A White Collar Community
USA (ended 2014)


Of all the networks on TV, USA is my favorite. It's not the "best," in that it doesn't air the shows that win Emmys or top critics' year-end lists. But I've always admired the way USA changed its approach to program development during the "Characters Welcome" era (which basically affected every show that followed Monk and The Dead Zone, but especially took hold after the successful launch of Psych). For more than a decade, USA has put a lot of effort into understanding its audience, and into creating the kind of shows that fit that audience. Sure, a lot of USA series can feel same-y, especially in their debut seasons, but quite often, they go on to become some of the more underrated shows on television. In fact, I'd argue that Monk, Burn Notice, White Collar, and Suits have, at different points in their lifespans, belonged in the discussion of best shows on the air.


Changes Welcome?

But now that every channel on our cable packages (not to mention all our favorite video-streaming services) is producing original programming, staying put isn't always the best move. Some of USA's longest-running series are ending (Burn Notice) or clearly winding down (Psych, Royal Pains), and the network very aware that its now-recognizable "blue skies" formula isn't going to work forever. After a few years of suggesting that things might change, USA has actually followed through on that notion in 2013. The network finally picked up some comedy projects (and with high-profile names attached!), committed to a new sci-fi show produced by Gale Ann Hurd, invested in a big promotional push for two summer reality shows (The Moment and Summer Camp), and announced plans to try daytime TV in hopes of filing out what's for years has been an almost exclusively drama-filled programming slate.

Perhaps most importantly, the network spent much of the early summer positioning Graceland as a step toward a different kind of USA. Before its premiere, Jeff Eastin's undercover agent drama was repeatedly referred to as "darker" than the typical "Characters Welcome" fare. Those headlines bothered me because it's not like previous USA shows have been completely devoid of "darkness," and because Graceland has only sort of delivered on that PR-enabled promise (I like the show just fine, but it's more of-a-piece with the network's other shows than was inititally suggested). Still, I've been trying to determine whether USA's buzzwords worked on audiences or not. The fact is, Graceland's ratings haven't been that great. Was the bluster about darkness a turn-off for audiences who love White Collar? Or is Graceland, like Common Law and Fairly Legal before it, another sign that viewers are growing bored of the USA formula? Either option has to be worrisome for the network that has topped cable ratings for seven straight years.


Time for a Transition


This isn't my attempt to boldly claim that USA IS IN TROUBLE, or that the network sucks, or anything along those lines. Suits is finding its awesome groove like USA shows do, Psych's seventh season was as fun as ever, Burn Notice's final run has been a nice return to form after some "meh" recent seasons, Covert Affairs keeps finding ways to improve, and White Collar will hopefully pull itself out of that weird Season 3 funk. Royal Pains and Necessary Roughness aren't for me, but they have their fans, and their ratings are generally solid enough. But all of these shows are at least three years old, and as I noted above, some of them are on their way out. Combine that with the fact that three of USA's last four scripted shows—Fairly LegalCommon Law, and Political Animals—didn't last very long (no, you can't convince me that they only wanted to do one season of Political Animals), and things get a little more troubling.

But instead of looking at USA Network's current lineup as a reason to worry, maybe we should recognize that this is what happens to networks; they all go through low spots and awkward transition periods. Even the vaunted HBO bumbled its successes in the mid-aughts, and it took True Blood, Game of Thrones, and Boardwalk Empire to pull it back to the top. Although The Shield buoyed FX for a long time, that network struggled to develop one great show after another until Damages and Sons of Anarchy came along. And while USA hasn't reached the same creative highs and critical acclaim as HBO and FX, its ratings have been supremely impressive. I don't know if a competitor will knock USA off its Nielsen perch anytime soon (wrestling certainly helps USA in this regard), but it's clear that the network is the midst of some change, change that's probably needed. It wouldn't hurt to mix in a sitcom or a high-concept sci-fi drama with the quips and sunshine. Nevertheless, I hope that USA can find a way to redefine itself without straying too far.

Previously Aired Episode

AIRED ON 12/18/2014

Season 6 : Episode 6

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I would like to see MORE NCIS and LESS Modern Family and LESS Law and Order SVU. Thank you.
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I know I'm a little late here, but that's what happens when you start a series on Netflix. It is likely finished or in newer season when you start watching it. I'll start by stating that I never used to watch television, I was more of a movies guy if I watched anything. About 2007 when I married and wasn't able to get out as much I started watching television with my wife. We watched reruns of Monk and really enjoyed it. It was clean, funny, quirky, and just enjoyable to watch. When Monk finished we tried Psych and only watched the first two episodes before judging it to be too juvenile and started into some of the newer shows like "Burn Notice" and "White Collar". We even watched through "Eureka" on Syfy and really enjoyed each series. We watched most of "Drop Dead Diva" before it started becoming too much of a day time drama by the last season. My wife and I also love action adventure shows, "Merlin", "Robin Hood", "Sherlock" (all three BBC), "24" (a little violent, but my wife tolerated it), "Arrow", "Flash" (our current favorites), "Agents of SHIELD" (good but S2E8 was too dark for my wife), and "Agent Carter" are the series we have followed over the years.

