We could go on for days about our love of Dance Moms, or about how much we've enjoyed this sexed-up season of True Blood, but we expect to be entertained by reality TV trash and our favorite returning shows . What really surprised us this summer was just how many new scripted programs kept us genuinely enthralled -- a pleasant change from the years when all we had to watch in between trips to the pool and barbecues was the likes of Swingtown. And bonus points to ABC Family for really upping their game as a network in recent months. Here's what made it a summer to remember:
10. Falling Skies
The finale of this show was actually pretty damned awesome, but we had to take some points off for the less than exciting episodes in the middle. Still, sign us up for Season 2 next summer -- you don't even have to harness us. We're too old for that, anyway.
9. The Nine Lives of Chloe King
It's not as engaging or fashionable as Pretty Little Liars, but Chloe King impressed us with a great portrayal of friendship, a pretty hot love triangle (at least by ABC Family standards) and a fantastic mother/daughter relationship that had shades of Rory/Lorelai. Oh, and that twist-filled finale cliffhanger had us purring with delight.
Technically, this isn't a new show, but it got an almost total reboot and has more of an American procedural flare to it. While it's not quite the series we first became obsessed with years ago, it's still quietly and solidly keeping our Friday nights interesting.
Can this whole show be a buddy cop procedural starring Bill and Gary? That would be our not-so-secret wish. Even with some of the less captivating other characters around, this show is far more enjoyable than No Ordinary Family or the latter days of Heroes.
6. The Lying Game
There haven't even been that many episodes yet, but we're already completely smitten with this teen drama about separated twin sisters with a secret past, in which one must pose as the other. We've seen the Ringer pilot already, and right now, we're inclined to say that this one may end up winning the battle of the near-identical premises. Sorry, Sarah Michelle.
The first episode didn't wow us, but this comedy has taken a turn for the raunchy and ridiculous, so now of course we're in love with it. It's prompted us to add some skanky new "teen" terms to our vocabulary and inspired us to take our obligatory pictures with red cups in honor of a show that pokes fun at and exposes high school life in a wickedly wonderful way.
A (stoned) boy and his (neighbor's seemingly human) dog -- it's a tale as old as time, but never done quite like this. This comedy is totally out there and really makes no sense, but yet we hang on to every minute. And after watching several episodes of the original Australian version, we appreciate the remarkable improvements FX made to the series. Who's a good boy? Who's a good boy?
3. Teen Wolf
One of the biggest surprises of the summer. MTV initially did the show a disservice by encouraging comparisons to the goofy '80s movie of the same name, but after a few weeks, it developed into a dark, mysterious drama with huge twists, some great action (albeit with cheesy low-budget effects) and one of the most adorable and loyal best friend sidekicks on TV now. Sorry, Morgan Grimes, but we think Stiles is the new you.
2. Switched at Birth
What could've been a contrived, cringe-inducing family melodrama turned out to be nothing less than the most nuanced, thoughtful and compelling portrayal of the complexities of deafness and deaf culture ever seen in the mainstream media. But it wasn't some Afterschool Special, either. The show's characters were flawed, often infuriating and refreshingly honest about their unique circumstances. By the time a certain person spoke out loud for the first time all season, we were ready to learn ASL for "hooked."
We're not the types to gush about USA Network shows. We may have enjoyed Burn Notice and Royal Pains for a while, and we still flirt with Covert Affairs, but this one might actually be our first long-term USA love affair. It's got a great cast, is filled with snappy, well-written dialogue, has pop-culture references (and impressions!) galore and features a compelling pairing between a shark of a lawyer and his protégé, not to mention a star-making turn by Gabriel Macht. In a summer sadly bereft of Don Draper, Harvey Specter was as refreshing as a G&T on a warm evening.
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