WHAT TO WATCH: JULY 2014

<p>The Bridge</p>

I suppose we have to start out with a bit of an apology. There was no June post. Partly because of laziness, Partly because my wife and I are forced to have real jobs. Unfortunately, there was quite a bit of good stuff in June, some of which, I will touch on briefly at the top of this list.

July is a summer month, with not necessarily a ton going on. However, many of the things that are coming, are among some of the shows I’ve been looking forward to most this year. That said, let’s go ahead and get on to the list:

10. True Blood (HBO, June 22) — Here we have one of the shows that kicked off in June that I missed. And look, here’s the thing, I’m not here to argue that True Blood is, or necessarily ever was, great television. But it’s the final season. And I’ve held on this long, so I might as well finish it out. If the show was all about Jessica, Eric and Pam, throwing in some occasional Jason Stackhouse, it would be one of the greatest of all time. Alas, it does not do so. Instead, it is one of the most ridiculously confusing and overly large casts and over plotted shows in the history of the world. But we do still have some Jessica, Eric and Pam. And that makes it all worth it.

9. The Leftovers (HBO, June 29) — Having seen the premiere of The Leftovers, my excitement has been totally confirmed. It has all the best of Lindelof, and hopefully, far fewer idiot fans than LOST had. This show is set around a central mystery, but with a twist. From the start, it is made clear that there will never be an answer to the mystery. Maybe that’s what LOST should have done. Maybe that’s what it would have taken to convince people it was a show about character, not mystery.

8. Rectify (Sundance, June 19) — One of YBTV’s top shows from last year returns this summer. We’ve not watched either of the episodes that have aired yet. This feels to us generally like a show that is best taken in chunks (also, we were on vacation when it started, so that didn’t help). The continuation of the story of Daniel Holden and his view of freedom is something I’ve been looking forward to all year long, and I’m so happy to have it back.

7. Penn & Teller: Fool Us (The CW, July 30) — Everyone’s favorite magicians have a reality show or two, and this is one of them. The duo sets out to have people amaze and confound them, and since the show has already aired in other parts of the world, we have the buzz that the show winds up doing just that to the viewer. I’m a big fan of this duo, and can’t wait to look in on the surprises they have in store.

6. Manhattan (WGN, July 27) — WGN’s second attempt at original programming. The first one came and went with little fanfare. Honestly, I can’t even remember what it was about. I want to say there were vampires involved? That could be wrong. Witches maybe? This one, centered around the development of the nuclear bomb in 1950s New Mexico, I’ve actually heard positive feedback about. Also, the trailer does it’s job of making the show at least seem worth giving a shot. So, it being the summer and all, why not, right? Maybe…

5. The Honorable Woman (Sundance, July 31) — Maggie Gyllenhaal does TV for the network that has given us Rectify, Top of the Lake and The Returned. I don’t really know what the show is about, but the description I just provided is more than enough for me to give it a look.

4. Married (FX, July 27) — Again, a show I don’t necessarily know a ton about, other than the fact that I’ve seen endless promotion for it on other FX programs. But this one stars two of my personal favorites, Academy Award Winner Nat Faxon and Judy Greer as a married couple. I’m guessing hijinks ensue…Let’s do it!

3. The Strain (FX, July 13) — Finally…We get to see the Carlton Cuse project based on the novels by Guillermo del Toro. Any dork such as myself needs no more information than that. Just none. It’s another post apocalyptic show of sorts. But with the talent involved here, there’s no reason not to think it will rise above much of the other similar fare on TV and in film.

2. The Bridge (FX, July 9) — Seriously, FX is just crushing it this summer. The return for season 2 of a show that made the end of year list for YBTV last year, starring Diane Kruger and Demian Bichir, The Bridge started out promising, but with flaws, but by the close of the season, had found a great groove. Like many people who enjoyed season 1, my hope is that season 2 gets stronger by accepting that it is a “weird” show, and moving beyond typical police storylines. There’s a great story to be told here about the US/Mexico border, and The Bridge is just that show to do it.

1. Master’s of Sex (Showtime, July 13) — Sunday nights this summer are going to be as good as almost any Sunday nights in recent memory. You would hope that during the summer, you would get a break from the stressful Sunday nights which include Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Boardwalk, Game of Thrones, Veep, Girls, etc, etc…But not this summer. We have Master’s of Sex, The Leftovers and The Strain. That sounds pretty great to me. Master’s returns for its second season with as much confidence as any show on TV, both in front of and behind the camera. Sheen and Caplan are dynamic and the supporting cast is as good as almost any on TV. We are truly being spoiled on Sunday nights this summer.

-CJ

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