Then (for anyone still reading) in a lull between series, we gave Psych another chance and loved it. What we hadn't realized at the time was that Psych never takes itself seriously and as the viewer you just enjoy the ride. But now with Psych completed, and realizing that most of our favorite series have been on USA network, there doesn't seem to be a clear follow-up show to watch. First and foremost we appreciate clean shows that don't resort to foul language and dark tones to draw in viewers. Like USA's theme from years past and the tone of this article, the characters and their stories are what draw you in these shows. If anyone has any suggestions for me, please let me know.
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I use to enjoy USA programing but now they really need to do something about it because 5-6 days of nothing but SVU is really annoying. I know there is other and better programs out there ( no offense to SVU fans). Please USA do something about your programing.
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USA doesn't need to be FX or TNT, especially with the darkness of the former. Or FOX with the lineup of reality shows. ctuna makes a great point about earlier shows like Silk Stalkings and La Femme Nikita, I also think quirky characters like Monk can always develop a good following if the scripts are decent. I hope USA realizes the niche it created and moves with the times to create some new quirky interesting characters rather than attempting to rehash ideas from network dramas. Graceland is exhibit A for that type of notion.
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Usa network was so great in the 80's and 90's. I remember my weekends starting with Usa Up All Night, which wad fun too watch especially on Fri the 13th and around Halloween. Then I would watch it all day on Saturday Commander Usa Groovie movies would start it off. After that Usa Saturday Nightmares would come on, followrd by Usa Up All Night. Kung Fu would come on Sundays. I lived for those shows and also shows like Night Flight, Duckman, Counterstrike, Silk Stalkings, Werid Science, and Le Femme Nikita. Usa was great back then and I miss it so much. Once it was sold to Barry Diller it wad the end if a great channel.
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I don't find any of USA's shows appealing. All their advertisements just seem tacky. In a renaissance of television after a long dull period of too many reality shows I feel that USA is missing the mark on all of their original series. There's nothing compelling on USA. Even Netflix has excellent original programming.
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What happened to the old shows that used to be on USA network like "Up All Night"? USA was great in the 80s and 90s. I can't think of one single show I watch on there anymore.
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I watch USA almost exclusively -- until lately. I miss In Plain Sight, Fairly legal, Burn Notice ( altho at the end it was just yelling at everybody and blowing everything up). I dislike canned laughter comedy - Modern Family- and reality - Summer Camp and that Choir thing. I can't believe a stupid show like Pysch has been on so long! I change the channel immediately and have been lucky to find Monk on another channel, or a movie. Love Graceland, Suits, White Collar, Covert Affairs, Royal Pains.
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I really didn't like Psych at first either, but as I tried watching past the first few episodes I understood it better. I appreciate the humor in it and how clean it is compared to other programs out there. The relationship between Shawn and is Dad is hilarious, Shawn thinking he is smarter than his dinosaur of a father, yet his Dad outwits him a lot of the time. It's a satire on today's society with A LOT of 80s references. It may not be for everyone, but I had your opinion of it when I started watching it as well.
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USA is without a doubt my favorite network on TV right now as far as entertainment is concerned. I agree with the original poster that they should do a good sci-fi show. Why can't they revive the Star Trek series and make one that follows Star Trek: Voyager? There hasn't been a Star Trek series on in over 10 years and a whole generation of people is missing out on it.
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Hi,
I can only agree with parts of what your writing, i think USA is still staying true to its caracter line ... and i personally love white collar a lot and Royal Pains just as much and Burn Notice was a lot of fun , except those last 2 seasons they where to dark for my taste...And , maybe the reason that Gracelands sucks so much , or dident got the ratings they where hoping for , its that they it wasent a smart idea to dump their new show with so much Noice right into the traditional summer slot of white collar , we all now have to wait for the new season of WC till middle october instead getting our blue sky series in July like the last years .The boys of summer air in summer .Blue kies series have to air in Summer.
Maybe many people are like me upset that USA pushed WC into fall , just so they can air Graceland in its slot and time frame .(hoping we all watch graceland now instead of WC ??? Not happening ! I dont think they did their new show a favour ...What i would have liked would be to have Graceland air after WC ... that way people would just have stay at he TV , and could compare Jeff easton work right away ..OH well at least .USA is trying to stay original which is good .And when in Fall White Collar finally airs ...the skies become blue again , and maybe eaven Gracelands is getting better ratings in reruns .
USA please stay original and to this working formular ..
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USA has some pretty good shows. Suits, White Collar, and now Graceland. What I find a bit annoying is the split season and the off season starts. Mind you that can work if you start programming new stuff when the other networks are in reruns. But there is something to say about balancing the programming. I am not a fan of comedy, especially in reruns, but a little levity can break up some of the gloom. Heroes tend to be tainted or broken in some way and there is so much subterfuge going on the plots can get so convoluted that it is frustrating rather than entertaining. Instead of 3 or 4 subplots, can you just do one well?

I actually liked Common Law and Fairly Legal. They did have some flaws, but shows rarely these days get the time to iron things out, unless you are the Listener on Canadian tv where you can drop major plot lines at the end of the year and go in a totally new direction.

Mostly, I am grateful that the network has these scripted shows. I am really tired of the unreality shows.
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I agree, USA is also my favorite network: I adore White Collar, Covert Affairs, Suits, and now Graceland. I never could get into Psych or Burn Notice, but I'm just starting Royal Pains and liking it (not as good as their other shows but it's still entertaining). I still miss Fairly Legal and In Plain Sight because they were awesome :(
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Can I tell you I'm still upset about Fairly Legal? It was pretty freaking awesome. And I feel Necessary Roughness is going to go the same way... when you add a new character...you're trying to save the show...

I watched the pilot of Suits..and thought it wouldn't last... LO AND BEHOLD.. still here. I catch an episode here and there... but can't stay vested.

Burn Notice bored me A LONG TIME AGO..but this season looks good.

Now, I actually love Graceland. And the twist they had last week was EPIC.. I kinda figured it out 10 minutes before the reveal.. Doing a what if scenario in my head... I hope they keep this to summers... to fill the void of Burn Notice.
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All things end eventually. Doesn't mean decline per se. USA is the best network and my favourite. Shows like Psych, Suits, Burn Notice & White Collar alone are some of the best tv has to offer. Combined, there's no competition. Yes, they failed in canceling Fairly Legal and Common Law wasn't good, but c'mon, there's always something you don't like on any network. Sad Burn Notice is ending, but as long as Psych & Suits is around, it's still all good in the hood...
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"A little different"?

