Friday, July 9 (SyFy)
Season Premiere: For three entertaining seasons, Eureka (about an off-the-grid Oregon town of supergeniuses and scientists developed by Albert Einstein and the Pentagon) has skated by on quirks and charm. A change-up was due, and the Season 4 premiere throws an smartly subtle reset: Eureka’s five core characters inadvertently time-travel back to the town’s 1947 beginnings and meet Einstein’s right-hand man, Dr. Grant (James Callis, aka Battlestar Galactica’s Giaus Baltar)—not to drop a spoiler, but they’re all coming back to a slightly off 2010. Eureka has always lacked a certain “edge,” and Baltar, er, Callis is just the bastard to bring it. Fearless prediction: Best season yet.
Sunday, July 11 (A&E)
Series Debut: Heard this one before? Jim Longworth (Matt Passmore) is a brilliant-but-difficult Chicago homicide detective who’s been professionally exiled to the seemingly sleepy resort town of Palm Glades, Florida—but there’s bad, bad crime underneath the sunny surface. It’s been done, and done better than The Glades, A&E’s attempt at a lighter kind of drama after dark-adjacent flops The Cleaner and The Beast. Sure, Passmore is charming, funny, good-lookin’ and imperceptibly Australian, but so is The Mentalist—and that show sucks. At the very least, The Glades is a decent time-killer between Hoarders, Intervention and every other fucked-up-headcase A&E reality series.
Sunday, July 11 (VH1)
Series Debut: As if The T.O. Show weren’t enough, here’s another dull-ass VH1 reality series about another dull-ass pro football player—Bret Michaels, all is forgiven … come back! Says VH1, The Ultimate Catch is “a mix of Chad Ochocinco’s on-field charisma blended with the drama of the dating pool, played out in a bracket-style dating tournament.” Says The Only TV Column That Matters™, “VH1 is now on my blocked channels list with ABC Family, TLC and those TruTV thieves.”
Monday, July 12 (TNT)
Series Debut: Ain’t promising on paper: Jane Rizzoli (Angie Harmon) is a hard-living, hotheaded detective who happens to be the only woman in the Boston homicide division; Maura Isles (Sasha Alexander) is a cool-asice medical examiner who always looks like she “just stepped out of a fashion shoot.” Together, they’re best friends who solve crimes! But, what first looks like Lifetime fluff to be slotted behind Army Wives and forgotten about is actually a well-crafted, occasionally dark cop drama that trumps male-driven TNT badge-flashers like Dark Blue and Memphis Beat. If the quality and tension of tonight’s premiere episode can be sustained, and we eventually learn anything about Isles (the pilot ep is essentially The Rizzoli Show), Rizzoli & Isles is going to make for a killer combo with The Closer (season premiere tonight, also). But, why does no one have a Bah-ston accent?
Tuesday, July 13 (USA)
Series Debut: Based on, oh, everything she’s done before, it’s difficult to imagine Piper Perabo carrying a TV series—unless you’re Angelina Jolie, pouting is not acting. But Covert Affairs will make you re-forget Coyote Ugly: Annie Walker (Perabo) is a talented-but-green CIA trainee suddenly promoted to field operative for mysterious Reasons Yet to Be Revealed; blind-and-unfortunately-named tech guy Auggie Anderson (Christopher Gorham) soon becomes her only friend inside the agency. Covert Affairs’ two-hour pilot recalls the flashy, visceral spy action of early Alias, but with more humor (thanks mostly to Gorham) and empathy (thanks entirely to Perabo, who’s equally convincing as a tenacious ass-kicker and a wide-eyed rookie). Not that there’s anything wrong with the old one, but USA has its new Burn Notice.