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What's On Now

Forget all the columns on what the dreary old networks are going to be doing in the fall. All the new shows suck, all the old shows are as bad as they were last year, and you don’t want to watch any of them. Tell you what: Next September and October, go outside and watch the leaves turn orange, see some sunsets, take a last swim before it gets too cold.

But here in June and July, as the temperature goes up and good-looking people put on increasingly tiny bits of clothing and start to sashay around showing off their new tattoos and piercings, crank the air conditioning down to 60, cuddle under an old comforter with someone equally overweight you love, and settle down to watch some of the good stuff that’s on right now.

Six Feet Under
Season Premiere Sunday, June 13, 9 PM/8 Central, HBO

Okay, we gave the third season of SFU our Biggest Disappointment Award just last year. But, damn, when the show was good, it was so good, I’m looking forward to its return despite myself. The teasers they’ve been running — showing the cast cavorting to the incredible strains of Nina Simone performing “Feelin’ Good” — are so amazingly cool. I’m actually feeling teased by the teaser, something I haven’t felt since, well, since the first season of Six Feet Under.

And I just caught the season finale from the pathetic previous season, and, okay, I’ll admit it, it wasn’t as bad as I remembered. It even had some good parts. Maybe the final show was a return to form, maybe it’s the new medication they’ve got me on. I don’t know.

All I know is, I’m dying to see this show. Ahem.

Season Premiere Tuesday, June 22, 10 PM, FX

This is the show we’re all waiting for. The first season of Nip/Tuck was glorious fun, a trashy soap opera with all the nudity, sex, and gore one would expect from something on Showtime. The whole show came together with some fantastic performances, both up front and in walk-in roles. Seeing it for the second time around as FX ran the series again as a run-up to the second season premiere I only appreciated it more.

Various writers compared it to Six Feet Under but the show Nip/Tuck has the most affinity for is really Miami Vice. I don’t know if the locations of the two shows helped to lend a certain vibe to the proceedings — since Nip/Tuck, at least, is mostly filmed in California, I’m not sure how it could — or if there’s something more intentional going on. But, man, it’s been too long since we had cool cars cruising around to cool music while overly handsome guys had sex with ridiculously gorgeous gals. And at least this time the lifestyle makes some sense; how did Don Johnson’s cop ever afford his outfits?

The new season promises to be another rollicking ride. How will Christian deal with his new black son? Will Julia tell us who fathered Matt? Will Jude and his badly faked New Hampshire accent be back?

I could go on like this for a while, but then I’d start to sound like one of those breathless morons on electronic bulletin boards everywhere. So I’ll stop here and simply say: Watch this show.

Season Premiere passed, but it’ll probably show on BBC America another hundred times or so, episodes first air Sunday, 9 PM, BBC America

After coming to America and making a mess of things with NBC and their version of Coupling, Steven Moffat and Sue Vertue return to Britain and the place where their show belongs. I don’t know if it was the casting that made the American version bad, or the general Americanization; I think it may just be that I know Americans don’t talk like the characters in Coupling (men of my acquaintance simply do not compare penis sizes) but I can believe British people do because, well, they’ve got accents. I mean, bottom line, the Giggle Loop is something I can imagine in British pubs, but in Chicago, it doesn’t fly.

Alas, the new season must go on without Richard Coyle and his character, Jeff. I’m not sure how the show will fare without him since Coyle was easily the best thing about it. The first episode writes him out as having flown off to the island of Lesbos (Steve helpfully explains, “It’s pronounced Less-BOSS”) and, while Steve’s end of the conversation was suitably Jeff-like, I missed Jeff himself. I have no idea why Coyle didn’t return; maybe he was having too much fun or something. I know I was.

Coyle’s replacement, meanwhile, is somewhat Jeffish. Oliver, as played by Richard Mylan, is missing that essential Welsh version of insanity, but at least can date Jane, thus neatly rounding out the sextet without leaving any dangling bits. Still, as of the first episode, he didn’t fit in entirely, and failed to fill Coyle’s shoes completely. But I’ll give Mylan time to settle in.

I have faith that Moffat’s writing will overcome the hurdles and continue as fresh and hilarious as in the previous seasons. Time will tell, of course. And I trust you’ll be along for the ride.

Rescue Me
Series Premiere Wednesday, July 21, 10 PM, FX

I don’t know much about this show. All I’ve learned about it I got from the commercials running during Nip/Tuck and the IMDb. But it looks great.

Denis Leary returns to TV in this show about New York City firefighters. Why it took so long in the wake of September 11th for FX to jump on this bandwagon I do not know, but here it is.

Leary’s last show was The Job and you know we loved that. He’s back on board as writer and star, along with the team from The Job, writer Peter Tolan and producer Jim Serpico. As a guy growing up working class Irish in Boston, Leary really knows cops and firefighters inside out; if this show has the same feel for firemen as The Job did for policemen, this is going to be one hell of a series.

The teasers lead me to believe Rescue Me is going to be more serious than The Job, and that’s okay. Hopefully there’ll be a balance of funny and real moments in the show. If they get the balance right, this could easily end up one of the best shows on TV.

We’ll see. In the meantime, check out the trailer over at FX.


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