Summer is a time for playing outside, sitting on the beach, going for a swim, taking a stroll in the park with a significant other while… oh, who am I kidding… Summer is for one thing: warm, entertaining television.

And with the 2010-2011 television at an end this week, it’s time to look ahead to the wonderful crop that is set to begin at the top of next month.

So with that, I present to you 10 Summer Shows Not To Miss! (But beware of some spoilers.)

Rescue Me

The Pitch: The first of two final seasons on the summer slate, Rescue Me has taken us on one heck of a ride over the last eight years (yes, I’m counting the mini-sodes season). But, with the ten year anniversary of 9/11 coming up, it’s time for the boys of Ladder 62 to hang up their helmets for the final time. Last season’s finale ended on a major cliffhanger with Janet being pregnant and Tommy’s nephew paralyzed and brain damaged after suffering a tragic accident while on the job. There’s no doubt that these last nine episodes are going to take us on a ride and then some.

Starts: July 12th

Entourage

The Pitch: Vinny Chase, E, Ari and the rest of the Entourage gang have had a stunning ride the last eight years as well, and they too will sign their last autographs by the end of the season. Every year of Entourage centers on a theme, which is always used as the tagline of the season. And this season’s is “It all begins and ends with your friends.” Which couldn’t be more true. Through thick and thin, Vinny has always had one thing to rely on, his gang. And with the days of taking out full page fake ads in Variety behind them, the boys have one more party to celebrate with the audience.

Starts: July 24th

Burn Notice

The Pitch: USA is top dog when it comes to summer programming and when we last left our stranded Miami spy, he wasn’t so stranded anymore. After taking out the organization that was responsible for his involuntary removal from the CIA, Michael Weston has been given a golden ticket back into the agency. But are things as bright as he thinks? Or has he only cracked the surface of the mystery behind his burn? Whatever the case may be, there’s no doubt that Michael, Sam, Fiona, Jesse and a few other new guests have plenty of summer fun in store.

Starts: June 23rd

Covert Affairs

The Pitch: By far the best new show of last summer, Covert Affairs is what summer television is all about. Warm, light-hearted, action packed entertainment. If you had told me after Coyote Ugly that Piper Perabo could pull off playing action star, I would have thrown you in the loony bin, but with the help of some amazing supporting cast in the form of Christopher Gorham, Kari Matchett and the awesome Peter Gallagher, Perabo is able to strike a balance leading to one heck of a great show.

Starts: June 7th

White Collar

Entering into season 3, White Collar has definitely become one of the best procedurals on television. After the last finale which saw Peter and Neal back to square one in their relationship, we can only imagine what the possibilities could be for what’s next. But as long as those possibilities can top a sunken U-Boat off the coast of New York State, I’m good.

the Pitch: June 7th

Warehouse 13

The Pitch: Last season the Warehouse was hit with a bombshell after Myka decided to leave everything behind in order to keep everyone safe. Now the Warehouse needs a new agent, and at the start of this season it will have it. But knowing Warehouse 13, there’s no doubt that the new partner is going to have one heck of a trial period.

Starts: July 11th

Louie

Louie C. K. is one of the funniest, hardest working stand up comics in the business. His quality of humor is only matched by his self-motivation. And that quality shines no brighter than in his sketch comedy series Louie. When the show broke onto the scene last summer, it was a sleeper hit. But over time, the more people watched it, the more they fell in love with it.

Starts: June 23rd

Breaking Bad

The Pitch: No show on AMC’s slate (even the praised Mad Men) has ever been able to spark the kind of reception that Breaking Bad has received since it began four years ago. People have clearly fallen in love with the life journey of Walter White and season 4 is promising to be the best one yet. If the multiple Emmy wins for Cranston are any indication, it looks like the show will deliver all over again.

Starts: July 17th

Futurama

The Pitch: Many people, including myself, were seriously questioning if Futurama could regain the charm and mastery it was churning out before its cancellation from FOX so long ago. And while the first five episodes were far from good, Futurama got its stride and became better, stronger and faster. When the writers are going so far as to create a custom mathematical theorem for the sake of an episode, that’s when you know the show has returned to form.

Starts: June 23rd

Falling Skies

The Pitch: The only new show on the list, Falling Skies is the first program in a slew of upcoming programming produced by Steven Spielberg. And the BS meter is set to high because as we all know, when it comes to television, Spielberg‘s track record is less than stellar. However, the trailers earn it a spot on the list, showcasing its potential to be something special

Starts: June 19th

Honorable Mentions: Men of A Certain Age, Leverage, The Closer, In Plain Sight, True Blood, Eureka

Want to read more Channel Guide? Of course you do.

To listen to the latest episode of Merrill’s TV Podcast, The Idiot Boxers with Kevin Carr, head over to Fat Guys at the Movies.


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