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.
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.
“I caught up on all my shows and my entire life is fully manageable now!” …He said on April 1st. Y’all, I still got shit from January waiting for me to watch it. But, as always, I made sure to check out all the premieres of the month that sounded good enough to watch and the run-down of said premieres are below.
Watch this shit:
- The Comedy Jam
I am so incredibly about this, that it’s ridiculous. Especially considering the fact that I fucking can’t stand it when a comedian just whips out a guitar in the middle of a show. But they do that shit right over at The Comedy Jam. Demetri Martin can suck it. Tiffany Haddish for the win.
I’m not sure how to feel about this one, honestly. It’s not poorly made. And I’m all for women power. And the decriminalization of sex workers. But the women vs. women angle of the series is throwing me off. Worth a watch, though.
- Iron Fist
Apparently (from what I’ve seen online) this show gets real silly and the fight scenes are a mess, but just based on the first episode… I’m not super mad at it. It’s definitely not at the top of the great Marvel shows list, but it’s at about the same caliber you’d expect.
- Making History
Good shit. Funny, interesting, and intriguing good shit. Professor’s got a time machine which he uses to visit his girlfriend in way-back-in-the-day-Boston. He pulls a co-worker into the mix and wackiness ensues.
Mean Groundlings with guest stars galore. Watch it.
Wiley British boxing/heist fun. Plus sexy-ass shirtless tattooed men with accents. What more could you want? (I’ll be honest, I haven’t seen the original movie. But now that I’ve seen this pilot, I want to.)
- Imaginary Mary
I was fully prepared to hate this show. Crazy Scientology actress + ridiculous concept = no thank you. What literally ALL of the series previews fail to show you is that the dude whom Scientology freak falls for and his three kids are the real stars of the show. And Rachel Dratch, of course. Kinda sucks that she’s never gonna get to actually interact with the other great parts of the show (since she voices an imaginary friend that only Dharma can see). Still ends up in “Meh” rather than “Don’t watch,” though. So, not a hard pass.
- Kicking & Screaming
I’m on the fence with this one. A bit more on the “don’t watch” side, if I’m being honest. A wildlife competition show featuring people who know what the fuck they’re doing teamed up with people who have absolutely no idea what in the hell they’re doing. There’s always a risk in designing a show around annoying people (i.e. no one wanting to watch annoying people). It works for the Kardashians, though, so who knows. (Not that I watch that fucking mess, mind you.)
- Trial & Error
Another one I’m a little more on the “watch this” side of the fence about. Mockumentary, in the vein of The Office and Parks & Rec, that tries way harder than its predecessors which makes it lose a little bit of the magic. Props for making sexuality being fluid about literal fluids, though. Also #brothercousin.
Don’t watch this shit:
- Shots Fired
Note to creatives and, especially, network execs: You don’t need to switch up the facts to be edgy. Were this show about a white cop shooting an unarmed black teenager to death, it might be true to the life and times we all live in today. The cop being black and the unarmed teenager being white makes this police propaganda. And it means a whole hell of a lot that when we get this story told, it doesn’t look like the real life stories we witness.
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.)