September Roundup, ’17

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

    Viceland meets Documentary Now! “Who spray painted the dicks?” is Netflix’s answer to “Who shot J.R.?

  • 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.

  • Inhumans

    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

    Norman Bates tries to be Doogie Howser. Pass. Feels like the Heartbeat of this season.

  • 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.

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Fanshees, Let’s Get Serial

Six Feet Under was amazing. True Blood was tons of fun (until the bullshit that was the series finale). The common denominators of those two shows are Alan Ball and HBO. When a new Cinemax (a channel essentially owned by HBO) show was announced with Alan Ball attached to it, I immediately put it on my “Watch” list.

Three season later, the story of an ex-con assuming the identity of a Sheriff in Amish country, PA, where the ex-love of his life happens to live (along with his replacement and their two kids) who, by the way, just so happens to be the daughter of the crime boss who wants the hero of our story dead, has, frankly,… delivered.  We’ve had three seasons of emotions and grit and blood and love and it’s been a wild and crazy ride, complete with gender fluid hackers, dirty cops, ex-Amish incest, Native American badassery, and albino penile removals. (There are actually a couple literally dickless men in this show, come to think of it.)

These stories could have very easily been told in horrible, convoluted ways simply for the sake of getting some more tits and blood on television, but the powers that be behind the show have done it all with style. I’m sad to say the the fourth season, which started last night, will be the show’s last. I am, however, exponentially happy to say that Eliza Dushku has joined the show for it’s final season.

It’s no secret that I have an obsession with all things Joss Whedon. Starting, of course, with Buffy. Eliza, who played Faith starting in Buffy‘s third season, has had a steady stream of film and television success since, no doubt because where the slayers go, the fans will follow. This being her first foray in cable television, though… I can’t possibly explain in words how excited I am for where she can take a character on cable.

Anyway, where we last saw the residents of Banshee, a whole bunch of them were trying to kill a whole bunch of other people and vice versa. I could get into details, but suffice it to say, it was a thing. The main plot point, though, was our dear Sheriff Hood (a.k.a. definitely not the real Sheriff Hood who, through no fault of fake-Hood, got killed in his vicinity which gave him the opportunity to bury the body and steal his badge) announced that he was resigning.

Today, we find the new Sheriff, Brock Lotus (who previously worked under Hood and kind of hated him until he decided not to anymore and committed a bunch of crimes with him, but for good reasons, of course) tracking someone or something through the woods. He stumbles upon a desolate cabin, decides to check it out, and is confronted by a long-haired Hood holding a shotgun. Obviously, a significant amount of time has past, what with Hood’s new Grizzly Adams beard and mop top. And given the shock on Lotus’ face, it seems Hood’s been m.i.a. for much, if not all, of it. About 18 months, to be exact.

Lotus takes Hood down to the [brand new, and full of bullet proof glass] sheriff’s station, without actually telling Hood why. There, Hood is confronted with memorial pictures of the officers who died fighting for him. It’s pretty clear why Hood might have peaced out. And pretty soon, it’ll be pretty clear why he wished he would’ve stayed peaced out.

That incestuous ex-Amish person I mentioned earlier? Her name’s Rebecca. Actually, her name was Rebecca. She’d been murdered, gutted, and left to decompose by a river. It’s the third murder of its kind in a year’s time. We, my fellow Fanshees, have got a serial killer.

Oddly enough, the last coordinates on Rebecca’s GPS brought Lotus directly to Hood’s cabin, which happens to be on her uncle’s land. If you haven’t seen the show (why the hell are you reading this?), her uncle is Kai Proctor. Lex Luthor to Hood’s Superman. So, the fact that he’s been hiding out on his land is an eyebrow raiser to say the least. But Rebecca being on his land? That’s an eyebrow leveler. Hood “volunteers” to give a blood sample to eliminate himself from a list of suspects and gets a ride back to his Unibomber house by a new female deputy.

Next, we find Proctor and his Man Friday at city hall where it’s revealed that he’s the mother. Fucking. Mayor.

Again, if you haven’t seen the show (stop reading this, dumbass), he is not Mayoral material. Nevertheless, there the elected official is, giving a press conference at a podium about his murdered niece. All with Lotus standing behind him.

It goes without saying, shit has gone down.

At the station, Lotus talks with Deputy Kurt Bunker (a former member of the Aryan Brotherhood who Hood hired, when no one else would) about the latest bullshit reason why the District Attorney had obviously guilty prisoners released. This gives us the slightest of inklings as to how many asses Mayor Proctor has his hands up. The quick end of that conversation also makes it clear that even deputies on the force enjoy a Proctor fist here and there. The good news is, Lotus and Bunker are healthily without Depends. He stands behind his Mayor because he has to. But not because he wants to.

