Entertainment

DVR Cleanup: The 10 Best Summer Dramas Of 2014

Okay, these might not be the ten best – They are the ten best of the rest (meaning the shows that I haven’t already written a feature story about). Anyway, here they are. If you missed these programs this past summer, shame on you…

Chasing Life (ABC Family)

Finale: “Finding Chemo,” Airdate: August 12, 2014

What has happened to ABC Family? I thought this was supposed to be a semi-Christian channel that stayed away from racy issues? April was in a mini-love triangle, complete with premarital sex (with both men individually). To top that, April’s sister Brenna was caught up in a bi-sexual love triangle. Also, April’s mom was flirting with the idea of hooking up with her dead husband’s brother (btw, the husband had another family in a different state without his first family knowing). All of that was happening, and this was just a midseason finale. From what I understand, their return is supposed to be a Christmas Special airing in December.

I have no earthly idea why I like this show so much, but I have to admit that I am hooked. The show is about a girl named April who finds out she has leukemia. For some reason, that premise was enough to drew me in. The show turned out to be much more than a run-of-the-mill cancer story (not to make light of the disease in any way), it actually is a pretty good drama that develops characters in a way that sucks the audience in. Dominick dumped April… Leo has something to tell her (if she isn’t dead)… can’t wait to find out what happens this winter!

The Divide (WE)

Finale: “To Whom Evil Is Done,” Airdate: August 27, 2014

‘The Divide’ is really good. It is about a reinvestigation into the murder of an entire family. One man died via capital punishment, the other was able to go free with the help some lawyers, and the memory of the lone surviving family member. Great characters, great acting, and a decent plot with unavoidable twists, the only quibble I had was with the closeness of all the characters. At times, it was a better version of the defunct Starz series ‘Crash’, based on the Oscar-winning movie of the same name.

Their worlds are so close, yet no one was able to see the truth that was slapping them right in the face? Other than that small blip, this was a welcomed escape for a short eight-episode run. There was some Great Gatsby-like drama in the finale that will make season two a must watch. Before the show aired, the creator promised a season two. I hope We TV makes that a reality.

Falling Skies (TNT)

Finale: “Shoot the Moon,” Airdate: August 31, 2014

TNT continues to live out the slogan of “We Know Drama,” show after show, after entertaining show.

‘Falling Skies’ is substantially different than it used to be. That doesn’t mean it is bad or worse, it is just different. Less hand-to-hand combat, and more plotting and overall destruction. There wasn’t much to say about this season though. Lexi’s death was sad, but probably necessary, and I am intrigued with what is going to happen to Tom next. There does seem to be an end to the war with the Espheni aliens in sight, and according to Entertainment Weekly, ‘Falling Skies’ has been renewed for its fifth and final season.

Gang Related (FOX)

Finale: “Malandros,” Airdate: August 14, 2014

A cop is living a double life working for the police, and helping his gang family in the process. Sounded like a storyline that wasn’t going to survive, yet I watched anyway. The show ended up being so good that I couldn’t have stopped if I wanted to. Episode 10, “El Buey y El Alacran” was full of drama, and was a definite high point of the season. The main character, Ryan, was forced to turn in Javier (his surrogate father) after discovering a tracking device Internal Affairs had placed on his car. This situation amped up the balancing act that already seemed too heavy for Ryan. It was a much needed and well-written turn of events that added more depth to the plot and week-to-week procedural storylines.

Kudos to the show writers. The season ended with Ryan setting Javier up to take a hellacious beating in prison, after he found out Javier was the one who ordered Jessica’s (Ryan’s girlfriend’s) murder. Good ending to a good season. As of this post, the show hadn’t been officially renewed for season two, but according to Zap2It, the producers feel optimistic, so I am too.

The Haves And The Have Nots (OWN)

Finale: “Checkmate,” Airdate: July 29, 2014

The big season cliffhanger this time is “Who did Amanda shoot? Was it her mother, Katherine, or her brother, Wyatt? The smart money is on Wyatt. If Wyatt’s storyline ended, the show would be fine. However, if Katheryn was somehow killed, there would be so many unanswered questions, and loose ends left untied. By the way, I loved the scene of Amanda going back-and-forth, back-and-forth, creepily singing “Eeny, Meeny, Miney Moe.”  In my opinion, Amanda stole the show this season. Her declaration of wanting to “kill her family” was the one plot point that threatened the future direction of the show.

She also started a semi-relationship with Candice’s ex, Quincy, who is as stereotypically scary as they come. The previous finale ended with Jim having someone kidnapped, and now, he is on the other end. It is going to be interesting to see how Candice turns the tables on him. There are too many other storylines to review. For one, Jeffrey is still dealing with his own sexuality, while being utterly petrified of his mother. Also, Jeffrey’s father David apparently just had an affair with their campaign manager, Maggie.

