My Take on TV: My 5 Favorite Summer Shows

By: Amrie Cunninghame [My Take on TV]

I don’t think I’m overstating anything when I say that this summer has given us some of the best TV I’ve seen in a long time. I’m still not caught up on the few weeks I missed due to our trip to San Diego, but I still feel like I’ve seen some quality TV that I’m glad we have in the summer so these shows don’t have to compete with my regular fall viewing. Here are my favorite shows from the summer (if not listed, it’s because I’m just not caught up and I can’t say it’s my favorite if I haven’t seen it…I’m talking to you, THE CLOSER).

My five favorite summer shows this year:

BURN NOTICE – Ever since my visit to the set, I feel connected to this show. I’ve had the chance to spend time with the people that make the show possible, so to me, that makes season 2 even more spectacular than season 1. Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan) is a great character – he’s sarcastic, which is perfect for me – I sometimes feel like sarcasm should be my middle name. I love Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar, who I can’t say enough good things about) and I think she’s even better this season than last. No one compares to Sam (Bruce Campbell) and, say what you will about Madeline (Sharon Gless), I think she’s a fantastic character. I have enjoyed every episode of Season 2 so far. It’s funny, whip smart, and just an easy way to pass the time. I understand the plight of viewers who think the Carla thing has dragged on a bit too far, but I personally am on the edge of my seat, waiting to see how the mid season “finale” goes (since we’ll get more BURN NOTICE in January this year) and what more we find out about the mysterious Carla (Tricia Helfer).

THE MIDDLEMAN – I cannot say enough good things about this show. Matt Keeslar is brilliant as the goody two shoes Middleman. He and Natalie Morales (Wendy Watson) have an absolutely fantastic chemistry between them, and Mary Pat Gleason as Ida is perfectly cast. Wendy’s roommate and neighbor Lacey and Noser are some of the best things about the show. I just find the whole cast to be intriguing, and different. Plus, the creator of the show, Javier Grillo-Marxuach is one of my favorite people on the planet. Please find 100,000 of your friends to watch this show (Kevin Sorbo was CLASSIC last night as the Middleman from 1969) and help a girl out. Also, send peanut M&Ms into ABC Family in an effort to get a second season.

SWINGTOWN – When this started, I thought it would be another cheeseball show that just sexed it up for 44 minutes, and then said “tune in next week for more sexing it up” but I could not have been more wrong. What started as a clichéd story about Swingers in Chicago suburbs has turned into one of the most intriguing character studies currently airing on TV. I love a good flawed character, and everyone on this show (except BJ, who is like the coolest kid ever) has some sort of huge flaw which plays to their advantage. I’m dying to see what happens to Bruce and Susan. And Roger and Janet. Will Roger and Susan act on whatever is brewing between them? Will Janet find a new man when she enters the workforce? What will become of Laurie and Doug (which, again, say what you will, I think this storyline is very real, and I enjoyed it)? Most importantly, does Grant Show’s appearance on PRIVATE PRACTICE later in the fall season (and the decline of ratings since episode 1) mean we should be savoring every last minute of his porn-stache?

MAD MEN – This show is so good it should be illegal. It’s like a drug addiction for me; I seriously cannot get enough! I love Betty Draper. She’s just perfect. And I hate-love Don Draper for so many reasons. I’m dying to see what happens with the Pete / Peggy love-child story. I want to see more Sal has trouble admitting who he really is storylines, and hopefully that means more Sarah Drew! What is going to become of everyone at Sterling Cooper and with Joan as Don’s fill in secretary for a bit, how awesome is that going to be? What started as a lazy Labor Day marathon last summer has quickly become a great obsession, and I am not looking forward to the season ending (I know we’re only a few episodes in, but I don’t want to go another year without it. See, I told you it was like a drug)!

PSYCH – Burton Guster and Shawn Spencer are two of my favorite characters on TV, period. I love them together. I think their friendship is dynamite and I want to hang out with them on a daily basis because they just crack me up! Add in time spent with Henry Spencer, plus Lassiter and Jules, and I’m in! Cybill Shepherd was great as Shawn’s mom – looking forward to seeing more of that. I kind of can’t wait for the Roller Derby episode that some friends got to see being filmed. Everything about this show screams “Great summer escapist fare” and I love escaping into Santa Barbara on a weekly basis!

What else is coming up in August?

Know what else I’m excited about? The season premiere of GREEK on August 26. I miss that show – it’s one of my top summer shows from last year, so I’m glad it’s coming back! And getting the timeslot right after megahit THE SECRET LIFE is such a sign of support from the bigwigs at ABC Family. Kudos to them!