Sitting in her car outside the station, watching the exonerated criminals leave, Carrie (a.k.a. Anastasia Rabitov, see “ex-love of his life” above) is thinking about her husband. The husband she married after Hood was first arrested and sent to prison. The husband she restarted her life with. The husband who fathered her two children. The husband who left her when Hood came back to town. The husband who fought beside her when it was necessary. The husband who got killed. The husband who, through no fault of his own, has left Carrie with a kind of guilty most people never feel. Those who do deal with it in a number of ways. Her way? She tracks criminals who get let off the hook and fucks them up royally. Oh, and court mandated therapy. And some home remodeling. But mostly the massive fucking up of bad guys.

On top of Gordon dying, the system (which, being an ex-criminal herself, she is definitely in) did quite the number on her and, long story short, took custody of her kids away from her. Hence the court mandated therapy which she not-so-happily attends in the hopes that she’ll be able to one day get them back.

Back at the cabin, Hood is giving us glimpses of the past. Most of which we’ve seen, but some of which we haven’t. Including him drunk and suicidal in a hotel room. He’s a prisoner of his memories, no matter which time period we see him in, and the many deaths he feels he caused haunt him. Rebecca, alive and well, visits him, if for no other reason than just to get him the hell out of there. She shows him the cabin and tells him to stay there. “No ghosts,” she reassures him.

Present day, eating his dinner alone, and also haunted by memories of dead folks, Proctor loses it. Rebecca smiles in flashes of memory as he trashes her room.

Bunker is at home having a nooner with his pretty blonde girlfriend. I’d be way more attracted to his sexy ass if his multitudes of tattoos didn’t mostly deal with him being a formerly racist dickhead. But, whatever, we can’t be mad at it because, again, he’s reformed. Nothing much really comes of this scene (hah, “comes”) except for a quick glimpse of his said sexy ass.

Now in some generic office, we meet a man named Calvin as he takes a mysterious phone call from someone telling him to come “back to town.” He tells his Asian boss he isn’t feeling great and has to leave. When his boss does the typical “boss” thing and forces him to say, Calvin… loses his cool, we’ll say, and proceeds to just straight up beat and murder his boss with a pen to the throat. In his mind, that is. He promises his boss that he’ll have his paperwork done first thing in the morning and leaves, with the Asian man alive and well.

Calvin… is kinda fucked up, to say the least.

He arrives at his… I don’t know, clubhouse? Whatever you call the place where racist pieces of shit hang out, that’s where he goes. It’s full of other racist pieces of shit as well as Proctor’s Man Friday and, not to mention, a Native American drug dealer with his head literally in a vice, who’s being tortured because he was dealing drugs where, apparently, only the white supremacists should. Calvin rants and raves all the typical garbage about his tax dollars paying for minority existence as he murders the drug dealer. Well, actually, Man Friday finishes the guy off. But either way, it was fucking gross. On more than one level.

Now semi-firmly replanted in his old stomping ground, Hood walks into Sugar’s bar. (The bar the real Sheriff Hood was killed in, owned by Sugar who, for a while, was the only one who knew fake-Hood’s secret. Sugar’s a truly good one. Everyone’s moral compass. And he was a good friend to our Hood.) Hurt by his friend’s long absence, he basically gives Hood the good old “What the fuck, dude?” To which Hood basically responds with the good old “My bad. Can I borrow a car?” Some chit-chat and guilt tripping later, Hood leaves with his new ride, seemingly intent on solving Rebecca’s murder.

At the hospital, one of the new (and dirty, mind you) deputies “interviews” one of the exonerated criminals and asks about who beat his ass up. (By “interviews” I mean “crushes the already broken hand of.”) Being the big dumb white guy that he is, full of undeserved pride, he minimally describes the “guy” who attacked him and leaves it at that. A woman could never be responsible for hurting a man, you see.

Hood goes to the location where Rebecca’s body was dumped where, lo and behold, he has a reunion with Proctor who also happens to be there. Hood gives his condolences and explains that he doesn’t have anything to do with her death, unlike Proctor. According to Hood, her death certificate was signed the day Proctor took her in and Proctor, more or less, agrees with the man. He also wants to do everything he can to find whoever killed her, but he’s using his role as the Mayor as an excuse to not be able to do all the dirty work he once could. The dirty work that, without much nudging, he convinces Hood to do. Lotus shows up, interrupting the happy reunion, and bursts both of their bubbles a bit. Neither Hood nor Proctor are suspects, but they damn sure both are persons of interest. And that’s their cues to leave.

