October Roundup

Some more new shiz of this season, in short:

The things worth your time (especially in bold):

The things that may or may not be worth your time, a.k.a. Meh:

The things not worth your time:

Old shit, no longer worth your time:

Okay, so, Eyewitness: The shit is good. Maybe even great. The thing about it is, though, that I’ve seen the original 6-episode Swedish series this it’s based on, which I loved. So, of course my brain is constantly comparing the two as I watch this Americanized iteration. It’s written by the creator of Shades of Blue, which I really didn’t love so that may not be much of a selling point, but what I mean to say is: it’s completely written by him. Adi Hasak sat down and fleshed out a complete, expanded 10-episode story which will have a conclusion. And the series itself was sold to USA as an anthology, so if there is a second season, it’ll be completely new. With all the hoopla these past few years with the seemingly endless cliffhangers and plot holes and unfinished stories, a proper ending is a magical thing to have and should be savored every time that comes around.

Not to mention: at the center of the small-town-murder-mystery story is a gay teenage romance that’s actually fucking respectful, doesn’t shy away from the sex real-life teenagers actually have, and doesn’t treat it like it’s something to be frowned upon while simultaneously accurately portraying the emotional struggle that comes with actually being a teenager accepting their sexuality. ACTUALLY.

The shit is good, I tell you. Just… a skosh less good than the original. Which, if I’m being honest, is probably the only reason it’s not bold in the list above. But you should watch it. Now. Go. Bye.

Documentary Now! And later. And forever. Please and thank you.

Insert excuses for not talking about this series sooner here. Do forgive, loyal readers. Many days overdue, we’ll talk about Documentary Now! now.

What this series is, is amazing. There’s no question about it. Hence, IFC renewing it for two more seasons before the premiere of the first episode. They have tremendous faith in the minds behind this show, as well they should. I doubt anyone would think a ship helmed by Seth Meyers, Bill Hader, and Fred Armisen could be steered wrong. Unless you hate them. Which most likely means you’re bitter about them having the career you want.

Sucks you for. I like them.

They set out to create mockumentaries based on high-profile documentaries, while recreating their styles as much as possible. And so far (granted, we’re only one episode into the initial 6-episode run, but…), they’ve succeeded. Immensely.

First up is the infamous Grey Gardens, the 1975 doc portraying the lives of mother-daughter hermit duo living in their dilapidated East Hampton mansion. If you’ve had the pleasure (or displeasure, depending on your perspective) of watching the original tale of Big & Little Edie Beale, you should undoubtedly enjoy Documentary Now! as Meyers et al. lovingly painted a picture of Big & Little Vivvy in their home, Sandy Passage. By “lovingly,” of course, I mean “meticulously.” And by “painted a picture,” I mean “created a sufficiently creepy found footage short horror film.”

I, myself, found the original documentary rather touching. Yes, both Edies had a loud relationship (the nicest way I can think to put it), but that’s just the way some people communicate. The New Yorker in me understands screaming at a relative simply because the louder you are, the better they’ll understand. (…Right?) They enjoyed their memories more than creating new ones. Or, at least they did when the documentary was made. Mothers die and children move on and time passes and changes are forced upon us. It happens. And it happened to our misses Beale. It’s worth noting, however, that when Little Edie was able to sell the home, she did it with the caveat that it never be torn down. That strikes me, again, as wanting to preserve memories. No matter what they are.

See? Sort of touching, am I right?

Having said that… I could definitely see how one could find the creepiness in that documentary. I could list the reasons why, but they’re now on film in the form of the first Documentary Now! episode. They’ve taken every reason to possibly be even slightly scared of Grey Gardens and turned it into a genius 21-minute piece of entertainment. The show is billed as a comedy, which it is, but don’t expect many laugh-out-louds unless you’ve seen Grey Gardens. Essentially, you have to be in on the joke. I assume this is why they’ve chosen more prolific documentaries to affectionately poke fun at. If you haven’t seen them, though, it just gives you an excuse to watch more things. And who’s mad at that? Don’t threaten me with a good time, I say.

So, in summation: If you find funny people funny, you’ll enjoy Documentary Now! If, on top of laughing at funny people, you sincerely enjoy documentaries, you’ll thoroughly enjoy Documentary Now! If, on top of laughing at bitches and watching non-fiction, you also love getting the shit scared out of you by found footage horror films, you’ll enjoy Documentary Now! ten-fold. (Or the first episode at least.)

Also, Helen Fucking Mirren hosts the show. Did I forget to mention that?
It’s a pretty big deal.