Tube Talk: Summer faves return

June 30, 2010

By Paula Hendrickson
Contributing Writer

When Rescue Me ended last season with Tommy Gavin (Denis Leary) shot by his Uncle Teddy (Lenny Clarke) and bleeding out on the bar room floor, there wasn’t any real fear Tommy would die. After all, he’s the central focus of FX’s funniest drama. (Or, is that its most dramatic comedy?) The real question was: How’s he going to survive survival?

Tommy is a mess. He’s from one of TV’s most dysfunctional families (after all, he was shot by his alcoholic uncle, who went to prison for murdering the drunk driver who killed Tommy’s son, and who now blames Tommy for serving Teddy’s alcoholic wife the same night she was killed in her own drunk driving accident). During the run of the show, Tommy’s lost his cousin, son, brother, father and fellow firefighters—all of whom still haunt him. Further complicating things, he’s involved with his estranged wife (Andrea Roth) and his cousin’s widow (Callie Thorne), he has strained relationships with both of his daughters, and still isn’t really sure if his youngest child is his or his late brother’s.

Thank goodness one of Tommy’s coping mechanisms is humor.

It’s easy to understand why Tommy prefers to spend his time at the firehouse, surrounded by Dumb Sean (Steven Pasquale), Probie (Mike Lombardi), Black Shawn (Larenz Tate), Franco (Daniel Sunjata), Lou (John Scurti) and even Needles (Adam Ferrara). As much as they annoy him, the guys are a respite from his personal dramas.

Rescue Me can be crass, crude and offensive, but it also delivers some of the most poignant and dramatic moments you’ll ever see on TV.

On a lighter note: two fun, quirky Syfy shows return in July: Warehouse 13 and Eureka.

Warehouse 13 is about two Secret Service agents, Pete and Myka (Eddie McClintock and Joanne Kelly), hand-picked by the mysterious—and apparently ageless—Mrs. Frederic (CCH Pounder) to protect the unusual, powerful and often supernatural artifacts housed in a beyond-top-secret government warehouse. The unassuming structure, in a remote part of South Dakota, is merely an entrance to the vast storage space overseen by Artie (Saul Rubinek).

Half the fun of Warehouse 13 is the interaction of the characters, but it’s the warehouse’s missing objects and new items they need to hunt down that keep the action going.

Likewise, on Eureka, scientific gizmos gone awry further the plot and character development, but the real fun is watching Eureka’s top scientists—including Henry (Joe Morton), Allison (Salli Richardson-Whitfield), Fargo (Neil Grayston) and Zane (Niall Matter), all with access to all of Global Dynamic’s super-secret technology and government resources—struggle to solve the impending catastrophe while the town’s only non-genius, Sheriff Carter (Colin Ferguson), breaks the situation into its simplest terms and uses deductive reasoning to save the day.

Fans of Warehouse 13 and Eureka have a crossover to look forward to. On Warehouse 13’s Aug. 3 episode, Fargo arrives to upgrade the warehouse’s computer system, and Aug. 6, Warehouse 13’s Claudia (Allison Scagliotti) returns the favor with a visit to Eureka.

Whether you prefer sci-fi comedies with flashes of drama, or a twisted drama with moments of comedy, at least one of these shows should appeal to you.

Programming notes

Rescue Me airs Tuesdays on FX at 9 p.m.

Warehouse 13 returns to Syfy Tuesday, July 6, at 8 p.m.

Eureka returns for Syfy Friday, July 9, at 8 p.m.

Paula Hendrickson is a regular contributor to Emmy magazine and Variety, and has been published in numerous national publications, including American Bungalow, Television Week and TVGuide. Send in your suggestions to tubetalking-paula@yahoo.com.

From the June 30-July 6, 2010 issue

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