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.
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.
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.
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.