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Summer will soon be drawing to a close, so TV series with short-season orders are each concluding their season or are right in the middle of it. We at Player Affinity TV thought we should help you enjoy your summer by checking the landscape for you, and recommending only those series you should be watching. These picks are not for everyone, but they each have a quality that sets them above others in their category.
The sci-fi series follows a particular group of Alphas — people with superhuman abilities — who help the government investigate crimes or events involving other people with Alpha abilities. For a show in its maiden season, Alphas has been astounding so far. In the very first episode, it managed to give us a very good sense of who each of the major characters were, provided the background to understand Alpha abilities, and even made great strides into the main storyline. The pseudo-scientific elements are sound and written so that they appear to flow naturally from today’s scientific knowledge, which explains why all the abilities so far have been interesting and “understandable.” The cast makes it very easy to follow stories that are well-structured, don’t shy away from the overarching plot, and are so far devoid of awkward moments for the viewer. David Strathairn fits right in as Dr. Rosen, the neurologist/psychiatrist who oversees the team and has the perfect background to explain abilities that all derive from cerebral abnormalities. With its remarkable cast and this level of writing, the Syfy series should become a hit.
Recommended Episode: “Rosetta”
a first season that relied mostly on the chemistry among the excellent main
characters and the mystery around the female lead, Haven has
made significant improvements. The stories have become much more
interesting and more likely to be enjoyed as a whole than for specific
moments. The supernatural events — around which each episode is built —
allow for better visuals, which in turn help the stories be more
gripping. Finally, the mystery surrounding Audrey Parker, the female
character at the heart of the story, is being developed with a clearer
sense of purpose. Haven is unlikely to become a fast-paced
series with impressive procedural elements, but the above improvements
allow the Syfy series to paint its main attraction on a better canvas.
It allows the viewer to follow the intriguing Audrey (excellently
portrayed by Emily Rose) in a quiet but fascinating quest of identity
and purpose. Haven is a peculiar approach to the supernatural
on TV that has the potential to grow into a category of its own. That
is, if the promises of this beginning season are upheld and a few
remaining hurdles are overcome.
Recommended Episode: “Fear & Loathing”
Over the course of the series Nancy Botwin’s addiction to danger has taken her from a pot-slinging, single mother to a target of the DEA, the wife of a Mexican crime lord, and most recently an inmate. With season seven though, Nancy is getting back to basics while she is in the Big Apple, and it’s caused a notable improvement. The series has been struggling since its second year to recapture the humor and heart that it once had in spades, but now it’s redeeming itself from several seasons of mediocrity. The jokes are actually funny, and when the writing aims for the dramatic, it hits the mark more often than not — certainly more often than it was. And with rumors that this could be Weeds‘ last season, it would be wise to catch up while you still can. Though most recent word from Showtime Entertainment president, David Nevins, says there will likely be an eighth installment.
Recommended Episode: “Object Impermanence”
his self-written, directed, and edited project, comedian Louis C.K.
presents his vision of New York City and its bizarre inhabitants as
he struggles though raising his daughters and finding companionship.
What can be said about Louie that hasn’t already been said
about an insane asylum? It’s odd, disturbing, surreal, and at times,
downright psychotic. Somehow, though, the series also manages to be one
of the funniest shows currently on television. And with its second
season, Louie has improved in every way imaginable. You may
end up cringing with embarrassment for the awkward and unlucky
protagonist, or made uncomfortable by a subject that strikes too close
to home, but peppered throughout it all will be some hilarious moments,
especially during the snippets of C.K.’s standup routine.
Recommended Episode: “Pregnant”
It may be kind of stupid and probably the cheesiest thing on television, but to say that Eureka isn’t fun would just be a lie. The show has consistently struck a balance between humor and drama in a way that got it renewed for a full-length fifth season before the fourth season was half way done, and the scope of possibilities for the show simply puts all other procedurals to shame. If you like the idea of a bank robbery meaning a stolen bank, people accidentally launching themselves into space or really any sci-fi disaster scenario you could possibly think of being the norm, then Eureka might just be for you.
Recommended Episode: “Reprise”
If you claim to have never thought about being a rich, famous and successful actor and have convincingly gotten away with it, then you have laudable acting skills, because everyone knows you’re lying. Entourage is the point where fantasy becomes (television-based) reality and is really the only reason to hold onto that HBO subscription over the summer. It’s not Game of Thrones or Boardwalk Empire, but if you like seeing famous people interact with slightly less famous people pretending to be more famous than they actually are, all the while having Jeremy Piven anchor you down with some of the best comedy lines to grace television, this is for you.
Recommended Episode: “Home Sweet Home”