June @ Cultural Learnings: A Preview

As far as TV months go, you’d think that June would be pretty dead.

All the finales have ended, there is largely still a lack of quality in summer network offerings, and enough major films release that it seems that other media formats are outweighing my personal favourite.

However, at the same time, June is a month in which I have a fair amount of time: summer is here, DVD prices are continuing to drop rapidly, and after pontificating to great length over various finales there is a desire to continue on the same path. As a result of this, perhaps even more than last year, I have every intention on keeping busy during this month.

Most pressing is tonight’s guest spot on the /Filmcast, the official podcast of SlashFilm.com. My old pals from The Watchers have gone corporate, but with good reason: /Film’s a great site, and the podcast remains a great community in which to discuss film and television. I’ll be on for the first half hour of the show or so to discuss Lost’s season finale, so tune in @ the live uStream Channel at around 10 EST to listen to me attempt to condense 5000 words of analysis into quippy contributions to a group discussion!

Elsewhere, however, there’s plenty of other things to chat about.

First off, I’m in the process of what I’d like to call “Myles Meets HBO,” a chance for me to catch up on shows that aired on a cable network I didn’t get, and to a certain extent pre-date my interest in television. First and foremost, I am now 2+ seasons into Six Feet Under, a show I picked up on DVD and have been enjoying greatly (I’ll probably talk about this later in the week, maybe once I hit the official halfway point).

Second, however, is a new experiment: Alan Sepinwall is taking a summer trip back to the first season of The Wire, a show that I’ve had the first season of for a while and just never sat down to watch. Considering that Alan’s posts offer a chance to create a great sense of community for first time viewers and veterans alike, I figured now is as good a time as any to jump in feet first. Whether I can balance two HBO shows has yet to be seen, but it’s something I’m going to try. So, sometime mid-week, I’ll post my own thoughts about “The Target,” the show’s premiere, and perhaps respond to some of what Alan’s been doing.

Of course, these both imply that there is nothing new on television, which is perhaps a safe bet but not quite a sure one. Although I will admittedly still be somewhat lacking in review material, as noted yesterday I will be covering The Mole in full detail with time, and ABC’s Greek still have two more episodes to go. And, how could we ever forget that there are still two more episodes of Battlestar Galactica before it sails off into a 7 month hiatus?

Plus, I’ll probably weigh in on two shows that debut on Thursday (in two different countries): Swingtown is a long-shelved midseason replacement from CBS that was supposed to be their big departure, and based on the pilot I don’t know if I’m likely to keep watching. However, the other is Mad Men, which gets its Canadian debut on CTV; I will do everything in my power to get people watching this show, and can only hope that enough people tune in that they’ll get impatient to the point of picking up the DVDs in July. At the very least, I’ll be posting about it on occasion if not for each episode.

And there is one premiere that I am extremely excited for: Showtime’s Weeds returns on June 16th. It’s a show that rarely got any blog coverage, simply due to the fact that I was rarely able to watch it soon enough after airing to justify it, but now with less TV I’ll be able to spend more time with Nancy the nomadic pot dealer. The end of the third season may not have matched the second season’s life-threatening nature, but it certain remains a severe and intense departure. I’ve heard rumours of a cast shuffling (With certain character shifting to recurring), but I have faith in the show’s central cast and more importantly in guest stars like Albert Brooks, who never does TV. As a result, consider my anticipation high.

And while you might think that’s enough as it is, think again: because, it’s Emmy time. Yes, the nominations aren’t until mid-July, but June is when the voting happens. Saturday was the deadline for the various parties to finalize their submissions, and if the discussion around the net isn’t enough for you then I plan on handicapping the races. I don’t know if anyone’s still around who read through last year’s Emmy coverage, but I rarely got any feedback on it and am not quite sure how I’ll move forward. I definitely want to make sure that the shows I care about get special attention, so perhaps I’ll organize it in that way…but any suggestions, feel free to send them along.

Regardless, the big stories this year will be what happens when The Sopranos is the final of the “Big Shows” to depart, leaving behind a vacuum. While the comedy side of things still has The Office and 30 Rock that are likely to dominate in multiple categories (Writing, Directing, Lead Actor, etc.), the drama side is extremely open: with shows like Dexter or Mad Men potentially cracking the Top 5, this could be an extremely different race. Admittedly, my obsession with the Emmys has gone a bit beyond healthy, so I plan on finding a happy medium between my intense knowledge of submissions from shows I don’t even watch to what you, as readers, actually want or need to know.

So, as a whole, a particularly busy month: with July comes more summer programming (including the second seasons of Mad Men and Burn Notice), so the summer lull won’t last for long. If there’s anything else you’re watching that you think I should be watching, let me know!

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