It’s here – The light cotton dresses; the early morning sunrises, the later afternoon storms – Summer is upon us. While usually this is the time we turn off the television (or lock it to your favourite sport), this year the networks are playing smarter than before and offering us recent re-runs or new content. Take Channel 10, for instance – their summer program will provide a mix of new shows as well as repeats of some of their hits from the year.  

These are the highlights of what Ch10 will offer us over the course of the next couple of months…  

NEW – Rules of Engagement – Sundays 7pm
This sitcom didn’t really live up to it’s potential this year, possibly because of the competition it faced in the Two and a Half Men juggernaut. Patrick Warburton (Jeff) has a dry delivery that is not far from his Seinfeld character (Putty), and you either love or loathe David Spade (Russell). The new episodes will air after repeats of RoE at 6:30pm, following from the Modern Family model established in the later part of the year. I can only suggest this is because the network sees the value in the lead-in this show should provide the following 7:30pm program, rather than lead big at 6:30pm with the new episode and have that carry into the 7pm slot to try to win the hour. Or, if you’re Channel 9, simply play 3 epsiodes back-to-back and screw with everything.  

RESULT: If you’re really bored…  

REPEAT – Hamish & Andy Specials – Sundays 7:30pm
The Australian media’s golden children get a second run on their Caravan of Courage trip to the UK from this year, their pre-Commonwealth Games trip to India & their only recently aired Reministmas special. A great result for them that their shows are getting a second run & a great result for Ch10 as likely everyone will watch them again anyway. The only problem with this kind of situational ‘matey’ comedy is that once you know the punchline, the gag nevers seems as funny & the setup can take a little too long to deliver. Everyone is still watching and waiting to see what TV programming they get up for 2011.  

RESULT: Merry Reministmas!  

 NEW – The 7pm Project – Weeknights 7pm
This is a real chance for this show to claw back some of the audience share lost courtesy this year’s Commonwealth Games (referred to around the Ten corridors as “that big mistake we made”). Rating at nearly 1m a night before the Games it lost it’s mojo and hasn’t recovered since, now sitting around the not as awesome 700-800K mark. News doesn’t stop over the non-ratings period, so having familiar faces at the desk with new content will be a great bonus. Understandably a best-of series will air from Mon Dec 29 – Fri Dec 31, but it’s back with new material Mon Jan 3, 2011. It’s a smart move to keep it on over summer to help rebuild the profile it once had.  

RESULT: Tune in, learn stuff.  

REPEAT – Glee – Mondays 7:30pm
Dropping new episodes of Glee Season 2 in favour of repeats of Season 1 highlights is probably not the coolest thing in the world to have done. There are only two episodes left to be aired before the show takes it’s break in the US – why not show them here in Australia (particularly when the last one for the year is “A Very Glee Christmas” – that’ll be highly relevant in February. NOT.) Still – it’s Glee: the show that could do no wrong, despite the definite sexualising of the cast & storylines in this second season. Those kids have such great attitudes… sing out your trouble, no matter how pregnant, gay or misunderstood you are.  

RESULT: Yay, it’s Glee! Boo, it’s repeats. Yay, it’s Glee! 

NEW  – Undercover Boss (US) – Mondays 8:30pm
I’ve enjoyed this show if for no other reason than it reveals to normal people just how stupid bosses can be in real life. The Australian version performed admirably (and full credit to the bosses who took part) and we’ll get a 2nd season of it next year. The US version has bigger highs and lows and lots more sugar. No wonder American TV is like it is. So much sugar. It needs to exercise more. The CEO’s featured this season include:
– Great Wolf Resorts, Inc. (Kim Schaefer, CEO)
– DIRECTV (Mike White, Chairman, President and CEO)
– NASCAR (Steve Phelps, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer)
– Frontier Airlines (Bryan Bedford, Chairman of the Board, President and CEO)
– Chicago Cubs (Todd Ricketts, Owner)RESULT: The best 8:30pm option on Monday nights. 

REPEAT – Good News Week – Mondays 9:30pm
This season of GNW has been far more miss than hit – even when they had big names like Eric Stonestreet (Modern Family) available to only use him for one segment was a completely wasted opportunity. The same comedians keep getting trotted out and sadly not many of them have written new material since the last time they were on. Mikey Robins’s schtick is old & the writing team has seen better days.  

