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'Rizzoli & Isles,' 'Breaking Bad' and more heat up summer TV

Dale Roe, On TV

Staff Writer
Austin 360

A couple of weeks ago, I wrote about a trio of television shows returning for new seasons "True Blood," "Weeds" and "The Big C." Many of you wrote that you were excited about these shows (especially bloodthirsty were the "Trubies" among you).

But there also were those of you who took me to task for the fact that these shows run on premium cable channels — "True Blood" on HBO and the other two on Showtime. It's great that the year-round TV season means we're no longer stuck with reruns, you told me, but what about all of the great shows on basic cable? After all, the economy's in the toilet, money's tight and not every TV fan can afford "not TV."

Though it'd be neat if I could influence the networks' schedules (for starters, there'd be no summer break for "Fringe" and Kyle Killen's new NBC drama "Awake" would be debuting this fall instead of spring 2012), my letters seem to go largely ignored.

Unlike yours.

This week, I'm writing about a bunch of great premieres running the gamut of dramatic genres, and they're all on basic cable (I won't even mention Larry David's hilarious "Curb Your Enthusiasm," returning for an eighth cringe-inducing season on HBO tonight at 9, even though it looks pretty, pretty, pretty, pretty good).

So sit back, zip your program guide right past those re-runny broadcast network channels and settle in for a week of cable premieres that are "basically" great.

Monday

"Eureka." 7 p.m., Syfy. Internet celebrity — and fan of the show — Felicia Day joins the cast during season 41/2 (that's so Eureka) for a multiepisode love triangle arc. Because triangles and arcs are right in this silly but brainy techno-drama's wheelhouse. The show also is continuing to grapple with repercussions of last season's time-traveling-induced alternate time line.

"Warehouse 13." 8 p.m., Syfy. Aaron Ashmore ("Smallville") joins the cast as Steve Jinks, a Lightman Group-esque human lie detector, as we learn the fate of Myka (Joanne Kelly) following her post-betrayal resignation.

"The Closer." 8 p.m., TNT. Mary McDonnell returns this season as Capt. Raydor to butt heads with Kyra Sedgwick's Deputy Police Chief Brenda Leigh Johnson — and, presumably, to help set up her own spinoff, "Major Crimes" (because "The Closer" calls it quits after this seventh and final season).

"Rizzoli & Isles," 9 p.m., TNT.2010's breakout buddy procedural is back for its sophomore outing from last season's self-shooting cliffhanger. It's not clear why the network thought it had to mess with a good thing, but expect several new cast members including a relative and a sidekick. Also, the powers that be seem set to firmly squash rumors that the duo might be gay by introducing an opposite-sex love interest.

Wednesday

"Damages." 9 p.m., DirecTV. After last season's largely more personal stories, Season 4 takes on the issue of private military contractors in Afghanistan and their intersection with journalism and politics. Murdered Tom Shayes (Tate Donovan) is gone, of course, but John Goodman ("Treme") joins the cast as a contractor CEO, while Judd Hirsch and Griffin Dunne take on recurring guest roles.

"Rescue Me." 9 p.m., FX. As we roll toward the actual 10th anniversary of 9/11, the final season of this brutal and occasionally hilarious drama returns its focus to that tragic day. Tommy continues to battle his demons (and 9/11 profiteers) in a desperate search for redemption.

Friday

"Haven." 9 p.m., Syfy.Jason Priestley ("Beverly Hills 90210") guest stars in four episodes — and will direct one — of the Stephen King-inspired supernatural drama, returning for a second season. Tonight's premiere finds two Audrey Parkers mucking about.

Sunday, July 17

"Breaking Bad." 9 p.m., AMC. The Emmy-winning critical darling — easily one of the best dramas on television — returns. Creator Vince Gilligan compares the new season to "Frankenstein" in which, he told Entertainment Weekly, "the scientist becomes afraid of his creation." That's scarier than the monsters in the network's "The Walking Dead."

droe@statesman.com; 912-5923