If You Think There’s Nothing On, It’s Time to Get Cable, Cheapskate.

I’m hearing a lot of complaints from people lately that there’s nothing good on television at the moment. Nine times out of ten, this complaint is coming from people who don’t have cable or satellite TV, and to you people, I would like to say this: What is UP with your priorities, man?

Seriously — if I had to choose between having cable/satellite or paying my mortgage, there’d be nary a moment’s hesitation for me. I mean, what can my house do for me that alternative, cheaper forms of shelter cannot? I mean, BESIDES give me second degree chemical burns on my forearms, like it did last year?

On the other hand, you know what cable/satellite TV is doing for me lately? It’s making me LAUGH. And while, sure, you could argue that my house has also made me laugh from time to time, it’s primarily been laughter of the hysterical variety (you know, the kind that comes right before the total mental breakdown?), which isn’t nearly as fun.

If you don’t have cable/satellite, I’m afraid there’s not much I can do about your complaint except note that Farmer Wants a Wife seems to be quite popular on the CW (my condolences).

If you DO have cable or satellite, however, there are two new shows you need to give a try before you bemoan the lack of quality programming to me again. You one-out-of-ten person who does have cable and yet keeps complaining (you know who you are, you big whiner), pay attention to what’s coming next.

The first show? USA’s newest series, In Plain Sight (Sunday nights, 10pm). Now, the funny thing about this one is that when I first started to see ads for it, I found them so utterly obnoxious I swore I wouldn’t even give it a try. It’s very unlike me to dismiss a show without even watching the pilot, and that goes double for a show on the channel that graced the world with Monk and Psych, two of my summer favorites (p.s. stay tuned next week for a post about shows coming back this July, including these two).

So now’s where I’d like to pause for a moment to educate the people at USA who come up with the ad campaigns in the hopes they don’t make this same mistake next time: If you are trying to market a show to women that is about a strong woman, do not make the clips about breast implants and porn the primary focus of your commercials. Capice? Good.

Lucky for me, the week before this show began, I read a positive review of it in Entertainment Weekly that led to my begrudging concession to watch the first episode before dismissing it so readily as misogynist crap. And, wonder of wonders, it’s actually pretty good! It’s about two U.S. Marshalls who primarily do Witness Protection Program work, and the characters are great, the dialogue is sharp, and the plots so far have been pretty entertaining. So far, I’ve seen three episodes and really enjoyed all three. That’s a very good sign. You can watch full episodes of this one on the USA Network web site, by the way. Go get caught up — I’ll wait.

The second show, I never would’ve even HEARD about had it not been for my mother. So now’s where I’d like to pause for a moment to once again express my profound devotion to the best mom in the whole entire world (Hi, Mom!). Some mothers look out for their daughters by teaching them to avoid motorcycle trash (Hi, Dad!), not walk alone at night, or stay away from trans fats. My mother looks out for me by keeping an eye on the TV guide just in case a new sci-fi show starts up that has dialogue like, “It’s bad apples like you who put Mr. Hoover in a dress.” Man, I totally scored when it came to parents.

The show I’m referring to is called The Middleman, by the way, and the reason I would never have stumbled across it on my own is because it airs on the ABC Family channel (Monday nights, 10pm). My family, however, consists of a cat (who prefers watching squirrels) and a husband (who prefers watching MMORPGs), and so I just assumed this channel would have very little to offer me. But, and again I must say “wonder of wonders,” this show is actually pretty good too!

It’s based on a comic book series of the same name and is sort of like a cross between Dr. Who, Men in Black, The Avengers, and Due South (the guy playing the main character both looks a little like Paul Gross AND says things like, “Thank you kindly”) and though I will confess it’s a bit choppy in places, the dialogue is utterly hilarious, and I really like both the main characters a whole heckfire of a lot.

The Middleman is a guy whose job it is to protect the rest of the world from aliens, robots, and other nefarious characters, and as the series begins, he’s just hired himself a sarcastic sidekick, an artist/temp named Wendy Watson. Together, they wear snazzy suits and stop evildoers from doing evil. And, in the process, have made me laugh out loud at least six times an hour (which is virtually impossible unless you are the movie Overboard (“I just *cough* ate a bug”) or Zoolander (“What is this?  A center for ANTS?”)). It needs some polish, but I think the more the actors get the hang of the thing, it’s going to get even better.

So, you see? Those two plus So You Think You Can Dance and you’re COMPLAINING about there being nothing on? La la la, I can’t hear you, la la la!

Any other new shows I’m missing? Comments, yo!

16 Responses to “If You Think There’s Nothing On, It’s Time to Get Cable, Cheapskate.”

  1. Rochelle Says:

    yes, i’m too cheap to get cable. but i stopped complaining about nothing on tv and started reading, getting caught up on my netflix, playing computer games, surfing the net, and grudgingly doing housework. i have to say i don’t miss the tv that much. except for buffy and angel, but that ship has sailed. there are one or two cable shows i wouldn’t mind checking out such as middleman but here comes that cheapskate thing again.

  2. Rochelle Says:

    and burn notice. and totally heart bruce campbell!

