It's August, which means we're heading toward the end of the summer (I know, I know; I'm sorry) and, when it comes to television, starting to prepare for the 2012 Fall Season rolling out next month. Except at least one show is getting a jump on everyone else by starting early - and cable channels have a few interesting offerings on show, as well. Here's some things you should replace the Olympics-shaped hole in your heart with later this month.
Yes, I know; these are actually two separate shows, each one spoofing a different genre from mainstream television. But Paul Scheer's 24-meets-NCIS parody NTSF (Full title: National Terrorism Strike Force: San Diego: Sport Utility Vehicle) started life as a fake commercial on Rob Corddrey's Hospital, so they're always going to be linked in my mind. Either way: Surrealism and media satire will abound in this half-hour combination of two of Cartoon Network's best shows not called Venture Bros.. (August 9 at 12am/12:30am on Cartoon Network)
Hell on Wheels
A second season for AMC's drama centered on the construction of the first transcontinental railroad in America, giving us another chance to savor Colm Meany's wonderfully hammy Doc Durant and the show's creators more time to convince doubters that they know what they're doing with the occasionally off-kilter pacing and distractingly "filmic" scenes. Me, I like it, and I'm not alone; apparently, it's AMC's second-most popular original series, behind The Walking Dead (I know, I would've thought that would've been Mad Men as well. (August 12 at 9pm on AMC)
Another second season, this time for NBC's fairy-tales-gone-crime-procedural show, as the things that go bump in the night start looking for Nick and seeing whether or not they can turn him into the greatest Grimm of all… but, if he dies in the process, that wouldn't be the worst thing to happen either. (August 13 at 10pm on NBC)
A new crime drama set in 1864 New York City from the creators of Homicide: Life On The Street doesn't sound like the kind of thing you'd expect from BBC America, but Copper is full of surprises that way. Focusing on an Irish-American Civil War veteran-turned-policeman trying to find out what's happened to his family, the new show looks set to become a new favorite in surprisingly short time. (August 19 at 10pm on BBC America)
This one could go either way, I admit; MTV remaking cult British shows doesn't always turn out well - Hi, Skins! - and the original Inbetweeners was something that seemed to rest on such a particularly British sense of humor/ability to embrace the awkward without looking for a way out that the idea of an American remake makes me worry about a softening of the original's inherent meanness. And yet… there is something universal about the idea of a show about four friends in high school who are lost in between social hierarchies, and if the MTV version turns into Superbad: The Series, is that really such a bad thing…? (August 20 at 10:30pm on MTV)