Showing posts with label Previewing. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Previewing. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Previewing The Path: Season Three

When the second season of The Path premiered, it was the marquee show on Hulu. And heavy is head that wears the crown. Hulu just seemed to be getting by as Netflix racked up all the awards, even Amazon Prime, which did not even seem to be trying much until it recently bought the rights to Lord of the Rings had Transparent. But since then, Hulu has premiered three great shows, Harlots, Future Man, and The Handmaid’s Tale, the latter of which swept last year’s Emmys including outstanding Drama Series, beating out three Netflix shows. So now that the crown has been passed, expectations has been lowered, we can now enjoy The Path as simply the fourth best show on Hulu (and maybe going lower with multiple promising new shows premiering in 2018).

When the second season finished with Eddie leading a group of rejected Meyerist into the compound after performing a legitimate miracle, I thought this season would be a fight between Eddie and Carl for control of the moment. I was wrong. After another miracle in the opening moments, we get a six month fast forward and Carl is out. Dude bounced to Florida with his wife and baby and is being bankrolled by a former professional athlete and hoping to start his own moment down south which to me kind of sounds like a Pyramid Scheme.

Back in the tristate area, Eddie is trying to be the nicer and kinder cult leader and as his son tells him, “You are trying so hard not to be a cult leader; you forgot to be a leader.” Pretty profound for a teenager. That is where Freida Pinto (Slumdog Millionaire) comes in as the Meyerist new Oxford educated publicist who worked for Greenpeace Breitbart oxford educated which means the only green she cares about is the shade of George Washington’s skin. Granted the most ruthless thing she does in the first two episodes is threaten ICE on an illegal alien.  Then things get interesting in episode three which makes her motives even more murky.

Then there is Sarah who is still caught in the middle. She does not really care for the nicer Meyerist movement under Eddie and even though Cal still believes in some of the more hard core pillars of the faith, he is hundreds of miles away… at least for now. I have a feeling he will find his way back to New York before the end of season three.

New episodes of The Path are released on Hulu every Wednesday with the first three episodes up now.

Thursday, January 04, 2018

Previewing The Chi

The Chi opens with a teenager strolling through his neighborhood and night until he happens upon a dead body. If I ever came across a dead body I like to think I would instantly calling the police but honestly, fleeing in terror is not completely off the table. But Coogie stares at the lifeless body before taking off its chain and sneaker and only flees when her hears sirens in the distance. Then he stashes his stolen goods before trying to blend into a crowd.

Of course I am just an old white guy from the suburbs and only read about the troubling times in Chicago. Despite all the statistics that come out of Chicago, life still goes on for the people surviving and trying not to become a statistic. The Chi follows four black males at various stage of life with nothing to tie them together aside from tangential relationship to that dead body that opens the show.

Kevin is in middle school and still has to deal with something all pre-teens obsess over: girls and grades. Granted these kids curse more in one scene than me and my friends did in all of middle school. Emmitt is a teenager with actual girl problems; one shows up with a baby she claims is his and bolts. Brandon, Coogie’s older brother, is a line chef on the nicer side of town with dreams of his restaurant and setting down with his real estate girlfriend but the city keeps pulling him back in. Then there is Ronnie, middle aged, who always seems to find a way to get by.

Each of the four have their own circle of acquaintances and rarely run into each other, but when they do, you know something important is happening and the show rarely falling into the problem where characters rarely runs into each other feels annoying. A fifth somewhat major character shows up in episode with an unknown agenda that also seems to tie into that original murder. There is also detective doing an official investigation and seems to be a stand-up guy even though none of the other characters trust the police. And maybe for good reason because there seems to be some of his co-workers have some shady objectives.

The Chi is a refreshing look at storytelling done much better than other shows that tried to tell stories by marginally related characters. Sure it can be frustrating at times as I sometimes ask, why not just go to the police (which may not be totally a race thing, I found myself saying the same thing to the dumb white girls on Pretty Little Liars). And the storytelling gets too cute at times too. The third episode ends in an annoying cliffhanger and then the fourth episode starts minutes later, missing the climax of the cliffhanger. And it is not until the end of the episode when you learn what exactly when down. But still, The Chi is the strongest start to a Showtime in a long time.

The Chi airs Sundays at 10:00 on Showtime.

Wednesday, December 13, 2017

Previewing The Librarians: Season Four

As other shows take Christmas off, The Librarians return tonight to give you an excuse to skip the holiday parties so you can stay inside nice and war. Next week, just five days before Christmas, the show has a very special holiday episode entitled …And the Christmas Thief. The three librarians are tasked with babysitting Santa’s Sliegh while the jolly man, Flynn, Eve, and Jenkins take a much deserved vacation.

