Welcome to the relaunch of TV Eye, the blog. This is my first post on the new blog system, and it's the first one where I really take the "watercooler" concept of my newspaper column of the same name (which makes its final appearance today) and apply it to this blog.
There are differences, and I think they're for the better. As much as I'll miss talking to people on the phone to get their feedback about some of our mutual favorites on the tube, this format will allow readers to be freer with their comments, without yours truly hogging the conversation. Just type your opinions, hit that button and — voila! — put the snooty TV critic in his place.
Let's start out with this: What are you regularly watching so far this summer?
Here are six summer 2008 series i never miss an episode of, listed in no particular order:
1. "Generation Kill," 9 p.m. Sundays on HBO. This Iraq War series from David Simon and Ed Burns of "The Wire" is based on the bestselling book by Rolling Stone reporter Evan Wright, who chronicled his embed with the 1st Reconnaissance Battalion of the Marine Corps during the U.S. invasion of Iraq. The writing and cinematography make you feel like a witness to history, and the acting is superb —especially James Ransone as a wisecracking, overstimulated Humvee driver.
2. "Weeds," 10 p.m. Mondays, Showtime. Oh, that dope-selling Nancy Botwin (Mary-Louise Parker and her wacky friends and family. Is there nothing they won't do to make me laugh (and cringe)?
3. "Swingtown," 10 p.m. Thursdays, CBS. If the very notion of a series about spouse-swapping in the 1970s offends you, chances are you've already fired off that angry letter to CBS. As for me, I don't offend that easily. Heck, I even grew a mustache inspired, in part, by actor Grant Show. I'm not ashamed to admit that.
4. "The Secret Life of the American Teenager," 8 p.m. Tuesdays, ABC Family. This series about teen sex comes with a TV-14 rating, but don't make any assumptions yet if you haven't seen it. It's actually a cautionary tale about the dangers of unprotected teen sex — in the first episode, a sweet teen girl finds out she got pregnant from her very first sexual experience. In other subplots, teens struggle with peer pressure — including a born-again Christian cheerleader — and substituting sex for love. It's nice to see TV vets Molly Ringwald, Josie Bissett, John Schneider and Steve Shirripa (!) playing parents, and the young cast is very likable. I'll discuss this show more later.
5. "Burn Notice," 10 p.m. Thursdays, USA. Former spy-turned private dick Michael Westen (Jeffrey Donovan) returns to work for the very people who burned him last season, while planning his retaliation. Here's betting this gadgets-and-tactics expert gets to throw the last flame in this fight. Meanwhile, I'll enjoy the ride.
6. "The Closer," Kyra Sedgwick is back as neurotic Georgia-born murder investigator Brenda Leigh Johnson. What more does anyone need to know?
(OK, your turn.)