June Roundup, ’17

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:

  • Claws

    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.)

  • GLOW

    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.

    P.S. There is a sexy-ass man wearing a hand towel at one point, so that’s worth watching, at least. Also that one dude from that one franchise takes his shirt off too.

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.

The All-the-shit-I-missed Roundup! ’17

If the current state of my May calendar is any indication, it’s gonna be a slow month for series premieres. (Sidebar: If you’re not using EpisodeCalendar.com, what are you doing with your life?) Except, of course, for Twin Peaks, mother fuckers! (Though, that’s technically just a new season. Suffice to say, watch that shit.) So, here’s everything I somehow missed in my total mess of a life full of DVR backlog madness. As always, the real good shit is in bold.

P.S.: You may or may not be able to tell that I got myself a Seeso subscription. ‘Cause I definitely needed another gotdanged platform on which to watch way too much television. Anyway, they have shit worth watching. Consider this my official Seeso plug.

Watch this shit:

  • The Breaks

    If you’re as confused as I was about why the first episode of the series started with a “Previously on…,” then you probably had no idea either that The Breaks started as a made-for-TV movie last year. The movie does a great job of setting up the series, but the first episode itself doesn’t do the same. So, I wouldn’t devote time to this series unless you plan to watch the movie first. With all that said: The movie and the series (though, albeit a bit slower than the film) are worth watching. Its a fictionalized account of 80’s kids loving Hip-Hop and trying to make their 90’s careers revolve around it. Chock-full of throwback jams which VH1 ironically never dared to play back when the series takes place. And even more ironically: The Breaks is moving to BET for its second season. So, VH1 sort of still refuses to play it.

  • Brown Girls

    A web series centering around two women of color being single, sexually active, and not vapid. We need so much more of this. Period.

  • Carters Get Rich

    Super cute British sitcom about a young boy who accidentally creates the “next big thing” (all because he wanted to be able to talk to a girl) and makes his family £10 million.

  • Dave & Ethan: Lovemakers

    Okay, here’s what really hooked me: About 00:58 seconds into the first episode, Ethan does one hell of a spin. That’s really all I needed to add this to the “Watch” list. It definitely wasn’t the fucking verbally abusive, incredibly boring, hella controlling, complete-lack-of-any-remotely-positive-character-trait-having Real World cast member who happened to be the bachelor of this ultra-unique dating game show/sketch show hybrid.

  • Debate Wars

    I have an uncomfortable crush on Michael Ian Black. His jaw is huge, and yet somehow appealing. I don’t understand it, I just know it is what it is. This series is essentially comedians vs. comedians, concerning the most mundane high school debate team topics possible (i.e. “pie vs. cake”).

    #itseveninoururinals #cakeprivilege #cakeriarchy #onastoveinapan #toporbottom #bigfrosting #windowsillthieves #facesmash #cakeisalie #cheesecakeispie #cakewashing #bigbake #pizzaispie #weareallpie #fucknotallcakes #piedantic #pieunsarelife #piedontfuckaround #thecakeisalie #whatjasonbiggshadsexwithinthatmovie #pieistruth

    (If you haven’t noticed… I’m #teampie)

    Also, Gilbert Gottfried being Gilbert Gottfried.

  • Detroiters

    A Seth Meyers alum and the fucking outstanding human being that is Sam Richardson try to be Mad Men in present-day Detroit. There’s well-timed vomit, shattered (not broken) glass, very old drugs, and the choice of hot or cold beer. What more could you want? Watch it. #whatsupdoc

  • Feud

    A retelling of the alleged (come on, it fuckin’ happened) real-life feud between Bette and Joan, focusing on the making of What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?. It’s quintessentially Ryan Murphy (“Ryan Murphy” is a verb here, not a noun), so it’s got a touch of the exaggerated. But, hey, Jessica Lange is back on our TV screens and Susan Sarandon is back doing what she does best (specifically: not supporting a bound-to-lose presidential candidate and fucking shit up for the rest of us).

  • Five by Five

    A pretty exceptional series of short films. Each of the five episodes only lasts about 5 minutes (get it?) and they each follow individuals whose stories interconnect. Definitely worth a watch, if you can do so.

