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What’s on TV This Summer

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oon, networks will make good on their promise for a 52-week programming cycle, and those of us who dread the outdoors (which are pretty, but don’t come in HD) will finally have reason to stay in the air-conditioning without guilt. Until then, there’s…this summer season. Like summers past, that means reality shows.

If you’re a reality TV junkie and you’re desperate for someone to root for now that Top Chef is over, your hero comes by way of Paul on The Mole. Why? He’s local, a utility worker from Yonkers. And his profile on the ABC website is amazing: “A self-professed, former ‘pla’ya’ [sic], he is now a family man who dotes on his family, especially, the love of his life, his 2-year-old daughter…He feels he has an advantage in The Mole because growing up, his father worked for a spy gadget company and would use the gadgets to spy on his kids.” I’ve never seen The Mole and don’t really understand what it’s about, but let’s hope that Paul either is or isn’t the mole, depending on what gets him the prize money. (There is prize money, right? Or a new Saturn or something?) The Mole is on Mondays at 10 pm.

Other than The Mole, here’s what’s clogging up the tube while you should be outside playing:

So You Think You Can Dance: Everybody makes a big deal about Dancing with the Stars, but that show borders on farce. Those “amateur dancers” already have steady jobs—like multi-million-dollar football contracts—so even if they have two left feet, it’s all good exposure for them. The amateur dancers on So You Think You Can Dance are actually fighting for their future careers, which makes them a little bit more, well, invested in what they do. (Sorry, Adam Corolla.) Their choreographers are better, too. (Fox, Wednesdays 8 pm)

Nashville Star: It’s like American Idol if all the contestants were that girl who sang “God Bless the USA.” Yet there’s reason to believe that the winner of Nashville Star really will achieve success in the country music biz: host Billy Ray Cyrus. Perhaps you’ve heard of his daughter, Miley? (NBC, Mondays 9 pm)

Swingtown: The premise of this show is pretty silly—swingers in suburbia—and it’s not likely that Swingtown will do for the ’70s what Mad Men did for the ’60s: make them look stylish and interesting. So why include it here? Because look! It’s a new show with a script! (CBS, 10 pm Thursdays)

Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles Sure, these are all reruns. But even on the second go-round, these action-packed (if logically wonky) episodes are probably more entertaining than all the reality shows, and with more Terminator movies in the works (starring Batman’s Christian Bale), you’ll need to brush up on your Skynet lore. (Fox, 8 pm Mondays)

That’s the best I could do. There’s always Netflix or—gasp!—summer reading.

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