In defense of the summer procedural

Taking a break from my usual post talking about the family, house or vacations. Not even going to talk about sports (Saving that for Fridays post.) Nope today I will off a defense of a much maligned television genre: the summer procedural.

First, what I am referring to are the shows that traditionally air during the summer months on the Cable networks, like TNT, USA. These are generally shows that people don’t pay much attention to. And the Internet critics even tend to ignore or just blow them off as just boring, standardized repetitive mindless crap. But I am here to say give these shows a chance, they are everything that we like about television: entertaining, light hearted to some extent, with just a dash of seriousness, perfect for diverting the attention during the summer months when the other options are repeats or crap reality shows.

I’m going to run through the shows we watch on a regular basis, with a description of the most recent episodes to give you an idea why we enjoy them so much.

Monday night

Major Crimes

This is probably our favorite of the current shows. A spin off/successor of previous favorite The Closer. This one really has it all. An intriguing overarching plot in the homeless teen turned foster child who is also the key witness in a previous serial killer case. Watching how the kid grows and deal with being the child/sibling of a squad room of Police detectives has lots of very interesting consequences. A gifted cast, with some great character actors who make the show fun to watch as they find dark humor in almost every situation. And a real knack for making the case of the week interesting, and applying unique twists. Like how it took a situation that looked very much like a repeat of the Trayvon Martin case and flipped it completely around.


The number one reason I like this show: the scenery. Filmed in New Mexico, even though the show ostensibly takes place in Wyoming, the scenic shots are just amazing. Second is the setting, I am a sucker for anything that involves Native Americans, and with this set in a county that borders a Reservation there is a lot of interaction there.  Third, I really like the cast, some of my favorite character actors and actresses. Really the only negative I have is the overarching themes are a little too tiresome.

King & Maxwell

This is a new show, so it is still growing and developing. And it is fun, the leads have a real good chemistry. And the secondary cast is filling out nicely, which leads to my favorite thing about the show. Ryan Hurst plays a character with a serious case of autism/Aspergers (I get confused some times about which is which.) And there is something really amazing to see this big guy, who still looks like his biker character from Sons of Anarchy, playing this very difficult role and really pulling it off.


Rizzoli & Isles

Almost more of a ‘chick show’ than a procedural I admit it took some time for this show to grow on me. Kim has been a follower from day one, but I haven’t watched it as much. But I do enjoy it when I do watch. And not for the obvious reason (2 good looking women), but because the same reasons I like most of these shows: the chemistry. This is one of those shows where it looks like the cast genuinely looks like they enjoy playing their parts and acting with each other. And that is what a lot of these shows have in common.


Burn Notice

Since this is the last season it is too late for anyone here to latch on to the show, except in reruns or netflix. But it was and still is a really good show. Of course I was drawn to a show with Bruce Campbell. And the spy stuff and action stuff made it all really cool. I always enjoyed the many ways the group would fool the bad guys. I did get a little tired of the seeming never end of upping the bad guy ante with the overarching plot, which is why it is a good thing the show has finally run its course. But it was a fun show that was one of the prefect summer diversion shows.

There you have it, there are other shows we have enjoyed that are no longer on the air: Leverage, The Closer, In Plain Sight. But they all have a couple of things in common. Great cast chemistry, it is fun to watch a show with a recurring cast if it looks like the cast enjoy spending time together. Not too serious, yeah on some level we should take murders and violent crimes seriously, but that is not what people want in an entertaining diversion like a summer cable TV show. Honestly, if you give me those 2 things I will happily enjoy the show as a pleasant evening diversion, and that is all that these shows are, they aren’t deep thinking, life changing shows. So, relax critics, and enjoy yourselves.


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