Big Brother Thursday, July 9 (CBS)
Season Premiere: It’s the 11th season of CBS’ Americanized Big Brother—what have we learned? Mostly that a disturbing number of boneheads at home will actually pay $15 a month to watch even more of the boneheads in The House online through a live feed. Other than that, nada. As usual, “surprise twists” and “no further degradation to Western civilization” are being promised in the new season, but The Only TV Column That Matters™ is still waiting for the ultimate Big Brother upgrade: Elimination by sniper.
Eureka Friday, July 10 (SyFy)
Season Premiere: In the second half of Season 3, Sheriff Jack Carter (Colin Ferguson) is in the process of being fired by Eureka, the isolated Northwest town populated with uber geniuses performing alternately whacky and dangerous (mostly whacky) scientific research. Naturally, for the sake of the show’s brainiac-to-rube ratio, he’s going to keep his job—even though his temporary robotic replacement seems far more competent. Eureka is still Sci-Fi’s—sorry, SyFy’s—most warm-fuzzy series, a smart blend of Northern Exposure and Bill Nye the Science Guy that rarely falls flat. If they can find a few more excuses to get Deputy Jo (Erica Serra) out of her ponytail and uniform soon, even better.
Entourage Sunday, July 12 (HBO)
Season Premiere: At the beginning of any Entourage season, movie star Vince (Adrian Grenier) is either on a career high or low; his agent Ari (Jeremy Piven) is either gloating or scrambling; his buds are either getting high or getting laid. Season 6 opens with Vince high on the release of Gatsby (which Martin Scorsese hired him for at the end of last season), and Ari gloating over Vince and his agency’s hire of an old pal (Gary Cole) who’s now reeling in huge clients. Turtle and Drama? Getting high and laid. Which leaves Entourage to focus on … E. Vince’s childhood chum-turned-manager Eric (Kevin Connolly) has always been the series’ least-interesting character, and his new story arc just cements his status as dead weight. Fortunately, vet Cole brings some life back to the party, and Turtle’s ongoing romance with Jamie- Lynn Sigler (as herself) is just too weird to look away from.
Leverage, Dark Blue Wednesday, July 15 (TNT)
Season Premiere/Series Debut: When it premiered last December, Leverage looked like a slick riff on The A-Team: A group of colorful con men and thieves work as a collective Robin Hood on behalf of everyday folk who’ve been screwed over by corporate and/or governmental weasels—not exactly groundbreaking, but damned if they weren’t so pretty and funny that it didn’t matter. Leverage is still highly appealing action candy in Season 2, and with Jeri Ryan (Shark, Star Trek: Voyager) joining the cast soon, how can TNT go wrong? By attempting to clone the formula with Dark Blue—just with undercover cops, no humor and Dylan McDermott (?!), that’s how. Flip the channel, quick.