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USA Network’s Prime-Time Lineup – Underrated and Underappreciated?

I sure do think they are. Besides being the home of WWE Raw, USA has quite a few great prime time shows that do not get enough attention by the average TV viewer. Sure, we’ve all seen the commercials proclaiming “Characters Welcome”…possibly close to a zillion times. USA promotes the shit out of their shows until I want to break the TV. But how many of you have actually allowed the constant commercials to sink in and give any of these shows a try? My Take Radio has – and now the DVR is set to not miss an episode. Here are my picks for you to invest some serious couch time into.

Burn Notice (Thursday 9/8 C) – I stand by my statement that Burn Notice is one of the BEST shows on TV. Top 5 in my book. Show creator and Executive Producer Matt Nix has never let me down – each episode is fantastic and keeps me engulfed in the story. Perfectly mixing the overhead plot with weekly episodic storylines, Nix makes you crave more as soon as those end credits hit. Jeffrey Donovan (Michael Westen) is one of the most charismatic actors on TV today. How his portrayal of Michael Westen has not earned him an award of some kind is dumbfounding. Bruce Campbell (Sam Axe) and Gabrielle Anwar (Fiona Glenanne) are integral to the cast, and Sharon Gless is wonderful as Michael’s mother Madeline. Coby Bell (Jesse Porter) has become a welcome addition since last season as well. This show is a must-see  for everyone, whether you enjoy spy shows or not – it really is so much more. If you like explosions, watch this show.  If you like MacGuyver-esque inventions, watch this show. If you like sarcastic one-liners, watch this show. If you like mojitos and floral shirts, watch this show. If you are alive, watch this show. I cannot proclaim my love any more or you may think I work for USA.

Covert Affairs (Tuesday 10/9 C) – Once you get past the horrid opening sequence, this show is actually quite good. I honestly didn’t expect it to be, but it is. Piper Perabo plays CIA newbie Annie Walker both with solid acting chops and a quirky smile. Get Coyote Ugly out of your head, because that’s not what you will be seeing here. Chris Gorham is charming and witty in his portrayal of the blinded-in-combat former Special Op Auggie Anderson. Former Heroes’ star Sendhil Ramamurthy plays Jai Wilcox, a second-gen CIA guy with a chip on his shoulder and a smarmy attitude to go with it. You will want to punch his face in. Rounding out the cast, we have CIA Power Couple Arthur and Joan Campbell (Peter Gallagher and Kari Matchett)both higher-ups in the Clandestine Services Dept. and we have a small portion of the storyline dedicated to their oddball marriage. This I really don’t care for, but it adds to it somehow I suppose. The action sequences are pretty good, and the stories are interesting enough to keep me watching each week. A solid series that should be checked out at least once.

White Collar (Tuesdays 9/8 C) – This has been my first season watching this show, and so far so good. Matt Bomer plays the sly Neal Caffrey, one of the best con artists in the world. Neal eventually got caught by Agent Peter Burke (Tim DeKay) but escaped prison, and got caught by Burke again. Now, to stay free, Caffrey must help the FBI catch other criminals. Walking a fine line, Neal agrees to be a FBI asset. After a handful of episodes, I like the writing, and the actors are good. My favorite character so far is  Mozzie (Willie Garson), Neal’s friend and co-conspirator. He brings a good amount of humor to the show. I like the addition of Hilarie Burton – it’s good to see Peyton Sawyer back on my screen. (But I digress.) Creator and Executive Producer Jeff Eastin has brought an interesting concept to the small screen, and I look forward to checking out more episodes.

Next up on my DVR to watch is Suits, USA’s newest baby in their prime-time lineup. Mike Ross (Patrick J. Adams) is a college dropout with an eidetic memory that got him a passing grade on the bar without law school. Enter lawyer Harvey Specter (Gabriel Macht), who hires Ross as his new associate. One issue – they have to fake Mike graduating law school. Seems promising. Airing Thursday at 10/9 C, this show follows Burn Notice. Suits has got a hell of a lead-in program, so let’s see if it works and people stick around to check this out.

All in all, if you are one who does not turn this channel on at all, I highly recommend you take a chance and give these shows a shot. You may end up finding a new weekly gem.