But before then, tonight’s installment, … And the Dark Secret, well that secret is pretty surprising and rewarding for those that have been with the series back when Noah Wiley was starring in the movies. I cannot spoil the secret but I will say that it comes in the form of Rachel Nichols who is always welcome on my television screen. And I have a feeling that we may see her a few more times this season.

Things are up in the air again this season after all the proclamations have come to pass. The biggest point of order is that Charlene is no longer tethered to The Library, somebody has to. And there is a very elaborate ceremony for that to happen. Also this season, the group tries to save a town plagued by ghosts from the Civil War, battle a casino that steals luck, and endure a body-switching fiasco. You know, regular silly Librarian fun.

The Librarians airs Wednesdays at 8:00 on TNT.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Previewing Knightfall

As Vikings debuted its fifth season last week, it is a bit surprising that History has yet to do another full series set on a fascinating but underreported moment in history (I am not counting last year’s Six which is a modern show that could have easily been on NBC). Much like Vikings which seems to have a foot in the truth and a foot in myth, Knightfall follows the Knights Templers of the around the time of the turn of the fourteenth century. This is ripe for story because secrecy surrounds the Templers though they do run into a few historical figures like Philip IV of France and his royal family along with Pope Boniface VIII.

The series starts at the end of the Siege of Arce, the last stronghold of the Templar’s in the Holy Land in 1291. The Knights have saved the Holy Grail… only to watch it sink to the bottom of the sea. Fast forward fifteen years and those Templars have settled in Paris serving the King there as peace with Britain is fragile and ready to disintegrate at any moment. The Grail still haunts the Knights until a clue that maybe the Holy Grail actually in France and the remaining Knights are following to clue to see if it never sank to the bottom of the sea.

Though information is scares, I do recommend not looking up spoilers because they do hint at what happens at the end of the season (though in retrospect, the title can be consider kind of spoilery). But I do wonder if the show would have been better off starting earlier. We spend ten minute in the Siege of Arce and that itself could have been a whole season. The writers really could have started the series as the main Templar of the show joins the Knights and worked its way to this season where he takes over the Order.

But my bigger complaint is that the show does not do a very good job paying plots off. In the penultimate episode a whisper is made that changes the fate of one of the major character. When that character asked what was said, the replay is that he will be told when he comes back… except he does not return to learn the big twist before the season ends so we, the audience, will have to wait until next season (or possibly longer which always seemed to be the case on Lost) to find out as well. It is always a pet peeve a mine when shows do not pay things off in the same season. What if this show gets canceled? Then we will never know.

Still if you like the epicness of Vikings, you should stick around for Knightfall. It reminds me of what a live action version of Assassin’s Creed should have looked like without the weird modern day mad scientist plot (full disclosure notice: I never did see the move but will take the critics’ take for it that the movie was bad). Except instead of a show where we follow an assassin who crosses path with Templars, we are following Templars who have a few run ins with secretive assassin originations.

Knightfall airs Wednesdays at 10:00 on History.

Friday, December 01, 2017

Around the Tubes: 12/1/2017

I have gotten a plethora of cool press releases have been flooding my inbox recently that you may find interesting. This post will include blurbs on East Los High, The Alienist, Inside Windsor Castle: Triumph and Tragedy, new additions to Hulu, SMILF, and Deal or No Deal.

- The long-awaited return of East Los High has arrived with a Finale Event that bids farewell to the highly acclaimed and Emmy-nominated original television series. Season four of East Los High left fans on the edge of their seats with the most shocking cliffhangers in the show’s history. Eight months later, the crew prepares to leave high school behind and maybe even East LA as they begin a journey of self-discovery and learn the true meaning of love, family and friendship in this romantic, sexy and emotional series finale. East Los High continues to provide a unique and relevant space on television at a time when the plight of immigrant communities like East Los Angeles are under fire. By featuring underrepresented voices and bringing awareness to issues relevant to the Latino community, the series provides a realistic account of Latino youth culture in the U.S. today. East Los High’s Finale Event pays tribute to the popular characters fans have followed during the past four seasons, reminding us that their universal stories will continue to grow, prosper and transcend.

