Summer is never long enough, is it?
Never enough time to soak up the sun, sit on the beach, catch up to cool books, head to hot destinations.
And never enough time to watch TV.
Nope, that's not a misprint. We really mean it.
Spend summertime 2012 watching TV.
You're forgiven for thinking last week's unseasonably searing temperatures fried our brains. But the tube is simply insanely overflowing this summer. We hereby challenge the fall season to match its wealth of wondrous stuff.
There's new blood in "Dallas." The old (sometimes very old) in "True Blood." The latest from Aaron Sorkin and Charlie Sheen. The last from Kyra Sedgwick and Glenn Close. Plus, Snooki and JWoww and Bristol Palin. Even Russell Brand, ranting weekly on whatever topics tease his warped comedic mind.
And our highlights of select summer series barely account for one other enormous event:
The London Olympic Games air July 27-Aug. 12 on NBC-owned broadcast, cable and online channels. That accounts for another -- and we got this directly from NBC -- 5,535 hours of programs. If you could take it all in, which you can't, because it would add up to 231 days of viewing.
So, let's say you watch only NBC, as in broadcast channel WNBC/4, and ignore all cable/online Olympics options -- NBC Sports Network, Bravo, CNBC, MSNBC, Spanish-language Telemundo, specialty networks for basketball and soccer, a new 3-D channel, and nbcolympics .com, which will stream all 302 medal competitions in all 32 sports (with mobile and tablet coverage, too).
You'd still see 272 and a half hours of Olympics on NBC.
See what we mean? TV's 2012 summer slate is serious indeed. Here are 11 shows to especially watch out for:
DROP DEAD DIVA (9 p.m. June 3, Lifetime, season 4). Admit it. You gotta watch. You're dying to see whether Kim Kardashian can (really) act. The real-life docusoap diva guest-stars in multiple episodes, starting Sunday night, as a relationship guru giving advice to Brooke Elliott's jilted Jane. (mylifetime .com/shows/drop-dead-diva)
TRUE BLOOD (9 p.m. June 10, HBO, season 5). Series creator Alan Ball's last season in charge unreels 12 episodes resolving cliffhangers like Tara getting shot, as Bill and Eric come under review by higher-ups (including Christopher Meloni). There's trouble from Russell, Terry and -- oh, heck, pretty much all the vampires/ werewolves/witches/humans in this lurid adult addiction. (hbo.com/true-blood)
HOLLYWOOD HEIGHTS (debut episode previews June 11-15, at 9 p.m., Nick at Nite; series premieres June 18 at 9 p.m. Monday-Friday). Ready for some summer soap? This one runs nightly through October with its dreams-come-true scenario: "One Life to Live" youth fave Brittany Underwood plays an aspiring singer who wins her rock idol's love, amid crises with friends, youthful parents, career/romance rivals, etc. Adapted from the telenovela "Alcanzar Una Estrella," it screams low budget, but, hey, it's summer, right? (nickatnite.com)
DALLAS (9 p.m. June 13, TNT). This one couldn't be more juicy. Southfork Ranch welcomes a new generation to mix it up with the moneyed old guard in a worthy continuation of the '80s sensation packed with cliffhangers/duplicity. Conniving J.R. Ewing (Larry Hagman) mentors wildcatting son John Ross (Josh Henderson), while Southfork guardian Bobby (Patrick Duffy) supports his kid Christopher's (Jesse Metcalfe) clean-energy aims. Also in the mix: J.R.'s politically connected ex, Sue Ellen (Linda Gray); Bobby's smart wife, Ann (Brenda Strong); the younger Ewing boys' babes (Jordana Brewster, Julie Gonzalo) and other schemers, both fresh and familiar. Authenticity bonus: It's shot completely in Texas this time. (tnt.tv/dallas)
THE NEWSROOM (10 p.m. June 24, HBO). Aaron Sorkin's latest series stars Jeff Daniels as a trusted cable news anchor whose sudden truth-telling may not mesh with the agendas of producer Emily Mortimer and boss Sam Waterston. Fellow staffers include Olivia Munn, Alison Pill and Dev Patel, plus is-that-really/yes-it-is Jane Fonda. Wasn't she once married to a cable news titan? And hasn't Sorkin covered TV territory before, in "Sports Night," "Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip" et al? (hbo.com/the-newsroom)
