Friday, June 14, 2013

What to Watch this Summer on USA

USA has been dabbling in original series for a few years now but not until recently have they banked many real "hits".  Their most notable original series are Psych & Burn Notice which both celebrate their 100th episode this year.  I recognize the channel for WWE, a plethora of genres of movies and reruns of network television series including NCIS and CSI.  While USA is far from my favorite cable network when it comes to original programming, there are a few shows that I tune into watch.  Here is a list of their hottest summer shows, that I will be tuning into (USA normally gets recorded & viewed last for me) and blogging about in the months ahead.  I hope my descriptions and reviews can help you choose what's right for you! 

Burn Notice - this spy thriller didn't catch my attention until recently as I added it to my Netflix queue and did a marathon of the first 6 seasons.  I clearly was instantly hooked.  It circles around the life of Michael Westen (played by Jeffrey Donovan, a young Bruce Campbell look alike that had me confused at first), a former CIA spy who was unjustly "burned" from the agency.  Left without a job history, references, money or anything else, he teams up with a group of friends utilizing his skills to do odd jobs acting as a modern day Robin Hood to those who need his help.  I mean, I could go into all the elements that make up a good show, but I would basically give good reviews on it all.  I can't believe I missed out on this years ago!  It's entertaining, lots of car chases and explosives, I love the characters (Sam Axe, played by Bruce Campbell (Evil Dead), is actually why I tuned in in the first place), the actors play out their extreme roles precisely, and there are tons, I mean boatloads, of spy info from how to build explosives to a sniper's accuracy in any given condition which makes it unique.  It's great.  This is a must see.  I'm sad that it is in its final season, but it was a good choice because the whole storyline is based on Michael getting out of the spy scene so it becomes less plausible that he will meet his goal with each renewal.  Tune in!

Graceland - I haven't made a decision yet on this show.  I have it recorded and ready to watch when I get around to it, so I can't tell you much right now.  It is about a group of young FBI, DEA and Customs agents living together in an confiscated drug house in southern California.  Based on a real story, this group of six find themselves working undercover cases and dealing with their "Real World" type experiences of getting along in a household of strangers.  They all share the same profession, which helps as a support system, but I have to assume relationships will be a huge part of this show as the characters will probably make friends, make enemies, hook up and possibly dive into dating scenarios through the season.  I am excited for the crime angle though.  I hope it will overcome the clashing and clinging of personalities and leave me wanting more.  However, I am into the Bravo reality series' (check out and might find myself tangled into what they should and shouldn't have done, outraged and intrigued, with a lot to say about the show. This one is a coin toss and after watching the first two episodes, I'll update my feelings about the show and let you know if this is the new USA summer hit to watch! 

Royal Pains - I'm not sure what to classify this show as other than just drama.  While its premise is about two brothers, Hank and Evan, who begin a medical concierge service in the Hamptons, it is heavy on the drama and very light on the medicine.  We go through their relationship issues with each other, women and last Christmas marked the special 2-hour post-season special of the "everything goes wrong" wedding of Evan and his love at first sight girlfriend Paige.  If your into other medical dramas like House, ER or even Gray's Anatomy you probably won't be captivated by the medicine aspect of the show, I can normally guess their condition long before Hank gets to it.  That doesn't mean you wont be entertained.  The show takes the feel of the laid back Hamptons lifestyle, which differs a lot from the fast paced emergency and surgical rooms of the same genre, that can be a bit boring at times.  So I guess the verdict depends solely on taste, you wont cry, you might laugh and it is the kind of good hearted television show that is family friendly and this season we might even get a crime twist as the strange, secretive landlord, Boris, was killed and his replacement might be the murderer, living right next door.

