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 just dive right in, shall we? Not a whole lot of ground to cover this month…
Watch this shit:
- I’m Sorry
A comedy writer who keeps it really real finds herself in odd scrapes with folks who keep it really fake. And she says “fuck” a lot! What’s not to love?
- Midnight, Texas
A psychic, who regularly hangs out with his dead pothead grandma, moves to the creepiest of all creepy towns that happens to be inhabited by all sorts of sexy folks. Psychics, ghosts, vampires, witches who may or may not be lesbians that have talking cats, and since it’s based on Charlaine Harris novels… a murder mystery as well! It’s been too long since we’ve had some good True Blood-esque TV and, dare I say it, I think Midnight might even be more enjoyable. After all, “Midnight is very different in daylight.” (That line was way too good for me to not quote.)
There is one big issue, though. A huge pet peeve of mine. Tattoo artists who don’t have tattoos. That should never be a thing. Ever. Ever ever ever.
Said tattoo artist also happens to be gay. And an angel, which is not the problem. The problem is, but hopefully won’t be: he’s in a relationship. If him and his man friday never get affectionate (as damn near every straight actor playing gay tends to never do), then I’m gonna spend way too much time being pissed off about it. So, NBC better save me from wasting all of that time and energy by making two people in a relationship fucking kiss. Please and thank you.
This one slipped through my cracks. Didn’t actually know anything about it until Netflix flashed it on my screen and said “Hey, watch this!” It turned out to be a pleasant surprise. Jason Bateman‘s been a low-key criminal for ten years, eight of which his partners spent ripping off their boss. When bossman finds out, a whole mess of people get killed, but Jason sweet talks his way into moving his family to the Ozarks where he’s sure he’ll make millions of dollars by doing… some kind of shit with drugs. I don’t know, it was confusing. He’s really stoic and he knows way more about money than you or I. Also, he’s married to Laura Linney who was fucking this dude who gets thrown off of a building (which we see happen, up close and way too personal… fun) and his kids hate him. Basically: Think Breaking Bad minus cancer.
- The Last Tycoon
Behind the scenes of a 1930’s Hollywood movie studio. Quite literally behind the scenes, in fact, with the Dust Bowl migrants living in the backlot. Also, America’s Sweetheart has died. And Hitler’s trying to control films while still murdering people, which Frasier‘s cool with.
Oh, and I almost forgot about the aortal defect our main character has that will cause his heart to just randomly explode some day. Can you feel my eyeroll through your screen?
Don’t watch this shit:
I’m giving major side-eye to whoever wrote this pilot. The first five minutes amounts to “women in power and their pesky feelings about things,” while minutes six through ten are “See?! I TOLD YOU lame, nerdy, ‘smart’ guys can get girls! They even joke about math problems before they do. lolz”
Said nerdy guy cums and goes just in time to 1) get his professor killed, 2) get chased by men in black, 3) convince some rich dude we’re supposed to care about to give him the time of day, and 4) save the world from… asteroids, folks. Asteroids. All of which covers the first fifteen minutes. I could not stomach a sixteenth, to be honest.
Ya’ wanna know what really pisses me off? When you try to modernize the past and you do it horribly. No one said the word “shitbag” until the 1940’s and they sure didn’t use it in the Elizabethan era. It makes me as angry as a sentence beginning with “Ya’ wanna” would’ve probably made Shakespeare.
This series is created and written by Craig Pearce, who co-authored Baz Luhrmann‘s Romeo + Juliet, which I thought meant great things for the show. The problem is, though, that all he really did for the film was cut and paste. The source material was already there. He takes the creation upon himself this go around and does it without Baz. Which leaves us with not-so-interesting stories featuring the folks from jolly old dressed up like lost boys who paint their faces with neon. It’s a fucking Ren fair on acid.
Not to mention, the last episodic retelling of a Shakespearean story (granted, it wasn’t about the man himself) has not worked out so well. If Shonda can’t do it, TNT sure can’t.
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.
Howdy, folks. Here’s the new series from last month that sounded interesting enough to watch. As always, the actually really interesting stuff is in bold.
Watch this shit:
- Big Little Lies
Almost put this in “meh,” to be honest. There’s some great talent attached, but it’s a little odd. It’s basically mostly wealthy parents of 1st graders dealing with being parents of 1st graders. And also a murder. But I’m not exactly sure who the hell was murdered. It’d be one thing for the mystery to be who the killer is, but to not know who died or if you’re supposed to feel sorry for them… sorry, I’m not seeing the intrigue there.
A Jesus freak comedian’s comedians show. Plus a lot of woe is me. I’m a bit turned off by the fact that Lauren Lapkus isn’t supposed to be likable in this, because I love the crap out of her.
Court room drama featuring Laverne Mo’fuckin’ Cox as a badass series regular. Also featuring Katherine Heigl a bit more than she should be featured. Honestly, the show is much more interesting when it’s not about her. Dreama Walker saves the day, though.EDIT: When getting the link for the series, I found out that the show had been cancelled after airing just two episodes.Which made me chuckle at first, but then I realized Trump supporters would probably use it as an example of why trans people shouldn’t be hired for leading roles (that is, if they gave enough of a shit about Doubt to complain, but apparently no one watched it so it won’t matter much). In reality, though, the problem is Katherine goddamned Heigl. STOP GIVING HER LEADING ROLES. It has never and will never work out. Gurl, bye.
Definitely tries to be a lot funnier than the show was marketed as, which is a little disappointing, to be honest. I was expecting more of a con artist thriller than a buddy cop comedy. But I’ll keep watching because I can’t be mad at my future second husband, Parker Young.
X-Men, Interrupted. From the genius behind the Fargo series. So. Worth. Your. Time.
If historical biographies are your thing, you’ll be hard-pressed to find anything more interesting (and timely) than one based on Nelson Mandela.
Superheroes meets Bryan Fuller–style cuteness. If you’re liking The Good Place, you’ll probably enjoy this.
- Santa Clarita Diet
Quirky zombie goodness. Could probably use a different director, but finds a great stride about halfway through the pilot.
- Superior Donuts
With Katey Sagal and Judd Hirsch, you’ve got some powerful sitcom vets. Add to that some social commentary and munchies jokes and you’ve got yourself a pretty good series.
- When We Rise
Gay liberation amazingness. Fucking beautiful and heartwarming and gut-wrenching and inspiring and revolutionary and goddamn perfect.
Don’t watch this shit:
Ugh. Police officers are women of color. But they can only get the job done when a rich white dude comes into play? No, thank you. Even with the goodness that is Justin Kirk.
Anna Paquin‘s a drunk mess. But also a cop. And she laughs real maniacally, while almost-fucking junkies in need of anger management. Because drama? Again… no, thank you. Though, there is an apparently trans person. But still… no, thank you. Including a much-needed minority character does not make your story interesting enough to be told. No matter how mother fucking needed that minority character is in today’s film climate. (EDIT: Hello again, Doubt.)
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.