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New Shows (2013): August 5 - 18

As we all enjoy the last days of summer, the networks are still airing new shows, some of which were quite good. For clarity, I have listed the shows in the order they originally aired. I also list the day and time the show aired in case it is something you would care to watch. The color code: black means I didn’t watch it; red means don’t bother; blue means maybe; green means good; magenta means great.

Casting By (HBO, Monday at 9:00pm)
Marion Dougherty was the first and, many would argue, the best casting director ever for both television and film. She was responsible for casting scores of now iconic films and for giving pretty much everyone in Hollywood over the age of 35 his or her first major role. This documentary tells the story of her career. Filled with interviews of people you will recognize, this is a fascinating look at Hollywood as it moved from the studio system into independence into corporate entities. I highly recommend this film.

Quick Draw (Hulu, Streaming)
A spoof on all things western, Sheriff John Hoyle comes to town fresh from Harvard where he studied forensics. Some of the jokes are forced; some made me laugh out loud. This is one I will save for a cold winter’s night when I need something mindless and funny to pass the time.

The Chase (Game Show Network, Tuesday at 9:00pm)
I don’t get this channel, so from the website: In 'The Chase,' a team of three contestants attempts to amass as much money as possible by answering quick-fire questions in a 60-second round.  The money earned will go towards a team bank.  Why the urgency?  Because The Beast is always lurking, ready to pounce. The Beast – quite simply -- is a quiz genius.  The job of this intimidating presence is to catch each contestant by answering more questions than his opponents to ensure they are not able to bank their money.

Hot Listings Miami (Style, Tuesday at 10:00pm)
From the website: Follows the extraordinary life of Katrina Campins who is a successful and savvy businesswoman and owner of Miami's luxury real estate agency, Campins Company. With her business partner and ex-husband Ben Moss, Katrina leads a team of agents, including her sister Camille and new mentee Sunita, to be the premier agency. She even has recruited her mother, Sophia, to manage marketing for the business which sometimes creates more stress in the workplace. This alpha female has made a name for herself in the cutthroat world of real estate.

The Legend of Shelby the Swamp Man (History, Tuesday at 10:00pm)
From the website: For four seasons, we’ve followed Shelby Stanga’s logging exploits in the swamps and lakes of southern Louisiana. To keep the bill collectors at bay, Shelby embarks on one odd job after another; nothing is too dangerous or bizarre for Shelby to try. From working at a gator farm to clearing swamp rats from a house and from deep sea fishing to hog hunting, Shelby will do it all but always on his own terms.

Broadchurch (BBC America, Wednesday at 10:00pm)
We’ve seen it before. A male DI and a female DS join forces to solve the murder of a young boy in a small town. He is the outsider; her son was the victim’s best friend. Yet, this may be the best pilot I have seen all summer. I was completely, instantly swept up in the story and spent the hour both gasping at the actions of some of the townspeople and sobbing at their reactions to the death of such a young boy. The writing is tight and tense; the acting is second to none. The pilot is streaming on the BBC America site. Watch it and set your DVR for the rest of the series. I wish I could marathon through this entire story right now.

Invasion Roswell (Syfy, Thursday at 9:00)
If you’ve never seen Space Cowboys, I highly recommend it. Starring Clint Eastwood, Tommy Lee Jones, Donald Sutherland, and James Garner, it is the laugh out loud story of a group of astronauts who come out of retirement to save the world. Invasion Roswell is a complete ripoff of an homage to this movie. Not nearly as good, with poor special effects and even worse acting. Skip this and watch the original.

The White Queen (Starz, Saturday at 9:00pm)
Set during the first reign of Edward IV, this is a story of the women behind the men who contested the throne of England for decades. The War of the Roses (York vs. Lancaster) is a fascinating time in history, filled with intrigue and battling kings. This miniseries, similar to The Tudors, sets itself in an historical period, then takes liberties with said history. The pilot was soapy and revisionist, but fun. I will stick with this one just to have a giggle or two at how the “history” plays itself out.

Clear History (HBO, Saturday at 9:00pm)
I am not a fan of Curb Your Enthusiasm, and this movie feels like an extended version of that show. Larry David plays a guy who loses a billion dollars because he makes a bad decision. This is the story of his attempt to redeem his losses. I watched the first half hour; I never laughed once; I turned it off. Give it a try if you liked the show and let me know what you think.

Reading, Writing and Romance (Hallmark, Saturday at 9:00pm)
A struggling actor finds a job teaching English at the local high school where he falls in love with one of his colleagues. A few months later, he is offered his big break. But, he has made commitments to his students and his new girlfriend. What will he do? This is the Hallmark channel. What would be your guess? Frothy bit of fun, but nothing substantial.