Necessary Roughness -  this show about a professional psychiatrist who works with big name and big stake clients, mainly on retainer with the New York Hawks football team, is a great new idea television series.  There are lots of shows about doctors, lawyers and cops but this breaks free of all that into its own genre with few other shows of its type.  NBC's Hannibal is one of my new favorites that also touches the psychiatric field (check out but is not similar to this show in anyway, its just the only other non-reality show that I can think of with psychiatry as a premise.  That goes to say that Necessary Roughness has found its own niche.  While the show has a lot more drama in the way of relationships with friends, family and boyfriends then is to my taste, I am sure it is right up the alley of many; those going through or recently survived a divorce and heading into dating, people with teenage kids and those of you who just like this type of show, so I won't give it bad remarks in that department.  It is not a very upbeat series, it is slow and won't have you on the edge of your seats, but it's entertaining and when we venture away from the long term storyline of the Hawks and into the individual clients, we get the variety needed in this type of show.  I'd say it's worth checking out.

Necessary Roughness Premiere - Wow, this premiere threw me through a twist that was good, bad and has provoked me to add this little tidbit to my original overview of the series.  In the first seasons, I saw Dr. Dani Santino, played by Callie Thorne, as a relatable character for a plethora of women, like Emily Deschanel does for Bones.  This premiere however has changed all that.  Following last season's introduction to Nico having some trouble with the law, it seems as though he has been turned as a mole for the authorities checking out the newly introduced company called V3.  V3 is a sports agency and training center for a multitude of athletes, fashion, media, and entertainment, headed up by our newest character, Connor McClane, played by John Stamos, whose shady business is what Nico seems to be investigating.  In this episode we find Dr. Dani leaving the Hawks and her private practice for V3 spanning a whole new twist and basis for the show.  This was needed as the messy dealings with the death of the team's owner, leaving his reckless and clueless daughter in charge and the fallout of Dr. Dani and her co-worker Matt's relationship led to a marginal and misguided last season.  An over hall was definitely in order, but I feel like Callie Thorne has lost all her "relatability", possibly to match Stamos's younger handsome persona.  She seems to have redone herself, probably in an effort to move on from her first real relationship after her divorce with the character Matt, who is moving onto Boston, married, and expecting a child.  She looks like she's had some work, primarily Botox, highlights, perfectly executed hair styles, and a ton of make-up.  Her kids are also a no show on this episode claiming her son ran off with the Hawks' old owner and her daughter is rarely around.  This takes the whole family aspect out of the picture.  I am glad Nico is back and it looks like we are headed down the crime drama path as I predict police presence will take up a good part of the season.  Thorne doesn't know what she is getting into which will keep us on the edge of our seats a bit, but if she really wanted to reinvent herself it seems as if she would have put distance between the Hawks herself rather than wait to get fired and as we have seen her struggle to make a name for herself by starting her own practice, it is strange that she just gives it up for V3.  The positives are that V3 will give us the variety of clients that is needed and the mystique of how exactly Stamos is evil and how far down the "Nico rabbit hole" Callie will travel, will also add some upbeat aspects to a normally so-so show.   

Suits - I see this as a kind of kiddie version of the wonderful hit Damages.  Along with the escapades of protecting and settling clients' lawsuits, it also has a big focus on the office drama within their own firm and with competing firms and lawyers. Centered around the go-to-hotshot-bigwig, Harvey Specter, and his new associate, a diamond in the rough, Mike Ross, who has a big secret.  He's good and Harvey sees Mike's potential to become his protégée (Just what Patty Hewes first saw in Ellen Parsons, Damages) but while Mike's eidedic memory and intership can get him far, he doesn't actually posses a law degree.  A huge liability for Harvey, the firm and a multitude of consequences for Mike if anyone find out.  It also possesses some great actors (Gina Torres, Gabriel Macht, David Costabile & Rick Hoffman) which heighten the show on their own.  I have to say that I am not a huge fan as I prefer the more cunning aspects of other shows in this genre, but Suits has a huge fan base and it might be right up your alley, so check it out. 

While most of USA's original programming are a bit slow and bland for my taste, they have a lot of positive things going for them which is why I tune in.  You'll have to decide for yourself depending on your taste what you want to watch, but I hope my overviews are helpful for making that decision!

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