Summer TV Roundup, Week 13

Summer is well past the dog days and headed for the home stretch. But there's still new shows vying for our attention. In these weekly posts I look at the first and second episodes of new scripted series this summer. Don't see a new show listed below? Check previous weeks.

Monday Nights:
Too Close to Home, Mondays at 9 p.m. on TLC (Premiered August 22)
About: This is the first scripted series for TLC, a network best know for "19 Kids and Counting" and "Toddlers and Tiaras." It's not an obvious choice, but it speaks to the incredible explosion of scripted television. But, let's all take a moment and remember that TLC stands for The Learning Channel. How this series, or any of their other shows, really fit that title escapes my understanding. What I do know is this new series comes from Tyler Perry, and it's set in Washington, D.C. and a small town in Alabama. The first two episodes aired together on Monday night and they were... poor. That's the kindest way to put it. The story was rough, the acting was terrible, and the characters were poorly conceived. Is this a soap opera? Is it a family drama? Is it about second chances? Is it a redemption story? Is it a love story? Who knows. After two hours (and two minutes if we're being technical) I still don't know. Worse yet, I don't care. This was awful and may well be enough to push TLC to figure out how to justify the Learning Channel moniker and go back to reality show fare.
Pilot Grade: D
Second Episode: D

Sunday Nights:
Chesapeake Shores, Sundays at 9 p.m. on Hallmark Channel (Premiered August 14)
About: Hallmark Channel is best known for its TV movies, particularly it's Christmas-themed movies that dominate November and December. (They're already shilling for the Countdown to Christmas, by the way). But recently, Hallmark has developed a handful of original series. Their latest, "Chesapeake Shores," is a family drama that's been going strong for two weeks. And it's nothing short of charming. I'm not exactly the biggest fan of the Hallmark brand, nor am I the target demographic, but I'm enjoying this series for what it is and it's potential. I like Meghan Ory in the lead role, and it's great to have Treat Williams - always to be remembered as "Everwood's" Andy Brown - back in a weekly series. Is this the next great drama? No. Is it a fun way to wrap up a Sunday night? It sure is.
Pilot Grade: B-
Second Episode: B-


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