That is an understatement.
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Well, their last 2 original dramedies didn't do anything for me. I watched the pilot of Graceland...didn't even get through the pilot of Common Law.
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Neither of which participated in any crossover promos, I might add.
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I like Graceland and some of the other shows but USA can get rid of shows like Summer Camp Its stupid and a waste of TV Time.
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I watched the first Summer Camp specifically for this piece and it was...ROUGH. I don't mind reality TV, but not no good.
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I really enjoyed Common Law and don't know why it didn't do better. Maybe competition in the time slot? Everyone I know who caught the series, loved it?
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I didn't hate it, but it was clear that they were sort of fighting with their premise from the beginning. Good cast though.
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From Monk on USA has put out many memorable shows like Burn Notice, White Collar, Psych, Covert Affairs and Royal Pains but if those are ended they quite frankly will go down the drain. They are not good at comedies and worst at reality shows. Graceland is passable but if they cancel it I would not missed it. I hate it when in their promotions they compare Graceland to Burn Notice.
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I'm glad to hear someone else say that they hate the Burn Notice/Graceland comparisons. I watch USA all the time and follow all of the original programming. But the attempt to set up Graceland as a replacement for Burn Notice (which was the original reason I started watching the network in the first place) turned me off immediately. Besides that, the premise is a little too "Real World: USA Network" for me.
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I'm there as well. Graceland doesn't seem dark, it seems very much "watch cool and beautiful young people cavort amongst danger, ooh!" And lacks any of Burn Notice's style or grip.
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USA is a great network, Psych is my favorite show and White Collar/Suits are fantastic. I've notice a bit of decline in quality in new shows since Monk ended, Monk put the network on the map. I haven't seen Covert Affairs (thought it looked a bit like Burn Notice at first). I've watched a few seasons of Burn Notice but it started to drag a bit in Season 5. I think USA is great because they never worry about acclaimed shows and just put stuff on because it's fun and anyone can watch it! (they have a wide range)
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It is not as if USA has never done sci-fi. They had The 4400 and The Dead Zone.
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Right that's the first thing I thought of when I read they were doing a sci fi show. Hellllo 4400 :)
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Right. But they also shooed them off the air when it was clearly they wanted more shows in the Monk-Burn Notice mold.
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Need more White Collar! I like USA as a network and am still sorry about Political Animals. I liked it quite a bit. But it's also symptomatic for the problem you described. You take a high profile Drama, or as close as you get to one, which, you know isn't what your audience is accustomed to and then, before you give it time to develop or maybe even get some kind of awards love, you cancel it because the audience who you knew wouldn't like it, didn't like it. If you know that people love what you are doing but still wanting to change things up, you can't get all cancely on shows if that change doesn't come over night.
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I never liked "Burn Notice," and I despised what USA did to "Law & Order: Criminal Intent" (though, to be honest, it went downhill the moment the creators put Chris Noth in and decided to focus more on the characters than the cases.) but USA does have the most shows that I watch. Suits is my second favorite show (next to the CW's "Supernatural") and "White Collar" and "Psyche" I watch religiously, "Necessary Roughness" is my guilty pleasure, and, though it had a LOT of flaws, "Political Animals" was a show I tuned into every week during its run. My only complaint is that so many of the shows seemed like carbon copies of other shows. Harvey and Mike from Suits had the same relationship that Peter and Neil seemed to have (both series even have a nerdy bald guy who eventually became the fan favorite), and Psych and Suits both run on the concept of the main character's jobs revolving around a lie. And then TNT pumped out "Franklin & Bash" which at first seemed uncomfortably like a comedic mixture of "Suits" and TNT's now defunct "Raising the Bar." (Mark Paul Gosellaar was even the main character in both shows)

But all the series now have had 3 years or more to find their footing and there are noticable differences. That can't be said with the police procedurals. EVERY cop show these days have ether two male cops who can't stand each other at first but become buddies, or a quirky male and straight female cop who can't stand each other but hook up eventually. As bad as USA's Law & Order: CI run was, they at least didn't have Goren and Eams shack up at the end of the series (though he did kiss her ONCE in the series... on the cheek.) It is possible for a buddy cop show to have two detectives of the opposite gender without them falling for each other. Elementary is my third favorite show BECAUSE Sherlock and Female Watson got the "let's put sexual tension in the show" out of the way in the first 5 minutes by having Holmes confess his love to Watson the moment she introduced herself to him... and it turned out to be a big fakeout.

I'm not saying every show is perfect. There are a LOT of flaws in each USA show. Political Animals, honestly, was "What if Hillary Clinton ditched Bill and ran for office?" It was relevant in 2012 because there was an election going on, but it couldn't last a second season because the general public doesn't really care about politics until election years. Psych had some BIG flaws this last season, which is a shame because this season was the year Shawn and Gus gained maturity with the fallout of Juliet finding out Shawn's secret and Gus getting a girlfriend (both storylines are dropped completely by the second to last episode and handwaved as no big deal in the season finale) Necessary Roughness has Dani fired from her job within the first 5 minutes of season 3, living alone since her son and daughter abandoned her, her love interest of the first two seasons is gone with the most piss-poor excuse, and she's working for John Stamos, who may or may not be evil, and I won't even go on what they did to TK. It doesn't seem like the show I grew to love anymore. And Suits main flaw is that Harvey's ego has run rampant and he's making REALLY stupid decisions which I HOPE blow up in his face, but knowing Harvey and his "Lawyer Jesus" status (I really despised the end of season 2's mid-season finale) he'll come up on top. The only show that seemed to improve was "White Collar."

