We’re on the move, kids! The January Roundup is going to go live at our new home, arthurpopular.com. When Arthur Popular itself goes live, that is. I’m still working out the kinks behind the scenes, and will probably continue to do so well after the site does officially launch, but it’s just not quite ready yet. Very soon! I swear.
Watch This Shit:
- At Home with Amy Sedaris
There is only one Amy Sedaris. You either love her (because of course you do) or you hate her (because you’re a fucking idiot). Here, she’s taking up Martha Stewart‘s mantle in exactly the way you’d expect her to.
- Bounty Hunters
- The Gifted
Of the two new Marvel offerings so far this season, this one is by far superior. Dreamers are waking up to the home they’ve always known suddenly treating them like outsiders, while the head bitches in charge keep trying to build that mutant border wall. We get the inside story of a family of fugitives, who’ve become so because they have the nerve to want to remain a family while in a safe place. With a bunch of X-Men special effects thrown in for good measure.
P.S. I cannot wait for Amy Acker to kick a whole mess of ass.
- The House
Halloween treats! These are short films, shorter than Adult Swim cartoons kind of short. Bound to be something in there you’ll like. There’s also apparently some kind of virtual reality version, if you can fork over the extra subscription fee and, ya’know, have some kind of gamer head gear to “experience” the shit on or whatever.
- I Love You, America
Hulu’s answer to Netflix’s Chelsea. I imagine this is to comedy what Ryan Murphy wanted to do with this season of AHS, but that’s a-whole-nother story. The idea is: America, you’re fucking stupid… here’s every reason why, plus a close-up of a dick.
- Ink Master: Angels
Yesssss! The badasses who turned the Ink Master competition on its head are now traveling the country, visiting different artists each episode who will compete against each other. Whoever lands on top then goes against one of the HBIC. If they win, they get a guaranteed spot on the next season of Ink Master. It’s all the tattoo fun of its predecessor, minus the bullshit favoritism of Núñez and Peck! Couldn’t ask for anything more.
- The Jellies
’90s kids, rejoice! Tyler, The Creator was born just in time for him to know how to properly make fun of the decade rather than nostalgiafy it like some kind of glorious the-way-we-were time period (although, let me be real… the ’90s were a real good time). Also, some bitches are jellyfish.
- Kevin (Probably) Saves the World
The title is pretty self-explanatory, but here’s the deal: Jason Ritter (who, just sayin’, is fucking outstanding) touches a meteor and a super-friendly space lady pops out and tells him his soul is special and he has to make 30 some-odd other souls just as special. It’s a supernatural family show! And if you don’t cry when the deaf guy hugs him, you’re not a human person.
Jonathan Groff is a hostage negotiator and he’s kind of terrible at it. He also might be gay? He gets teamed up with a macho man to do some non-negotiating.
- Scared Famous
P.S. DRITAAAAA! So happy to have her back on my screen.
- Ten Days in the Valley
My unhealthy need for Kyra Sedgwick to be on my screen as well is once again happily met. She’s a screenwriter with a rough past who’ll settle for cocaine in a late-night-writing pinch (Brenda Lee Johnson she is not). She’s also in a custody battle with her ex who, #twist, [probably] kidnaps their daughter while Mamadukes is skeeted. Oh, the dramzy places we’ll go!
- White Famous
For the first time, I’m not mad that Jay Pharoah isn’t on SNL anymore. I don’t agree with some of his point of view (Cosby fucking did it, dude), but my feeling that way is sort of the point of the pilot. There’s also a hearty helping of Jamie Foxx‘s “nut pussy,” so it’s clearly worth watching. (A lot of dick this month, folks.)
- Xtreme Screams
Y’all, 👏 I 👏 was 👏 not 👏 ready 👏 for 👏 this. It’s a quick October gift from the Travel Channel. Up close and personal views of America’s craziest theme park rides, without having to deal with the lines, annoying kids, or spending money!
