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October 23, 2014

May Sweeps Bring Summer TV Blues

by Stephanie Earp, posted May 5th 2010 11:16AM
Welcome to the month of May, which songs and poems tells us is primarily responsible for bringing forth darling buds and spring flowers.

Not a single epigram or aphorism mentions May Sweeps, when May pulls the curtain on the TV season that was, bringing many good things -- and plenty of crap things -- to an end.

Over the next 30 days or so, over 60 shows will say goodbye and leave the airwaves for an extended summer vacation, while others are saying a permanent goodbye. Once they go, TV will leave us with nothing but a smattering of viewing options. Faced with such a dearth -- especially once the hockey post-season is over -- my upstairs neighbors usually cancel their satellite subscription for the summer. Ay yai yai! This is crazy talk! I happen to share that satellite subscription with them and I now have to convince them that it's worth continuing to split the bill for the delight of a few summer series.

But look at what I have to work with:

1. 'Friday Night Lights' - Friday May 7, NBC

Friday Night LightsSeason four of one of my favourite shows debuts on NBC on Friday May 7, and it makes as good a case as any for keeping the TV signal going (except that I have already seen it by quasi-illegal means because who can wait an entire year for a show that people who have DirecTV are enjoying now?). It was important that it not become spoiled, so I had to keep up with the show.

2. 'The Good Guys' - Wednesday May 19, Fox

This new odd-couple-buddy-cop-drama-comedy show from Fox starts May 19th, then takes a few weeks off to return in June. It stars Bradley Whitford and Colin Hanks, which gets a grudging snort of acknowledgment from me, as I admit that both of those fellows can act. It's set in Dallas, which is a nice -- if kinda weird -- change from the New York state of mind most cop shows have. Whitford's character is stuck in the 80s in both crime scene techniques and moustache choices, while Hanks is a by-the-book kid with heaps of ambition. Actually, this could be good.

3. 'The Bachelorette' - Monday May 24, Citytv/ABC

BacheloretteJake Pavelka's ex, Ali, takes on the role of Bachelorette this season, which seems like an awful quick turn-around for someone who was 'in love' with Fantastic Mr. Plastic only a few months ago. But didn't it always seem like Ali was sort of angling for a 'Bachelorette' situation? Not that I can blame her. I could probably come up with some vaguely feminist sounding reason for Ali's inability to deal with the enforced competition of 'The Bachelor' if I tried, but I'm not sure Ali deserves my effort. She's likely driven more by a desire to be on television than a desire to be equal to men.

4. '100 Questions' - Thursday May 27, NBC

Ladies and gentlemen, it's another brilliant NBC contribution to the summer series smorgasbord! And no, it's not another game show, but it's not much better. It's a comedy about... love! Aw, that's so new and amazing. This one is directed by a heavy-hitting NBC alum (James Burrows, 'Will & Grace' and 'Friends') and is sort of a 'My Name Is Earl' of the dating world. Charlotte, our series lead, goes on a fictional eHarmony and has to answer 100 questions about love, and each one prompts a flashback to a failed relationship. Gag me with my optical mouse please.

5. 'So You Think You Can Dance' - Thursday May 27, CTV/Fox

So You Think You Can DanceIn season seven of this Emmy-winning show I never watch, the top ten dancers will be partnered with winning dancers from past seasons. For some reason this will allow the show to vote out one person at a time instead of two. Do you think I can convince my hockey-loving neighbor that this is sort of like the NHL playoffs of dance?

6. 'Past Life' - Friday May 28, Fox

Fox actually tried to interest people in this bizarre crime show back in February, but the ratings were so poor, they pulled it and opted to burn off the five episodes in May and June. So that speaks volumes already doesn't it? Even if you happen to fall in love with this show, It's already firmly canceled. And here's the premise -- a modern-day guy solves modern-day crimes with the help of his memories of his part-life in Ancient Rome. Seriously, that's the premise.

7. 'True Beauty' - Monday May 31, ABC

True BeautyIn case you missed the first season of this delicious little piece of insanity, this show is co-produced by Ashton Kutcher and Tyra Banks. Let that sink in for a minute before moving on. Got it? Okay, it is also one of those shows where the contestants think they're competing for one thing (a modeling contract) but are actually competing for something else (Miss Congeniality). Vanessa Minnillo is joined by Beth Ostrosky Stern and Carson Kressly as judges. The only probem with this otherwise brilliant show idea? It's all taken way too seriously. There's none of the tongue-in-cheek attitude of 'Beauty and the Geek' or 'Punk'd'. I blame Tyra, but then I always do.

At this rate, it looks like I could be spending my summer outside playing sports, eating picnics and walking on trails. That stuff may sound like fun, but it makes pretty poor fodder for a TV column.

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