By Gail Pennington
St. Louis Post-Dispatch
TV viewers can be forgiven for dragging their feet about committing to a new series. These days, that’s simply self-protection; most new shows don’t even last a full season, and getting attached to one only to have it disappear never stops being frustrating.
But what if you held back from sampling a show that sounded interesting, even while others talked it up, and now that show has been renewed for fall? Or what if several shows you wanted to watch all aired in the same time slot, and you couldn’t keep up with them all?
Summer is your chance to catch up, even if that might not be as easy as sitting back and waiting for reruns.
With an abundance of first-run shows on the air this summer, reruns don’t have the built-in audience they did just two decades ago. CBS still reliably repeats most of its shows, because its brand of comedies and procedural dramas do well in second airings. The CW smartly started all its dramas over from the beginning this summer.
Some shows will air in reruns on the other broadcast networks, but others either won’t be repeated at all or aren’t on the air now but might come back in repeats later. Adding to the summer confusion is the fact that some canceled shows are still airing in repeats.
Here’s a look at some shows you might have missed during the TV season that just ended, all of which will return with new episodes in the fall, and some reasons to start watching them now.
_”Hawaii Five-0,” CBS
Airs this fall: 10 p.m. Mondays
Watch now: At 10 p.m. Mondays, at CBS.com or at Hulu.com (five episodes)
CBS’ top-rated new drama of last season is also an international hit and has already been sold into syndication on TNT for 2014, so expect it to be around a while. If its mix of over-the-top action with banter and beaches seemed a bit much for fall, maybe the pretty people (Alex O’Loughlin, Scott Caan, Daniel Dae Kim) and even prettier scenery will make it a better fit for summer.
_”Raising Hope,” Fox
Airs this fall: 9:30 p.m. Tuesdays
Watch now: At 9 p.m. Tuesdays, at Fox.com or at Hulu.com (full season)
How did you miss this adorable and genuinely funny comedy from Greg Garcia (“My Name Is Earl”)? Baby Hope alone is reason enough to watch, but so is the ridiculous but somehow very real family dynamic surrounding young Jimmy (Lucas Neff), raising his baby daughter with the dysfunctional help of his parents (Martha Plimpton and Garrett Dillahunt), the very people who messed up with him.
Airs this fall: 8 p.m. Fridays
Watch now: At 9 p.m. Thursdays, at CWTV.com (six episodes) or at Hulu.com (six episodes)
Could be, you don’t watch much on the CW, the network of “Gossip Girl” and “90210” and women 18-34. But this dark drama _ about a young woman (Maggie Q) forced to train as an assassin who escaped and turned on her captors _ drew a broader following for its slam-bang action scenes and twisty plots, plus a lead character worth rooting for.
_”Harry’s Law,” NBC
Airs this fall: 9 p.m. Wednesdays
Watch now: At NBC.com, at Hulu.com (three episodes) or Cable On Demand
NBC didn’t renew any of last fall’s new shows but will bring back this David E. Kelley legal dramedy, which debuted at midseason to mixed response. Why should you watch? Although some viewers will find Kelley’s trademark mix of comedy and melodrama annoyingly over the top, just as many will appreciate the oddball legal cases, often putting a spin on current events. And almost everyone can admire star Kathy Bates’ take-no-prisoners performance.
_”Body of Proof,” ABC
Airs this fall: 10 p.m. Tuesdays
Watch now: At 10 p.m. Tuesdays, at ABC.com, at Hulu.com (nine episodes) or Cable On Demand
Dana Delany’s medical-examiner drama didn’t arrive until late March and was barely getting started when the season ended. Beyond its procedural storylines, which sometimes seemed to be trying too hard, the series offered an interestingly flawed character in Delany’s Dr. Megan Hunt, whose problems include a troubled relationship with her daughter and injuries that forced her to give up neurosurgery.
_”Blue Bloods,” CBS
Airs this fall: 10 p.m. Fridays on CBS
Watch now: At 10 p.m. Fridays, at CBS.com, at Hulu.com (episodes 1, 12 and 13)
Maybe you were out on Fridays? The drama about a family of cops, headed by Tom Selleck, built a solid fan base with its mix of police work and family interplay. But if you didn’t get hooked, this summer’s repeats will help you get to know the Reagan family and catch up on the ongoing “Blue Templar” story.
Gail Pennington: [email protected]
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