So summertime 2010 is in full swing. There seems to be weekend festivals and family BBQs nearly every week. Toss in little league baseball games, ice cream cones, and latenight swims and most of our days and nights are full.
But thanks to cable or satellite DVRs, even when we are out and about, we won’t miss some pretty good television that is on during the summer months. Though some of the major networks offer some summer viewing choices, it’s also a time for the cable channels to make a name for themselves.
Here’s a breakdown of what I’ve found to be some pretty good TV when your summer schedule allows you to kick back and take in some relaxing, enteratining shows. On Mondays ABC offers another season of ‘The Bachelorette’ at 8pm. Down to the final few weeks, this show attempts to answer the burning question, “Will these attention-crazed twenty-somethings find true love or just another gig to keep them in the spotlight?” Let’s be serious, most of the contestants on this show appear that they would not have too hard of a time on the dating scene, that is if they could pull themselves away from their own mirrors long enough (ie: Jake and Vienna). Then at 9pm NBC has the ‘Last Comic Standing’; a mixture of hilarious stand-up and reality TV. Though this, like most of the summertime shows, will not change the world, it will put a smile on viewers’ faces.
Tuesday’s find the Fox network with a pretty entertaining show airing at 8pm. ‘Hell’s Kitchen’ stars world-reknown chef Gordon Ramsey auditioning cooking contestants in a frantic 60-minutes of food preparation, meal presentation and menu organization. Ramsey is known for his borderline rude and crude approach, and viewers have been known to scream back at him through the screen. Cable network, The Food Channel has introduced a new show for the Summer 2010 season in ‘Cupcake Wars’. This has contestants from around the US competing in an elimination-style program. Most of the contestants appear to either own their own bakery or catering service, thus guaranteeing that the quality on the show is always high. Through three rounds, the four starting contestants are narrowed to the final two, where they then are asked to not only make a themed cupcake but also display them for various banquets or extravaganzas.
Wednesdays are pretty slow when it comes to new TV programming for the summer. Cue the YES Network and Yankee Baseball! Other interesting programs that appear at various times and on alternating days are ‘Pawn Stars’ and ‘American Pickers’; both airing on the History Channel, yes, I said the History Channel. ‘Pawn Stars’ is a documentary-styled program set in Las Vegas with three generations of the Harrison family offering customers money for the varied and interesting items that they bring in for appraisal, pawn, or sale. ‘American Pickers’ stars Mike Wolfe and Frank Fritz and follows the two friends and business partners as they scour the country for unwanted treasures in forgotten barns and family estates. And did I mention that these are found on the History Channel?
ABC has impressed most with its Thursday night summer line up. Police drama ‘Rookie Blue’ airs at 9pm, while Reality-based ‘Boston Med’ airs at 10pm. Both are good shows that may find a slot in the Fall based on their positive summer numbers. But wait, ABC Thursdays present my favorite mindless hour of viewing—-‘Wipeout’! Hosted by John Anderson (of ESPN) and John Henson (formerly of ‘Talk Soup’), with commentary by the very attractive Jill Wagner (known for her Lincoln-Mercury commercials), ‘Wipeout’ is a wacky competition derived from hugely popular Japanese competition shows consisting of everyday people doing bizarre physical feats.
Fridays and Saturdays really don’t offer much of new programming. I guess that’s a good time to go through your DVR menu. Sundays have ‘The Next Food Network Star’ airing at 9pm, followed by ‘Design Star’ at 10pm on HGTV. Both shows are competition, reality-based programs. ‘The Next Food Network Star’ has contestants performing the culinary best for snooty judges (Yes Bobby Flay, you comes across as snooty chef on this show), as they compete for their own show on The Food Network. On ‘Design Star’, contestants compete for their own show on HGTV by designing various rooms and spaces. Like on ‘Food Star’, contestants of ‘Design Star’ must answer to arrogant judges Vern Yip and Genevieve Gorder, and the always delightful and talented (and tall) Candice Olson. Both shows leave me asking myself, “Why do all chefs smoke, and doesn’t that do something to their tastebuds?” and “Why does ‘good design’ have to be quirky and bizarre?”
So there you have it. If your busy summer schedule finds you with some time to do nothing of importance, go ahead and microwave up some popcorn and check out any of the shows just mentioned or the cable classic picks of ‘House Hunters’ or ‘Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations’. Happy viewing!