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.
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.
Yes, folks. It’s been a slow month, indeed. But nonetheless, some noteworthy stuff premiered and my short takes on them are below. As always, the real good shit’s in bold.
Watch this shit
- Beat Shazam
Fun new game show whose ass I could KICK. Hollywood Game Night ignored my application, but I will not be deterred! Definitely applying for this shit. Anyway, It’s exactly what it sounds like. You gotta be the fastest person to identify a song correctly, with the possibility of one million fucking dollars at stake. It’s basically Who Wants to Be a Musical-Nerd-Millionaire.
- Downward Dog
One of those amazing shows that network execs have no fucking clue what to do with because it doesn’t perfectly match one of their other “successful” shows, so they air it at the tail end of the season and hope for the best. *cough, cough* Save Me *cough, cough*
Anyway, Allison Tolman is the fucking jam. And Hope’s dad is looking super indie rock and delicious. Anddd… the main character is a literal dog. It’s a good God damn time.
Also, I’m a complete and utter cat person. I am one hundred thousand percent a total cat person. And even I think this show is fucking cute.
- World of Dance
Yesssss. So. Much. This. If you’ve read my previous posts, you know I’m a SYTYCD watcher. And, let’s be real, a bit of a SYTYCD hater. World of Dance is everything SYTYCD should be. And every reason why Dancing with the Stars is awful. The only thing it’s missing is Cat Deeley, who can do no wrong in my eyes. Even when she’s telling loud bitches to shut the fuck up, she’s doing her job well. I will still be sad to see So You Think go, but I think it’s inevitable at this point. WoD is So You Think’s death rattle. Any age, any style, any number of people, actual scoring based on specific criteria as opposed to just judges arbitrarily deciding shit amongst themselves, and so much delicious, wonderful, amazing, dance. I’m in love. My tiny gay heart is all a flutter, y’all. Watch. This. Shit.
- Still Star-Crossed
Alright, here’s why this isn’t in the “Watch” list: Turns out, all the obsessing I did over Romeo + Juliet while growing up had less to do with Shakespeare and more to do with Baz Luhrmann and his soundtrack curating. I’m just not big on those Elizabethan era dramas. It probably took marrying a theater history PhD candidate to figure that out.
With that being said, this is by no means a show not worth watching. It is impeccably made, as all series living in ShondaLand tend to be, and the acting, writing, and directing are spot on. Plus, Giles’ sexy ass is back on our screens in his native [and delicious] accent (shoutout to that dumb Syfy series he did in an American accent which I eventually gave up on, as did every other viewer). It is a bit of a departure from Shonda shows of yore, but the Shonda DNA is still in there. So, yes, if you’re keen to hang out in the 1400’s and see how two sets of assholes quit being assholes to each other, with lots of dramz until they figure that out: then, this show’s for you.
To be honest, I had no intention of watching this show unless I knew that the guy would be found guilty. So, I watched the first episode, and then did some Googling. What I found, without an immense amount of spoilers, is that the man accused of multiple counts of rape was actually guilty. I didn’t mind finding out the ending in this case because it was the ending that this series should have.
This giant bag of bollocks (a.k.a. “television drama at its most accomplished” a.k.a. “insert most painful eyeroll ever eyerolled here”) comes with an innocence verdict along with flashbacks of the crimes that the dickface in question should have been convicted of.
Were this a series set 30 years in the future, when convictions of rape aren’t dramatic television fodder, and are treated as seriously as the crimes they fucking are (sidebar: shoutout to the final season of Broadchurch for doing it superbly), then this blog post would read much differently. But, given the climate we (and by “we” I mean “I, a gay American”) live in today, with an absolute scumbag of a president who won his position by not being held accountable for grabbing bitches by their fucking vaginas, this horseshit masked by good acting is just that: Horse. Shit.
And that’s all I have to say about that.
P.S. Yes, I know that this shit aired in September. But you know that I am hella late on seriesez, in general! #dontjudgeher
P.P.S. Seeing what this series was based on, honestly, has made me sick to my stomach. I’m almost ashamed that I felt it was blog worthy. So, there. is. that.
P.P.P.S. An extra-sarcastic congrats to whichever Brits felt great about themselves for putting this shit on the air, post-Brexit.
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.
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
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?
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.
A therapist living in a world that doesn’t want him to be a therapist. Humor ensues. #armageddonlove
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.
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.
Welp, I’ve officially gotten to February, y’all! “Two months behind” seems to be my permanent DVR status (though, it’ll probably turn into three). But, just for you, I made sure once again to watch all the premieres I could. My short takes on each are below.
Watch this shit:
- American Gods
It feels so incredibly good to have Bryan Fuller back on television. There’s simply nothing else like his shit. Period. I can’t really tell you much about the plot, other than there’s an ex-con trying to get to his wife’s funeral, and a bunch of superhuman people (Gods, maybe?) revolving around him. He may or may not have become a God himself after beating up a leprechaun version of Pornstache. Also, a vagina straight up ate a dude. An entire person. Dentata realness, folks. If that ain’t worth watching, I don’t know what is.
