TV Gal Looks at Summer's Hottest Cool Performances

The boys and girls of summer will soon be gone. But the hot months have brought out some cool performances. Before we say good-bye, let's take a look at some of the season's best:

Ted Danson as Arthur Frobisher on "Damages:" This solidifies Danson's reputation as one of television's greatest versatile actors. Last season he was starring in "Help Me Help You" and now he's playing the summer's most sinister characters. I actually forget I'm watching Sam Malone. Many have complained that this show is too over-the-top (a common affliction for a FX show), but Danson's nuanced performance is just right. Runner up: Rose Byrne as Ellen Parsons. I don't know how responsible Ellen is for what happened to David, but I can't wait to find out.

Jon Hamm as Don Draper on "Mad Men:" It is a wonderful thing to see an actor shine like this. Hamm has always been a likeable screen presence but he's never had the opportunity to really show a television audience all that he's capable of. This is his moment. Runner up: Vincent Kartheiser as Pete Campbell. Like Hamm, he completely inhabits the role. I may like Pete less and less with each episode but I'm like Kartheiser's performance more and more.

Spencer Grammer as Casey Cartwright on "Greek:" "Greek" gets better every week and so does Grammer. She's simply so darn likeable. You can't help but root for her to succeed. She pulls off being a slightly snobb co-ed. She kind of reminds a little of Charisma Carpenter, who (yay!) will be appearing in the season finale of the series. Runner up: Scott Michael Foster as Cappie. He gets some of the show's best lines and he does the most with them. He's hilarious and makes the show's central love triangle really work.

Kim Delaney as Claudia Joy Holden on "Army Wives:" It has long been written into evidence that I have loved Delaney since her days on "All My Children" when I wanted to run away to New York with Jenny and Jesse. But I have not been thrilled with some of her recent TV roles (I think we'd all like to forget about her guest stint on "The O.C.") But on Lifetime's soapy drama she sparkles (and she looks fantastic). Runner up: Sally Pressman as Roxy LeBlanc. She's spunky, she sassy and she's so much fun to watch.

Quotes of the Week

Alas, my email is still not working and I have no idea what you all are thinking. Thank goodness this crisis is not happening during the launch of the new fall season. What would we do?

"So then other than possible early onset menopause, getting engaged, having your parents come to town, buying a new house, being attacked with a cattle prod then shooting and killing your assailant, there's nothing significant happening in your life." Dr. Leonard to Brenda on "The Closer."

"A fat girl turned into a hot chick for me. It's like a Reese Witherspoon movie." Cappie to Rusty on "Greek."

"We agreed to suffer through monogamy together." Ari to his wife on "Entourage."

Where Have I Seen Them Before

Barbara Eden, best known as Jeannie on "I Dream of Jeannie," was the savvy general's wife on "Army Wives." Robert Forster, Marshall on "Karen Sisco" and Max in "Jackie Brown," was her husband.

Barry Corbin, Maurice on "Northern Exposure" and Coach Durham on "One Tree Hill," is Brenda's father on "The Closer." Blake Shields, who played Tommy on "Sleeper Cell" and Osgood on "Carnivale," was the restaurant owner's son who shot at Brenda. Brian Goodman, Ryan (one of the Others) on "Lost," and Donovan in "Line of Fire," was the cameraman. Michelle Clunie, Melanie on "Queer as Folk," was the department psychologist who said Brenda couldn't return to work.

Joe Regalbuto, Frank on "Murphy Brown," was Jenny's father on "Side Order of Life." Cody Kasch, Zach Young on "Desperate Housewives," was the teenager competing in the dictionary bee.

Highlights of the Week Ahead
All times listed are Eastern Time for August 20-26

This email crisis has put me in quite a weakened state because I've actually been watching "Big Brother" (Tuesday, CBS, 8 p.m.). It gets worse. I've been finding Evil Dick entertaining. Sometimes I have to fast forward through his endless rants and fights but I'm still hope he doesn't get voted out any time soon. Also do you think America doesn't like Eric?

I'm totally rooting for Amy Schumer to win "Last Comic Standing" (Wednesday at 9 p.m. on NBC) and not only because we share the same name. She's quick – her humor doesn't come off as rehearsed. More like she's telling a story that just happens to be hilarious. My second favorite is Lavell Crawford and I'm fearlessly declaring that Gerry Dee and Jon Reep will be the next to go. Who is your favorite on "Last Comic Standing?" Write me and let me know.

Did you miss the Emmy nominated miniseries "The Starter Wife?" Well set your DVRs because USA is repeating all six hours beginning Wednesday at 11 a.m.

Molly Price guest starred as Sam's estranged sister on this repeat of "Without a Trace"(Thursday at 10 p.m. on CBS). Price was terrific but the real reason I'm mentioning "Trace" this week is so that we can all do the dance of joy that James Marsters will guest star on the show this season. I think you all should take credit for that since so many of you mentioned that you wanted to see him back on TV.

"Side Order of Life" was like going on a good first date. The pilot episode was full of potential. During episode two when Jenny was talking to baby I had concerns. And by episode three I thought to myself this relationship is not going to work out at all. First of all Jason Priestley has been sidelined with a nonexistent storyline. The other plot developments keep repeating themselves (Jenny almost meets her mystery man! Rick pines for Vivy! Vivy tells it like it is!). And Marisa Couglan has adopted that Jennifer Love Hewitt, too much make-up "Ghost Whisperer" look. But for some reason I keep watching the show. Since I really am in a weakened state.

Jennifer Morrison, Cameron on "House," stars in "The Murder of Princes Diana" Saturday at 9 p.m. on Lifetime.

The first season of "Army Wives" comes to a close Sunday at 10 p.m. on Lifetime. I'm going to really miss those ladies.

That's all for today. I'll be back next week with the beginning of my fall preview. Have a question? Seen a familiar face? Want to nominate a quote of the week? Write me at Hopefully my email will be fixed and we can begin communicating again.

Copyright © 2018, Los Angeles Times
EDITION: California | U.S. & World