRIMES: A wonderful ensemble cast of detectives who solve (well) major crimes. The side story of Rusty is not interesting and contributes nothing to show; we could have more fun with the cases if he just disappeared. I love Lieutenant Provenza who appeared in one of our Klingon stories as Krovenza. The coming spin-off about special operations command looks to be just as good.

LIVE ANOTHER DAY: The best season of 24 ever. Jack Bauer is cold and ruthless, which makes this very good television. The death of a major romantic character tore my heart out. The gutsy president impressed me.

ROOKIE BLUE is an interesting cop show if only because they're all Canadian cops. The writers have taken a turn that impressed me. The best cop anyone has ever seen (McNally) made a series of mistakes in training a rookie that have caused shockwaves. I'm glad that they stopped making her a superwoman.

ROYAL PAINS: A disease of the week doctor show set in the rich Hamptons of Long Island, made bearable by the non-medical plot points. It's actually fun to watch unless "dad" shows up and that actor (if one can stretch to the point of calling him an actual actor) ruins everything with his completely incompetent performances. Someone should have told that idiot to change careers during his first show 30 years ago.

LOTTERY: Humans stopped having babies six years ago. No one knows why. The theories include God, aliens, and Gaia all deciding that the humans were ruining planet Earth with overpopulation. Then one scientist manages to fertilize exactly 100 embryos and a president about to be forced out of office organizes a lottery to pick the 100 lucky mothers.
ROSELLI & ISLES: A great detective show ruined by the totally unnecessary pregnancy story line, but at least that disappeared when the fans objected. Otherwise, I would have dropped this because if I wanted to deal with kids I would have had my own. I'm already fed up with too many episodes about a deceased character played by an actor who committed suicide.
EXTANT: Astronette goes to space alone for 13 months and comes home pregnant. I find the show far less interesting than Leanna does and use the time to read a book, which makes it hard to keep track of the conspiracy theories but then I don't care anyway. If they had hired an actual actress for the lead it might have helped.

UNDER THE DOME is successful enough that it has exceeded the ability of the writers to make sense of their own story lines. They could have done so much more.

THE BRIDGE: I was sick one weekend and binge watched eight episodes and would have watched more if I had any on Tivo. The series is gritty and full of interesting and flawed characters.

COVERT AFFAIRS, PSYCHE, BURN NOTICE: I enjoy these shows but never finished last season and the new season is stacking up in my Tivo. Actually I have four seasons of Psyche.

FALLING SKIES: This could have been a good show but is so poorly written that it is painful to watch. The plot makes even less sense than the technology. How do military convoys drive around at night with their lights on without the aliens even noticing?

REDEYE: My favorite show and the only news program I actually watch so that I don't have to face reality.

LEGENDS: A vehicle for Sean Bean, but it's stretching reality to say he has a British accent because he grew up on a US base in England. I love the actor but not the background conspiracy plotline.