WASHINGTON, July 7, 2013 —“True Blood” continues to prove that vampires are as hot as ever while “Ray Donovan” has tapped into a previously unknown audience for Gary Cooper in a designer suit. The new show had the biggest original series debut in Showtime’s history last Sunday night with 1.35 million viewers at 10 PM. It certainly doesn’t hurt having “Dexter” as a lead-in, but the critics were already raving about “Ray Donovan,” and for good reason.
Liev Schreiber’s character Ray is called on to make bad things disappear for celebrities. He does so by uttering a few trusty clichés and a couple of single sentence cell phone conversations. Not talking is Ray’s thing and it works, at least for now. Gary Cooper made a career of it but that was a long time ago.
Switching around the players in major crimes is no easy task. It leaves the viewer with a lot of questions about how “Ray” amassed the power and influence his job obviously requires. It’s going to take more than “I’ll take care of it,” “I’ll be in touch” and “you’re safe now” to make the audience like Ray.
Fortunately Schreiber has Jon Voight to play off as the ex-con father with a Jekyll and Hyde twist. This is when good guy Ray shows up to defend his family in what appears to be a full time job in itself.
But everything was a little too easy, too neat and tidy for Ray in the premiere episode. Are there really people who can pull off what Ray makes look so easy? If there is, then we want to know a lot more about that person. And we want to see them struggle more. It shouldn’t be as easy as his character makes it seem. Speak up and make us like you Ray.
All times are EDT:
CBS: 60 Minutes: (New) Scott Pelley profiles Hugh Jackman; Anderson Cooper interviews Daniel Craig and producer Barbara Broccoli who discuss the James Bond films; Lesley Stahl explores the character of Abraham Lincoln with Steven Spielberg, Daniel Day-Lewis and historian Doris Kearns Goodwin.
NBC: America’s Got Talent: (Repeat) Auditions continue in Chicago and San Antonio.
ABC: Celebrity Wife Swap: (New) Actress Nia Peeples and former pop star Tiffany trade lives for a week.
CBS: Big Brother: (New) Nominations for eviction are revealed.
FOX: The Simpsons: (Repeat) Homer’s behavior once again lands him in hot water with Marge and he needs to fathom a way to save his marriage, while a dose of “A Streetcar Named Desire” drives Milhouse to affect a Marlon Brando-esque bad-boy demeanor in an effort to impress Lisa.
FOX: Bob’s Burgers: (Repeat) The restaurant receives a bad review from a food critic, which prompts Bob to visit the critic’s house for a do-over.
ABC: Whodunnit: (New) As the 10 remaining guests attempt to solve the latest murder, suspicion and tension among them leads to more alliances and backstabbing.
CBS: Under The Dome: (Repeat) People panic when a house catches fire in Chester’s Mill and the firefighters are unable to respond.
FOX: Family Guy: (Repeat) Mayor West goes on trial for a murder that occurred at his mansion.
NBC: Law & Order: Special Victims Unit: (Repeat) A young woman pledging a sorority is raped on a college campus, and the investigation is hindered by a campus community that turns a blind eye toward such incidents.
HBO: True Blood: (New) Sookie confronts her attraction to Ben by inviting him to dinner; Eric counters Burrell’s brutal anti-vampire initiatives by hitting him where it hurts the most; Andy’s faerie daughters keep dangerous company; Bill gives Takahashi the task of synthesizing a new kind of blood.
Showtime: Dexter: (New) Miami Metro continues its search for the Brain Surgeon, and Dr. Vogel enlists Dexter’s help. Meanwhile, Debra works a case and is forced to take matters into her own hands.
FOX: American Dad: (Repeat) In a spoof of the play “August: Osage County,” family secrets are revealed when Stan’s jailbird dad is invited to Stan’s birthday party. In a subplot, Roger plays Edna, a maid who looks after Bullock and Hayley’s love child, but things take a dramatic turn when Edna falls for Bullock.
ABC: Castle: (Repeat) Several angry ex-husbands come under suspicion when a divorce attorney who only represented women is murdered; when Alexis gets sick, Castle’s ex-wife moves into the loft to take care of her.
CBS: The Mentalist: (Repeat) The team investigates a geologist’s homicide, which Lisbon believes is linked to Tommy Volker and therefore can lead to his downfall.
NBC: Crossing Lines: (New) When unsuspecting couples are forced to fight to the death, the ICC goes undercover.
Showtime: Ray Donovan: (New) Abby defies Ray and spends the day with Mickey and the kids.
New episodes of:
Naked Castaway: Full Moon at 8 p.m. on DSC
HGTV Star at 8 p.m. on HGTV
Border Wars at 8 p.m. on NGC
The Real Housewives of New Jersey at 8 p.m. on BRAVO
Cupcake Wars at 8 p.m. on Food Channel
Off the Hook: Extreme Catches at 8 and 8:30 p.m. on Animal Planet
Sunday Best at 8 and 10 p.m. on BET
Ultimate Survival Alaska at 9 p.m. on NGC
Naked Castaway at 9 p.m. on DSC
The Killing at 9 p.m. on AMC
Keeping Up With the Kardashians at 9 p.m. on E!
Call of the Wildman at 9 p.m. on Animal Planet
Food Network Star at 9 p.m. on Food Channel
Love it or List it, Too at 9 p.m. on HGTV
Rock My RV With Bret Michaels at 9 p.m. on Travel Channel
Mountain Men at 9 p.m. on History Channel
Drop Dead Diva at 9 p.m. on LIFE
Long Island Medium on the Road at 9 p.m. on TLC
Princesses: Long Island at 9 p.m. on BRAVO
Bar Rescue at 9 p.m. on SPIKE
Dateline at 9 p.m. on ID
Call of the Wildman: More Live Action at 9:30 p.m. on Animal Planet
Naked and Afraid at 10 p.m. on DSC
Falling Skies at 10 p.m. on TNT
Ice Road Truckers 10 p.m. on History Channel
Copper at 10 p.m. on BBC
Devious Maids at 10 p.m. on LIFE
Food Court Wars at 10 p.m. on Food Channel
Breaking Amish: Brave New World: The Shunning Truth at 10 p.m. on TLC
For movie lovers:
Hitch on ENC
The Big Lebowski on FLIX
Taken on FX
Broken Lizard’s Club Dread on IFC
Banshee on MOMAX
Mean Girls on SHO
Dead Man Walking on SUND
Monster-in-Law on TBS
The Incredible Shrinking Man on TCM
Man on a Ledge on TMC
The Five-Year Engagement on HBO
Pitch Perfect on HBO
The Bone Collector on MOMAX
The Wedding Planner on STARZ
The Devil Doll at 9:30 p.m. on TCM
Stepmom at 9:35 p.m. on SHO
Jaws at 10 p.m. on CINEMAX
The Vow at 10 p.m. on ENC
The Man Who Wasn’t There at 10 p.m. on FLIX
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy at 10:15 p.m. on IFC
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