Gone are the days when ABC, NBC, and CBS ruled the airwaves. Today, cable channels are just as, if not more, popular than network stations. Even ignoring the paid, uncensored stations such as HBO or Showtime, cable channels like AMC, TBS, FX, and USA have developed programming, and in some cases entire shows, that not only gain readers but critical acclaim. The USA network has created a number of original shows lately, to appeal to a wide range of interests.
After eight successful years, "Monk" is actually no longer in production -- but as USA's longest-running original series to date, and one of the most successful series in cable history, "Monk" essentially made USA the popular network it is today. Tony Shaloub's meticulous portrayal of Adrian Monk, the "defective detective", garnered him three Emmy awards, a Golden Globe, and two Screen Actor's Guild awards. The series won another five awards and 24 nominations over its eight-year history.
In his own was as talented a detective as Adrian Monk, Sean Spencer pretends to be a psychic to gain access to police investigations. Chock-full of 80s pop culture references and a pineapple in every episode, "Psych" is a witty, funny show that amuses and entertains.
Premiering on October 23, 2009, "White Collar" introduced us to the charming, unapologetic, con man-turned-FBI consultant Neil Caffrey, along with his partner, the walk-the-line, Joe-Friday-inspired FBI investigator Peter Burke. The relationship between Neil and Peter has evolved over the life of the show, and no doubt will continue to do so -- which is half the reason the show is so compelling. Another major factor in the show's appeal? Matt Bomer in Armani.
Take a spy, "burn" him and remove all of his access to contacts, money, and files, and you get Michael Westen, dumped in Miami and taking on various jobs helping people solve their problems while trying to find out who burned him and why. Michael's ex-girlfriend Fiona and his best friend, former Navy Seal and intel operator Sam Axe, help him in his quests and keep him alive and out of jail.
Mark Feuerstein plays Dr. Henry "Hank" Lawson, a Hamptons concierge doctor whose innovative and intelligent diagnoses continue to impress his patients -- and his viewers. In a moment of casting genius, Paulo Costanzo plays Hank's brother, Evan, an over-enthusiastic CPA and self-proclaimed CFO of "HankMed".
If you've never watched a show on the USA network, you really don't know what you're missing. The writing is sharp, funny, and lets us relate the scene to our own lives even if there are no actual similarities to them. The habit of USA to run short seasons twice a year keeps new episodes in front of viewers more often than a one-season-per-year schedule.
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