A baseball announcer wading through the aftermath of his entire shitshow of a life becoming public knowledge (by him and his own drunken rant, mid-game). The twist: his unraveling was one of the world’s first viral videos and then made even more famous by a Drake lyric (sidebar: fuck Drake) turning our dear announcer into a household name. So, naturally he’s parlayed his “success” into a permanent announcing gig that comes with a stocked liquor cabinet. Plus, it’s Hank Azaria. The only thing better than him being able to act in voice is when he does it with his shirt off. And it’s on cable, so his nipples are bound to pop out. Also, Amanda Peet and Katie Finneran. They’re worth mentioning because they’re both amazing.
- Dear White People
When the trailer for this series premiered, white folks went nuts. I remember lots of comments along the lines of “But if we tried to make a series called ‘Dear Black People,’ we’d be racist.” Oh, we would, would we? A series centering on a black woman with knowledge of race relations is not racism. However, white folks reacting to the series with hate and negativity (before ever watching it) because its told from a perspective that’s not theirs… is.
The real genius, and the reason this amazingness went to series without Netflix batting an eyelash, is because it’s actually about that backlash. The series responds to every bit of inevitable reactionary nonsense in its first 10 minutes.
P.S.: The world NEEDS Defamation to be a real thing.
- Dimension 404
Robert Buckley is so fucking cuuuute. Ugh. I can’t handle how attracted to him I am. Which is kind of a shame since he’s only in the first episode. (But whatever, I watch iZombie [’cause I’m a 13-year-old girl like that] which he stars in.) Anyway, he’s only in this one episode because this sucker’s one of them nifty anthology series that are all the rage these days. Think: Twilight Zone that doesn’t take itself so seriously. Or a poor man’s Black Mirror. It’s good, don’t get me wrong. It’s just not bringing anything terribly unique to the table, other than a bit more comedy than its predecessors.
- First Dates
Y’all… I was not prepared for how obsessed with this show I’d be. You are the fly on the wall of a restaurant in which real folks are going on very real blind dates with each other. That may sound lame to you (because it definitely did to me), but it is so worth a watch. Plus, Drew Barrymore narrates and I love me some her.
This miniseries is a dramatization of real life events that took place in 1970s London. It shows the inner-workings and interpersonality of prominent figures in the black power movement. An apt story for the world we find ourselves living in today, along with:
- The Handmaid’s Tale
This shit is in–mother–fucking–tense. In a nutshell: A not too distant future that’s a Republican’s wet dream (which, today, they’ll pretend they don’t want, but actively, constantly try to get). #mynameisjune
- Soundtracks: Songs That Defined History
A poignant look at history told from first-hand accounts and archival footage, with music at the heart. Drs. King and Simone feature prominently in the first episode, detailing the American civil rights movement.
- Talk Show the Game Show
Pretty much exactly what it sounds like. Three celebs compete against each other to see which one is the best talk show guest. And once again: Tiffany Haddish is everything.
- Talking with Chris Hardwick
Here’s the ONLY reason this almost ended up in the “Meh” category: It’s essentially Talking Dead/Bad/Saul/et al. minus Dead/Bad/Saul/et al. So, if you’ve never watched any of the iterations, the cutie pie that is Chris Hardwick talking to folks and having lots of laughs may not be your cup of tea. I, myself, would happily swim in that tea until my fingers got all pruney. I’ve been secretly in love with Mr. Hardwick since he had his incredibly 90s long hair on Singled Out, back when my only goal in life was to somehow end up on MTV because, really, what else was there to dream about? Anyway, if you hate watching bitches talking to each other about themselves and/or the entertainment industry, this ain’t for you. A pretty big deal breaker will also be if you actually are or aren’t a fan of whoever Chris’ guest is.
Don’t watch this shit:
- Fire Island
If you LOVE reality shows about generic-ass people (with ridiculous bodies and a penchant for alcohol and drama) living in a dream house you wish you had the chance to even stand near, let alone live in… then this one’s for you. I mean, look: It’s cute and all that a single letter in the LGBTQ2 initialism gets another reality show dedicated all to themselves, but it doesn’t make reality television any more interesting. The most possibly compelling thing that could happen between sexy gay men weekending on Fire Island for an entire summer is if some of them aren’t feeling particularly horny one day and wish everyone would just keep their clothes on. I’ll pass.
The coming of age story of a girl who is deliberately an asshole for no other reason than because she’s sure there will be a definitive reason (that she believes she’ll one day discover) why she’s supposed to be an asshole. She’s mad for the sake of being mad, she’s rude for the sake of being rude, and she finds her reflection in any mirror fucking outstanding. This show is based on a book (which is based on a life), the title of which is a god damn hashtag. Even with Jim Rash and RuPaul cameos, this one’s a hard pass.