Summer TV roundup

| Student Life Editors

Courtesy of HBO

“True Blood” airs HBO at 8 p.m. “True Blood” wraps up its fourth season on September 11.

Summer TV is usually a wasteland filled with cactus dramas and tumbleweed reality shows. And this summer was no exception. Thankfully, there were a few oases in the desert of summer TV that slaked our thirst for TV until fall.

Best Stupid ABC Reality Show: ABC summer schedules are known for their crazy reality TV, and this year was one of the best. There was “Expedition Impossible,” an “Amazing Race” clone that sometimes seemed more like “Survivor.” “Wipeout” returned in full form. In “Take The Money and Run,” two contestants had 48 hours to successfully hide a suitcase filled with $100,000 from local police. But “101 Ways to Leave a Game Show” wins this award. After answering a question incorrectly on this quiz show, contestants would be kicked off the show in a horrific way: tied to a bi-plane wing, exploded from a cannon, driven away on the top of a speeding 18-wheeler, etc. Fun times.

Best Show Whose Name Really Doesn’t Describe It: “Awkward,” MTV’s new high school dramedy, is anything but. It focuses on a normal, though fairly unpopular, high school girl named Jenna Hamilton. In the pilot, she gets into an accident that leaves her with the upper left part of her body in a cast. Okay, maybe that’s where the show gets its name.

TV Show That Will Make You Believe Reality TV Love Could Be Real: The gorgeous forests of Costa Rica provide the backdrop for “Love in the Wild” on NBC, perhaps the most boring TV show this summer. Single men and women matched up and participated in challenges together in the hopes of finding love, and a surprising number showed a real earnestness in their relationships for viewers long jaded by “The Bachelor.” Stupidest challenge of the season involved walking to a tree and walking back. No joke. The producers tried to manufacture some drama into the show by throwing unexpected twists and turns during elimination nights to no avail. Love overcomes all.

Best Role Model for Wash. U. Pre-Laws: “Suits” is a perfect fit for USA, a network long known for quirky characters. Mike Ross is on the run from cops after being set-up during a drug deal. He happens to run into an interview room being used by a top New York law firm. Mike’s photographic memory impresses hotshot lawyer Harvey Specter, who sees potential and a little bit of himself in the young Mike Ross and agrees to take him on, even though Mike has never attended law school. For a procedural law show, the show is incredibly character-driven. Watch it for the witty bromance and romance.

Best Creator of Craziness: The “Big Brother” house. Locking 14 semi-strangers in a house for three months with no contact with the outside world would be bad enough, but forcing them to vote each other off makes everyone even more paranoid. This season’s twist focused on bringing back three “dynamic duos” from seasons past. The veterans dominated the beginning of the season, but this changed when season-12 contestant Brendan got voted out. As a result, his fiancé, Rachel, had a breakdown so intense that it would only be understandable had he died. Sort of sad, but great TV.

Best Singing Competition: Sure, “The Voice” was fun, but it ended too early in summer to count as summer TV. Instead, this award goes to “Platinum Hit,” Bravo’s songwriter answer to “Top Chef.” The show never found an audience, but the contestants produced great songs, always in less than twelve hours. Not bad.

Best Amnesic Vampire: Okay, so the competition might be a little lacking in this category, but this award goes to Eric Northman from “True Blood.” His relationship with Sookie has certainly changed this season, but it has been quite fun to watch.

Best Lead-Up to the Fall TV Season: “The Nine Lives of Chloe King” on ABC Family is typical summer fare—easy-watching television to hold viewers over until more meaty sustenance in fall. Chloe King turns 16 and finds out that she is actually part of an ancient secret race of cat people, the Mai. Apparently, werewolves and vampires are being overused on TV. Chloe is the “Uniter,” someone who is going to save the world? That means as much to you as to me because we never find out why or how the Uniter is important. The show was pretty lackluster until the season finale, which actually rocked. Too bad it might not get another season. Stick with “The Vampire Diaries” in the fall.

Best Show in Our State: This award goes to “Truck Stop, Missouri,” a new Travel Channel docu-series about the Midway Truck Stop, located halfway between St. Louis and Kansas City on I-70. The truck stop is its own community, consisting of twelve businesses and many crazy customers. It’s a surprisingly good show about a place you’d never actually consider living in.

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