I don't know what;s going to happen to the network once Burn Notice and Psych go off the air. Hopefully it'll spark a renaissance of shows which will revive the network, instead of merely having slightly tweaked carbon copies of the shows that currently exist. (Still looking for the "fake doctor" show...)
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I don't think Common Law failed because the viewers weren't behind it, but rather because -the network- wasn't behind it. The show aired on a Friday night, at 10:00 PM (EST), with no decent lead-in programming (Law and Order: SVU reruns that people have already watched a million times), there were hardly any encore airings, it wasn't promoted a lot after the premiere, and it started its season during an odd period (middle of May, instead of summer like almost every other USA series).

You could make an argument that Fairly Legal failed for similar reasons. The show did just fine in its first year, then viewership began eroding after USA moved the show from Thursday night to Friday and practically gave-up on it. I believe USA would perform much better if they stuck wrestling on Friday nights (or the weekend) and decided to air original dramas/comedies on Mondays.

The way I see it, the people at USA simply don't know how to properly pair their shows with one another. Common Law should have originally aired in January (as initially intended before it was pushed-back), or the network should have waited until June and broadcast it following Burn Notice, Royal Pains, or White Collar.
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No two ways about it, Fairly Legal got Fox'd. They changed it so much that the people who liked it in the first place stopped watching and didn't care when it got canceled.
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I see your point about the network backing, but I'll say this: There's probably a reason the network buried them.
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I agree. To play devil's advocate to myself for a moment, it could have also been a matter of USA not having any other choice if the production company (CBS) wasn't willing to continue footing the bill down the road.

The other USA series are produced either by Fox Television (Burn Notice, White Collar) or Universal Cable (Psych, Suits, Royal Pains, Covert Affairs), which conveniently tend to strike lucrative syndication deals with each other's sister stations/syndication networks once the aforementioned series have been on the air for a few years.

CBS might have felt the show wasn't worth the long-term costs (for whatever reason, I thought it was full of potential), or they simply didn't like it, quality-wise (also jarring considering what CBS is widely known for airing). Plus, it's not as if CBS has a lengthy record of producing shows for other networks aside from its own and The CW.

Actually, now that I think about it, I don't believe there is a single non-CBS/-CW show produced by CBS aside from The Game. Ouch, I suppose Common Law was dead in the water from the beginning. :(
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Appreciate the insights. The show was definitely doomed from the jump; I recall various production issues.
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The last episode of Graceland gave me chills of pleasure. Oh, that moment when Briggs finally revealed his true self.
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Interesting. I'm a few behind. Need to catch up.
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Yes, you do :)
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It was awesome
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I'm not sure Royal Pains is actually winding down just yet, it still feels like it has something to say.

I haven't bothered with Graceland, I think the darkness isn't driving me away, it's the premise and the "young people live in a house and bust grimes on the gritty streets of Malibu" marketing that has been a mild turnoff.

Apparently, Cory is living in an alternate universe where Covert Affairs' quality is inverse to what our universe has. ;-)

I think the problem with USA Network is that they've rested too long on their laurels, they've enjoyed too much success with one specific voice and didn't develop more entertainment with similar voices but beyond the same faces, and now they're forced to scramble to find a new path because they see their voice aging out, as well as just tuning out. But it's easy to get lost when you're one of the few cablers with a true identity, and it feels to me like USA close to losing that identity trying to be more FX. Also, I think the blame has to rest on the shoulders of their very rigid airing schedules with virtually no overlap, the broken seasons don't lend themselves well to audience crossover loyalty.

Anyway, I agree, I hope they can find new stuff that works without straying too far, but I get the feeling they're half a step off the cliff and ready to turn into The Learning Channel.
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The Learning Channel eventually had no choice but to officially refer to themselves only by their initials. (I would wager that 90%+ of their audience has no idea that TLC doesn't stand for Tender Loving Care.) The learning that actually used to be possible by watching them is long a thing of the past, except for maybe learning about just how bad reality TV can really be. No channel has ever fallen further from grace, IMO.

I know you know all this. I'm not really speaking to you, just generally ranting about what a steaming pile of merde they've turned into.
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It's not like you can't still LEARN things from The (Erstwhile) Learning Channel.

I've learned, for example, that if you value your privacy, the best financial position to be in is middle class, because they only make reality shows about rich people and poor people.
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They're the Chick'n Nuggets of TV, the "Chocolaty Flavor!" of the tube.
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Graceland is actually really good.
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Psych, Royal Pains and White Collar are all phenomenal shows and I enjoy Covert Affairs as well. I would agree with USA is definitely one of the best networks on TV.
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Love Suits, white collar, psych, liked common law and fairly legal. Like graceland however not for summer there is a je ne sais quoi that makes me just watch it but lacks of something to enjoy it in summer i would like it in winter though
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Graceland and Burn Notice are the only shows from USA I enjoy. I used to enjoy Psych and Royal Pains before the quality in writing fell off. None of their other shows appeal to me, so once Burn Notice ends, Graceland will be the only show I follow.

Haven't really seen any promos for their upcoming lineup. Which is odd.
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USA is such a static thing these days that I mostly forget that this is the same network I watched the USA Cartoon Express on after school when I was a kid. And then near adolescence, there was Rhonda Shear with the USA Up All Night Cinemax Boob Flicks Except We Blur Or Cut The Really Cinemax Bits. And at that time they were nearly exclusively a re-run channel otherwise. Knight Rider, Quantum Leap, Highlander, Wings, etc.....stuff that had already played out on network TV. Meh.....they've completely reinvented themselves before, they'll do it again eventually, if it's necessary. The things I have to remember is it's all about the bottom line. As long as their ratings are good, they're not likely to mess with things too much. Don't rock the $$$ if you don't have to is the corporate motto. Unfortunately it doesn't always make for good TV, but everybody has a niche, and for me, as long as I've got FX and AMC and a few others.....meh...I'm good.
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I used to watch Psych and White Collar, but USA's shows are too formulaic for my taste.
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Just bring back Commander USA's Groovie Movies and Night Flight and I'll be happy.

