Summer: such a great time to unwind, relax and go on those vacations you have been planning all year-long. However if you are an avid TV watcher, such as myself, you also associate summer with the end of your fall shows and the pain you must go through until later this year to find out that major decision each character made in the season finale.
I have always filled my summer weeks with “guilty pleasures”, shows I watch but have not officially declared myself a true fan. Basically, I try not to emotionally invest myself in it. I try not to openly admit it, and am ashamed, but this is the time I find myself especially watching shows like Love & Hip-Hop: Atlanta. I can not excuse this behavior, but just know, I am not proud of it (but gawd, I do enjoy it). And because I am not emotionally invested, I often treat these summer shows with a bit of disregard. If I miss an episode, so what. If I don’t exactly follow the main storyline, I’ll catch it on the next episode’s “last week” recap. No biggie.
Yet, this summer has actually been a big deal and I have very much noticed it. I’m finding myself watching more shows as if it is the fall, and they are not shows I am watching to fill time. I actually need/want to keep up with them. When friends ask to do something on Wednesday night, I have to think about what is coming on television and staying in seems to be the more common decision. I feel no emptiness for fall, these are not guilty pleasures, these shows have really intrigued me. But I feel dirty, I feel like a cheat — cheating on my fall shows with summer ones.
I have been watching it all: drama, crime, legal, more legal, dramedy, what could be deemed soap opera-y and even, sci-fi. I have seen another level of creepiness besides Sleepy Hollow in Extant, and a more complex, serial-type of Law & Order in Murder In The First. I have seen powerful, deceitful, emotional, twisted, driven characters of all shapes and colors; and I do mean all colors. I have seen more diversity in a week than an episode of Scandal…
Wait a minute, let me visit my “diversity” soap box real quick.
Like I said before I am an avid television viewer, and there is no television show with a female lead, particularly a Black female lead, you will not find me watching. So imagine my enjoyment when in a single week, I do not just see Kerry Washington rushing down hallways, but Halle Berry (Extant), Gina Torres (Suits), Nicole Ari Parker (Murder in the First), Tika Sumpter (The Haves and Have Nots) and Nia Long (The Divide) all having their major shares in a broadcast or cable show. I bet you didn’t even see that coming. *inserts ‘praise hand’ emoji* Call for more diversity, and summer 2014 answered.
Anyhow, two programs I would definitely like to give a special shout-out to for rocking the summer is TNT’s Murder In The First and WE TV’s The Divide, because these shows could actually be a part of a regular fall schedule, yet perfect for the typical 13-week summer period. They both surround one case for the series, making each episode dig a little deeper into the story. The crime/legal aspects are spot-on and questions of the justice system seem to be the main character in both.
Murder In The First is about San Francisco inspectors investigating the deaths of two different people, but connected thru tumultuous interactions with a young billionaire Erich Blunt. The whole series surrounds this one case from the investigation all the way through to the trial. This show caught my interest after the pilot because (1) how can a whole series focus on one case while still building to the finale? and (2) I had no idea detectives in San Francisco were called inspectors. Created by Steven Bochco and Eric Lodal, it takes another modern spin on the fine line between evidence and reasonable doubt.
WE TV’s The Divide has not only brought another audience to the “women-centric” channel, but like its sibling channel AMC did before, WE TV is trying to break into the serial mold. They did it perfectly with this legal drama. Set in present-time Philadelphia, the shows explores the inner workings of the justice system in dealing with a racially-charged case that may have cause to be overturned. We follow these workings alongside a young case worker passionate about the law and the district attorney who is equally as passionate about justice being sought. But of course, it gets more complex than that. For all my Scandal fans, our very own President Fitzgerald Grant III, Tony Goldwyn, co-created this project with Richard LaGravenese — reason 1 why I caught the pilot. Yet, I have stayed for the complex story, smart writing, and did I mention the-I literally stare at her when she is in a scene because her beauty is timeless– Nia Long is in it?
This summer I have majestically balanced a job, post-graduation job seeking, and basking in the last amount of college partying I have, and still thru all that, I found myself forming emotional attachments to these summer shows. I never once actually cheated on anything more than middle school homework, but this summer has introduced another area of that. Because when my fall favorites come back, I know a part of me will be longing for next summer to find out what has happened after these summer finales. A part of me will pray that over the fall, some evil executive does not decided to put the ax to these shows, leaving my summer alone and vulnerable. I have caught feelings for these shows, I am emotionally attached. Eventually, as the summer ends and these finales come upon us, I know I can handle going back to fall. The thought of my fall shows beginning to tape brings up an inner joy that will start to glow again of anticipation. Still, for those shows I watched throughout the summer, curled up on the couch with my burgundy blanket, eyes glued to every twist and turn and sometimes my twitter timeline; they were more than a guilty pleasure. And as they begin to end their seasons, I want to let these shows of summer 2014 know — you will always have a special place in my heart.
My Summer 2014 Watchlist
True Blood: Final Season (HBO, Sundays at 9pm)
Hit The Floor (VH1, Mondays at 9pm)
Murder In The First (TNT, Mondays at 10pm)
The Haves and Haves Nots (OWN, Tuesdays at 9pm)
Suits (USA, Wednesdays at 9pm)
The Divide (WE TV, Wednesdays at 9pm)
Extant (CBS, Wednesdays at 10pm or Amazon Prime, every Sunday)
*also binge-watched Orange is The New Black: Season 2 (Netflix, all day err day)