Tube Talk: Cool views to help you better appreciate the summer heat

Funny how a week of 90-degree temperatures can make snowy winter days seem more inviting than they actually are. While I’ve been known to play Christmas music on really hot days in an effort to trick my brain into thinking it’s cooler out than the thermometer says it is, I’m not advocating Christmas in July. This year, I don’t have to since some channels are airing wintry shows in the dead of summer, and watching them is probably a better way to beat the heat.

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, ABC’s Men in Trees is back, albeit in repeats. We still have to wait for the fall to see the final five episodes of the first season (which will lead into season two), but for now we can get caught up with episodes we may have missed the first time around. It should be easy to find in the plum post-Grey’s Anatomy time slot, but by fall it will move to Fridays at 7 p.m. Fear not, men: While Men in Trees is romantic comedy, it’s set in a man’s world, populated by many manly men.

July 10, Into Alaska With Jeff Corwin debuts on Travel Channel. Each week, Corwin will explore a different area of Alaskan wilderness, starting with the Denali National Park Preserve. He’ll also seek out the world’s largest brown bear population at Katmai National Park, and spot humpback whales off the coast of Attu, the westernmost point in the United States. I’m not saying you’ll see snow in every episode, but, hey, it’s Alaska.

Ice Road Truckers is History Channel’s new series chronicling the lives and travails of Canadian long-haul truckers who make treacherous trips on makeshift roads over frozen lakes, delivering freight to isolated areas near the Arctic Circle. The sheer physics of how 30 inches of ice can support 10,000-ton (and heavier!) loads is astounding. Not only do the truckers face air temperatures down to 50-below zero and the possibility of blizzards and white-outs, they also know that the ice is constantly cracking under the weight of their vehicles.

Watching Ice Road Truckers really makes you appreciate the summer heat. Discovery Channel’s Deadliest Catch will also make you appreciate warm weather—and dry ground.

While the Deadliest Catch season finale recently aired, repeats are in heavy rotation throughout July, so you can still watch Alaskan crab fishermen battling the Bering Sea’s 20-foot and higher waves, wind and ice as they perform what is arguably the most dangerous job on the planet. (According to the show, six crab boats have gone down since 1999, taking 44 crewmembers’ lives.)

Not only will one episode of Deadliest Catch demonstrate what goes into crab fishing, you’ll also understand why real Alaskan king crab is one of the more expensive items on any menu.

If you miss Into Alaska, Ice Road Truckers or Deadliest Catch, don’t despair. Unlike Men in Trees, they are heavily repeated throughout the week. So spend a few nights this summer chilling out to some cool TV.

Programming notes

Men in Trees, Thursday at 9 p.m. on ABC

Into Alaska With Jeff Corwin, Tuesday at 8 p.m. on Travel Channel

Ice Road Truckers, Sunday at 9 p.m. on History Channel

Deadliest Catch, Thursday at 8 p.m. on Discovery Channel, followed by After the Catch at 9 p.m. (July only). A Deadliest Catch all-day marathon is also set for Saturday, July 28, from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m., Sunday, July 29.

Paula Hendrickson is a regular contributor to Emmy magazine and Variety, and has been published in numerous national publications, including American Bungalow, SatelliteORBIT and TVGuide. Send in your suggestions to

.from the July 5-10, 2007, issue

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