Top 5 Most Anticipated TV Shows of the Summer

Some TV watchers are of the opinion that the Fall/Winter TV season can’t hold a candle to the summer line-ups. I, a TV watcher who enjoys an eclectic mix of horrendous and good i.e. every Real Housewives series thrown in with some Mad Men, can appreciate both seasons for what they are: different.

That being said, the school year is when I allow my mind to fester in the terribleness that is reality tv fare, archetypal, laugh-track ridden sitcoms, and medical dramas whose contract-bound stars are hanging on by a legal clause and a prayer. It is in the spring and summer months that my television intellect rises from the ashes, shakes itself off, looks around and says ‘I can’t fucking keep up with the Kardashians right now. Give me something good.”

To kick off this exciting season in television, when the networks accidentally find promising television in an effort to fill prime-time slots, I will be counting down my five most anticipated shows of this spring/summer. Enjoy, my pets.

5) Game of Thrones – Season 2

I was initially late to this Medieval, fantastical, unicorn-ridden party; premiering in the summer of 2011, I didn’t start watching until September. Although I’m sad I missed out of the live-tweeting, there’s little in life more pleasing than having a whole season available on demand on your pvr.  But now, I’m finally caught up with the Lannisters and ready to take in the action live.

Game of Thrones comes from the family of HBO summer awesomeness. Based loosely on the A Song of Ice and Fire book series, this Medieval fantasy tells the story of the Seven Kingdoms of Westeros, in which four dynamic, often-attractive families are fighting to regain the Throne. Last we left off, the silver-haired, bitch boy Prince Joffrey had taken the throne, and cut off some heads in the process. Awesome. Premiering last Sunday, this season is sure to be chalk full of dragons, Dothraki orgies, and battles to the death. Can’t wait.

4) Aaron Sorkin’s The Newsroom

Wordy wunderkind Aaron Sorkin is HBO’s newest and brightest diamond in its hit-making, awe-inspiring TV tiara of amazing. Premiering June 24, The Newsroom will tell the story of popular news personality Will (Jeff Daniels) who anchors the fictional Atlantic Cable News. Will begins to have a bit of a PR nightmare, sharing too much with the public and slowly losing control of his squeaky-clean news boy persona. With the exciting supporting cast of Emily Mortimer as producer Mackenzie McHale, Alison Pill as news staffer Maggie, Olivia Munn as Sloan, and Broadway angster Jon Gallagher Jr. as Jim, this is sure to be must-see.

3) The Real Housewives of Vancouver

Ok, ok, ok. You can’t completely turn your back on reality TV for the summer. Don’t be ridiculous. This Canadian version of the popular US Bravo dynasty of weaves just premiered last Wednesday and let me tell you, it was awesome. More interchangeable blondes, sweeping shots of Vancouver, and bizarre Gay sidekicks than you can count on one hand. Get excited, Canada. We’ve finally joined the United States in the ranks of TV terribleness.

2) Judd Apatow’s Girls

I know the HBO is getting a little one-note, but Breaking Bad depresses me too much and there’s just so much good potential here to be ignored.

From Lena Dunham, the mind-blowingly amazing writer of Tiny Furniture, we get a sitcom about wait, what? Girls? Like actually girls as the stars? Like girls who don’t look like models, girls who work and live in New York, go on terrible dates, and have awkward encounters with their lady doctors? Omg. Omg. Excitement overload.

Produced by the ruler of Columbia comedy, Judd Apatow, this looks really promising in that it looks really, cringe-inducingly real. From the limited info available online, I can gather that Girls follows a group of 20-somethings in New York. No, not those twenty-somethings that live in a loft apartment painted pastels, who wear designer clothes while supporting themselves on a barista’s salary. No, not them. These are the chicks who graduated from liberal arts colleges, work terrible office jobs to support their lives with 3 roommates in a crappy, sixth-floor, studio walk-up. They’re also funny, candid, somewhat sad, and somewhat happy: a dynamite combination. Premiering April 15, I cannot freaking wait.