We still do not really know what happened to Candice’s son, even though she told her mother and brother that Quincy killed him. Next season should be just as salacious and entertaining as this one was. Tyler Perry has used this show (and others) to turn around the fate of OWN (read 5 Reasons Men Should Watch The OWN Network for more). It seems as though Perry is at a point, where at least one of his television shows is active year-round for OWN. I am sure the network loves that!

Longmire, Season 3 (A&E)

Finale: “Ashes to Ashes,” Airdate: August 4, 2014

This was the best season to date for this show. If you are not watching: YOU ARE MISSING OUT! This is one of the most addicting shows on television! The writing this season was incredible. There were about four constant main storylines that were blended perfectly alongside the fresh, one-episode capers Americans have come to expect from procedural shows. Also, we finally found out the biggest mystery of the series: Who killed Walt Longmire’s wife! The answer involved a mix of familiar bad guys, dead people, and seedy characters.

The future of Walt, Henry, Branch, and Vic were all up in the air at the end of the season, and we won’t know until the next season whether Branch is even alive. I am super excited to see where this goes, now that so much has been revealed. The funny thing is: As the show hits a peak, immediate cancellation was predicted. Enstars.com was reporting that the 1.4 million viewer ratings dip that Longmire had for the season three finale might hurt the show’s chances for renewal. A&E has cancelled the series, but the producers are shopping it around to other networks.

Mistresses (ABC)

Finale: “Til Death Do Us Part,” Airdate: September 1, 2014

I think I started watching this show because I needed something to finally replace ‘Desperate Housewives’ for me. It can be a little cheesy at times, and expectedly solicitous, but it works. The biggest thing that happened this season was Joss and Harry getting together. I knew they were going to hook up since season one, they were just meant to be. It will be interesting to see how Savi will handle her sister’s (Joss) new romance, since she has a new-found love for her ex-husband (Harry). They did an excellent job this season of coming up with new and inventive ways to hide Alyssa Milano’s (Savi) real life pregnancy too. Nothing more to report – Looking forward to next summer (no word yet on a renewal).

Murder In The First (TNT)

Finale: “Blunt the Edge,” Airdate: August 11, 2014

I’m not sure if this show is going to survive to see a season two. It is about one single crime that is followed from beginning to end, throughout the entire season. The ratings weren’t the best, and TNT has so many great shows, they do not need to keep this. I want to know where Terry and Hildy’s relationship is going to go. I also want to see this crew with a new and maybe more interesting murder investigation. I thought the investigation of billionaire Erich Blunt was cliché and predictable. A rich man who thinks he’s above the law – Never heard that before. If there is a season two, they will need a more evasive and less run-of-the-mill bad guy to chase.

Rogue (Direct TV)

Finale: “Coup De Grace,” Airdate: July 30, 2014

I never agreed with people like Mary McNamra of the L.A. Times who said season one was “a wreck of a crime drama.” I watch a lot of television and I find this show entertaining. It’s not ‘Criminal Minds’ or ‘The Shield’ but it has some value, and can be intriguing at times. I miss the “hell hath no fury like a mother scorned” Grace, (the main character) of season one. This season was a little hard to follow in the beginning, but it picked up steam as the season went along.

Grace was back in the saddle, being an undercover badass for a “rogue” federal task force, whose responsibility was to solve the case, but not really solve the case. It’s complicated and convoluted, but if you give it a chance you’ll grow to love the subtle honesty of the absurd plot. There was absolutely no nudity from actress Thandie Newton (Grace) this season, after she seemed to be naked in every episode of season one. The good news is, Deadline.com is reporting that Direct TV has renewed this show for two more seasons.

Rookie Blue (ABC)

Finale: “Figments; Everlasting” Airdate: August 21, 2014

This show is my Wes Welker. Not particularly fast or strong… just good. There is nothing to the writing, no strong acting, no water cooler moments – Just easy to watch, enjoyable summer television. The season was okay, but no earth-shattering storylines going forward. Andy and Sam are back together and clicking. Chloe is pregnant, but apparently not over her new ex-husband Marlo… or is she? Is the baby Dov’s or Marlo’s? Also, Gail is going to have a child (adopted)? God help us all.

The breaks in-between episodes have to stop (that’s if this show gets renewed of course). Every summer I get into this show and every summer there is an extended break (or two) that leaves me with empty time (sometimes weeks) in-between episodes. As I get older, I am finding my attention span going in reverse. ABC needs to take heed, and put this on at a time that will not get interrupted in the summer of 2015.

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Jack Gotta

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