  3. megwood Says:

    Never fear, I’ll be reporting on Burn Notice in the “coming back in July” post!

    What kind of crazy person puts HOUSEWORK higher on their list of priorities than TELEVISION?

  4. Hokie Thoughts Says:

    SYTYCD, and Burn Notice, and Psych is coming back, and Shear Genius, and Food Network Challenge, and Ace of Cakes, and BSG, and oh yeah I have no life. I just watch TV.

  5. jo Says:

    This is a very timely entry, seeing as how I just got cable a couple of weeks ago. I’ve just about burned myself out on HGTV (or, as my husband calls it, the Paint Drying Channel) and was looking around for some new shows to watch.

  6. Lorraine Says:

    I totally agree about the housework 😉 Sometimes the bright sunshine makes me shudder! He-he!

    I’m liking, but not loving “In Plain Sight”. The last episode, I ff-ed through the mother/sister stuff. I’ve been watching “Celebrity Circus” even though I loathe most reality shows. It’s cheesy but I’m amazed at what they learn so quickly. I’m also heavy into Wimbledon now.

    I’m giddy with excitement waiting for “Burn Notice”!!!

  7. Alisa Says:

    Um, hello,

    Project Runway, Kathy G. My life on the D-List, The Big Gay SKetch Show(if you get Logo), Ereaka.

  8. Liz Says:

    I too am totally bummed about summer TV watching – and I have cable! However, my two summer “staples” – “The Dead Zone” and “The 4400” have been canceled (!), and I’ve never gotten into any of the other shows you guys have mentioned.

    Rochelle – BOY do I miss “Buffy,” but I get my David Boreanaz fix with “Bones.” I got my cute vampire fix with “Moonlight” this past year, so I’m worried about next year! But at least we still have “Supernatural” – a show I’ve always described as “Buffy” with more testosterone!

    And I can’t find “The Shield” either! Phooey! But at least we have Netflix and the Red Sox. Anything to get out of housework! 🙂 Did I do that right?

  9. Liz Says:

    Oh! I forgot! “Fear Itself” is okay (for now at least).

  10. WendyP Says:

    I’m totally enjoying Swingtown on CBS. It’s all sex, but has a lot of heart. The casting is brilliant and the trip back to 1976 (I was 6 years old at the time) is laugh out loud funny.

  11. megwood Says:

    Aw, bummer — I missed the news about Dead Zone being canceled. Crud!

    “The Shield” will be back in September, though. Oh, and I forgot to mention “Swingtown” — I am enjoying that one too.

    “Fear Itself” I found pretty unwatchable, not to mention completely unoriginal (I knew how the first episode was going to end five minutes in because I had seen that exact plot about 87 gazillion times already). Only tried the first two, though. Maybe it got better?

  12. Rochelle Says:

    i, too, was getting my tv vampire fix from moonlight. not on par with whedon but it was improving. plus logan! i mean jason dohring.
    i wait for bones to come out on dvd. even though i am too cheap for cable, i hate commercials. i get distracted and switch the channel or leave the room and end up missing stuff.
    supernatural is kind of like the show with two boy buffies. sam is her sappy angel loving side and dean is her butt kicking/self sacrificing side.
    i was excited about fear itself until i watched the first ep. it seemed kind of lame. but i missed a lot due tornado warnings here in oklahoma throughout the episode. not to mention my stinky, i don’t have cable reception. last night’s was ok, but i totally saw the twist coming about 10 minutes in. i missed the eps in between cuz of the not caring.

  13. megwood Says:

    Bollocks! I just learned from my Mom that last night’s Fear Itself was directed by John Landis AND had Sean from “Psych” in it. Will have to dig that one up on the NBC site (they’re streaming all eps of the series for free) and see if it’s any good.

  14. Brie Says:

    I will have to check out Middleman. What GENIUS decided to cross Due South and Sci-Fi?!?! They are my new hero!

    Psych! I CANNNOT wait.
    I have been watching all the funny clips on USA’s website for weeks now. In fact, I had a friend threaten to ban me from the show if I don’t stop using the word dude.
    But dude, come on, it’s the funniest thing in years, I laugh out loud every single show!

  15. Stephanie Leigh Says:

    Meg, if you only watched the first two episodes of Fear Itself then you missed the episode with Maggie Lawson and James Roday of Psych! It was the only episode I’ve watched, and to tell the truth, I doubt I’ll watch anymore. I’m not the sort who watches scary things, but even so I figured out the end before the first commercial break.
    I’ll have to give Middlemen a try, as though I have any more time for TV! Thanks! Actually I mean that.

  16. Dixie-Ann Says:


    It’s uncanny, I caught an ep of “In Plain Sight” about a week ago, and developed an almost instantaneous crush on Marshall (Frederick Weller). Was sadly wandering through the Net trying to find info about the show as there’s not much out there, and you’ve happily given me a fix. (Another reason to love your blog!)

    There’s something about the character, maybe cause he’s smart, funny, loyal or…something…. I’ve only seen a few eps, so maybe this will go away, but if not I humbly suggest him as a maybe, possible, potential Boyfriend of the Week.

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