- The Eleven
- Ghost Wars
I find myself comparing every horror show to Channel Zero; it being the greatest, most genuinely terrifying horror series I’ve ever seen. So, naturally, nothing’s really come close. (Especially not the nonsense that is AHS: Cult. Why, yes, I am going to talk about how fucking horrendous that shit is as much as possible, and I thank you for asking.) The premise of this series is somewhat interesting, though. Interesting enough to not make it onto the “Don’t Watch” list, at least (there’s a lot of that this month too):
An entire town blames its problems on a psychic, who openly chit-chats with the ghosts only he can see. Every single thing that goes wrong is his fault, and possibly his dead mother’s as well. The townsfolk spend all of their time tormenting and terrorizing the kid so that they don’t have to pay attention to all the supernatural shit going on around them. (Bambi’s severed head crying tears of blood, anyone?) So, if seeing hateful pieces of redneck shit treating a man of color like garbage until he does what they want (Hello, allegory of 2017), then this is your bag.
- Hit the Road
The characters in this Partridge family are less than likable, but that’s sort of the appeal of the show. It’s why it nearly landed in the “Don’t Watch” list, but Jason Alexander jerking off a dude in the bathroom put this at least in “Meh.”
Apparently, there’s this podcast that’s a big deal? I don’t know… I listened to Serial ’cause everyone and their puppy were discussing it, but that’s as far into podcasts as I’ve gotten. Anyway, some dude (with the strangest cadence of anyone I’ve ever heard speak) tells a story. Said story is “fascinating” enough for his telling of it to not be boring as fuck (it’s still hella boring, if you ask me) and now they’ve tried to make it even more “interesting” by keeping that guy quiet for a bit so a few relatively well-known actors can act some of the stories out. I was really excited about this, as I am with all horror series, but it just feels like Are You Afraid of the Dark? with a slightly bigger budget. Snick‘s been over for a long time, y’all.
- The Mayor
A rapper runs a joke campaign for mayor in an attempt to sell more mixtapes. He wins. You see what they’re doing, right? Hence why I’m nervous about this one.
Lea Michelle‘s great, Yvette Nicole Brown is greater, the hero of the story is charismatic enough, and his sidekicks are just the right amount of funny for this all to add up to good, entertaining, character driven stories. And it’s not even told terribly, it’s pretty well done.
So, back to why I’m nervous: Brandon Micheal Hall‘s Courtney Rose is clearly Trump through the pitch-room filter. The man himself is so grotesque and awful, rooting for anyone even remotely similar to him makes my stomach hurt. Maybe if I try to look at Courtney as what a Bizarro Trump would be like, if the planet was actually a positive one to be on?
I’m a little perplexed by this one. Mario Van Peebles and crew are sworn protectors of a town and they can do all sorts of mystical shit because of it. Then some evil dude shows up (played by the guy who I always confuse for Meat Loaf), who might be the Devil himself, given how serpentine things get around him. Naturally (or supernaturally, as it were), shit gets weird. We’ll see how things progress, but so far… good enough to not make the “Don’t” list. And with Van Peebles appearing to basically die a-whole-fucking lot at the end of the pilot… “not quite ‘Don’t'” is really all it’s got going for it.
Don’t Watch This Shit:
A divorcée moves into an apartment which is smack dab in the middle of his parents’ and brother’s apartments. End of plot. The series depends on the main character constantly being annoyed which, you guessed it, is fucking annoying.
Berger is a miserable recovering alcoholic who’s just exhausted with having to mansplain everything to everyone. He’s also a little dumb and kind of hates women. While presenting the series to critics, he asked if they watch television until their eyes bleed. The answer is clearly: No.
Trying things a bit differently this month. Since I’m never, in all of the rest my life, going to be caught up with all current shows again… rather than posting all microreviews at the end of the month, I’ll update this post throughout the month, after the individual series premieres. “Why,” you might ask? “I don’t know, like… ’cause,” I’d reply.
Anyway, the really good shit is in bold.
Watch This Shit:
- American Vandal
- Big Mouth
Puberty is animated and hilarious. Also, a bit easier if you’re lucky enough to have the ghost of Duke Ellington trapped in your attic.