Eat, Drink, Love (Bravo, Sunday at 9:00pm)
From the website: Eat, Drink, Love follows five single ladies as they claw their way to the top of the male-dominated Los Angeles food scene. [They] are sharp, single and successful, mixing business and pleasure in pursuit of the perfect meal and the perfect mate. In the ultra-competitive culinary world, this tight-knit circle of friends must support each other or else risk eating each other alive.

Low Winter Sun (AMC, Sunday at 10:00pm)
A cop show in which everyone is a bad person, both the cops and the criminals. It is bleak, dark, and relentlessly humorless. The story felt redone and the characters were all ones I had seen before. I didn’t hate it, but I won’t continue watching it either.

Americans in Bed (HBO, Monday at 9:00pm)
A documentary in which the filmmaker interviewed and filmed a series of couples in their beds. The couples discuss their relationships, their sex lives and themselves. The couples were a checklist of modern America -- Black, Hispanic, middle-class White, older (this couple has been married for 71 years, bless their hearts), gay, lesbian, polyamorous (the guy in this couple so enraged me that I wanted to throw something at his head). While I found much of this piece to be too intimate for my personal taste, what was fascinating was watching the cracks begin to show as the couples talked. Simply looking at statistics, half of these couples won’t make it.

Cash Dome Pawn (truTV, Tuesday at 9:30pm)
From the website: For a quarter century, Cash Dome Jewelry and Pawn has been a lifeline for some of the most outrageous characters in Miami. But now, as 75-year-old founder Mickey Gallander prepares to step down as manager, the pressure on his family to perform is heating up. Mickey's son, Joshua "White Boy" Gallander was raised in the pawn shop, hardened on the streets of Miami, and ready to take on the world. Along with his combative, ex-con brother Josh, White Boy must convince his father that he's ready to take the reins of the Cash Dome and make it the biggest and best pawn shop in Florida.

Heroes of Cosplay (Syfy, Tuesday at 10:00pm)
From the website: The series follows cosplayers of all levels, from legend Yaya Han, to rising stars and newbies, as they make a splash at comic book conventions around the country. The series will dive deep into their lives, following their process as they create extravagant and visually arresting costumes each week. These nine constantly defy odds and race against the clock to transform themselves into amazing fictional characters that push the boundaries between fantasy and reality, all in hopes of impressing the convention judges to win a cash prizes and take their cosplay stardom to new heights.

Owners Manual (AMC, Thursday at 10:00pm)
A reality series in which two friends take on extreme challenges. One reads the manual; one does not. In the pilot, they are flying stunt planes. Not to worry -- they have real pilots in the planes with them. The comedy is forced; the danger is manufactured and impossible to take seriously; the testosterone is rampant. Not as bad as many, but still very silly.

Baby Sellers (Lifetime, Saturday at 8:00pm)
A movie about baby trafficking that was tough to watch as absolutely everyone involved (other than the traffickers themselves) suffers. We did get a relatively happy ending, but this is not a movie I would want to watch again in a hurry.

This Magic Moment (Hallmark, Saturday at 9:00pm)
A rom-com that is unusual in that the couple you think will end up together don’t. Other than that, it is standard Hallmark fare, perfect for the rainy Sunday afternoon I spent watching it.

A new sports channel launched on Saturday, August 17th. Called Fox Sports 1, it will show live sports as well as studio shows. I do not subscribe to the sports package for my cable provider, so I was not able to watch any of the shows offered over the weekend.


  1. "For four seasons, we’ve followed Shelby Stanga’s logging exploits in the swamps and lakes of southern Louisiana."

    I originally misread that opening clause as "For some reason..."


  2. Watched Broadchurch the other night (had to see David Tennant), I had the same reactions. Excellent.

  3. Josie -- LOL. My guess is that's the appropriate reading.

    Sooze -- I just watched the second episode and the story just gets better and better. This is quickly becoming my favorite miniseries of the year.

  4. Broadchurch was shown here in the UK a few months ago.

    It was an excellent example of a show in the style of 'The Killing' and will keep you gripped to the very end.

    The entire cast are brilliant but Olivia Colman in particular gives an incredible performance.

    Enjoy :-)

  5. International reader here, but DI? DS?

    Thanks for the reviews!

  6. Detective inspector and detective sergeant.


  7. Right! The Detective Inspector runs the investigation and is assisted by his or her Detective Sergeant who is one lower in rank.

  8. In case anyone is interested, the police rank structure in Britain goes something like Constable, Sergeant, Inspector, Chief Inspector, Superintendent, Chief Superintendent, Commander, various assistant and deputy Commissioners and finally the Commissioner. DCIs and DSIs are often the SIOs (Senior Investigating Officer) during murder inquiries although sometimes they can be lead by a DI.

  9. Thanks for that, Mark. I've been watching a lot of British DVDs and reading a lot of British police procedural novels this summer. Sometimes the initials do get confusing. And don't forget the SOCO or scene-of-the-crime officers.

  10. Wow didn't expect so much reactions. THanks all!


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