- The Alienist opens when a series of haunting murders of boy prostitutes grips New York City. Newly appointed police commissioner Theodore Roosevelt (Brian Geraghty) calls upon criminal psychologist Dr. Laszlo Kreizler (Daniel Brühl) and newspaper illustrator John Moore (Luke Evans) to conduct the investigation in secret. They are joined by Sara Howard (Dakota Fanning), a headstrong secretary determined to become the city's first female police detective. Using the emerging disciplines of psychology and forensics, this band of social outsiders set out to apprehend one of New York City's first serial killers. The limited series also stars Douglas Smith, Matthew Shear, Matt Lintz, Robert Ray Wisdom and Q'orianka Kilcher. The Alienist premieres across TNT’s television, mobile and digital platforms on Monday, January 22, at 9:00.

- Once upon a time, more than 150 years ago, Windsor Castle wed Queen Victoria's eldest son, the future Edward VII and his wife, Alexandra of Denmark. Now it’s time to make room for a new royal couple, Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, who have just announced their engagement and upcoming wedding at Windsor Castle. Back in 1992, however, things weren’t in such perfect standing - the private chapel at Windsor caught fire and burned inside the castle for 15 hours. 100 ancient rooms were badly damaged in the worst disaster in the castle’s long history, though from ruins to restoration, thousands worked tirelessly to restore the Queen’s weekend home to its original prestige. Explore the beautiful grounds, history and renovation of Windsor Castle ahead of the next royal wedding with Inside Windsor Castle: Triumph and Tragedy, airing this Friday, December 1st at 10:00 on Smithsonian Channel.

- Just in time for the holidays, Hulu this week announced that it has licensed the subscription streaming rights to even more hits for the whole family from The Disney/ABC Television Group, including ABC’s hit drama series, Designated Survivor. In addition to becoming the exclusive U.S. SVOD home to Designated Survivor, the complete libraries of fan favorites such as Revenge, Shadowhunters, Marvel’s Agent Carter, Blossom, The Catch, Bunheads, Cougar Town, and Perception.

- Here are some imports that will be coming to Hulu soon:

From prolific screenwriter Dan Sefton (The Good Karma Hospital) and starring Jodie Whittaker (Broadchurch, Doctor Who), character-led psychological thriller Trust Me centers on a gripping story of identity, lies and a woman’s desperation to escape the pain and disappointment of her old life. When Cath (Jodie Whittaker), an idealistic, hardworking nurse, loses her job for whistle-blowing, she is forced to take drastic measures to provide for her daughter. Seizing the opportunity to steal her friend’s identity as a senior doctor, Cath starts a new life. As she buries herself deeper in the imposter persona, she realizes she could get everything she ever wanted – but with her old life threatening her fragile creation, how far will she go to protect it?

The Wine Show is back and this time we're based in the glorious South of France. Matthew Goode (Downton Abbey, The Good Wife, Roots) is joined at the sun-drenched Provenal villa by, actor James Purefoy (The Following, Episodes). In addition to tasting the wines brought back from around the globe, they are tasked by Joe Fattorini to find a case of wine to match a six course French lunch cooked by Michelin starred chef, Stephane Reynaud. But this year, Joe is not judging. Jancis Robinson, the worlds most influential wine critic, decides which wines make it to the Wine Show Case. And she is taking no prisoners. Matthew and James journey all over southern France to find their wines. Their mission involves kayaking and caving in the Ardeche, rounding up bulls on horseback in the Camargue, baking in Lyon and even cooking their own lunch in the sweltering kitchens of the legendary Palme DOr restaurant in Cannes. And our old friend Matthew Rhys (The Americans, Brothers and Sisters) is also busy. He's back in the UK exploring gadgets old and new in the glorious setting of 17th century Berry Brothers & Rudd in London's St. James's Street.

Midnight Sun, a high-concept thriller from Mårlind & Stein (Bron/Broen), starring French actress Leïla Bekhti (The Prophet, All that Glitters) and Gustaf Hammarsten (Bruno, The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo). Kahina Zadi (Leïla Bekhti), a French police officer, travels to Kiruna, a small mining community in remote northern Sweden, to investigate a brutal murder of a French citizen. With the help of Anders Harnesk (Gustaf Hammarsten), a Swedish DA and a member of the Sami, an ancient, mysterious indigenous tribe of Scandinavia, they are faced with new killings and the initial murder turns out to be the tip of the iceberg. Kahina and Anders come to realize that behind the killings is a ten-year-old secret conspiracy involving many of the town’s inhabitants. Kahina finds herself confronting a ruthless serial killer, always one step ahead, a macabre plan, and her own painful past.