- The Confession Tapes
Leave it to Netflix to turn true crime on its head. The first two episodes deal with one case, but six are documented throughout the first season. The gist is: crimes are committed, criminals confess, confessions are recorded. Summed up and tied in a pretty Qtv bow, it doesn’t sound all that interesting. But, bitch, it is.
- The Disappearance of Maura Murray
Another true crime series, you say? Shock and awe! I wanted to be really mad at this, since seemingly every damn network that exists is trying to put out the next big Serial. This was clearly just Oxygen trying to turn “The Disappearance of…” into a franchise. But, y’all, it’s actually fascinating. They’re calling this true crime, to lump it into that big-ass crowd of t.c. shows, but it’s actually true mystery. This particular missing woman may very well be alive and well somewhere, happily being not found. Fingers crossed.
- Electric Dreams
A pretty fantastic Sci-Fi anthology series based on the work of Philip K. Dick. I’m not the biggest fan of Sci-Fi, in general, and I enjoyed the shit out of this.
There’s a lot to unpack here. I’ll do my best. Mutants (think X-Men, but less save-the-world-y) live in an invisible bubble on the moon. Most of them are cool with it, but the cute guy from Vicious is not. He went through their “stand in a box while a blue crystal makes you special” trial and came out not special, you see. So, he fucks shit up for his brother and sister-in-law, the King and Queen (the latter of whom, by the way, he’s got a total evil boner for), and sends the good folks fleeing to Earth, the inhabitants of which have no idea these weird bitches even exist, let alone have lived on their damn moon. Crazy Marvel dramatics ensue.
P.S. Does anyone else’s entire body sing whenever they hear “Paint It Black?”
- Me, Myself & I
This one’s magical, y’all. A single life story, told at three different times of life, simultaneously. Plus, Urkle!
- Tales from the Tour Bus
One of animation’s biggest champions takes us on a strange documentary journey through band roadies’ tales of old. Don’t let the focus on country music throw you. This ain’t really about that.
- Tin Star
A London transplant moves to small-town Canada where he becomes police chief and appears to subsequently get shot to death in the fucking face. This sucker’s mad gritty, y’all.
Meh (a.k.a. Watch This Shit, or Don’t):
- ’90s House
Oh, it hurts. The pain of it all, y’all. Is this how real 70’s kids felt when That 70’s Show started?
If you give it a go, you’ll get such choice lines as “Three of you will be chillin’… one of you will be illin'” and “I think that my style is just killin’ way more than him.” So, there’s that.
- Chandra Levy: An American Murder Mystery
At three episodes, this isn’t a lot to commit to (which may be the only reason this isn’t in this month’s “Meh” list). And if you’re a true crime junkie, you might just love this. But it doesn’t offer a lot of new insight, other than the rantings of Condit‘s old driver who also claims to have been a very, very good friend. For me, though, it just reduced the untimely death of a woman to sadness about how much rich, cishet, white men can get away with.
- The Deuce
In a nutshell: 1970’s sex. It’s finding me during a moment of not finding sex fascinating, even when there are two James Francos and no matter how close HBO gets to actually showing a blowjob. So… meh.
- Evil Things
I don’t want to support the channel that brought us the Duggars, but… I love dumb, terrible, haunted shows like these! They’re such a guilty pleasure. All the actors being paid to play down-home folks all tell their “true” stories in the same monotone drawl, and the reenactors are just awful and it’s … so good! However comma… the reason it’s in “meh” is because the first episode deals with paranormal activity being caught on tape. But they never show the actual footage! What kind of fuckery is that? No bueno, producers.
- Jack Whitehall: Travels With My Father
My incredible love for Jack Whitehall and his delicious lips notwithstanding, this series is okay. It’s funny, sure, but some of those “unscripted” interactions can cause some serious eyerolls. For pure, hearty laughs which include those big-ass Brit lips, just watch Bad Education.