1) AMC’s Mad Men

I know, how predictable. But this show was gone for two years. TWO YEARS! That’s like a century in TV Land. Anyway, it premiered two weeks ago. It’s really effing good. Blah blah blah. So obvious, I know.

However, I just can’t say enough about Matthew Weiner’s 60’s period drama and its steam-heat, slow bubbling build of climactic subtlety. This season, race tensions, corporate betrayal, and generation divides seems to be on the menu. Also, there’s now a fourth actor to play Bobby. Wow, that January Jones must be one tough ice sculpture to work with.

What are some of the shows you’re most excited to watch this season? Share it all in the comments section.

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Here’s the thing about Glee . . .

I remember hearing in May 2009 that there was going to be a new show coming out in the fall about a high school glee club. How wonderful! And it’s on Fox, you say? How strange! But, as a person who has a certain high school performing arts program to thank for her sensational triple threat abilities and confusing crush on Nathan Lane, I could not wait to tune in.

I was pleasantly surprised with the first episode. It had everything a show about singing show tunes in a high school multipurpose room should have; wit, self-awareness, and bizarre sweater choices. The comedy was off-beat but charming, the characters were odd but authentic, and the music had just the right blend of top 40s, Broadway standards, and classic oldies. Yes indeed, I was a fan, and not just because I could commiserate with lusting after a man who is clearly homosexual or dressing like a high school toddler. It was all going so well. Which meant, of course, that it had to somehow jump the shark in season 2.

I don’t know if I can truly pinpoint Glee’s downfall to a particular episode. It’s more like a series of unfortunate choices and meta pop culture happenings that just gave it that push over the edge. Ok, fine! You talked me into it; I will be naming a few truly ridiculous things that made Glee the self-conscious and overly-hyped program that it is today. Just to name a few;

1) Grilled Cheesus – Yeah, that whole episode where it was all about religion and Finn thought he saw Jesus in his grilled cheese. Oh, and he thought that the grilled cheesus was making wishes come true. Also, Kurt’s dad was teetering on the edge of death and Kurt was all losing his religion (omg, they sang that song too). So, the conveniently-for-this-episode-Christian Glee kids tried to force their religion on poor Kurt. Yeah, of course Fox would treat a gay kid who’s also an atheist like it’s the end of the world.

2) Super Super Homosexual Kurt – I don’t know if it happened one particular episode or over many, but Kurt just became a ridiculous stereotype of every bad gay cliche. Is he overtly sexually aggressive with disinterested straight men? Check! Is he a social outcast and bullied to a ridiculous proportion? Check! Is he effeminate to the point of wearing women’s clothing? Check! It’s not that I find any of these characteristics to be particularly  inauthentic or offensive. No, it’s just the certain combination of stereotyped attributes along with the absurd degree to which they’re underlined that I find to be just so demeaning. Would it kill them to have an original gay character? Would it?

3) Ryan Murphy vs. Kings of Leon (huh?): Last January, Kings of Leon totally turned down Glee creator Ryan Murphy’s request to use their music. Whaaat? But everyone loves Glee! Why, it’s the biggest and best show on television! Ryan Murphy was equally as shocked and decided to tweet “It’s like, OK, hate on arts education. You can make fun of Glee all you want, but at its heart, what we really do is turn kids on to music.” Woah woah woah. Apparently if you don’t want to have your music on Glee, you’re against arts education? Is that right? Ok, perfect. Just checking. No no, Ryan Murphy, your show totes is the most important thing since sliced bread and sequins. Rock on!

3) Gwyneth Paltrow: Yeah, her goop was just all over that second season.

The third season just premiered two nights ago and it’s looking as wobbly as last. All I can say is that I hope it remembers its sweet, odd-ball, humble energy of its first season and loses this awkward self-centeredness that seems to leak from Leah Michele’s very pores. As far as arts as education goes, I look to Sesame Street as the gold standard. And boy, do they have Glee’s number.

Am I right? Am I wrong? Do I have waaay too much time on my hands? I want to know! Comment or be forced to read Ryan Murphy’s Twitter feed for the rest of eternity!