Below the Surface: Copenhagen, 2017. 15 innocent people are held hostage underground in a subway train. From BAFTA award-winners Soren Sveistrup (The Killing) and Adam Price (Borgen), and Meta Louise Foldager Sorensen (A Royal Affair). A terror taskforce led by Philip Norgaard (Johannes Lassen) and Louise Falk (Sara Hjort Ditlevsen) is dispatched to rescue them. Reporter Naja Toft (Paprika Steen) acts as a go-between with the hostages and police as the savvy captors bait the press with information about the pasts of each of their hostages. As a media frenzy ensues, the country finds itself divided on whether or not to negotiate with terrorists. Over the course of eight days, growing fear and desperation grip Denmark while those trapped underground lose all hope for survival.

- Showtime is picking up its hit comedy series SMILF for a second season, it was announced by Gary Levine, President of Programming, Showtime Networks Inc. Created, starring and executive produced by Frankie Shaw, SMILF is a raw, honest look at the life of a 20-something single mom based on her Sundance Film Festival Jury Award-winning short film of the same name. The series also stars multiple Emmy® winner Rosie O’Donnell in her first series regular TV role. SMILF will go back into production next year. The season one finale will air on New Year’s Eve, December 31 at 10:00, with a special preview available online and On Demand on Friday, December 29.

- Before her road to becoming royal, Meghan Markle was featured as a case model on Deal or No Deal. Watch the royal-to-be conduct her case duties in the clip below, and check her out in the DEAL OR NO DEAL episodes from 2006-2007 currently airing weekdays at 11 a.m. on GSN (Game Show Network).

Wednesday, November 29, 2017

Previewing Vikings: Season Five

The king is dead… Long live the king. Just who is going to ascend the thrown of Kattagard? The Brits also lost a king last season and he was replaced by his lone son. But Ragnar had five sons (or more; didn’t knock up a Brit a while ago). Okay one is already dead by the hand of his brother. Lagatha currently sits on the throne while all the sons went to avenged his death. Neighboring kings will also have an eye. Okay, I have to admit I have seen the whole block of episodes airing this winter and I have to admit I was quite shock who ends up taking the throne (or presumably, this person is not actually seen with the crown and I will have to wait for more episode to see if I am correct).

With Ragnor dead that only leaves four characters left from the first season. Two start the season leaving Katergard for greener pastures. Well, one does, Bjorn finally makes his Mediterranean trip and ends up in the desert of Arabia. Then Floki decides to live on the seas before discoing a barren land he thinks is Asgaurd (I am thinking he may have discovered North America). This show has fallen into the familiar going between Kattergard and pillaging other European cities it is nice to have two new adventures to break up the monotony of all the raiding.

That is not to say there is not plenty of raiding. Igar as a Napoleonic complex and is ready to take as much land as he can by any means necessary, usually in very sadistic ways (pouring liquid metal down someone’s throat was pretty unnecessary). No royal offspring has been this annoying since King Joffrey. And he is just like his father taking a Christian under his wing. But Ivar is not his father, he cannot fight and Ragnor had principals. It will be a glorious moment when Ivar gets his comeuppance.

Vikings airs Wednesdays at 9:00 on History.

Sunday, November 19, 2017

Previewing Search Party: Season Two

The first season of Search Party followed a bunch of annoying Brooklyn hipsters trying to find their missing college friend that they really did not communicate with anymore despite living in a time where it is really easy to stay in touch with everyone. But the thing is, I could tell from the very beginning how that season was going to end: with the whole missing thing being a misunderstanding and the friend would show up safe and sound on the finale. And though that is exactly how the mystery was resolved, the show did throw a huge curve at the end when the merry band of hipsters killed a dude.

Sure, they thought he had something to do with the disappearance and possible murder, except the friend was alive and well and he was a private investigator looking for a reward. So this was straight up murder. Much like the first season, early in the seconds season I f think I figured out how the season second season would end: these Brooklyn hipsters would end up in prison. Seriously, there is no way these morons could possibly get away with murder, can they? Sure it would hard for there to be a show if most the of the main characters are in prison unless there is big switch in season three.

Each of the annoying Brooklyn hipsters are rationalizing the tragedy in their own way. Dory keeps seeing things, Elliot developed a rash, Drew is trying to get his job to transfer him to the Shanghai office in hopes there is no extradition treaty, and Portia actually veers into trauma by joining a play about the Manson murders. Needless to say none of these coping mechanisms go very well. Oh yeah, and lets not forget the gang’s token black friend (who knew he went on to become ABC’s The Mayor) who joins the staff of a senatorial campaign of someone who looks a lot like nineties era Hilary Clinton. Though I am not entirely sure if this was intentional but this candidate does act more like Bill than Hilary behind close door in an eerie bit of timing with all the current senate candidates right now.

