Monday, May 2, 2011

Summer Cable Drama Series Roundup / By Donna J. Plesh

EDITOR'S NOTE: This is the first in a series of television stories to be filed by Donna J. Plesh, a Southern California based television writer.

MAY, 2011

Summer Dramas on Cable: A Roundup

By Donna J. Plesh

Time was, summer TV meant reruns of your favorite, and some not-so -favorite shows. That all changed when the cable networks began programming new original dramas in the summer months.
Two cable networks, USA and TNT, have been the most ambitious with summer series over past few years, and both networks are adding two new series to their stable of returning shows. Also adding two new series this summer is ABC Family. Here’s a roundup to date of summer dramas.

New: Gabriel Macht stars in “Suits,” a legal drama about a top corporate lawyer out to hire a new associate. The guy who impresses him and who he hires (Patrick J. Adams) is a brilliant college dropout who, though he lacks a degree, has book and street smarts. Gina Torres also stars in the drama executive produced by Doug Liman (“Covert Affairs,” the “Bourne” trilogy). It premieres at 9 p.m. Thursday June 23.
New: In “Necessary Roughness,” Callie Thorne (“Rescue Me,” “Californication”) stars as a therapist who takes a job with a pro football team in order to make ends meet. She is so wildly successful with her tough love brand of therapy that she is soon sought out by musicians, politicians and others living in the spotlight who need her help. She’s great at the job, but the job causes problems in her home life as a single mom raising two teenagers. Marc Blucas, Scott Cohen and Mehcad Brooks also star. The series premieres at 9 p.m. Wednesday June 29.
The network has also announced the dates for its returning summer series. “In Plain Sight.” starring Mary McCormack as a U.S. Marshall, is back for a fourth season Sundays at 10 p.m.
“Covert Affairs,” last summer’s hit series about a young CIA operative (Piper Parabola), is back at 10 p.m. Tuesday June 7.
“White Collar,” about the partnership between a con artist (Matt Boomer) and an FBI agent (Tim DeKay), returns for its third season at 9 p.m. Tuesday June 7.
Season five of “Burn Notice” kicks off at 9 p.m. Thursday June 23. Jeffrey Donovan stars as a blacklisted former CIA agent who takes on all types of crime-solving jobs while he tries to get his agency job back. Gabrielle Anwar, Bruce Campbell, Sharon Gless and Coby Bell also star.
It’s summer and Mark Feuerstein returns for a third season as the “doctor for hire” in The Hamptons in “Royal Pains” at 9 p.m. Wednesday June 29.

New: What happens when aliens invade Earth? Its remaining residents fight back in the new sci-fi drama “Falling Skies.” The story begins six months after an initial alien invasion when survivors band together to fight occupying alien forces. Noah Wyle stars as a resistance leader, and Moon Bloodgood co-stars. Steven Spielberg is the executive producer of the series that premieres at 9 p.m. Sunday June 19.
New: Mark-Paul Gosselaar and Brecken Meyer play two young seat-of-their pants lawyers in “Franklin & Bash,” premiering at 8 p.m. Wednesday June 1. Malcolm McDowell also stars as the head of a button-down law firm who hires the two young hotshots because they get results.
Back for a second season is “Memphis Beat,” premiering at 9 p.m. Tuesday June 14. Jason Lee plays a Memphis police detective and Alfre Woodard is his very demanding boss.
Jada Pinkett Smith stars in the hospital drama “Hawthorne,” which begins its third season at 10 p.m. Tuesday June 14. Michael Vartan also stars.
Season four of “Leverage” kicks off at 9 p.m. Sunday June 26. Timothy Hutton heads a gang of thieves, grifters and con artists who help people get even against the big shots that have destroyed their lives. Gina Bellman also stars.
Boston’s notorious criminals are the targets of police detective Jane Rizzoli (Angie Harmon) and medical examiner Maura Isles (Sasha Alexander)
as “Rizzoli & Isles” begins its second season at 10 p.m. Monday July 11.
The seventh and final season of the police drama “The Closer” begins at 9 p.m. Monday July 11. Kyra Sedgwick, who stars, won a 2010 Emmy Award as Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her role as Los Angeles deputy police chief Brenda Leigh Johnson.
Season 2.1 of “Men of a Certain Age” returns at 10 p.m. Wednesday June 1.
Ray Romano, Scott Bakula and Andre Braugher star in this drama about three men facing the challenges of midlife.

ABC Family
New: “Switched at Birth, “ premiering at 9 p.m. Monday June 6, tells the story of two teenage girls who discover they were accidentally switched as newborns in the hospital. One grew up in a wealthy family, while the other who lost her hearing at an early age, grew up with a single mom in a working-class neighborhood. Things come to a head when both families meet and struggle to learn how to live together for the sake of the girls. Katie Leclerc, Vanessa Marano. Lea Thompson, Constance Marie and D.W. Moffett star.
New: In “The Nine Lives of Chloe King, “ Chloe is looking forward to celebrating her birthday until she develops heightened abilities and discovers she is being pursued by a mysterious figure. She soon learns she’s part of an ancient race that has been hunted by human assassins for millennia and that she may be their only hope for survival. Skyler Samuels and Amy Pietz star in the drama premiering at 9 p.m. Tuesday June 14.
Back for its second season is “Pretty Little Liars,“ the story of an outwardly perfect little town filled with many secrets… with some of the ugliest ones belonging to the prettiest girls in town. When one of the girls disappears, the others vow to never tell what happened the night she disappeared. This season that mystery surrounding her disappearance resurfaces, and the girls’ loyalties to each other will be tested. Lucy Hale, Ashley Benson, Shay Mitchell, Troian Bellisario, and Sasha Pieterse star. The new season begins at 8 p.m. Tuesday June 14.

Bryan Cranston stars in “Breaking Bad” as a terminally ill high school teacher who turns to a life of crime to secure his family’s financial security.
The series begins its fourth season on July 17.

“Damages” is moving from FX to DirecTV for its fourth season. Glenn Close stars as brilliant and ruthless lawyer Patty Hewes, and Rose Byrne plays her protégée. This season’s guest cast includes Judd Hirsch and Griffin Dunne. The series will air in July at a date and time to be announced.

“Rescue Me” returns for its seventh and final season at 10 p.m. Tuesday July 12. Denis Leary stars in the drama about the personal and professional lives of a group of New York City firefighters.

Brooke Elliott stars in “Drop Dead Diva,” which returns for a third season at 9 p.m. Sunday June 19 on Lifetime. Elliott stars as Jane, a wannabe model who dies in an accident and returns in the body of a brilliant, plus-size attorney. Margaret Cho also stars.

New: In “Alfas,” a team of ordinary citizens with extraordinary mental and physical powers, investigates cases to uncover what the CIA, FBI and Pentagon have not been able, or willing to solve. David Strathairn stars. The series premieres at 10 p.m. Monday July 11.
Back for season three is “Warehouse 13” at 9 p.m. Monday July 11.
The series follows a team of government agents who work at a top secret storage facility that houses every strange artifact, mysterious relic and preternatural souvenir collected by the government. Saul Rubinek, Eddie McClintock and Joanne Kelly star as agents investigating reports of supernatural and paranormal activity as they search for new objects and retrieve ones missing from Warehouse 13.
“Haven,” about the strange supernatural goings on in the small town of Haven, Maine, returns for a second season at 10 p.m. Friday July 15. Emily Rose stars as an FBI agent unraveling the mysteries of the sleepy town, which has been a longtime refuge for people with supernatural afflictions.

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