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Summer TV season beams with quality

Many of us yearn for the proverbial “endless summer,” but alsofor many different reasons.

Students would like to see time stop during the summer and noreturn to school, which they will invariably be doing in a littlemore than a week. Cold weather haters and sun worshipers would loveto bask in the rays of summer indefinitely.

I, having long since been out of school and never having beenenamored with the high temperatures and humidity of summer, lookforward to the middle months of the year for another reason. Thatreason, being the couch potato that I can be sometimes, is thesummer television season.

Back in the day when I was in school, the summer meant rerunsand zippo new on TV, with only the occasional sporting event tobreak the monotonous cycle. Man, has the explosion of access tocable and satellite television changed that.

Lately, in my opinion, two particular channels stand out fortheir summertime offerings. With one notable exception, my TV couldstay on the TNT and USA networks and I’d be pretty happy.

TNT is currently promoting its “100 Days of Drama” lineup, withseveral new shows and some returning favorites filling theroster.

Although it is also shown in the fall, “Leverage” is about myfavorite program on television these days.

It’s about a group of crooks – including a “hitter, hacker,grifter, thief and mastermind” – who help people who have beenwronged in some way. The interplay between the characters, theaction and con twists combine for highly enjoyable viewing.

New to TNT this season is “Memphis Beat.”

It stars Jason Lee from “My Name is Earl” fame as a detective byday, solving crimes in the home of Graceland and Beale Street, andas a singer ala Elvis by night. The show has a quirky appeal for meand, well, anybody who likes Elvis can’t be all bad.

Also new on TNT this summer is “Rizzoli And Isles,” a Monday copdrama featuring Angie Harmon and Sasha Alexander. Harmon was myfavorite in a string of assistant district attorneys on thelong-running series “Law & Order” and Alexander is memorablefor her role in the early seasons of “NCIS.”

TNT’s “Dark Blue,” about a group of undercover cops, will bereturning Aug. 4. The show is grittier than what I’m used towatching in the summer, but I’m looking forward to its being backon the air.

And just so no one thinks my TV viewing is limited to copdramas, a pure summertime favorite of mine is “Royal Pains,” whichis about a New York physician who winds up being an on-call doctorfor upper crust clients in the Hamptons. The USA show, in itssecond season, has been back for a few weeks now but I’m sure itwon’t be long before it goes away for its winter hibernation.

Although it’s not really a summer season show, USA’s “In PlainSight,” about a federal marshal handling witnesses in thegovernment protection program, wrapped up a few weeks ago. Ialready miss it.

As for the exception to my channel preference, I’m amazed nearlyevery week by the performers on Fox’s “So You Think You Can Dance.”I can’t dance a lick, but I so enjoy the show that it has longsince surpassed “American Idol” as my favorite Fox realityshow.

I’m a little concerned this season about the number of injuriesthe dancers have endured.

This past week marked the third in a row that one of them wasunable to participate due to injury. The injuries have made thejudges’ decision easy on who to send home the last couple ofweeks.

The summer TV programs are a real joy of the season for me. Butlike the season, they too will soon come to an end and the new fallschedule will arrive.

There will some returning favorites and I’m sure I’ll find a fewnew ones to like then as well. But my remote control will alreadybe awaiting the return of summer.

That’s all for now.

Write to Matt Coleman at P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven MS 39602, orsend e-mail to mcoleman@dailyleader.com.