Are you ready for the summer? (2010 edition)

Senior Television Writer
05.26.10 87 Comments

The 2009-10 TV season officially ends tonight at 11 p.m., which means it’s time to start getting the blog ready for that weird, sometimes horrifying, sometimes delightful beast known as summer programming.

There are still a handful of blog regulars (“Breaking Bad,” “Justified,” “Party Down,” etc.) whose seasons won’t end for a few weeks, and some others (“Burn Notice,” “Mad Men”) returning in the coming months. (I’ll have a fairly exhaustive summer programming calendar posted on Saturday, for the many of you who plan to be hunched over your computers on Memorial Day weekend.) But a lot of summer TV is either creatively questionable or in some cases good but not really deep enough to merit weekly discussion. (TNT’s “Leverage” would qualify.) So I’m going to go through my screeners in the coming weeks and try to patch together a summer lineup.

However, one of the summer staples of this blog, wherever it’s located, is that I pick one or two shows that pre-dated the blog, and I go back and watch and write about each episode. This started with “Freaks and Geeks,” and in the summers since I’ve done “The Wire” seasons one and two, “Band of Brothers” and “Sports Night,” among others. This year, I’m going to rewatch three shows – two for the blog, and one for the Firewall & Iceberg podcast – and they are…

“The Wire” season three, “Firefly” and “Undeclared.”

Some thoughts on why these three and how it will all work coming up after the jump…

“The Wire” season three was always a lock for this summer. Season four was the first to air after I started the blog, and ever since the series ended, I’ve been going back to revisit the earlier seasons. As always, I’ll be doing two versions of each review: one that’s safe to read and comment on by people who haven’t watched the whole series yet and are going along with me, and one for people who have seen it all and want to discuss how the events in each episode play out down the line. The plan is for both the newbie and the veteran versions to be posted on Fridays, starting next week (June 4), though, as always, summer vacations, Comic-Con and press tour will complicate things the deeper we get into the season.

The second choice was a tougher one, because there were so many good options (many of them suggested by you). Ultimately, I wanted something that was tonally very different from “The Wire” for variety’s sake, and also something relatively self-contained. “Firefly” only did 13 episodes (plus the movie “Serenity,” which we’ll also cover if I’m not dead from exhaustion by Labor Day), and was a lot of fun. Also, I am not above pandering to the Whedon-ites on occasion. 

I went back and forth on “Firefly” and “Undeclared,” and intended for the winner to also be something Dan and I could discuss on the podcast. And if you’ve read any my Top “10” lists over the years, you know I have trouble narrowing things down, so ultimately it occurred to me that I could split the difference: write about “Firefly” on the blog, talk about “Undeclared” on the podcast. (Dan and I briefly went to college together, so that should give us some added fodder.) Trying to write about three shows last summer almost killed me, but I think I can handle it if I write about two and talk about one.

“Firefly” will be on Tuesdays, starting June 8 to give me a little lead time. And Dan and I will talk about the “Undeclared” pilot on next week’s podcast, and then probably do two episodes at a time the rest of the way. This will be complicated by the fact that the DVD set isn’t in the proper order, that Fox didn’t air the show in the proper order, and that there’s one unaired episode and one alternate version of an aired episode on there, but we’ll muddle through. The show is funny enough to be worth the time and effort.

Got all that? Summing up:

  • “The Wire” season 3 (newbie and veterans) on Fridays starting June 4.
  • “Firefly” on Tuesdays starting June 8.
  • “Undeclared” on the podcast on Wednesdays starting June 2.

Should be fun, – and even more fun if more summer shows turn out to be worth covering.

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