By NEAL JUSTIN
For those without cable or a satellite dish, it's going to be a cruel summer.
This is the season when networks go on vacation, filling the airwaves with reruns and mindless reality shows, while cable channels shift into high gear with innovative programming that might tempt you into skipping a few barbecues and making a date with your small screen instead.
The next few months are particularly bittersweet for several fan favorites that will air their finales. Here's what to keep an eye out for:
"The Fosters": Lesbian moms (Teri Polo of "Meet the Parents" and Sherri Saum) raise a blended family of biological and foster kids. Jennifer Lopez is one of the executive producers, which means there's a good chance the school principal will be played by Pitbull. (8 p.m. Mondays, ABC Family, cable 37)
"Mistresses": Alyssa Milano and Yunjin Kim ("Lost") are among the sexy sirens attempting to live up to the sultry title of this soap, based on a popular British series. Lifetime tried to adapt it in 2008 but decided to work on classier fare - like "The Client List." (9 p.m. Mondays, ABC, channel 8)
"Burn Notice": After seven seasons, the sun is finally setting on this sizzling summer treat, but not before Michael (Jeffrey Donovan) and Fiona (Gabrielle Anwar) try to repair their shattered relationship. Best viewed with a pitcher of daiquiris. (8 p.m. Thursdays, USA, cable 34)
"Graceland": What happens when a group of undercover agents, picked to live in a house together, stop being polite and start getting real ... suspicious? "Rescue Me" veteran Daniel Sunjata is among the strange bedfellows. (9 p.m. Thursdays, USA, cable 34)
"King & Maxwell": Jon Tenney ("The Closer") and Rebecca Romijn play former Secret Service agents who, when they're not admiring their impossibly good looks in the mirror, solve crimes. Michael O'Keefe is the FBI agent who vows to someday bring down those crazy kids. (Premieres June 10, TNT, cable 29)
"True Blood": Vampires stick around forever; the same can't be said for showrunners. Season six marks the first without the steady hand of Alan Ball, who has moved on to shed blood on Cinemax. Will Bon Temps ever be the same? (June 16, HBO, cable 300)
"Futurama": Matt Groening's animated series came back from the dead once before, but this time a return is much more unlikely, which explains why Larry Bird, Sarah Silverman and George Takei are lending their voices for what's expected to be the final 13 episodes. (June 19, Comedy Central, cable 61)
"Crossing Lines": Donald Sutherland must have noticed what chasing international baddies across the small screen did for the career of his son, Kiefer. The old man headlines this promising procedural along with William Fichtner. (June 23, NBC, channel 2)
"Devious Maids": ABC passed on this soap from "Desperate Housewives" creator Marc Cherry about Beverly Hills domestics who manage to find time to scheme between dusting sessions. Eva Longoria is an executive producer. (June 23, Lifetime, cable 36)
"Under the Dome": Stephen King's 1,088-page novel of the same name came out in 2009, which means you're probably just finishing it. This miniseries, about a small town in Maine enclosed in an invisible bubble, should be less of a strain on your eyes. (June 24, CBS, channel 6)
"Dexter": Our favorite serial killer was beginning to overstay his welcome - until last season's jaw-dropping ending, which guarantees a whole new slew of problems and a tour de force performance by Jennifer Carpenter. And, yes, this eighth season is the last. (June 30, Showtime, cable 350)
"Ray Donovan": Liev Schreiber, Elliott Gould and Jon Voight headline a promising new series about a Hollywood fixer with a Tony Soprano-like temper. (June 30, Showtime, cable 350)
"The Newsroom": TV's most polarizing drama returns for a second season. Let's hope the Aaron Sorkin series gets a little smarter and gives more screen time to Jane Fonda. (July 14, HBO, cable 300)
"Breaking Bad": This. Is. It. The final eight episodes are the event of the summer with Bryan Cranston putting a cap on one of the greatest portrayals in TV history. Surely, Walter White can't survive. Or can he? Gulp. (Aug. 11, AMC, cable 48).
Originally published by NEAL JUSTIN Minneapolis Star Tribune.
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