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:
Meh (a.k.a. Watch This Shit, or Don’t):
- 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.
As of this writing, I have made it all the way through my DVR to February 27th. I think it’s time to face the facts. This is officially a pilot microreview (…’s a word, yes? No? Did I just invent it? ™, bitches.) blog. For I will never, ever catch up. With that in mind:
Watch this shit:
- The Defenders
If you’re not aware, Defenders is the culmination of four separate Marvel/Netflix series that all exist in the MCU. To say the least, they vary in goodness (as in… one of the four kinda sucked). And, seriously, from the very first shot, Defenders was already better than Iron Fist. Not a difficult feat, granted…
What is difficult is seamlessly merging four very different shows into one. The first of its kind, if I’m remembering correctly. If every AHS season eventually does connect, that’ll be Ryan Murphy‘s attempt at replicating this, but I don’t foresee anything similar happening any time soo- …. I just remembered the dumb week-long crossovers they did for all those damn CW shows this past season. So, there was that. (Sidebar: eyeroll at that bullshit Flash/Supergirl musical. Once More, with Feeling or bust.)
Incorrect tangents aside: they do an okay job at keeping the feel of each individual series in the first Defenders episode. I was hoping for a bit more pace, but we’re left without the core four actually hooking up with each other. We do get a dying Sigourney Weaver apparently initiating the demise of New York City via earthquake, though. And Jessica Jones‘ outgoing answering machine message. (“Wrong. Number.”) Which, honestly, is reason enough to watch the entire series. And everything Krysten Ritter has ever done, ever.
- The Guest Book
Abed (’cause I literally can’t think of him as any other character) is a horny husband and father, married to Lauren Lapkus who’s an exhausted wife and mother who understandably isn’t trying to fuck. But then the cabin saves them by being a cabin! And that’s all I’d say about this series, if that’s what it was about. This little mini-review would be sitting below in the “Meh” category and that would be that. However comma… *twist* It’s an anthology series! And every episode is completely different, featuring a new story about new people staying in the aforementioned cabin of curativeness!
So, if you liked Easy, but wish Orlando Bloom was actually funny… check this series out.
- The Sinner
It means something when Jessica Biel stabs a man to death during family day at the beach, bur her husband is still more unlikable. Not sure if that means Jessica Biel is an amazing actress or if Christopher Abbott is the fucking worst.
- Weekend Update
SNL cashing in on the success of their last season which, honestly, they absolutely deserve to. If you’re itching for a Jost/Che fix, chock full of cameos, then Lorne Michaels is your new best good friend.
- The Tick
Fun, silly, superhero romp of silly silliness. With just enough twinge of seriousness to make it compelling. Also, that psycho from The Following is all normal-sauce! It’s so refreshing!
Marlon Wayans (easily the most annoying Wayans, hence: “meh”) is being raised by his ex-wife. As are their two kids. He’s also a YouTube pranker. (It’s as if the producers asked “How do we make an annoying person more annoying?”)
- Mr. Mercedes
A 20-something kid destined for incest-induced matricide put on a clown mask and killed a bunch of folks who were trying to get jobs (Thanks, Donald!). Actually, the killer klown may not have been the kid in question. But, honestly… I mean, come on, his mother licked his teeth. He’s definitely killing something or other at some point. Anyway, this show is actually less about him and more about the retired cop who can’t let go of the unsolved employment-seeker murders. He’s foreign and his neighbor wants to fuck the shit out of him, as does his favorite waitress at his brunch hot spot. ‘Cause, in case you’re unaware: when you’re old, overweight, hairy, male, and generally un-Statue-of-David-esque: you’re still fuckable (Thanks, Stephen King!).
- The Lowe Files
If rich folks bro-ing out and hunting ghosts is your thing, then you’ll love Rob Lowe & Less Attractive Sons.
And that’s all, folks! Nothing too terrible this month. Live long and watch. And donate to Harvey relief. And don’t listen to Republicans when they blame homosexuality. Peace.
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.
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.