I’m in love with TV this summer. How could I not be? Now that TNT’s added Dr. Temperance Brennan to their lineup and USA has countered with Mary Shannon, I’ve got a full house of smart, sassy, quirky, independent women who are not twenty-something hot babes… but are still plenty steamy. Here’s my picks for the women to watch this summer:

Saving Grace: Grace Hanadarko, hard-drinking detective who does her damnedest to outdo the guys at all of their games is driven by an angel to face down her demons. She’s flawed, she’s interesting, she’s hot and she shows her age. She’s not a role model – and I think that’s part of what I truly love about the women of TNT and USA – they’re NOT role models.They’re people.

Bones: Temperance Brennan, brilliant forensic anthropologist who is just a bit naive about people and their motives. One of the most fascinating things about Bones is watching Temperance navigate the awkward slopes of interpersonal relationships, a field that is far less comfortable for her than science. They may not bill her as having Asperger Syndrome, but the signs and symptoms are classic mild-impact Aspergers – ask the mother of any child who has it.

The Closer: Brenda Leigh Johnson is abrasive and socially inept and insecure about everything in her life but her ability to wring a confession out of any bad guy. This early summer’s ‘I confess’ ad campaign leading up to the new season of The Closer may be one of the most entertaining ad campaigns since Dunkin’s They May Be Giants ads.

In Plain Sight: Three episodes into USA’s new show, I’m falling in love with Mary Shannon, assigned to the FBI’s Witness Protection Unit and tasked with escorting witnesses that enter the program to their new identities. The show isn’t spectacular or ground-breaking, and Mary isn’t a totally out-there concept. Like Grace Hanadarko, she’s not perfect and not meant to be a role model. She’s just a person – a woman, a sister, a daughter and a partner – with a dysfunctional family and a neat job that gives the writers something fun to work with. It’s popcorn for the brain, but it’s buttery-good popcorn that leaves you feeling happy.

Burn Notice: USA’s spy-on-the-run show may not have a female main, but I watch the show for the supporting women. Michael’s on-again-off-to-kill girlfriend Fiona is the kickass little bitch that every woman wishes she could be once in a while. She doesn’t mince words or pull punches, and the pair’s relationship sizzles on the little (okay, at 60 inches, mine’s not so little) screen. And there’s nowhere near enough Sharon Gless as Michael’s mother Madeline for my taste. Some of the best scenes in the show are hers – among them, the look on her spy-son’s face when his client strolls out of his mother’s bedroom – in a bathrobe. She joins her former tv-partner Tyne Daly in portraying realistic (if a bit campy) older women who are not asexual.


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