Saluting Summer Standouts Before the Fall Crush

The end of the Olympics has already triggered an onslaught of new programming, as cable networks that have been holding their fire try to get in some original shows before the major networks start their fall push after Labor Day.

This seemed like as good a time as any to hand out some unofficial awards (the Lowrys?) to the standouts and stumbles of the post-Memorial Day period:

BreakingbadlwwjpNever Disappointing Award: Breaking Bad.” Simply put, the most unpredictable program on television, and the latest season is no exception. If anything, the show’s moral situations have become even sharper, and the foreshadowing of what’s to come at the season’s start has added an unsettling element to what already was an edge-of-your-seat weekly experience.

Disappointing But I’m Still Watching Award: “True Blood.” At this point it is what it is — entertaining, but preposterous and overwrought.

Waste of Time & Money Award: CBS, for suing to prevent ABC from airing “Glass House.” In hindsight, CBS should have paid ABC to air it.

Waste of a Good Title Award: Fox, for its dating show “The Choice.” On the plus side, NBC might be willing to buy those used swiveling chairs from the producers on eBay.

Best Exploitation of Rednecks Award: TLC, for “Here Comes Honey Boo Boo.” Although frankly, it’s not as much fun Seacrestwhen they actually refer to themselves as rednecks.

Overexposed Award: Ryan Seacrest should have taken the summer off.

Over-covered Award: “The Newsroom.” Aaron Sorkin’s HBO drama is certainly worth discussing, but given the relative merits, not this much.

Unexpected Bright Spot Award: “Hit & Miss,” the transgender assassin drama on DirecTV’s Audience Network. What sounded like a pun in search of a series has turned out to be a completely absorbing, gritty drama. Runners-up: MTV’s “The Inbetweeners” (full review to come) and TNT’s “Dallas.”

Disappointing, Given the Premise Award:  USA’s “Political Animals” and BBC America’s “Copper.” Had high hopes for both, for different reasons, but alas, let down in the execution. Although I have found some things to like in “Political Animals” — and plan to provide a fuller post once I’ve previewed the season finale — as the show progressed, for every step forward in terms of the political storyline it has taken one back with the soap-opera elements.

Consistently Classy Award: HBO documentaries. The pay channel’s regular Monday-night offerings illustrate why the channel wields such a big stick among documentary filmmakers.

That’s all for the Lowrys, at least for now. Maybe next year I’ll try to hire someone named Jimmy to host them.

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