Yes I'm old.
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Oh, yes, Night Flight! Good recall, loved that; I didn't see many of those, to be honest, came across it towards its waning days unfortunately, have a few on tape, some of those converted to DVD.
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And lest we forget USA Up All Night (with Gilbert Gottfried).
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And before that USA Saturday Nightmares.
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Man, I have such great memories of Night Flight. Hmm, I take that back. Being "old" myself, I now have very few actual memories of the show other than some of the great rock concert movies they showed regularly (Genesis when Phil was still silent and just played great drums, Yes, etc.), but I do at least remember how much I looked forward to watching it every weekend.

Also, thumbs up for your Muad'Dib avatar. :-)
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'Graceland' is really terrible. What would have made it work is not making the lead character a cherub faced white kid. Everytime they show the house the old Sesame Street 'One of these things is not like the others....' starts playing. Anyone he busts during the course of this show deserves it because he wouldn't fool anyone. It kills the show's entire vibe.
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I know what you mean. I like Graceland despite Aaron Tveit's Mike Warren, who looks exactly like a typical FBI agent photofit. There is no way he'd fool any true criminal underworld types. They'd have been better off casting Michael Ealy straight after cancelling Common Law (did anyone else initially think that Aaron Tveit and Warren Kole were the same person?), but then Ealy wouldn't have been cast in the brilliant looking Almost Human, so small blessings I guess.
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I totally thought he was Warren Kole!!
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I love White Collar, and it was during the season finale of the show that I first saw the preview for Graceland. I thought I would immediately love the show, and from what I've seen of it, I really do. The problem is that it's not sticking its landing. Because of the unraveling plot between the two main characters, I'm not sure where my loyalty should be with the characters. Do I trust them or not? Sometimes, I just want to know flat out how I should feel about certain characters instead of having it shoved in my face that TADA, THEY'RE DIRTY, LOL!

But I'm not surprised by this sneaky underhanded way of storytelling. After all, White Collar began the exact same way. Neal is the star/protagonist, and for a while, it was a huge mystery who the antagonist was. Who was keeping his (ex-)girlfriend from him? And for a little while there, the show tried to make you think that the big bad was Peter! Gasp! No! It couldn't be! And of course, it wasn't.

The thing with USA, the tagline "Character's Welcome" leaves you with a certain feeling that the characters will be the main focus of the shows. This is where critics fail to give a whole lot of shit. It doesn't matter if characters are fantastic or not as long as there are shocking deaths or unexplained plot twists every other episode. But USA has always delivered on writing amazingly beautiful MALE characters. The females could use some work, sadly. But Graceland has two beautifully interesting strong females that I can't wait to learn more about. So, I hope the show succeeds, just so USA knows that writing interesting females is just as important.

You can do it, USA!

As long as the network keeps its focus on the characters and doesn't try to write something just so people will be blown away by the plot, I think they'll be okay. When you have great characters, I believe a story sticks with you longer.
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In Plain Sight was a really good show. I also watch Burn Notice, Psyche, White Collar and Graceland. Psyche is one of the funniest shows I've ever watched in my life, and if it makes me laugh then it's a winner!
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I think it needs more shows like Monk.
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The only USA original shows I've watched are Psych and Burn Notice. I watched a season of each for the sake of variety and I HATED them. They are both just awful, so I don't expect that the rest of the fare would be any better, although I might try Suits at some stage. Oh I watched an episode of Political Animals as well and that was poor.

Taste is of course a subjective thing but I'd certainly agree with Cory's views that USA is not the best, it doesn't air shows that win Emmys or top top critics' year-end lists, it hasn't reached the creative heights or critical acclaim of HBO and FX. You have to wonder why with all these shortcomings it could still be his favourite network? Admiring its ratings and 'the way it changed its approach to program development' seems a tad peripheral.
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I really like the shows! They don't have to be the "best" for me to like them. I also think their promotional and branding campaign has been stellar for years, so my more scholarly interest in that has transferred to the shows, and vice versa.
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USA has a consistent level of quality to its shows: funny shows that have a sort of status quo but still go somewhere. The highest rated shows on tv are the same. NCIS will never win for best drama but its comfort food tv.
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Graceland is the first USA network show I've watched. I'm not that disappointed with it to be honest. I didn't really pay attention to the promotional material, so I didn't know about this supposed 'darkness'. I went into that pilot having only watched a trailer and I liked it. Probably because it wasn't as scary-dark as a number of procedurals I watch.

Which is fine. If I wanted to go to bed creeped out of my wits I'd watch American Horror story or Criminal Minds.

Its fun, it entertains and yeah, maybe not that much of a ratings puller, but it's certainly filling up my summer tv gap.
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I like Royal Pains with the one major exception being that the series exists as it does on the fact that "Hank: saved Campbell Scott's daughter and Scott essentially kicked out the old doctor and gave Hank the guest house, and the concierge practice, because of it. The daughter disappeared, like many daughter on shows do, right after that. She was the reason for the whole premise.

I like Suits, but have been glazing over a bit with the office politics lately. It's a show you have to pay more attention to now, or so it seems. Also, it occurred to me just the other day, could they not have hired Mike a consultant or private investigator and thereby get around the lie he went to college and all that?

