The TV season is coming to a close, and soon where once we saw Island castaways battling a primeval monster or government employees hanging on in an age of budget cuts, we will soon be greeted by people bouncing across giant red balls only to fall in pits of mud and stand-up comics locked in a deathmatch to determine who will be the last one in an upright position. Yes, the summer TV season is upon us, and we'll be covering a whole raft of shows, sure, but things look pretty bleak until Mad Men comes back in late July.
But summer also means it's time for another round of TV Club Classic, and we think we've got a great line-up this year. It's our most ambitious one yet, including a bunch of returning favorites and a number of new debuts. We're even doubling up on shows on Mondays and Thursdays and introducing programming to Sundays. We're, really, just like The WB in 1996.
Here's what you have to look forward to (or mercilessly mock, as the case may be):
Sundays: Nathan Rabin will be taking us through the first few seasons of The Simpsons, when the show debuted as a crudely animated oddity, like nothing else on the air at the time, then promptly evolved into one of the most influential TV shows in history. This feature will launch June 6.
Mondays: Steve Heisler is back to take us through season two (and possibly three, if things work out) of The West Wing, in which a president conceals a secret from a nation, Martin Sheen yells at God in Latin, and there are some midterm elections. This feature will launch June 7.
Leonard Pierce will take us through the entire run of a show we've long promised here at TV Club Classic, yet never delivered: Mr. Show with Bob and David. One of the biggest cult sketch comedy shows of all time, Mr. Show ran four years on HBO, and Leonard will cover all of them. This feature will launch June 7.
Tuesdays: Donna Bowman's been taking us through the complete run of Newsradio for three summers now, and she'll continue this season, with Phil Hartman's final year on the show, its fourth season. Probably the series' most surreal season, it was also the only year to receive significant Emmy recognition (for Hartman). This feature will begin June 1.
Wednesdays: Todd VanDerWerff continues his journey through HBO's great dramatic series (which was begun last year with Deadwood) by covering seasons one and two of the show that launched the network to prominence, The Sopranos. This feature will begin June 2.
Thursdays: Zack Handlen's ongoing voyage through the run of Star Trek: The Next Generation will hopefully get to the good seasons at some point this summer, as he will move through season one, on to season two and perhaps season three. (The feature relocates to Thursdays for the summer.)
David Sims launches a look at another one of the most influential TV shows of all time (and another '90s sitcom) with his reviews of the first three seasons of Seinfeld, when the show staved off cancellation long enough to become a modest hit (the massive hit years were in the future). The feature begins June 3.
Fridays: Noel Murray closes out the week with his return to the Buffyverse, as he goes back to Buffy the Vampire Slayer, season five, and Angel, season two, the seasons that saw the former's largest amounts of mainstream critical acclaim (for one episode in particular) and the latter's development of a voice. The feature will return June 4.