Making the Best of Summer TV

In the doldrums of summer, people are expected to be out and about, having fun, going on vacation, etc., not sitting around watching TV like they do the rest of the year. Then there are people like me where summer doesn’t mean much, except that all my television shows are on hiatus, meaning when I come home from work, there’s not much for me to watch. Over the years, I’ve managed to use my summers as a time to catch up on shows I didn’t get a chance to watch during the regular season or marathon the hell out of old shows (i.e. Friends, Alias). But that’s not to say that the summer doesn’t provide some quality shows – you just have to have premium cable/satellite or a very good internet connection for the majority of them. So here are some of the shows I’ve been watching that help make the summer a little more bearable.


For 8 years, SYTYCD has been my summer staple (except for, obviously, the ill-conceived fall season of the show). I know no matter what, SYTYCD will always be there, despite the results show being cut this season for some ridiculous dating shows. The talent gets better and better every year, and the show is always entertaining. Also, Cat Deeley FTW! 🙂


I have always been one to scoff at the idea of another cop/law/medical drama – I mean how many shows can there be with the same procedural element. This is, of course, before I discovered what the USA Network had to offer. The first of many USA Network shows to appear on this list is Suits. Currently in its second season, Suits stars Gabriel Macht as big-time lawyer Harvey Specter, who hires a talented young associate with a photographic memory named Mike Ross, played by Patrick J. Adams. The catch? Mike isn’t actually a lawyer; in fact, he’s not even a college graduate. The dynamic between the two leads is fantastically fun and though the show does have a little of a case-of-the-week style, the show keeps everything light and interesting. Bonus: Harvey and Mike are often making movie references and spewing quotes like it is every day talk (and if you know me, you know I love me some pop culture references). The show also stars Gina Torres, Meghan Markle, Sarah Rafferty, and Rick Hoffman.


Another wonderful dynamic leads this show about a former con artist, who in order to avoid spending jail time, is forced to work for the FBI. The ever charming Matt Bomer plays Neal Caffrey, the former con man, while Tim DeKay plays his FBI handler Peter Burke. Now in its 4th season, White Collar sets up the weekly cases, while also playing up the season (or half-season) arcs, which keeps it from turning into a typical procedural. It also helps that there’s a healthy dose of wit and humour amongst the cast to keep things light and not so serious. Also starring Tiffani Thiessen, Willie Garson, Marsha Thomason, and Sharif Atkins.


Consider this my summer solution to filling the Nikita void (though technically, Affairs debuted a couple months before Nikita in 2010). Covert Affairs follows a young CIA agent, Annie Walker (played by Piper Perabo) as she navigates the spy world. Action, humour, romance, intrigue – what more could you want? Covert Affairs also stars Christopher Gorham, Peter Gallagher, Kari Matchett, and Anne Dudek.


While the regular season has The Vampire Diaries, summer is all about the vampires, faeries, werewolves, shape-shifters, witches, and for good measure, regular humans of Bon Temps. True Blood takes TVD and turns it up 10 times crazy notches. Just good fun.


Only in its first season, The Newsroom is Aaron Sorkin’s solution to the problem of mindless summer reality TV. Some people love the show, some people hate it. Personally, I think the show works better when it really focuses in on the aspects of making a news broadcast. When they start delving into the typical TV drama stuff (i.e. romantic relationships), it suddenly sheds a not so flattering light on its characters, namely its female ones. But when it’s good, it’s really good. The Newsroom stars Jeff Daniels as Will McAvoy, TV anchor of the fictional News Night. He co-stars alongside Emily Mortimer, John Gallagher Jr., Alison Pill, Dev Patel, Thomas Sadoski, Olivia Munn, and Sam Waterston.


Yes, I just followed up The Newsroom with a mindless reality TV show. To be fair, it’s the biggest guilty pleasure there is in the summertime (except for the ill-advised season that aired during the Writers’ Strike of 2007-2008). Watching a group of strangers live together for 3 months, going stir crazy, and do ridiculous things – it is bad, but oh-so-good TV all at once. And we’re lucky when we get really great characters come into the house and make things interesting, which in turn makes them the most memorable – and yes, I’m talking Chilltown, Dr. Will & Mike Boogie, two of the best players ever.

7 shows + various other shows/movies that I have backlogged, means I’ve got more than enough things to fill my summertime hours as I await the return of my regular shows. What’s everybody’s go-to shows for the summer? Let me know in the comments!