TNT is a cable channel that brings out its big guns in the summer. We have already seen the season starts of Men of a Certain Age and Franklin and Bash. This week we see the roll out of Memphis Beat, Hawthorne and Falling Skies. In future weeks we will get Leverage, Rizzoli and Isles and The Closer.
For now let's concentrate on Memphis Beat, Hawthorne and Falling Skies. Memphis Beat is in its second season and stars Jason Lee as Memphis Police detective Dwight Hendricks. Dwight is a good detective and also a good musician. On his off duty hours he plays and sings country music in local clubs.
Dwight's boss is Tanya Rice (Alfre Woodard) and she keeps him on the straight and narrow, or at least tries to. But she is also willing to cut him some slack so he can do his job. She is not as taken with Dwight's partner Charlie White (Sam Hennings). He has to constantly prove himself to her.
Memphis Beat is a fairly standard police procedural made better by its quirky cast. Lee is coming of the series My Name Is Earl where he amassed quite a following of fans. That laid back attitude is still part of his characterization here and it fits him like a glove. If there is one reason to watch Memphis Beat, it is Lee.
The main reason to watch Hawthorne is Jada Pinkett Smith. She plays Christina Hawthorne, who is Chief of Nurses at a major hospital. Christina has been through more than her share of tragedy, especially the death of her beloved husband and father of her daughter Camille (Hannah Hodson).
Now Christina has found love again in the form of Dr. Tom Wakefield (Michael Vartan). He was her husband's best friend and knows Christina through and through. At the end of last season they found out Christina is pregnant and they began to plan their wedding.
Marc Anthony is back this season as Detective Nick Renata. Anthony made guest appearances last year but this season he is a cast regular. We know Nick is in love with Christina so we expect this year for there to be a love triangle.
Hawthorne has never captured the audience it should because Pinkett and her supporting cast do an excellent job of telling stories that have a medical background, much in the way Grey's Anatomy does. Maybe this will be Hawthorne's breakthrough year.
A new show to TNT is Falling Skies. This is a Steven Spielberg production and it is a welcome addition to the summer season. Noah Wyle leads the cast in this story about an alien invasion of Earth. The series starts six months after the invasion has happened.
Tom Mason (Wyle) is a former history professor who is now caught up in the resistance battle against the aliens. His wife was killed in the invasion and his son Ben was captured by the invaders. He is left with his other two sons, Hal (Drew Roy) and Matt (Maxim Knight), to struggle to stay alive and to do what they can to overcome the invaders. Moon Bloodgood plays Annie, a pediatrician who is in the same group as Tom. Will Patton plays Weaver, the commanding officer of the group.
The special effects on this show are great but the attraction for the show comes from the heart of its characters. These are ordinary souls trying to stay alive and get their world back. Their humanity is what makes the battle worthwhile.
All three of these shows are worth watching. Falling Skies looks like it could be a major hit; Hawthorne seems to be finding its power in its various stories; Memphis Beat still has Jason Lee ready to please his fans. So tune in to TNT on Tuesdays at 9 PM for Memphis Beat followed by Hawthorne at 10PM. Then tune in this Sunday (June 19) at 9PM tune in for a two-hour Falling Skies special. In the following weeks this show will be seen regularly at 10PM on Sundays.