Summer used to be a dead zone when it came to new programming on TV. Then God invented cable, and all became right with the world.

USA, TNT, FX, AMC, A&E continue to crank out new programming all the time, hitting their stride in the summer when the networks offer little competition.

The cable game has grown so much that you can tell a USA show from an FX show, and so forth. Each has their own signature sort of style.

Three new cable shows hitting the airwaves soon are TNT’s Franklin & Bash, which debuts Wednesday night, and USA’s Suits and Necessary Roughness, which also come out in June.

Franklin & Bash was probably the weakest of the three pilots I watched. It centers around the title characters (Breckin Meyer, Mark-Paul Gosselaar) as a couple of maverick attorneys who get scooped up by a major law firm. These two guys will pull just about any antic to win their case, which they usually do. Of course, only on TV do lawyers like these actually exist.

I might have liked it more, but then I saw the pilot for Suits, which debuts June 23 and has a certain White Collar feel to it. Gabriel Macht stars as the star attorney, Harvey Specter, for a top Manhattan firm. He likes to close cases, but doesn’t particularly care for the grinding work involved. So he takes on an associate from Harvard law, Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams)—at least, that’s what they tell his boss. Ross is a hustler who happens to have a photographic memory, but no formal education. That doesn’t seem to bother Harvey, who seems to see a lot of himself in Mike. It’s a fun sort of relationship that doesn’t rely on the more theatrical antics that Frankin & Bash does.

Also on the USA slate is Necessary Roughness, which debuts June 29. Callie Thorne, so memorable on series such as Rescue Me, plays Dr. Dani Santino, a therapist whose dysfunctional family is falling apart when she’s hired to help a star football player (Mechad Brooks) who has had a case of the drops. Again, it’s very much a USA-type series with its “characters welcome” theme. Like other USA series, Dr. Dani is much better at dealing with her professional issues rather than her personal ones.

With a bunch of original cable series returning for the summer, it’ll be easy to keep your DVRs busy.

Franklin & Bash: 2 of 5Purple Pencils

Suits: 3 Purple Pencils

Necessary Roughness: 3 1/2 Purple Pencils


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