  • The History of Comedy

    A great documentary series. First episode mainly focuses on all the bad words I type way too often in this here blog. If you like docs and you like laughing, watch it.

  • I Like You Just the Way I Am

    A fun little web series written by and starring Jenny Mollen. You may remember her as the werewolf you hated on Angel, or Chelsea Handler‘s friend. She’s a good time.

  • Jeff & Some Aliens

    The first official spinoff of TripTank (which, if you didn’t know, is an insane batch of animation sketches, à la Liquid Television). Jeff’s your average Joe who happens to be living with a few aliens sent to Earth to study everyone and see if they’re worth not killing. Cue: mayhem.

  • My Brother, My Brother and Me

    Three brothers who give advice, make each other laugh a lot, and somehow make you wish you were in on the joke. Basically the 21st century version of an advice column that is worth watching, if for nothing more than chuckles. #toystorylife

    Also, they hunt ghosts. ‘Cause, why wouldn’t they?

    #hishandsaremadeofbones

  • Rebel

    A badass cop who is having NONE OF IT. You wouldn’t think a show about an unarmed black man being murdered by cops would make me happy, but in this tale, the victim’s sister is a cop who was at the scene and did everything she could to prevent his death. So, you’d better believe she’s gonna do everything she can to get his death avenged. We’re finally getting a new perspective on these real-life situations that the media loves to spin into victim-shaming and race-baiting. It might get a little overdramatic at times, but this one’s definitely worth a watch.

  • Shrink

    A therapist living in a world that doesn’t want him to be a therapist. Humor ensues. #armageddonlove

  • Star

    I kind of can’t believe I forgot to put this on the list way back in December, but, hey, I’m human. My bad. This comes from the beautiful mind of Lee Daniels. I do enjoy Empire, but honestly, it gets a bit too soap opera-y at times for my taste. Though, it does get silly, Star still manages to feel gritty and real. In a nutshell: it’s the birth of a girl group, with a whole-lot-more drama crammed into that shell than I can get into in this description. But definitely check it out.

  • Time: The Kalief Browder Story

    A fucking outstanding docuseries showing exactly how horribly the American criminal justice system fails, by way of one of its victims.

  • Z: The Beginning of Everything

    Zelda Fitzgerald before, during, and after the happy part of her marriage with F. Scott. Christina Ricci is the jam and that is all I have to say about that.

Meh:

  • Cardinal

    Pretty generic investigation drama, but Billy Campbell is usually a good time and Karine Vanasse is always a good time.

  • The Collection

    A fairly gritty take on the Paris fashion scene that was. Chock-full of men trying to have successful careers (one of whom gets beaten to a bloody pulp for daring to have orgasms) and the women who exist to help them. Whether it be by being their rich trophy wives, their seamstresses, their models, or their gangsters. The first episode was okay enough for me to plan on watching episode 2, but not okay enough to make it to the “Definitely Watch This Series” list.

    P.S. It took me a good minute to place Jenna Thiam, but when I realized that she was from The Returned, it made me extra-happy because she is fan-fucking-tastic.

  • Ghosts in the Hood

    The latest in a long line of ghost hunting crews. This one goes downtown, though. And they’ve got a comedian whose sole purpose is to crack jokes. More ghost hunting teams should take note of that, honestly. The only reason this one’s listed in “Meh” is because the Ghost Brothers manage to be even funnier than said comedian.

  • Hip Hop Squares

    A much crazier version of Hollywood Squares. Worth a watch, unless you’re not a Hip-Hop fan. And Tiffany Haddish is literally taking over the world. That is all.

  • Tattoo Girls

    Your run-of-the-mill tattoo shop show, except this one’s all-women and, shock and awe, they manage to fight about guys in the first two episodes. Big ol’ meh.

  • Three Days to Live

    If you like sensationalized true crime, this series is yours to love. If the title isn’t enough explanation for you, it deals with kidnapped people who, statistically, have three days to be found alive by law enforcement. There are two reasons why it’s not on the “Do Not Watch” list. 1) It shows the immense strength of women. 2) It’s narrated by Suchin Pak. I don’t think she would devote her time to bullshit, no matter how big the paycheck.