ANGER MANAGEMENT (9 p.m. June 28, FX). It's Charlie Sheen's aptly titled comeback after his CBS debacle. (But with all those commercials he's on, has Sheen ever gone away?) This scripted sitcom casts him as an ex-athlete now becoming a "nontraditional therapist." Never fear: Chaos is promised. At least show-runner Bruce Helford has experience on "Roseanne." (fxnetworks.com/angermanagement)
THE CLOSER (9 p.m. July 9, TNT, season 7). Time to say goodbye for Kyra Sedgwick's Brenda, heading toward the crime drama's finish line after seven seasons. Time to say hello to Mary McDonnell, readying the spinoff series "Major Crimes" that premieres after the Aug. 13 "Closer" finale, then takes the show's time slot. (tntdrama .com/series/closer)
DAMAGES (9 p.m. July 11, DirecTV, season 5). Glenn Close and Rose Byrne also wrap things up in the last 10 episodes of this legal thriller. Their climactic clash comes over a whistle-blower website involving Ryan Phillippe, Jenna Elfman, Janet McTeer and John Hannah. (directv.com/damages)
POLITICAL ANIMALS (10 p.m. July 15, USA). Pure fiction, right? This scripted series casts Sigourney Weaver as a former first lady now serving as secretary of state. (Hmm.) Also in this hour from Greg Berlanti ("Dirty Sexy Money"): Dylan Baker, Carla Gugino, Ellen Burstyn, Ciarán Hinds, Sebastian Stan, James Wolk and Adrian Pasdar. (politicalanimals.usanetwork.com)
COPPER (9 p.m. Aug. 19, BBC America). From acclaimed drama auteurs Tom Fontana and Barry Levinson ("Homicide") comes the channel's first original scripted series. Irish-American cops in 1860s New York City fight for respect, led by Tom Weston-Jones' officer policing the tough Five Points section. (bbcamerica.com/copper)
KENDRA ON TOP (10 p.m. Tuesday, WE) -- Kendra goes back to work after baby, while Hank charts life after football.
SAVING HOPE (9 p.m. Thursday, NBC) -- Medical drama finds doctor-in-coma (Michael Shanks) haunting his hospital.
COMEDY BANG BANG! (10 p.m. Friday, IFC) -- Popular podcast has off-center hosts welcome off-center guests.
BLINK (10:30 p.m. Friday, IFC) -- Contestants attempt absurd challenges.
THE GLASS HOUSE (10 p.m. June 18, ABC) -- Live-together competition completely controlled by viewer votes.
BRISTOL PALIN: LIFE'S A TRIPP (10 p.m. June 19, Lifetime) -- Sarah Palin's daughter works on career and family with toddler son in tow.
THE SOUL MAN (10 p.m. June 20, TV Land) -- Cedric the Entertainer as a '70s singer-turned-preacher.
BRAND X WITH RUSSELL BRAND (11 p.m. June 28, FX) -- The comic tackles current events before a live audience.
PERCEPTION (10 p.m. July 9, TNT) -- Eric McCormick as a neuroscience professor solving crimes.
HIT AND MISS (10 p.m. July 11, DirecTV) -- Chloë Sevigny as a transgender contract killer who discovers she's a dad.
THE GLADES (9 p.m. June 3, A&E, season 3)
ICE ROAD TRUCKERS (9 p.m. June 3, History, season 6)
TEEN WOLF (11 p.m. June 3, then 10 p.m. June 4, MTV, season 2)
HELL'S KITCHEN (8 p.m. June 4-5, Fox, season 10)
MASTERCHEF (9 p.m. June 4-5, Fox, season 3).
REAL HOUSEWIVES OF NEW YORK CITY (9 p.m. June 4, Bravo, season 5)
PRETTY LITTLE LIARS (8 p.m. June 5, ABC Family, season 3)
RIZZOLI & ISLES (9 p.m. June 5, TNT, season 3)
FRANKLIN & BASH (10 p.m. June 5, TNT, season 2)
NECESSARY ROUGHNESS (10 p.m. June 6, USA, season 2)
SUITS (10 p.m. June 14, USA, season 2)
FALLING SKIES (9 p.m. June 17, TNT, season 2)
AWKWARD (10:30 p.m. June 28, MTV, season 2)
LOUIE (10:30 p.m. June 28, FX, season 3)
WEEDS (10 p.m. July 1, Showtime, season 8)
EPISODES (10:30 p.m. July 1, Showtime, season 2)
WHITE COLLAR (9 p.m. July 10, USA, season 4)
COVERT AFFAIRS (10 p.m. July 10, USA, season 3)
BIG BROTHER (9 p.m. July 12, CBS)
BREAKING BAD (10 p.m. July 15, AMC, season 5)
WAREHOUSE 13 (9 p.m. July 23, Syfy, season 4)
ALPHAS (10 p.m. July 23, Syfy, season 2)
HELL ON WHEELS (9 p.m. Aug. 12, AMC, season 2)
BOSS (Aug. 17, Starz)