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7 summer TV shows that you’ll want to skip the beach for

JasLee is star “Memphis Beat” but Alfre Woodard steals scenes.

Jason Lee is the star of “Memphis Beat,” but Alfre Woodard steals scenes.

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Updated: July 8, 2011 2:56PM

Too often, we’re fair-weather frenemies with our televisions, deserting them at the first hint of reasonable weather.

Not this summer. There are plenty of shows to keep us inside, pale and mesmerized, for months.

‘Memphis Beat’

I originally tuned in for Jason Lee, who plays a police detective named Dwight who likes to croon the blues. But I was won over by Alfre Woodard, who plays Dwight’s by-the-book boss. “Mama’s home,” she says. “Act right.” Fun fact: It’s actually filmed in New Orleans. Returning at 8 p.m. June 14 on TNT.

‘True Blood’

Watch for Joliet’s Janina Gavankar, an alum of “The L Word,” to become a regular as Luna, a public school teacher and shapely shape-shifter. Also joining the vampires, telepaths, werewolves and occasional humans this season: witches! 8 p.m. June 26 on HBO.


When we last left Mary Louise Parker’s flawed free spirit Nancy, she was headed to federal prison, and her family was fleeing to Copenhagen. Guest starring this season: Martin Short, Aidan Quinn and Pablo Schreiber; returning is Jennifer Jason Leigh, perversely perfect as Nancy’s sister Jill. 9 p.m. June 27 on Showtime.

‘Torchwood: Miracle Day’

If you liked Joliet’s John Barrowman as the mad bomber on last season’s “Desperate Housewives,” you’ll be obsessed with him in “Torchwood.” This is the fourth series of the popular U.K. “Doctor Who” spinoff, transplanted to Los Angeles (and Starz).

Barrowman is the ageless, bisexual Capt. Jack Harkness, who battles alien threats in a sweeping World War II greatcoat. He and Gwen (Eve Myles) are the only surviving team members, called back to duty to investigate an odd situation: Everyone in the world has stopped dying. 9 p.m. July 8 on Starz.

‘Rescue Me’

I already miss Denis Leary’s [bleeped]-up firefighter, who is facing his final season. Leary and his writing partner, Peter Tolan, have had the ending in mind from the beginning, and he’s promised critics a twist “one second before our credits roll.” 9 p.m. July 13 on FX.


“Masterpiece Mystery!” introduces us to Aurelio Zen, an Italian police detective played by Rufus Sewell (“Dark City,” “The Tourist”) and his bedroom eyes. The three episodes are based on books by Michael Dibdin. 8 p.m. July 17 on WTTW-Channel 11.

‘Bachelor Pad 2’

Jake Pavelka’s reunion with Vienna Girardi should put the “awk” in “awkward” — especially since she’s now dating Kasey “Guard and Protect Your Heart” Kahl. A few more cast members: Tanner Pope, who has a foot fetish and calls himself “Daddy”; Madison Garton, who wears custom-fitted fangs, and Michelle Money, who mysteriously gave herself a black eye. 8 p.m. Aug. 8 on WLS-Channel 7.

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