Don’t watch this shit:

  • 13 Reasons Why

    It’s just plain irresponsible. Sorry. To portray suicide as the only way out, to place the blame of suicide on everything but mental health, and to create the illusion that the more creative a suicide note can get, the more power you have in death… It’s. Just. Fucking. Irresponsible. DO. NOT. WATCH. THIS.

  • Fancy Boy

    Some kind of American/Aussie nonsense comedy hybrid that doesn’t create a lot of laughs. Pass.

  • Wham Bam Thank You Ma’am

    Cisfemale actors portraying men isn’t any funnier than cismale actors portraying women, and that’s really all I have to say about that.

    I lied, I have more to say: I mean… I’m all for female empowerment, but if you’re gonna write a song about how periods are hilarious, I’m gonna need you to make it a good song. Okay, the end. Bye.

Why Billions Will Fail (P.R.I.P. #1)

So, yes: things have been very slow around here as of late. I’ll blame part of it on this season being right around the midway point (when, historically, nothing very exciting happens) and the other part on me being a person with shit to do. Some of that shit being taking my first ever vacation-for-the-sake-of-taking-a-vacation to Las Vegas. I came, I saw, I conquered… it was a time. Most mornings and early afternoons were spent in the hotel room with the TV on because, honestly, we’re unhealthy assholes and we had to rest our legs from the previous day’s walking. I mention this only to explain why we watched so much Showtime which was the only premium cable channel we had. This brings me to:

Billions.

We can do better, folks. If you plan on watching the show because you’re genuinely excited by the trailer (which, granted, is all I’ve seen of the show, plus Showtime’s little interview snippets with the cast embarrassingly trying to find nice things to say about it), feel free to stop reading now. “We can do better” is a pretty good summation of everything I have to say. Here’s the full trailer they’ve got on a loop:

I really don’t know where to begin. I guess, let’s go straight into the horse’s mouth.

Billions is a look at the lives of the wealthy and the powerful.”
“It’s a kind of portrait of the power structure of New York City.”

Right away: no thank you. Those might not be the best one-liners to describe the show that its main actors could come up with, but they’re definitely the ones Showtime decided to run with. So, I have to assume they agree with those obnoxious descriptions, no? If all this show is is rich assholes and the non-rich asshole who’s mad at them for it… again I say “we can do better.”

Now, let’s get to the rich asshole himself. Bobby “The Axe” Axelrod.

Deep breath, y’all.

Axel. Rod. Just in case anyone thought that maybe there would be something substantive in this series, the creators wanted to reassure them from the get-go that it’s all about how penises are what matter. And thankfully, for good measure, Showtime was able to get one of the female cast members to explain that Billions just “follows these two men.”

Lastly (keeping this relatively short because I have another Spirit “The Spirit Killers” Airlines flight to prepare for by cramming as much clothing as possible into a backpack in an attempt to make my mother somewhat happy on Christmas because I’m not a fucking billionaire…), we’ll deal with the writing. Here are two of the gems Showtime, again, plucked out as their shining examples of what to highlight in their promos:

“Being a billionaire, when you walk into a room, you know exactly what everyone’s looking at.”

Deeeeep breath, y’all.

“America used to salute the guy in the limousine, but now they throw eggs at it. When did it become a crime to succeed in this country?”

Is it a crime to succeed in America? No. But white American success as a plotline stopped being interesting a long fucking time ago. Is this little review-o’-mine equivalent to me throwing eggs at that goddamn limousine? Maybe. But when I really stop and think of what viewers they’re trying to attract with this garbage, Donald Trump is the only person who comes to mind. The delusional man who truly believes that being a billionaire qualifies him to preside over a country. If that doesn’t deserve a few rotten eggs, I don’t know what does.

So, unless Donald ends up enjoying the series from the oval office that he will absolutely never be in… I have to give Billions the first Qtv Review P.R.I.P. (Preemptive “rest in peace.”)