Summer TV Preview

The five shows to tune into this summer

While Hollywood struggles to get people in movie theater seats, the television companies fight to keep them at home tuning in to the latest original programming.

Movies are usually viewed as more of an artistic form of visual art, but since the new millennium television has come a long way from just being background noise. In fact, there are a few shows on television that rank up there with the best Hollywood has to offer. Here are five shows that are worth skipping over the latest Hollywood block-headed blockbuster to tune into. Most of them don’t appear on the major networks, so you’ll have to venture onto basic cable channels or premium networks to reap the benefits.

* “Mad Men” – AMC’s drama about an advertising agency in the 1960s has won the Emmy for “Best TV Series: Drama” the past two years. Last summer’s third season was even better than the first two, melding perfectly the fiction of the Sterling Cooper ad agency with the rich history of the early 60s. The shockers in the season finale leave the fourth season wide open. I have complete confidence that creator Matthew Weiner will deliver yet another pain-stakingly accurate and entertaining season this summer.
* “True Blood”- The vampire drama on HBO caught fire last season, garnering the highest following the network has had for a show since “The Sopranos.” Those who watch it understand why. Creator Alan Ball tells his gothic vampire story with excellent writing and acting. Will the third season live up to the fantastic second one? Tune in on Sunday, June 13th to find out.
* “Weeds”- Nancy Botwin, everyone’s favorite pot-dealing soccer mom, hasn’t been dealing much of it as much as she’s been dealing with the consequences of it the past couple of seasons. The show’s still a riot, and occasionally gives the viewer a nice buzz, but here’s hoping the sixth season of the Showtime series returns back to the greatness of the first few seasons.
* “Party Down”- The catering-service comedy is the only note-worthy show from the premium Starz network. It will be interesting to see if the cast can live up to the laughs now that Jane Lynch has defected to “Glee.”
* “Lie To Me”- The only network show on my list, Fox’s intriguing drama makes a moves to summer to try and suck in an audience. Tim Roth drives the show as Dr. Cal Lightman, a doctor who can read people’s facial expressions and body language to tell if they’re lying and aid criminal investigations. So far the premise hasn’t gotten stale, and hopefully it continues that trend and keeps it up with the summer switch.