Don’t Watch This Shit:
- The Good Doctor
- Law & Order: True Crime
Same “Dick Wolf Cash Register Sound” and same melodrama, true to L&O form, except this time they’re tacking “True” to the top of it. Plainly, the script is paint by numbers. It’s lovely having Edie Falco back on our screens, but even she can’t make this good TV. And the cutest cute dad who has ever cuted is now newly pornstached and, suffice it to say, less than cute.
P.S. Heather Graham grabs a dick while saying “Who’s gonna take care of Doctor Daddy?” This hilarity is the sole reason to watch the first episode, and the first episode alone. If you’re lucky, the scene will end up on YouTube to save you the time.
- The Magic School Bus Rides Again
Sit your child in front of the television. Press play on this new Netflix iteration of Magic Schoolbus. Walk away. Drink lots of wine.
That’s right, folks! It’s a plot twist! This show is completely and totally watchable… if you are a child. And for you parents, it’s the perfect opportunity to smoke ’em if you got ’em and not feel bad about it.
- The Orville
My problem with this series is pop culture. Someone making a reference to Papa Smurf is not a thing that would not happen three centuries from now. It’s akin to people speaking today’s English three centuries ago. That being said, however… I have an uncomfortable crush on Seth MacFarlane and Adrianne Palicki is the shit. So, I’m giving this Family Guy/Star Trek mashup a “Watch” for now.
*Edit* Just watched episode 3. Massive swing, even bigger miss. Basic premise: “Being female is a birth defect that should be corrected. – Or should it? – It should.” lol, Remember when Papa Smurf was my biggest problem with this series? Do. Not. Fucking. Watch. It.
- Star Trek: Discovery
I just don’t get it. I tried, I really did. But I will never, ever get it. In this, or any other galazy far, far away. I an not now, nor will I ever be, a Trekkie. Or a… Wars-ie(?), for that matter. Bryan Fuller‘s the only reason (other than Sonequa Martin-Green) that I even gave this series a shot, but since he’s stepped down from his post behind-the-scenes, I’m just left with the extreme boringness of space. No, thank you.
I believe Kai. I’ll make that clear up front. Someone cheating on their partner while claiming to be monogamous is abuse. Let’s make that clear as well.
Here’s where I’m really stuck, though. The excerpts of what is clearly an amends letter being made public, and most likely used out of context. I don’t believe at all that Joss saying he was succeeding at being “normal” was him conceding to be a woman-hating misogynist. It was him explaining what he’s learned from years of privately being an asshole. And, if I’m really honest, coming from a 12-step perspective, he sounds like a sex addict.
I also don’t understand hating the man with such vitriol based solely on said excerpts. There’s really not a question about how the piece Kai wrote should make you feel. The slant is crystal clear. So, making some of it public really irks me, especially since none of it should be.
Lastly, we’re being given an after-the-fact account of a person. Years after the fact. And we’re attempting to hold them accountable for it today, without all the behind-the-scenes knowledge that would allow us to fully understand. When you take bits and pieces of years old truth, and focus solely on that while ignoring everything positive done by the accused since… we end up with Trump in the White House because [insert anything you might’ve heard about Hillary here]. Since Joss’ return to Twitter, he’s been staunchly campaigning for social justice and has spoken about how much he would’ve changed about his past (professionally and otherwise). Damning him to the world of hypocrites who should never be allowed to work again… just doesn’t seem right.
Let’s face it. There really is too much television. No use denying it any longer. Or the fact that I’m literally never going to get past February 2017 in my DVR backlog. Nevertheless, I’ll persist. And resist the facts. (Come on, political statements!) Anyhow, I’ve done the monthly premiere thing once again. Nothing extra amazing this time, I’m afraid, so no bold text to look for. (See previous blog posts if you have no idea what I’m talking about. Or if you’re just here in general. ‘Cause… that’s kinda the point.)
