Sunday, August 9, 2009

Second Look: Show You Should Be Watching This Summe

I'm calling this article "second look" because two months ago I would not have (and in a couple of cases didn't) recommend watching some of the following summer series. Luckily, because there is nothing else on, I have been patient with the following series and many have come to thoroughly surprise me. Television, especially during it's pilot season, is like a may take a chapter or two to get into it, but once you find yourself in the middle you just can't put it down.

Summer hit: Royal Pains
USA has struck gold with this series. While the network is best known for Monk, Psych, and Burn Notice... I feel that the series most worth tuning in for started just over a month ago. The series follows a former surgeon who was fired after letting a billionaire hospital trustee die in favor of saving a kid's life. As a result, he and his brother move to the Hamptons where they start a concierge doctor service.
The series is like McGyver meets Desperate Housewives with a bit of House attached. You've got lots of character drama, but mostly great medical mysteries... and of course, a hot cast.
While this show draws from a number of previously successful series, it is entirely original. Mark Feurstein, or Dr. Hank Lawson, lights up the screen and steals every scene he's in.

Come From Behind Kid: Make it or Break It
I'll be the first to admit I royally bashed this show when it came out. The pilot episode was pathetic... then again so was the pilot episode of The Office, and we all know how that turned out. I thought this series would be a direct rip off of Stick It. The characters, the plot, it all seemed too eerily similar. BUT...and this is a big BUT...after four or five episodes (I know I'm shocked I gave it that long too) it really found its footing... and it's been on my 'must watch' list ever since.
There is now finally solid character development that has made the cookie-cutter elite gymnasts into people I actually care about. The cast is made up of entirely fresh faces (minus Candace Cameron Bure who is making a major post-Full House comeback), but they are showing they can hold their own. I'm impressed with the delicate mix of gymnastics and drama. You get enough of both that the scenario is believable. While the show may be stuck on ABC Family... I think it's one of the brightest stars in their lineup.

Hate to Admit I Like It: 10 Things I Hate About You
I wish they'd call this show something else. I like it, I really do. But the fact that it pretends to reflect one of my all time favorite movies is a royal slap in the face to what Julia Stiles and Heath Ledger were once able to accomplish on the big screen.
The characters names may be the same, but their purpose and attitudes are entirely different.
Kat is still your feminist misfit, but instead of Patrick going after her, she is going after HIM. Bianca is still the cheery blonde who's obsessed with her looks, but instead of already being popular, her character's mission is to BECOME popular. Chastity serves as the bitch in the TV version too, but Gabrielle Union the new version is not. And Mandella has gone from a Shakespearean crazed sidekick to a gothic girlfriend for Kat. The only solid cross-over has been Larry Miller who shines again as the girls dad and resident OBGYN. The fact that there's no "Ms. Perky" or awesome rapping English teacher makes me cry inside.
So as a stand alone series I am a fan. But as a spin-off of the film I am not impressed.

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