I am a little behind on Graceland and just watched the fifth episode tonight. It feels like all the episodes thus far have been one long two-hour movie and it's still not over. I am finding I don't care about the characters much. The premise of the new guy watching a suspected veteran for whatever reason has been very weak. When you look forward to seeing Serinda Swan in a bikini more than anything else, there's something wrong with the show. Forget the fact that she was just sort of dropped into this series and has done little to establish her character. In contrast, The Killing may be slow and dreary and have other minor issues for me, but I find it still interesting and/or intriguing and come to care about the characters.

Psyche has always been hit and miss. I find every third or fourth episode to be pretty good over the rest. The show works best for me when Roday isn't obnoxiously chewing up the episode and steps back a bit for the other characters to have their time in the spotlight.

The new shows planned? Don't Turn Around reminds me of CBS's island horror series a short while back that had Katie Cassidy in it. Shadow Counsel seems the most interesting, but in its way, The Edge seems similar. The Arrangement could be a toss-up for success or not, but I don't find it all that interesting. I wonder if it might be done like a prime time soap with some occasional lightness and humor or take itself too seriously? The rest seem too familiar to what's been done already.

Since NBC (Comcast now) owns USA and SyFy, shouldn't Horizon be on SyFy to create ever more original programming for that brand of a station? Wanna bet they will cross-promote, if not re-air episodes on SyFy anyway?
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Safibwana's right. The woman Hank helped at the party was one of the party guests not Boris' daughter.
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OK - I may stand corrected, but I could swear she was his daughter or maybe "like a daughter" to him? I don't remember exactly. She seemed really important to Boris, and not just as a guest in trouble, unless it was that her dying would be a problem for Boris in some way. I did a little poking around to find out, but can't get anything more than she was "April". Now I'll have rewatch the first episodes some time to be sure, as it's now going to bug me.
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You're right; Boris was worried that April's illness/possible death would cause him problems. Boris didn't want to draw negative attention towards himself. (I'd be more concerned about April than the bad press, myself.) The old doc thought April had overdosed on drugs, but Hank figured out that she had actually gotten sick from the pesticide in the garden.
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What makes you think April was Boris's daughter? Pretty sure she was a guest.
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I thought I missed something. They never brought her back, but I never remembered the lovely Tamara Feldman's 'April' as being Boris' daughter either.
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Forgot Covert Affairs and Burn Notice. Kind of glad Burn Notice is ending and this season is probably coming off more likeable and interesting because of it for me.

Covert Affairs is dying. It was best left as a breezier lighter show it was in the first season. I actually enjoyed Perabo trying to keep her sister, Anne Dudek, from discovering what she actually did for a living plus it gave her a family to care about in the process. Her relationship, or the show's intention to have her have one, with Gorham is beyond cliche by now. They should have kept the British guy from Coupling. I don't mind realistic and serious stories or story arcs, but they seem to have gone too far down the well now.

Oh, and White Collar is fine.
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Graceland is a welcome addition to the several shows I watch on USA. Burn Notice has, and will always be, USA's best show to me. It's been on my top 10 list of best shows on tv since it first began, and this final season is showing why. With the exception of Political Animals, I've watched every original program this network has put out, with my personal favorites being, including Burn Notice, Psych, White Collar, Suits, Covert Affairs, In Plain Sight, and Monk. I don't love Royal Pains and Necessary Roughness, but I like them a lot.
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Graceland definitely feels "off" and definitely does not fit with the shows built on the USA formula. Further, they are trying to turn Covert Affairs into a show it is not, was never meant to be, and can probably not become. Suits whole direction this season is troubling, without any characters remaining who are likable. I do not like this new direction at all.
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If you don't find Donna likable, you are not even remotely human.
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Yeah, well, episode before last she was not likable, she was running on residual likability. With only one episode of recovery behind her and a bad relationship storyline ahead of her I'm not going out on that limb to say she's likely to reach a steady state of likability again.
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Nah she is definitely not likeable. Shes just annoying. Literally a glorified secretary who takes the board room soap opera way to seriously. No one on that show is likeable. Season 1 was perfect and then it felt as though some writer got fired and the show dropped the ball HARD.
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its sad to see all the decent shows winding down. psych was the first show that brought me to usa network. I found burn notice after that and white collar, necessary roughness, and covert affairs. but the "new" shows are pretty horrible suits yuck, summer camp discusting, graceland horrible.... they've clearly lost there connection they once had..
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Monk was my first show, then I watched Psych and have been in love with it since Season 1. It makes me laugh no matter what.

Monk to it's credit has the same effect, I can go back anytime now and watch a random episode and it never disappoints
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I don't want darker -- I want great writing and interesting and likeable characters... comedy, mystery... Monk, Psych etc
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Psych is still their best show. The group that makes up Psych just keeps bringing the funny and finding new ways to refine what they can do. This past season was one of if not their most consistently funny seasons.

Burn Notice has fallen so far. I liked the light hearted fun that it used to bring. It got serious at moments but it never tried to be more than it was. Until it tried to be more than it was. The stuff over the last three seasons has been bad. The whole emotional baggage, crap with Fiona was just crap to watch. It is bringing a little bit back this season. But it still is rife with annoyances.

White Collar lost it. I like it, I still watch it. But it has lost its cat and mouse, who's smarter than who feel about it. I wish they would have kept Neil on the run.

Graceland is all right. But it has yet to stake a claim as to what it really is. Is it going to be a cat and mouse? Cloak and Dagger? Who's smarter than who? It seems reluctant or hesitant to show what it really is. And without that, it is hard for viewers to judge them. But also, without that you can't exceed what the viewers are expecting.

Suits is good, despite all of its faults. But this season will be a big win or a big loss depending on how they go. Right now it isn't that great.

