As the pungent aroma of hotdogs and fireworks fades from your memory, 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 are enough great series to turn NBC into a watchable network again. • Here's what's working so far in summer TV. You can find links to watch episodes at The Feed (blogs.tampabay.com/media).
9 p.m. Mondays, TNT: Producers continue to find ways to stretch this super-appealing workplace family in new directions. Last week, scrappy Deputy Police Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson's FBI agent husband — played by the highly underrated Jon Tenney — pushed his spouse (Kyra Sedgwick) into investigating a murder for his office just by asking for a little help and counting on Brenda to be Brenda.
9 p.m. Thursdays, USA: Centered on Jeffrey Donovan's superspy Michael Westen, who's stuck in Miami, this is just another excuse to send a compelling family of characters through a wild series of espionage-tinged adventures. A recent episode featuring The Shield's Jay Karnes as an old nemesis returning to mess with Michael was a particular standout.
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 rapist's ear down a toilet, or protest a character who ingests ground-up Percocet as if it were 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 comic Norm MacDonald, Letterman had newsmaking appearances by Howard Stern and Julia Roberts. Small wonder Dave has closed the ratings gap in weeks.
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.