There’s no taking vacation from summer TV. Used to be everything went mostly dark between May and September. No longer. This off-season’s deluge of shows includes the usual glut of reality TV, much of it disposable — though some, like Bravo’s delicious Project Runway, are must-sees. Meanwhile cable networks deliver signature dramas and comedies nearly every night of the week. Even in normally sleepy late July, there are plenty of fresh and compelling choices. Here’s a sampler of the new series and specials, rated by whether they’re worth coming inside for.
Work Out Tuesdays, 9 pm/ET, BravoReason to stay in: To see how the rich and famous get in shape, as cameras follow the buff trainers at an exclusive Beverly Hills penthouse gym.Worth watching? I’ve met barbells with more personality. Too little sweat, too much attitude fr
Stephen Colbert, The Colbert Report
Stephen Colbert, in truthy Stephen Colbert fashion, is taking issue with an Associated Press story that failed to credit the ersatz newsman with coining the term "truthiness." Deeming the AP "the No. 1 threat facing America," Colbert calls the lack of accreditation in a report on the pervasiveness of "truthiness" "a sin of mission, that's what it is. It's like Shakespeare being alive and not asking him what Hamlet is about." Tongue planted deep in cheek, The Colbert Report host likens the snub to the onset of the Iraq War, "except people got hurt this time." I love fake news.
Darling Mimis: Rosario Dawson (top) and Daphne Rubin-Vega
Question: I don't have anything against Rosario Dawson, but I wonder why Daphne Rubin-Vega wasn't offered or didn't take the part of Mimi in the movie version of Rent, especially when so many of the other original Broadway cast members are reprising their roles.
Answer: In fact, all but two of Rent's original cast members are reprising their roles in the movie, which you can spin for good or for bad. On the one hand, their performances are the defining interpretations of those roles, and given that Rent is such a recent work, every subsequent performer must make a conscious choice to either work within or actively go against the interpretations those original actors established. (By contrast, no one today is oppressed by the way Hamlet was originally played.) Drawing on the original cast ensures that the essence of the show's appeal will get carried over to the fil