Summer Premieres Abound on Thursday Night


New summer TV is busting out all over! If you’re like me and are waiting out the audition process on So You Think You Can Dance (why does the producer manipulation in the audition rounds work so much better on American Idol than on SYTYCD? How can they possibly think I want to see the entirely constructed tension of putting the adorable Kasprzak brothers on the stage together to hear about the last slot?), there’s still plenty of new TV for you tonight. USA leads the pack with a brand new season of Burn Notice, which presumably finds Michael out of the ocean and on the run. More Bruce Campbell, please! They follow the Burn Notice season premiere with the bow of new Mark Feuerstein medical dramedy Royal Pains. To be honest, I’m not sure I care about the cuts, bruises, and face lifts of the rich and famous Hamptons residents who need house calls, but I love me some Mark Feuerstein (Cliff Calley! ), so I guess I’m there (also: bonus Campbell Scott!). Burn Notice and Royal Pains might be a good match–good guys who lose their good lives and try to reconstruct new ones with help from wacky friends and family? Hmmm. Maybe I just favor the Campbells.

If you just can’t get enough medical drama, NBC also debuts The Listener, about a psychic paramedic (Craig Olejnik, sporting unfortunate hair). Yep. The lead character referring to his psychic ability as God setting him up with free cable is kind of cute, I suppose. On the other hand, I’m not sure I’m that impressed with paramedics who see a major car accident out their window and are surprised by it, as psychic ability apparently drowns out huge noises. The latest in an increasingly long line of Canadian imports, The Listener‘s cast isn’t as instantly interesting as Mark Feuerstein (few are!), so we’ll be waiting for Colm Feore to show up. Unless we’ve given up and are watching the early showing of The USA Network Campbell Evening instead. Burn Notice and Royal Pains on USA Network at 9pm and 10pm Eastern and Pacific, respectively, and a double dose of The Listener on NBC at the same times.


Who Gets Burned on This Season of BURN NOTICE?

People likely have different reasons for watching USA’s Burn Notice. They might appreciate Jeffrey Donovan’s witty mix of MacGyver and Jason Bourne (and the fact that he occasionally takes off his shirt). They might be fond of Gabrielle Anwar’s hot/cool combo of a woman too impatient to spy but willing to wait for her spy (and the fact that she wears bikini tops a lot). They might be amused by Sharon Gless’ cranky take on a woman who wasn’t a very good mother but who continues to worry about her son (and the fact that she wears…very large hoop earrings). If they’re smart, they might just love watching Bruce Campbell–yes, the Bruce Campbell–be snarky and deadly (and the fact that he wears wild Hawaiian shirts. I’ll start the call to, er, arms–more shirtless Campbell!).

Or maybe they just like to settle in for some summer fun with a clever, quick spy thriller that manages to maintain interest by weaving a crime of the week with the overall question of who is out to get Michael Westen. The end of last season found Michael driving into the back of an 18-wheeler where a seductive voice promised some answers. Maybe you’ll tune in for those answers, or maybe because that voice belongs to Battlestar Galactica‘s Tricia Helfer. And it’s Miami in the summer, so her showing up in some halter tops isn’t out of the question. Hey, it’s summer, it’s Burn Notice–it’s all about the sweaty fun. New episodes start tonight, 10pm Eastern.