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Just in time for July Fourth: My fave summer TV shows so far

Summertv As the pungent aroma of hotdogs and fireworks fades from your memory, I’m willing to allow that the last thing on your mind this Independence Day weekend might be watching television.

Which is too bad. Because we’re not even halfway through the season, and already there’s enough great new and returning series to turn NBC into a watchable network again.

Just in case you haven’t been paying attention, here’s my list of what’s working so far in summer TV (with links to see online!).

The Closer, 9 p.m. Mondays, TNT: Producers continue to find new ways to stretch this super-appealing workplace family into new directions. Last week, the FBI agent husband of Kyra Sedgwick’s scrappy Deputy Police Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson – played by the highly underrated Jon Tenney – pushed his spouse into investigating a murder for his office just by asking for a little help and counting on Brenda to be Brenda. (

Burn Notice, 9 p.m Thursdays, USA: Centered on a spy stuck in Miami, this is just another excuse to send a compelling family of characters through a wild series of espionage-tinged adventures. The recent episode featuring The Shield’s Jay Karnes as an old nemesis returning to mess with superspy Michael Westen was a particular stand out. (

Nurse Jackie, 10:30 p.m. Mondays, Showtime: Picked up for a second season before the closing credits rolled on its debut episode, Edie Falco’s hospital drama about a super-righteous, pill-popping emergency room nurse is wonderfully dysfunctional and provocative. Nurses don’t know whether to cheer a hero who flushes a rapists ear down a toilet and tells off a doctor who killed a patient, or protest a character who cheats on a seemingly good-guy husband while ingesting ground-up Percocet like it was Splenda. (

Late Show with David Letterman, 11:35 p.m. weeknights, WTSP-Ch. 10: Tasteless as his Sarah Palin jokes were, Letterman turned up the heat during Conan O’Brien’s ascendancy to the Tonight Show, establishing dominance as the new king of Late Night. While O’Brien was chilling with The Soup’s Joel McHale and comic Norm MacDonald, Letterman managed classic appearances by Howard Stern, Julia Roberts and Denzel Washington. Small wonder Dave’s closed the ratings gap in weeks. (

Rescue Me, 10 p.m Tuesdays, FX: Denis Leary’s on-the-edge NYC firefighter Tommy Gavin is struggling with increasingly intense hallucinations, an increasingly obvious fall off the wagon and a precarious arrangement with both an ex-wife and ex-lover for friendship with benefits. And it’s still a sidesplitting comedy. (


[Last modified: Wednesday, July 21, 2010 2:59pm]


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