Royal Pains, it is what it is. It isn't really trying to be anything more. And I can like that in a show.

Necessary Roughness is and will always be meh.


Covert Affairs is the same. They could have gone Jason Bourne but with a girl. However what they have is 90% Rom Com and 10% spy action, if it is that much.

USA needs to reignite its brand. They need to stop trying to revive and repeat their success with shows that just don't live up to what they once were and shows that aren't going to be what others were and they need to go and seek out new and different. And that isn't half assed crappy reality shows. There are a lot of gaps that are out there in TV land. There is no solid military action oriented show. There are a very few edgy comedies, out there beyond FX and Comedy Central. And that is dwindling, The League can't have many more seasons in it, Always Sunny is in it's last season. This is also Psych's last season so there is going to be a drop in a solid hour episodic of comedy. I am not sure if Psych can ever even be repeated. But make a go of it. They might want to pillage some of the talent that is on YouTube and give some of them an hour and 13 episodes to see what they can do. Superheroes seem to be the next big thing, go for something lighthearted and obscure. Make Scott Pilgrim into a tv show. Try something. The way they set up their seasons let them have a perfect way of trying things out without overcommitting.
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Eh....I never thought Burn Notice fell off. It always seemed to suggest that it would eventually shift its flow away from Case-of-the-Week mixed in with a tiny bit of Big Picture. In fact, I'd opine that the show had to do such a thing, and that it knew it from the beginning. A show like how Burn Notice started out is great.....for about 3 seasons, and then everybody would complain about the "same old thing again" (well, I would for sure, and people like me). Ratings tend to fall when nothing ever changes, outside of strict procedurals like NCIS and Law & Order. And Burn Notice was definitely never that. But the entire premise of the show demanded that eventually things move on to focus more about getting Michael Weston on track for the rest of his life, and resolving/getting to the bottom of the things that got him in the situation the show started off being about. The emotional baggage always struck me as more of USA's "Character's Welcome" mantra, and it seems to work. The stuff with Fiona.....well, it never bothered me (other than the fact that SHE bothers me....never liked that character too much), but I can see how it would bother others, so fair enough. I've enjoyed it and I'll be sad to see it go. It's about the only thing on USA I watch.
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But Burn Notice had a great potential ending with unraveling the conspiracy behind the burn back when the "final" power behind the burn was revealed, when the Anson character was revealed. After that it just repeated more layers of conspiracy to seeming little end. And the "case a week" thing continued quite well into the Anson reveal and ending.

I think the show simply stayed on longer than it needed to, as often happens, and ignored that it had already provided the background and space to wrap up the Michael/Fiona and other chief storylines long before now. The last two or three seasons have added virtually nothing, while losing the "case of the week" lost touch with the humanity that was so important to the show and its thesis of spies reengaged with "real life." The focus now on whether, for example, the major protagonist killing an old friend who is, nonetheless, still in the life and was/is a major danger that gets other people killed, or the case of getting a bunch of drug cartel members killed to safe the friend of a friend simply lacks the compelling nature of choices that affect regular people as shown in those "case of the week" contrasts to the deeper spy game going on in the background.
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You could be right, but I don't mind the evolution of a premise. If the show's only intent was to be about the comeback of a burned spy, then yeah, it was probably over last year. But another way to look at it is that Burn Notice is the saga of a former spy, starting from the time he got burned. The show doesn't have to be solely about his road back, but about his life thereafter. In that sense, the show has still felt viable. It's just that the episode before last wasn't very good--in any context--and it wouldn't have been good in the first few seasons either. It was just a poorly written episode. I rather enjoyed this week's, however.
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I agree, in theory, but to play devil's advocate for a moment: Didn't almost all of USA's success come from repeating success of its other shows?
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And that is ok if you can continue your success. But they are not. Right now they are stagnant. When Psych came on there was little else like it on TV.( I think, I didn't have a TV in 2006 and wasn't even in this country. ) They branched out with Psych, they branched out with Burn Notice with a Spy/comedy drama and to a point White Collar. They can do it again. And more to the point the way they have things set up with 13 episodes here and then 13 episodes there. They have the ability to try things out. And like I said there are a lot of gaps in TV right now, a lot of genres not being addresses and beloved, critically acclaimed shows that are signing off that are going to need to be replaced. So what better time than now to try some new things to see if they work.

They can take the superhero thing and create something like Alphas but long lasting. Or create something light and fun. They could spin off Burn Notice is they went with Alona tal and did an anti Covert Affairs kind of show that is serious, engaging more like Alias. They could find and create something entirely new. There is plenty of talent out there and plenty of ideas. They just need to find one and they can rebuild from that.
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I agree with many of your points. Monk made the reputation of USA by having a who-done-it with a quirky character and a big infusion of humor. The best of White Collar and all of Psych fulfills that same slot of programming. I have watched Graceland so far, but it will be one of the first shows that I drop when other, better choices start showing original shows. Graceland lacks the sense of humor that has made the best USA shows some of my favorites. USA should look at an American version of the BBC4's Misfits. It would hit the action/comedy/romance notes than make a good USA show and bring in some horror/scify geeks to the channel.
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Good Guys was good and would be a great fit. It was on Fox and was created by Matt Nix. Nix is the main guy responsible for the current season of Burn Notice, so I think USA execs agree too. It's too bad that the fun of Good Guys isn't showing up on Burn Notice.
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Did you ever see the ABC show from a few summers ago "Good Guys"? I think it would a good fit for USA. Witty writing and quirky characters.
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Completely agree with you about Misfits. And some horror scifi would be nice.
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USA is like fettuccine alfredo. It's not spectacular but it is tasty and reliable and I always order it. But I'm kind of getting bored of white pasta, and I only ever really liked Burn Notice, White Collar, and Psych anyways and everything else kind of blurs together. Basically, variety is good, USA! Embrace the change.
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One word: Parsley.
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mmmmmmmmmmm fettuccine alfredo
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There was a time, maybe about 4-5 years ago, when I said USA was my favorite TV network. Monk, Psych, Burn Notice, and the beginnings of In Plain Sight and White Collar were all shows I really liked watching (particularly the first three). Both Psych and Burn Notice were in my top 3 favorite shows. But during the year after that time, AMC and FX started to get awesome, Monk ended, I gave up on In Plain Sight after its second season, and I had an on-and-off relationship with White Collar... all of which caused USA to fall down my ranks pretty quickly. Its last three years haven't provided me with much, with Psych really being the only constant entertainment. Suits and Graceland have been pretty good since their debuts, but Burn Notice and White Collar have dropped pretty significantly, so those kinda cancel each other out for me. Fairly Legal, Royal Pains, and Necessary Roughness did nothing for me. Covert Affairs and Common Law were pretty average. With Burn Notice ending and Psych's end nearing, at the moment, I don't see USA getting back on top any time soon.