“I’ll Catch it in Reruns”

That’s a big motto for me during the regular season when there’s a show I really want to watch but I just don’t have time to, and for me this summer, that show has been CSI: NY. I don’t know why; I’m not a fan of CSI. I really don’t love CSI: MIAMI though I watch it. I am absolutely hooked on CSI:NY thanks to the power of reruns and On Demand.

I’ve also gotten the chance to get completely caught up on DIRTY SEXY MONEY this summer (I have had them on my TiVo this long) and I’m even more excited for the new season now!

What about you guys? What are did you love this summer? What else are you looking forward to?

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  • Victoria

    Psych and Burn Notice are our top shows this Summer (and last Summer) and So You Think You Can Dance, I realize it is over but you should really think about jumping on that bandwagon.

    Psych is especially fun for my roommate and I because we grew up in Santa Barbara and LOVE catching the real glimpses of our hometown as well as laughing about how such a small city in real life now suddenly has a huge convention center, an observatory, a television studio, and a much higher crime rate. As much as we loved growing up there, Shawn & Gus’ Santa Barbara looks way more exciting.

  • John K.

    A good list. I assume you don’t watch Weeds or The Cloiser, otherwise they’d be there. The entirety of Swingtown is saved on my DVR (that’s American for PVR), so I may get to it. For me, The Middleman is the absolute best…sooooo good.

  • SimplyKimberly

    I love, love, love Burn Notice and Mad Men and have TiVoed every episode but have yet to watch any of them.

    Strangely, being completely addicted to television, I have not watched anything this summer. I’ve watched a few movies via Amazon but pretty much no tv at all. I’ve even given up Big Brother which has been a summer staple since it started.

  • theTVaddict


    I’m so with you. Outside of MAD MEN, WEEDS and SWINGTOWN I’ve watched zero TV. Which is odd for someone who runs a site called!

  • Linda B.

    The only tv i’ve watched this summer has been Weeds. I started renting it and am completely through season 2 now. I LOVE THIS SHOW! Can’t wait til I’m all caught up.

    Oh, and i’ve been watching Eureka since it returned a few weeks ago. Snoozefest!

  • Amrie

    Oh! I knew I forgot something (don’t I always?). WEEDS is fantastic this summer! Consider that my official runner up!

  • jess

    who my top fave or Dr. Who, Stargate Atantis, GH:Nigh Shift, Army Wives, oh yeah and reruns of Bones.

  • Jenny

    I’m not sure I could list my top 5.

    If I had to, I’d go Burn Notice, Eureka, Psych, Weeds, The Closer, The Middleman

    Oops, that’s 6. Hah. So, uh, yeah. :)

  • Patty

    I love Burn Notice and Swington both. I also am in the Middle of Weeds adn will be downloading S4 soon. The summer started off really slow – the downer of all my favorite shows ending – but I managed to watch lots of new TV. Also Veronica Mars (all three seasons) and watching all of Gilmore Girls from the very beginning (thanks to ABC Family)

  • nctodc

    I’m hooked on Mad Men, Weeds and Generation Kill

  • Gretchen

    I agree on most of your choices (never caught up on Middleman), but I was surprised to see THE CLEANER left off of the list. Anything that brings Benjamin Bratt back to television would be a hit with me, but I love the strange combination of darkness and hope. It definitely has some rough spots, yet after a disappointing regular season, it’s great to see a real drama again.

  • Kristen

    MY BOYS!!!

  • Amy

    Psych and The Middleman have been awesome this summer. The Middleman has become one of my favorite shows ever – I just wish more people were watching it. I still need to catch up on S2 of Mad Men, but I have little doubt that’ll be making the list too. Once Greek comes back I’ll be sorted.

  • Jocelyn

    Love Burn Notice and Weeds, and whether it qualifies as summer TV or not I gotta agree with Jess on Stargate: Atlantis. Who’d have thought they’d be able to make that show as good as or possibly better than Stargate: SG1?!

  • Scott

    My five would be in order of favoritism:

    1. Burn Notice
    2. Stargate: Atlantis
    3. Psych
    4. Eureka
    5. In Plain Sight

  • EKI

    I love Psych too, but I have always wondered how Gus can stand all the crap that Shaun throws on him. He surely must love him, and in a non-brotherly way.

  • Gabi

    i thought Entourage should have been on during the summer, I miss that show.

    1. Weeds
    2 Swingtown
    3 The Cleaner
    4. Generation KIll
    5 Secrey Life of the american…
    and also Project Runway and a good brittish show called Bonekickers.

    I’ve also had the time to see alot of CBS’s shows, like Cold Calse, CSI NY, CSI. I’ve seen all seasons now and I really love them, haven’t had time to really watch all of those episodes before, but I’m so glad I did cause I really love them now. And I look and theis procedurals in a whole new way now.

  • Neena

    I don’t have a top 5 favourite summer shows…but i do love Mad Men…i only wish that more people would watch it.