Weeds (Season Premiere) -- 10/9c on Showtime (Re-Airs at 11/10c)
Just when it was starting to seem like our only TV options this summer were intelligence-insulting reality shows (um, Celebrity Circus anyone?) and scripted throwaways (cough cough, Swingtown!), Weeds comes to the rescue. Last we saw Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker), she’d just added arson to her list of offenses after torching her house in suburban Agrestic (a.k.a. Majestic). Tonight’s season 4 premiere finds the pot-dealing mom settling near the Mexican border at a house owned by her late husband’s father (guest star Albert Brooks). Of course, the change of setting doesn’t mean the Botwin clan is going to live happily ever after.
Secret Diary of a Call Girl (Series Premiere) -- 10:30/9:30c (Re-Airs at 11:30/10:30c)
Weeds’ new lineup-mate is less salacious than its title may imply, but fear not: Sex will be had. British star Billie Piper (Doctor Who) plays Hannah, a high-class prostitute who leads a very complex life--even outside of, er, work. Call Girl seems like another example of Showtime choosing its adult series wisely, while archrival HBO continues to overthink the TV-MA prospects (i.e., Tell Me You Love Me, John from Cincinnati). [PAGEBREAK]
TUESDAY, JUNE 17
AFI’s 10 Top 10 -- 8/7c on CBS
Everyone loves lists and countdowns--and then there are the folks at the American Film Institute, who are positively obsessed with the stuff. Their latest entry counts down “America’s 10 greatest films in 10 classic genres”: animation, courtroom drama, epic, fantasy, gangster, mystery, romantic comedy, sci-fi, sports and Western. Indeed, bold move by the AFI to deem “gangster” and “courtroom drama” classic genres--and people say they’re not progressive! Further proof of the Institute’s progressiveness: Modern movies like The Departed actually made the cut. Still, expect to disagree strongly with the selections.
America’s Got Talent (Season Premiere) -- 9/8c on NBC
And on the polar opposite end of the TV spectrum comes the third-season premiere of Simon Cowell’s other, slightly less intriguing reality show, America's Got Talent. (Cowell co-created the show but is not allowed to appear due to his American Idol contract.) The whole gang--judges David Hasselhoff, Piers Morgan and Sharon Osbourne, and host Jerry Springer--is back for the nationwide talent-search free-for-all, which embraces the failures as much as the rare successes. Hey, just like American Idol! [PAGEBREAK]
WEDNESDAY, JUNE 18
The Real World: Hollywood -- 10/9c on MTV (Re-Airs at 11/10c)
Last week The Real World served up the rarest of moments: a real one. Joey read his goodbye letter to drugs and alcohol, which doubled as his letter of resignation from the show. All the roommates were teary-eyed, and, most impressively--partly because MTV didn’t edit it out--the recovering addict completely denounced the fame and celebrity he sought via The Real World: Hollywood. But this week it’s back to the grind--faux reality! Two new roommates move in, and the drama commences immediately, when Will becomes overly flirtatious with the female newbie, a model named Brittini. [PAGEBREAK]
THURSDAY, JUNE 19
Penn & Teller: Bull----! (Season Premiere) -- 10/9c on Showtime (Re-Airs at 10:30/9:30c)
For a series that’s more or less a blip on Showtime’s vast radar, Bull----! can be pretty great. And if tonight’s season 6 premiere is any indication, we’re in for more of the same from magicians-turned-comedians-turned-TV raconteurs Penn and Teller. In the first of 10 episodes, the versatile duo takes aim at the war on porn--namely those who have declared the war. They. Must. Be. Stopped!
Live from Abbey Road (Season Premiere) -- 10/9c on Sundance Channel
Given that Live from Abbey Road airs on the Sundance Channel, you’d think producers would be ever-so-slightly inclined to showcase acts that are not staples of modern rock radio or fixtures on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. But that’s not a knock on the many, many fans of Mary J. Blige, James Blunt and Dashboard Confessional, who kick off the show’s second season of rehearsals and performances at London’s iconic recording studio. [PAGEBREAK]
FRIDAY, JUNE 20
Camp Rock -- 8/7c on Disney Channel (Re-Airs Saturday at 8/7c on ABC)
Move over, Miley, Selena and High School Musical--it’s the Jonas Brothers’ turn for Disney uber-hyper-mega-superstardom! (Because right now they’re only mega-superstars.) The Jonases’ first “Disney Channel Original Movie,” a musical, stars Next Big Little Thing Demi Lovato as a teen who attends a summer camp for aspiring singers, where she meets the lead singer (Joe Jonas) of the band Connect Three (whose other members are, you guessed it, Nick and Kevin Jonas). Our thoughts and prayers go out to all parents of teenagers during this trying time. [PAGEBREAK]
SATURDAY, JUNE 21
Saturday Night Live (Repeat) -- 11:29/10:29c on NBC
It’s a repeat, but one worth watching--arguably the first such episode since the days of Ferrell & Co. Tina Fey’s first time hosting the show on which she previously served as head writer marked SNL’s return from the WGA strike--and possibly return to form. Buzz was already audible surrounding the current cast’s abilities, but this episode seemed to kick the chatter into high gear, thanks in large part to the 30 Rock/Baby Mama star. The highlight: Fey’s envelope-pushing pro-Hillary Clinton rant during the “Weekend Update” segment, which takes on a whole new meaning when viewed now. Oh yeah, Carrie Underwood was the musical guest/non-entity. [PAGEBREAK]
SUNDAY, JUNE 22
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix -- 9/8c on HBO
Reason No. 4,869 not to watch E!’s Sunday night reality block: It conflicts with HBO’s Sunday night movie premiere. Tonight it’s Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix’s turn, continuing HBO’s run of airing last summer’s blockbusters (finally!). The fifth film in the Potter franchise, Order of the Phoenix almost broke the billion-dollar mark worldwide and stands as the sixth-highest-grossing film of all time (Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone is still ahead at No. 4). It’s also the darkest Potter movie yet--despite Harry (Daniel Radcliffe) locking lips for the first time!