June 09--You meant to watch. You were just too busy, with too many shows competing in the same time slot.
Or, you were afraid to commit. You'd been burned too many times before, giving your time (and your heart) to shows that didn't survive.
Now, some of the shows that slipped by you have been renewed for fall by the broadcast networks, and you're ready to jump on board.
That's not as easy as it used to be, when every network aired a full summer of reruns. Now, although you'll find some series in repeats, many others simply vanish until the new season begins in the fall. There are ways to catch up with those, too, though.
Here are five shows you might want to start watching this summer.
"The Following," Fox
Watch it if --You enjoy dark and twisty crime sagas and aren't put off by a little gore.
What it's about --Kevin Bacon is a former FBI agent called back to work after a serial killer (James Purefoy) turns out to have a web of followers.
Why it's intriguing --Executive producer Kevin Williamson ("The Vampire Diaries," "Dawson's Creek," the "Scream" franchise) keeps viewers off balance throughout, so we're never quite sure who's good and who's very, very evil. The strong supporting cast includes Shawn Ashmore as a baby-faced agent and Annie Parisse as an expert in cults.
How to catch up --Fox is repeating "The Following," the No. 1 new drama of the season with adults 18-49 (the demographic prized by advertisers), at 8 p.m. Fridays this summer. It's also available for streaming on Fox.com and Hulu.com, and on demand on AT&T's U-verse.
Watch it if --You like police procedurals with just a bit of a twist.
What it's about --Jonny Lee Miller is Sherlock Holmes, working with the police in contemporary New York; Lucy Liu is his "Dr. Watson," tasked with keeping him focused and off the drugs that had plagued him.
Why it's intriguing --Producers have played with some of the elements from Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes mysteries, including the Moriarty and Irene Adler characters. But primarily, these are stand-alone episodes in which Holmes uses his mental powers to solve cases that baffle others.
How to catch up --CBS, which does well with reruns of shows like this, is airing "Elementary" at 9 p.m. Thursdays this summer. In addition, Season 1 is available on DVD.
"Arrow," the CW
Watch it if --You like dark, serious superhero stories in movies, TV or comic books.
What it's about --Billionaire playboy (and expert archer) Oliver Queen (Stephen Amell) returns from five years shipwrecked on an island and turns vigilante to right his family's wrongs and save his beloved city. The series is based on DC Comics' "Green Arrow" character.
Why it's intriguing --"Arrow" is an expert blend of action and character-driven drama, telling each kind of story without driving fans of the other kind away. Executive producers Greg Berlanti ("Everwood") and Marc Guggenheim (who has written comic books including "The Flash" and "The Amazing Spider-Man") make sure of that.
How to catch up --"Arrow" episodes air at 8 p.m. Wednesdays on the CW. Full episodes are also available at CWTV.com and Hulu.com/arrow.
"Chicago Fire," NBC
Watch it if --You like workplace dramas about people risking their lives to save others while grappling for position on the team (and frequently taking their shirts off).
What it's about --Firefighters and paramedics work out of a firehouse in Chicago and face death every day. The most familiar face in the cast may be that of Jesse Spencer, late of "House." Taylor Kinney, Monica Raymund, David Eigenberg ("Sex and the City") and Eamonn Walker also star.
Why it's intriguing --The prolific Dick Wolf ("Law & Order") is executive producer of this show, a soap in action-drama clothing. And did I mention the guys take their shirts off a lot?
How to catch up --NBC is airing "Chicago Fire" at 9 p.m. Wednesdays; the show is also available on demand on cable and on Amazon Instant.
Watch it if --You like a smart soap in a fresh setting (Nashville) with female-centric stories (but guys enjoy it, too).
What it's about --Rayna James (the great Connie Britton) is the reigning "queen of country"; Juliette Barnes (Hayden Panettiere) is her young rival. Will one take the other down, or can they work together?
Why it's intriguing --Beyond the Nashville music scene, Season 1 plot lines delved into politics (the weakest element) and, of course, infidelity. But strong performances by Britton (of course) and Panettiere (more of a surprise) made the show satisfying -- that and the array of country music.
How to catch up --ABC doesn't currently have "Nashville" reruns on the schedule. (Soaps typically don't do well in repeats.) But Season 1 is available on DVD, on demand and via streaming services.
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