You know summer is officially over when school children begin to whine and the major networks start to put their marketing machines into full gear for the fall television season. These same networks have trotted out summer programs to catch the ever attention deficit viewer. While reality television remains kings on several channels there some that are putting quality programs on the air. With all honesty, these are the shows you should be watching. Make a list, jot it down, set your TiVo (or DVR) because these should grab your attention.
– SyFy Network – Sci-Fi (Mondays @ 10/9pm Central)
Alphas, a show on the SyFy Network, centers around a group of extraordinary gifted individuals lead by neurologist and psychiatrist Dr. Lee Rosen (played by David Strathaim). Rosen’s research lead to find him people he defines as Alphas — individuals exemplifying super-human abilities. They help the FBI with Alpha-related cases.
Rosen’s team consist of Gary Bell (Ryan Cartwright) a highly functioning autistic who is able to read any and all waves in the electromagnetic field; Nina Theroux (Laura Mennell), who can manipulate people with ease with the sound of her voice; Bill Harken (Malik Yoba), a former FBI agent who has control over his “fight or flight” reflex, giving him incredible strength for a short period; and Rachel Pirzad (Kathleen Gati), a shy Persian girl who can intensify one of her five senses at will. Sure the premise sounds familiar but show creators Zak Pen (writer on X2, The Incredible Hulk) and Michael Karnow bring a new take to the story with fleshed out characters.
The ensemble that embodies these characters play well off each other. Take for instance Cartwright and Yoba’s characters interact with great degree of believability. The relationship between them feels appropriate. Gary actively annoying professional hard nosed former FBI agent with his ism and quirks. The actors play this aspect so well. Do yourself a favor watch this show.
– USA Network – Drama (Thursdays @ 10/9pm Central)
A new drama about the inner workings of a law firm can be consider a tried premise for a show especially with so many on the air. USA Network execs probably thought the same thing when the show was pitched. But Suits carves itself a niche with sharp writing and a great cast that bounce off each other.
The show’s pilot episode does an excellent job setting up the underlining conflict and drama that is evident throughout the season. Patrick J. Adams stars at Mike Ross, a college drop-out, with a knack to remember anything he reads. Adam’s character meets up with top lawyer Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht) who he impresses by reciting a random piece of law during an accidental interview for an associate position. Harvey takes a chance on Ross even though he’s never graduate law school.
Firefly and Matrix alum Gina Torres co-stars in the show as Jessica Pearson, senior partner of the firm. Torres portrayal of Jessica as hard nosed corporate attorney is dead on. Suits by far is one of the networks best new shows.
– Cinemax – Action (Fridays @ 10/9 Central)
Strike Back, Cinemax’s first scripted prime-time original drama series, could be a summer block-buster. In some regards it kind of is especially judging by the plot and the three million dollar per episode budget. It’s some parts Die-Hard with a mix of international espionage of any James Bond film (the latest one’s mind you). The dialogue can be cheesy at time but what good action flick doesn’t have that.
The series first season was originally developed by SKY TV in the UK. Cinemax bought the rights to the show and redeveloped it for the US market. Strike Back centers around an British secret intelligence agency known as Section 20. The story focuses on Michael Stonebridge (Philip Winchester), a British sergeant on the elite counter-terrorism team, and Damien Scott (Sullivan Stapleton), a former U.S. Delta Force operative who was discharged on the eve of the U.S. invasion of Iraq. Together Stonebridge and Scott along with the rest of their crew travel around the world looking for the ever elusive terrorist Latif. Latif plans a major attack on the West with an array of WMDs (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear). Strike Back is differently a series not to missed. The first two episodes are available for a limited time for free on Youtube.