Craig Blankenhorn/AMC
June 11, 2012 at 12:00 PM EDT

Once upon a time, summer programming truly was the dog-days of television’s calendar year. All our favorite friends disappeared in May, leaving us with lonely tumbleweeds in the form of repeats, baseball, and unwanted stepchildren. (I’m referring to oddball programming, not Sam from Diff’rent Strokes.) But every so often, a show would appear that would salvage the season; a show that become even more beloved because of the dregs that surround it. Take Mad Men, for instance. When AMC (who?) debuted the slick 1960s drama in July 2007, it was as valuable as that new, cool best friend at summer camp who makes the dreariness of your cabin bearable until you can return home to your normal life and reliable fall-TV friends.

Cable television has unfurled several scripted shows during the summer that went on to become beloved favorites — Sex and the City, True Blood — but summer TV has also proven a huge launching pad for hit reality shows, like Survivor and American Idol.

Looking back, what was your favorite summer TV show? Vote below for the show that was your favorite summer buddy.

Read more:

Inside TV podcast: The best summer TV

Summer TV Hottie Awards

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