RESULT: It’s just not worth it. 

REPEAT  – Modern Family – Tuesdays/Wednesdays 7:30pm
Absolutely one of the highlights of my year. If this is what Ch10 use as a replacement for The Simpsons on their primary channel then so be it. The writing is witty and insighful, the direction subtle & the delivery sublime. Winning Outstanding Comedy Series at this year’s Emmy Awards only further reinforces why you need to be watching this show. There’s no patronising laugh track, and there’s more than two and a half men. It’s joy start to finish with just the right touch of schmaltz.


NEW – The All New Simpsons – Tuesdays 8pm
Twenty-two seasons. There are children alive today that not only have not known a world without The Simpsons, but also look at the oft-repeated older episodes as ‘new’. Twenty-two seasons. That’s a lot of episodes, and they’ve not been without their dry patch. I’ve been enjoying this season a lot, and am particularly impressed with the calibre of guest star talent they’re drawing (this season alone includes Daniel Radcliffe, Hugh Laurie, Jon Hamm, Danica Patrick & Martha Stewart). This is Homer’s show and every season he continues to surprse me in everything he does. He’s a complete legend.

RESULT: It’s a pretty easy, undemanding, funny watch.

REPEAT – NCIS : Los angeles – Tuesdays/Wednesdays 8:30pm
It never really got any traction with viewers as it was buried later at night after big shows & it moved around in the schedule a fair bit. NCIS:LA is not the worst spin-off series to build out of a police-themed franchise, and it sure has a lot of shiny, glittery West Coast sparkly things. If you’ve not seen it and liked the parent, here’s your chance to commit with highlights from season 1.

RESULT: Not the worst thing on television at that time.

REPEAT – Lie to Me – Tuesdays 9:30pm
I really struggled to get into season 1 of this series, and with season 2 getting repeats this summer I’m even less inclined to want to see it. If you’re a fan you’ll likely watch however you’ll also have already seen these eps. I’m not going to bother as good as I think Tim Roth is.

RESULT: Make your call, just don’t come crying to me.

NEW – Raising Hope – Wednesdays 8pm
I didn’t hold much hope for this series after decidedly declaring myself not a fan of the big brother of this series in My Name Is Earl. I watched the pilot, and wasn’t that entranced. Then I started to get it. Jimmy is hard up against life from every angle, and yet all he wants to do is his best as a father to Hope. It’s growing on me, and with good reason… there’s some great acting from the cast, and the writing has perfectly position the central character to be a triumph – eventually.

RESULT: Stick around after Modern Family & thank me later.

NEW – White Collar -Wednesdays 9:30pm
It’s just not as good as it thinks it is. I mean really… a cop and a bad guy working together?! They’re the original odd couple!


NEW – Bondi Vet – Thursdays 7:30pm
It’s the chin. It’s got to be. And his rouge-ish good looks and sparkling smile. Stupid good-looking Dr Chris Brown. “Ooh, look at me, I help puppies. And dolphins. An unicorns. I’m a lovely guy. Love ME, ladies.” Seriously –  why isn’t there a Dr Nick Riviera-style vet show, with a butt ugly host who has very poor skills? That’s right – television is a visual medium. But I digress… It’s great factual programming that can be enjoyed by the whole family (provided tissues are close to hand at all times).

RESULT: It’s not always happy endings.

NEW – Recruits – Thursdays 8pm
As factual/reality programming goes, this is excellent work and completely watchable. Getting into the Police Force isn’t easy – you actually have to know things apart from being able to run and shoot people. The personalities & storylines draw you in, as each recruit is there for their own reasons and want to ensure they achieve this goal.

RESULT: Attention!

NEW – Rush – Thursdays 8:30pm
Season 3 sounds no better than seasons 2 or 1. Some cops in Melbourne do some stuff. Their personal life gets in the way. Somebody upsets someone else. Someone shouts at someone else. Quick! Race to the next drama! Make sure you’ve got a geeky someone locked in a cupboard running your communications. Urgh.

RESULT: At least it’s no COPS LAC.

REPEAT – Law & Order: SVU – Thursdays 9:30pm
To repeat and episode of SVU after 10 seasons is to pander to a small segment of your viewing market. At least at 9:30pm on a Thursday so few people will watch it we’ll all be saved the pain.

RESULT: What this show needs is more vacuuming. Special Vacuuming Unit.