Welcome to the summer. You know, the time when the major network shows are on reruns and all of your favorite news anchors rotate through vacation days and make you wonder if someone left or got fired.
Sure, some networks offer summer replacement shows, but cable networks that produce original content shine during this time, taking the audience the networks (ABC, NBC, CBS, FOX) don't care about while TV execs are taking cruises to the Bahamas and golfing every day.
So, for those of you addicted to the TV and don't take the summer off, I offer this Top 10:
No. 10 – "Wipeout" on ABC
If you can't laugh at someone getting hit with a big foam pad while putting themselves through an obstacle course for cash, what can you laugh at? Sure, it gets tired with the same hits, replays and hearing John Henson say "Big Balls" at least 10 times an episode. But there's nothing like forgetting a boring day at work by zoning out to people falling into the water after getting hit by a wall full of boxing gloves. "Wipeout" returns June 28.
No. 9 – "True Blood" on HBO
The fifth season kicks off this Sunday night, promising more bites, betrayal and emotional drama than ever before. The vampire series continues to be one of the most watched on the pay tier of the cable box, earning a huge cult fan following.
No. 8 – "The Closer" on TNT
This is the seventh and last season for the drama, in which Kyra Sedgwick perfects her acting craft in the role of Brenda Johnson. It will be interesting to see what types of cases the writers put into the finale of this character-driven show. The closer starts up again June 9.
No. 7 – "The Choice" on Fox
Made its debut Thursday night, "The Choice" features celebrity bachelors and bachelorettes who each choose three potential dates during blind auditions. Romeo, Jeremy Bloom, Jason Cook and Pauly D of "Jersey Shore" star in what will surely be a train wreck. I'm not going to watch this show, but I'm not a 16-year-old girl either. What? Too harsh? I may not be the target demo for this show, but I'm predicting ratings will start out well and putter out until the conclusion.
No. 6 – "Louie" on FX
Louis C.K. writes, directs and stars in this critically acclaimed series about a stand-up comic. This comedy can sometimes get a little dark, but each show has these genius little bright spots that keeps the audience coming back for more. You'll never know who will pop up on the show either. It was cool seeing a comic friend, Doug Stanhope, on an episode last season. "Louie" is set to air June 28.
No. 5 – "Dallas" on TNT
I have fond memories of my grandma shutting down the house and getting us tucked in for the night so we could watch "Dallas" back in the early '80s. Now I get to watch Larry Hagman back as J.R. Ewing leading a new generation in the family business. I used to think shows like "Dallas" were simply daytime soaps that found a home – and large audience – in primetime. I'm thinking show producers and TNT execs are hoping for the same this time around. See the show premiere next Wednesday.
No. 4 – "The Newsroom" on HBO
I admit a bias for this pick, as I worked in newsrooms for the better part of two decades and am always interested in Hollywood's take on an industry I made a living in. "The Newsroom" stars Jeff Daniels as an anchor of a 24-hour news channel. Aaron Sorkin ("The West Wing," "Studio 60 On The Sunset Strip") wrote about the staff at a cable channel before with "Sports Night," a show that only lasted two seasons. It will be interesting to see how this one goes. It starts June 24.
No. 3 – "Falling Skies" on TNT
Noah Wyle led viewers on a rocky ride in the first season of this Steven Spielberg-produced alien invasion show. I, along with a number of critics, saw the extreme potential in this show, but it didn't really hit its stride until the final episodes. On June 17 we will see what they have in store for this new season.
No. 2 – "Leverage" on TNT
I love stories with grifters. Ever since seeing "The Sting," I've always been a fan of the art of the con. "Leverage" makes this art come to life with actor Timothy Hutton leading a team on a continual trail of working a con to help the little guy. Think Robin Hood with hackers, thieves, brutes and more. The fifth season airs sometime this summer, as the network is still working on a release date.
No. 1 – "Storage Wars" on A&E
The show launched its new season on Tuesday, and like thousands of others, I've been drawn into the world of storage locker auctions. I've often wondered if I had what it took to gamble on a seconds-long glance to find treasures for a deal like these love 'em or hate 'em bidders on the show. This reality show, A&E's most watched series in the network's existence, hits viewers with back-to-back original episodes on Tuesday nights and reruns them like crazy other days of the week.
Media is bombarding us everywhere.
Instead of sheltering his brain from the onslaught, Steve embraces the news stories, entertainment, billboards, blogs, talk shows and everything in between.
The former writer, editor and producer in TV, radio, Web and newspapers, will be talking about what media does in our community and how it shapes who we are and what we do.