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Catching up on summer series

CHARLESTON, W.Va. -- I want to let you guys in on a little secret. Even though I write about TV, I'm not always the best TV watcher. I watch very few things live, and I sometimes procrastinate about watching things I've recorded. Even things I'm looking forward to.

That's why it wasn't until this week that I got caught up on Lifetime's "Devious Maids" (10 p.m. Sundays) and CBS' "Under the Dome" (10 p.m. Mondays) even though I was interested in both before they started.

"Devious Maids," sadly, has left me mostly disappointed so far. It's not awful, just wildly uneven. When it's on (mainly in the plots involving Ana Ortiz's Marisol and Judy Reyes' Zoila and her daughter), it's a fun soap, but when it's off (like with Roselyn Sanchez's Carmen and most of the female employers), it's just cringe-worthy.

"Under the Dome," on the other hand, has me interested, at least thus far, and not just because it's fun to see Dean Norris ("Breaking Bad's" Hank) on the wrong side of the law. It's a well-done show -- in front of the camera and behind -- with a major mystery and subsequent smaller ones that are interesting but haven't gone off the rails yet (though I fully expect one or all of them to because this is Stephen King we're talking about).

The first three episodes are all available for free online, so you can get caught up if you need to. I won't say anything about the plot beyond the general "people are cut off from the world when a mysterious dome seals them in their small town" to avoid spoiling anything for anyone.

I also like that it's an "event series," meaning that these 13-episodes will be self-contained. Executive producer Neal Baer told TV Guide in the current issue that everything will be wrapped up at the end of the season, so it's one I can follow and enjoy now but not have to invest in beyond the summer if I don't want to.

Of course, if ratings keep up, it will go beyond this summer, and Baer (who "Law & Order: SVU" fans might recognize as a former longtime producer on that show) said they're prepared for that. As he told TV Guide, "We've pitched how a second year would unfold. We have many stories under our sleeve. There are 2,000 people who live in Chester's Mill. We won't run out of characters."

I've also gotten caught up on ABC Family's mysterious "Twisted" (9 p.m. Tuesday). I'm enjoying it and would like to find out the answers to its mysteries (Who killed Regina Crane? Why did Danny Desai strangle his aunt as a child? What's the significance of the necklace that links the two victims?). I also like seeing Maddie Hasson again, who was on Fox's canceled-too-soon crime dramedy "The Finder" last year. However, I won't be particularly heartbroken if it doesn't survive.

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Scripted series premieres: "The Haunted Hathaways," 8:30 p.m. Saturday, Nickelodeon (sitcom about a father and two sons haunting a mother and two daughters in their new home); "Bounty Hunters," 10 p.m. Saturday, CMT (animated series starring Jeff Foxworthy, Bill Engvall and Larry the Cable Guy as bounty hunters).

Other series premieres: "Summer Camp," 8 p.m. Thursday, USA (reality competition inspired by camp games); "The Winner Is . . . ," 9 p.m. Thursday, NBC (signing competition hosted by Nick Lachey); "Hollywood Game Night," 10 p.m. Thursday, NBC (contestants pair with celebrities in party games); "Wanda Skyes Presents Herlarious," 10 p.m. Saturday, OWN (stand-up comedy showcase); "Pop Innovators," 8 p.m. Sunday, E! (interviewing influential celebrities; first up: will.i.am); "Hillbillies for Hire," 9 p.m. Sunday, CMT (friends own a custom prank shop in Florida); "Adam Richmond's Fandemonium," 10 p.m. Sunday, Travel Channel (spotlighting top tailgating experiences); "Perfect Score," 9 p.m. Tuesday, CW (dating competition); "Catering Wars," 10 p.m. Tuesday, Lifetime (Texas catering crews battle for business); "Deal With It," 10:30 p.m. Tuesday, TBS (celebrities and regular folks team up for hidden-camera pranks).

Season premieres: "Being Human," 10 p.m. Saturday, BBC America; "Tia & Tamera," 8 p.m. Sunday, Style Network; "La La's Full Court Life," 10 p.m. Sunday, VH1; "Giuliana & Bill," 8 p.m. Tuesday, Style Network; "Covert Affairs," 9 p.m., and "Suits," 10 p.m. Tuesday, USA; "Ink Master," 10 p.m. Tuesday, Spike; "Here Comes Honey Boo Boo," 9 p.m. Wednesday, TLC; "Wicked Attention," 9 p.m. Wednesday, ID.

Sneak peek: "Wedding Island," 10 p.m. Wednesday, TLC (following a Caribbean wedding planner; regular timeslot is Thursdays at 10 p.m.)

Returning series: "Who's Line is it Anyway?" 8 p.m. Tuesday, CW (Last seen in 2006. Wayne Brady, Ryan Stiles and Colin Mochrie are back; Aisha Tyler replaces Drew Carey as host. A celebrity guest appears each episode -- Lauren Cohan of "The Walking Dead" and Kevin McHale of "Glee" on the back-to-back premiere episodes.)

Series finales: "Cult," 8 p.m. Friday, CW (two hours); "666 Park Avenue," 9 p.m. Saturday, ABC.

Season finale: "The Wanted Life," 10 p.m. Sunday, E!

Specials: "Sharknado," 9 p.m. Thursday, Syfy (Ian Ziering and Tara Reid star in a TV movie about a freak tornado that sends man-eating sharks ashore in L.A.); "Death Wish" movie marathon, 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday, AMC; "The iHeart Radio Ultimate Pool Party," 8 p.m. Monday, CW (with Ke$ha, Pitbull, Jason Derulo, Miley Cyrus, LL Cool J and more); "The ESPYS," 9 p.m. Wednesday, ESPN (hosted by Jon Hamm).

Of note: Beatles memorabilia is featured on "Pawn Stars," 9 p.m. Thursday, History Channel; get a sneak peek of the "Pretty Little Liars" spinoff, "Ravenswood," 8 p.m. Tuesday, ABC Family.

Reach Amy Robinson at flipside@wvgazette.com.


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