And yes, I haven't found Graceland all that dark. Maybe USA oversold that aspect of it; maybe Burn Notice getting more soapy and White Collar and Suits doing some serious drama made the transition seem much less evident. Either way, while it has been fun, it doesn't seem like a game-changer at all. Manny Montana's interview on this site said that the show gets much more serious and dark by season's end, so hopefully he's not wrong about that. I don't think it HAS to get darker to be enjoyable, but if my experiences with Burn Notice, White Collar, In Plain Sight, and Covert Affairs mean anything, it'll be tough for them to stay enjoyable if they stick with that relatively same formula.
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Funny you note that it won't get back on top. I mostly agree with what you're saying (that's why I wrote this), but USA still slays in the ratings. I just keep wondering when the time runs out on that.
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That's my concern, as well. My tv habits are all over the place, from comedy like Modern Family and TBBT to raw drama like Breaking Bad and Dexter. There's really room for anything from anyone, as long as criteria are met: Solid characters I care about, interesting story arcs -- note, week-to-week eps can be up or down, it's the overarching mythology I care about -- and at least some levity to keep it from being a total drag (Walking Dead only barely scrapes by on this last one some weeks). But since I do watch from so many networks and outlets (including Netflix, House of Cards and now Orange is the New Black = fabulous!), I don't really have a favorite.

That said, when I look at the list of my top, oh, 20 fave shows, it's telling that 3 of them are on USA (White Collar, Suits and Psych) while all other nets score at 1 or 2 titles per. I think what has always made me feel USA *as a Network* was so very awesome is that you could tell they knew their fan base for years and did more than any other net to reach out and connect to them. My god, even Psych's Midnight Musical screening at SDCC this year was a blazing display of almost sickening fanservice (and we loved every minute of it). No other net has done that, and I've been going to SDCC for, well, many, many years. Their Characters Unite campaign makes me feel like these are people who care about their shows and they fans, as actual people and not just numbers and ratings. Funny how a net can appear to have a solid character identity...

Has the Blue Sky m.o. been worn thin? Possibly. Probably. But when some shows are dragging you across emotional cheese graters (Walking Dead, Breaking Bad, etc) it's actually kind of nice to know I can turn off the fight or flight in my brain and enjoy a story with some meat, even if there's often more gravy than healthy for me. Graceland was touted sooooooo hard as "edgy!", "different!", "totally new for us!" and yet on its best days all I see is a younger brother trying really hard to be tough and swaggering like his older siblings. I just roll my eyes and want to say, "Look kid, tough is Raylan Givens. You ain't tough."

TL;DR In the end, I think USA making some subtle changes is perfectly okay -- I like a little dark meat with my white on shows like White Collar and Suits; give me some more drama and less glib some weeks, please -- but this attempt to make a hard right isn't working, and I'm wondering when the ratings will really start to adjust for that navigational choice.
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Well I liked Fairly Legal and Common Law. Political Animals I gave up halfway through the 1st episode.

I'm pretty much Mon-Thur watching any USA show (cept Necessary Roughness).
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So, Monday: That includes RAW then?
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yes it does
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Burn Notice for many years now didn't know whether it wanted to be drama or comedy, and often times the dramatic moments were ruined with too much comedy or vice versa. This final season is my favorite yet, being fully serialized (no more clients) and as little comedy as possible. I wanted this from Burn Notice since Season 4, when they started to go darker.

It was really great in the beginning when it was more comedy oriented, but it started to drag when it tried to make the transition from "fun and funny" to "dramatic and serialized" but now that they're finally on the dramatic and serialized end of the show, it's really really awesome.

Season 7 = best season yet.
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I wouldn't say "no more" clients...occasionally in season 7 we've seen the other 3 take jobs while Mike is off doing God-knows-what.
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True but they've been a lot more connected to the main story than past seasons. Almost every serialized show has little subplots that take up episodes but in the end advance the plot in some way.
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Covert affairs has picked up insanely since season 2.White collar has come down since season 3.Royal pains is the best it's ever been.Graceland is a hit right off the bat.Suits and necessary roughness are strong.Burnnotice has been the s*** since season 1 and in my eyes has never lost track.And as for psych...One of the best shows ever put on TV.It will be missed.
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Everyone said that Psych was great in season 7, So I've gone back. But it's still the same old same old it always was. I'm all for unique programming like Bubheads and Psych but I really can't see what people see in Psych. It's not that funny and morons on patrol just doesn't get it...
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My thumbs up for season 7 being fairly samey. I do not agree that it's not funny though, I find it pretty funny.
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Suits graceland
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