The 10 Best Shows to Watch in Summer 2010

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Photo credit: Comedy Central

6. “Futurama”
Network: Comedy Central
Day/Time: Wednesdays, 8pm CST
Starring: Billy West, Katey Sagal, John Di Maggio, Tress MacNeille, Maurice LaMarche, Phil LaMarr, and Lauren Tom
Why: Because your DVR could probably use a little variety. The fact is that with the success of shows like “Burn Notice” and “The Closer,” a lot of 2010 summer’s programming has started to look a little similar and “Futurama” is like nothing else on television this season. Far more consistent than the straight-to-DVD movies that served as the warning shot for the return of Fry, Leela, and the rest of the gang, “Futurama” has returned as confident and clever as it ever was on FOX. There’s still some concern that the show could slide a bit as “Family Guy” has post-rebirth but until then we can enjoy all the ideas that the talented “Futurama” writers weren’t able to use when their former home so stupidly pulled the plug. (For more, check out our review of the series return.)

Top Chef
Top Chef
Photo credit: Bravo

5. “Top Chef: D.C.”
Network: Bravo
Day/Time: Wednesdays, 8pm CST
Starring: Tom Colicchio, Padma Lakshmi, Gail Simmons, and Eric Ripert
Why: Thank God for the invention of DVRs that can record more than one thing at once (as clever readers will note that this entry and the previous one air at the same time). “Top Chef” continues to be one of the best reality competition shows on the air (and was recently nominated for an Emmy in said category) with its wonderful blend of culinary excellence, creative challenges, and one of the most underrated crew of judges on television. Reality competitions live and die on three things — editing, casting, and the judges. “Top Chef” is great in all three departments, brilliantly weaving together episodes that don’t place too much emphasis on the personal issues of the contestants or the judges like other shows tend to do. For “Top Chef,” it’s all about the art of food.

Mad Men
Mad Men
Photo credit: AMC

4. “Mad Men”
Network: AMC
Day/Time: Sundays, 9pm CST
Starring: Jon Hamm, Elisabeth Moss, Vincent Kartheiser, Christina Hendricks, January Jones, Aaron Staton, and John Slattery
Why: What does “Mad Men” have in common with “Lost” and “24”? One of the most acclaimed and award-winning shows on television has become a cultural phenomenon like those other programs because it so daringly unique. In a world of a thousand channels, there’s literally nothing else like “Mad Men.” It can be almost off-putting when you watch a season premiere of the hit show in a way not unlike listening to jazz after a steady diet of heavy metal. The show just has its own unique rhythm and the ensemble is easily one of the best on television in any season. I think that the writing is not quite as consistent as when the program began but it’s still damn entertaining drama that will likely maintain its loyal following for years to come. Programs this original don’t come along that often.

True Blood
True Blood
Photo credit: HBO

3. “True Blood”
Network: HBO
Day/Time: Sundays, 8pm CST
Starring: Anna Paquin, Stephen Moyer, Sam Trammell, Ryan Kwanten, Rutina Wesley, Chris Bauer, Nelsan Ellis, Deborah Ann Woll, and Alexander Skarsgard.
Why: Here’s another unique gem of a show that only gets more entertaining with each passing episode. “True Blood” promises things you won’t see on any other show (like the head-spinning sex scene that ended episode three of this season). As the cast and writing staff of “True Blood” get more and more confident with their daring blend of sex, violence, and creatures of the night, the following for “True Blood” continues to grow. The second season was just nominated for Best Drama — something “Buffy the Vampire Slayer” could never do — and this season has been even stronger with some truly fantastic new supporting players. We’re just about at the halfway point of the third season, which is when all HBO shows spin their wheels a bit, but “True Blood” has set up some amazing plot arcs to conclude in the second half of the season. We wouldn’t miss August in Bon Temps for anything. (For more, check out our review of the season premiere.)

Royal Pains
Royal Pains
Photo credit: USA

2. “Royal Pains”
Network: USA
Day/Time: Thursdays, 9pm CST
Starring: Mark Feuerstein, Paulo Costanzo, Jill Flint, Reshma Shetty, Campbell Scott, and Henry Winkler.
Why: USA has become the most successful network of the season by offering popcorn escapism but the character-driven charms of their stable of shows have led to a bit of underrating of their best current program — the ridiculously entertaining “Royal Pains.” We know that some people may balk at the idea of including what is essentially a procedural that admittedly doesn’t have the vision of a show like “Mad Men” or “True Blood” but there are very few hours as purely enjoyable as “Royal Pains” any time of the year. And it’s the perfect summer cocktail of humor, drama, and beautiful people in beautiful places. The ease with which actors like Mark Feuerstein and Reshma Shetty segue from witty banter to serious drama should be the model by which more networks design their summer escapism. (For more, check out our review of the season premiere.)

Being Human
Being Human
Photo credit: BBC

1. “Being Human”
Network: BBC
Day/Time: Saturdays, 9pm CST
Starring: Leonora Crichlow, Russell Tovey, Greg Chillin, Aidan Turner, Jason Watkins, Sinead Keenan, and Annabel Scholey
Why: Yes, two of the best shows of the summer feature vampires. Bloodsuckers rule the day. But “Being Human” is far from your average creature feature. As fun as “True Blood” can be, it doesn’t approach the emotional honesty of the saga of Mitchell, George, and Annie — the vampire, the werewolf, and the ghost who found their humanity by becoming something very different. The blend of humor, action, and moving drama on “Being Human” is unlike anything else on television. Don’t miss an episode. (Watch for our review of the season two premiere soon and check out our look at the season one Blu-ray release until then.) content director Brian Tallerico

Content Director

Anonymous's picture

Wow, cops and vampires,

Wow, cops and vampires, very original….

Anonymous's picture

I really like watch

I really like watch burn notice.

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