Watch this shit:
Okay, here’s the thing… With a name like “Claws” and the way TNT advertised it, you’d expect that you’re in for a fun romp in a nail salon headed by the absolute piece of heaven that is Niecy Nash. You’d be very disappointed. This is not a comedy. It is a straight drama featuring characters who happen to be funny on occasion. So, if you go into it expecting interesting characters, crazy plot lines, and dramatic goodness with the occasional chuckle, then you’ll like this series as much as I did. (A lot.)
Alison Brie is a struggling actress in 1980s Los Angeles who, when robbed by preteen assholes, devotes her life to playing a wrestler in a new series and/or possibly actually being a wrestler (it’s unclear, even to her). It’s a good time. Also, Rich Sommer gets all sexual. (My crush on that man is intense.)
- The Gong Show
The original Gong Show is not rerunning on Buzzr. Therefor, ’90s kids like myself have never gotten to see it. I honestly had no idea what this reiteration would be about, other than Mike Myers hosting as not-Mike Meyers. Turns out it’s a wacky talent show with a gong that works sort of the the same way boos and Sandman work at the Apollo. It’s also judged by three comedians, so it’s essentially good family fun that’s funnier than AGT. EXCEPT WHEN PSYCHOS PUT SPIDERS IN THEIR MOUTHS LIKE SOME PSYCHO-ASS PSYCHOS.
- The Mist
The creep-factor is really real with this one. I loved the film version of Stephen King‘s book, but I don’t remember it being as buggy as this series. “Buggy,” not as in full of glitches, but as in: mad bugs everywhere eating bitches and otherwise making them crazy. (What is it with this month and spiders and shit running a muck?) It’s also much more fleshed out, which does have the ability to make things feel a bit melodramatic at times. Abstinence-only education, pansexuals, football players exercising their right to rape without consequence, and (shock of the century) the only black character so far getting locked up in jail real quick, even while wearing his military uniform. And this is all pretty much before a mysterious giant cloud engulfs the entire town! Twists and turns abound, my friends. The larger twist: everyone getting stuck in a shopping mall, rather than the film version’s grocery store. If this weren’t a Spike series, I’d say a makeover montage was bound to happen.
Meh (a.k.a. Watch this, or don’t, *shrug*):
- Battle of the Network Stars
For the folks like myself who were not around 40 years ago to watch the original, think: American Ninja Warrior with the Stars. It’s not bad TV, but it sure ain’t great TV. Just some silly summer fun and another addition to the ever-growing reboots list.
- Blood Drive
What in the mother fuck did I just watch? Long story short: Cars now only run on blood because… reasons. And said cars are literal giant mouths that eat bitches alive because… cars gotta drive, amirite? That is, of course, when they don’t get shorted out by sex happening inside of them (doggy-style being the top of the pops, by the way).
Also cops beat people that steal water. Shit is extra crazy.
Basically, they’re trying to make grindhouse work on contemporary television. Whether or not it will is still up for debate. Hence, this sucker being in the “Meh” category.
Don’t watch this shit:
- Daytime Divas
Your standard behind-the-scenes look at female hosts (of a View-type series) being catty and trying to tear each other down. As far as I’m concerned, UnREAL is the only series that’s ever managed to do this right.
- I’m Dying Up Here
Not an enormously interesting series. An up-and-coming comedian in 1970’s Hollywood gets his big break on Carson and even gets invited to the couch after his set (the ultimate seal of approval for any comedian back in the day). He promptly leaves to celebrate and subsequently, intentionally, walks in front of a bus because, apparently, there’s no going up from there. Showtime is essentially doing to comedy what HBO did to music, and we all know how well that worked out.
There are chuckles here and there, sure, but nothing to write home about. Especially not the moment the only female comedian finally finds her comedic voice (by choosing baby names while simulating a blowjob, btw). It falls pretty damn flat for me, even with the ridiculous uplifting score playing in the background over the remarkably loud laughter from the audience. And it only further proves how very much this show is created, written, and directed by… you guessed it: men. My worry from the very beginning, when this series was first announced, was that it would be a boys club. Learning that Ari Graynor would be a lead put me at ease. Finally seeing it now, though… not so much with the ease.