Monday, June 25, 2007

The Eccentrics: Burn Notice, Meadowlands, Flight of the Conchords and Big Love

The Sopranos is dead. The big network dramas and comedies are on vacation until the cool months (or longer, in some cases). What’s worth watching? Not much. Summer used to be the time when broadcast networks aired frothy fare (Fox’s short-lived, fondly remembered Keen Eddie) or series that were initially deemed too odd to become hits in the spring or fall (like CBS’s Survivor and Big Brother, both of which launched in bathing-suit weather). This summer, the network landscape looks barren, save such showbiz-themed competition series as Fox’s On the Lot and So You Think You Can Dance.

Cable is a desert too, but at least it’s got a wheezy carnival parked on it. There’s a histrionic legal thriller (TNT’s The Closer); a self-pitying, macho soap (FX’s Rescue Me); a feel-good doctor show about organ donation (TNT’s Heartland) and confident but uninspired sci-fi thrillers (USA’s The Dead Zone and The 4400; Sci-Fi’s Stargate Atlantis and its departing SG-1). But there are also four series -- three new, one returning -- that are just fresh enough to stand out from the pack and be worth having an opinion on.


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