Back at Kurt’s house, Calvin (Kurt’s younger brother who previously proved his loyalty to the Aryans by setting Kurt on fucking fire) is sitting on the porch waiting to beg for forgiveness. When Kurt plainly tells Calvin that he’s not his brother, a cry for forgiveness quickly turns into a death threat. Racist scumbags are funny that way.

At Carrie’s house, Lotus shows up for a friendly chat as Carrie is painting the front porch. He tells her Hood is back, which stops her dead in her paint brush tracks. He promptly leaves as Carrie remembers a little incident that took place 18 months ago. She helped Hood track down some dude who recruited him to be a bad guy way back in the day, the same dude who might have some information regarding their friend Job. (Job the drag queen, who slays all the children and does it with a bald head and a mug beat for the Gods.) In the big battle of season 3, Job ended up shot and hauled away by the enemy. Unfortunately, the only thing the recruiter can tell them is that Job is most definitely dead. (Whether or not that’s actually true is still up for debate, thankfully, because if Job’s dead, I fucking quit life.)

Back in the present, Carrie pays Sugar a visit to talk about their mutual ex-non-Sheriff friend. The gist of their conversation is that, yes, Hood’s back, no, he is not the same man that left, and maybe, Job might still alive, but if he is, they are all a bunch of assholes for not having found him yet. You know shit is grim when the fact that a friend might still be alive is a bad thing.

At Calvin’s house, he comes home to be greeted by his adorable (in a Damion sort of way since he’s destined to be an Aryan scumbag) son and his pretty blonde wife. TWIST! She was Kurt’s nooner! Older brother is fucking little brother’s wife and having a real good time doing it. But, of course, Calvin is none the wiser. It doesn’t make his wife feel good, but it definitely lifts my spirits. Fuck crazy Calvin. He deserves what’s coming to him.

Later, Hood finally does what I’ve been wishing for the entire episode. He shaves that nonsense off of his face and cuts his neanderthal hair the fuck off. The handsome bitch is back and in full effect, driving his new Supernatural car all around town looking for answers. In following a lead Proctor gave him, he ends up at the former Bodecker estate, most of which is burnt nearly to a crisp. The surviving member of the Bodecker clan is still living there, nonetheless, and able bodied enough to attack Hood with a fireplace poker. Hood, with all of his badassery, inserts the fireplace poker in Bodecker’s shoulder. Other than the torture, what we get from this scene is that the last remaining Bodecker, sans right hand (taken previously in a battle with Hood), did not kill Rebecca and actually has a nephew named LJ who just so happens to have been fucking Rebecca. He might know something about her death. Satisfied with that lead, Hood leaves only to be greeted by a small horde of Bodeckers (I guess they weren’t killed off after all) wearing Sarah Palin t-shirts (lol, morons) and itching to fight. Lotus shows up, apparently regularly tailing Hood, and gut punches the main hillbilly which causes the rest of them to scatter. Hood gives him his equivalent of a thank you (something along the lines of “You gonna follow me all day?”) and gets the hell out of there.

We’re then given a whole bunch of past shots of Rebecca who, if I’m being completely honest, always felt like a secondary character to me. I mean, yeah, a lot went down with her over the course of the series, but she was never really the main focal point. If one plot line had to be singled out to describe the show, it wouldn’t even be that Hood was pretending to be Hood. It would be the relationship between Hood and Carrie, or lack thereof. So, having Rebecca be the story isn’t necessarily bad, but it’s definitely new.

In typical Banshee fashion, we get a small post-credits scene. It’s Rebecca pulling up to the cabin, four days ago. She sees Hood chopping wood and, rather then get out of her car and greet him, she reverses and leaves. Later that night, she pulls over (still smack dab in the middle of the woods) and stands in front of her car. Motionless and upset, she gets attacked by an inconspicuous person. Whether or not she was anticipating the attack isn’t initially clear, but it definitely seemed like she was waiting for something to happen. Or maybe for someone to show up. I don’t know. But the blood curdling scream she let out after being thrown to the ground should clear up any suspicion.

And that’s pretty much it, ladies and lady boys. No Dushku as of yet, but the time will come. Wikipedia says she’ll be playing an FBI agent brought into Banshee to investigate the serial murders, but I’ve got my fingers crossed that she’ll actually be the murderer. Sure, that makes little to no sense, but if anyone can pull off an insane story line like that in an actually good way, it’s the folks behind Banshee.