The thing about the first season was it was fun watching a bunch of incompetent hipster try to do something good for the first time in the lives and bumble their way through their task. But watching a bunch of incompetent hipster try to get away with murder and bumble their way through their task is not nearly as entertaining. It was really mostly a drag. The most entertaining part came in the second to last episode where a not so incognito Portia and Eliot do a very poor job tailing someone. See the uncomfortable comedy is much better when the stakes were low. But I will say, much like the end of the first season, I was shocked by the ending and left wondering what they possibly be doing in season three.

Search Party airs Sundays at 10:00 on TBS and airs back to back episodes each week.

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Previewing There's... Johnny! and GameFace

We have finally reached peak streaming because something called Seeso just folded before I ever heard of it. According to Wikipedia, it was basically an over the top channel from NBC Universal devoted to comedy with shows that had appeared on its network. It officially launched January 2016 and shit down earlier this month. I being this up because they had just started creating original content, much of which got moved to other streaming sites I have never heard of.

The most ambitious of the bunch had not even premiered when Seeso went under but was saved by a streaming service I have actually heard of, Hulu. There’s… Johnny! follows a Midwestern guy who travels to Los Angeles mistaking a stock response from the show as an actual job offer. When he shows up for work just shy of 11:30, the surprisingly understanding guard points out the show is not live and actually let him on the lot and a day later he gets a job as a goffer on The Tonight Show.

Ian Nelson (The Boy Next Door) played the doe eyed kid. The always good Jane Levy (Suburgatory) is an assistant talent coordinator who takes a shine to the kid. T'Keyah Crystal Keymáh (In Living Color) is the gatekeeper to Johnny. And Tony Danza (Who’s the Boss) does his best Mad Men audition as the executive producer. While minus the dirty stuff the ad men did and the creator of that show was alleged to do.

Really the tone of There’s… Johnny! is more Wonder Years than Mad Men in that it is a much idealized version of the time. One of the bosses is a black woman and George Carlin does not ask any of the pages if he could touch himself in front of them. Okay the writers do refer to one of their co-workers Joy as Joy of Sex, one of the ladies takes her shirt off in front of a guy the first day they meet, while the F-word gets thrown around a couple times.

The show is quant and nostalgic which actual scenes from The Tonight Show circa 1972 thrown in. Paul Riser (Mad About You) is the creator, producer, and even wrote the first episode. Sure these episodes will likely be the last as the original network folded and Levy has already landed two more shows (including the upcoming Hulu Steven King universe show Castle Rock) but it is something most of the family can gather around with Thanksgiving next week and remember or simpler time. Or just watch it while avoiding the family next week.

All episodes of There’s… Johnny! is available to stream now on Hulu.

English humour is an acquired taste. And it is one that I have not quite acquired yet unless it is delievered by Edgar Write with Simon Pegg starring. But I will admit to laughing more than I do to most Bristish shows when watching GameFace. The show was created and stars Roisin Conaty. Her Marcella reminds me a lot of SMILF’s Bridget. Both are struggling actors who are struggling even more to keep their lives together. Thankfully Marcella does not have a kid, but on the flipside she probably has a decade on Bridget.

Sure Marcella is trying to get her life together, she is learning how to drive (though regularly called by her teacher asking where she is), she has a life coach (though it was a gift from her mom), and can still book acting gigs every once and a while (if you consider children’s parties gigs). The show does have some dark undercurrents as Marcella walks in on a suicide attempt in the first episode and has to deal with the death of an ex-boyfriend mother in the second. If you do have the acquired taste of British humour, you may want to give GameFace a try.

All episodes of GameFace is available to stream now on Hulu.

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Previewing Mythbusters and Street Science

Mythbusters seems like a show I would like, except it fell into that category of television show that aired on a channel never watched mixed with being too lazy to find it. But there is no way better to get me to watch a show than to send me a screener. So now I know that the show airs on Science channel (okay, I still have no idea what channel that is on my cable box. But again I thought I would like it because I am not a big fan of conspiracy theories and I am more a Occam’s Razor guy which states “that among competing hypotheses, the one with the fewest assumptions should be selected” which basically the most obvious answer is usually the right one.

Since I never saw the original I really cannot judge these new guys, who won some Mythbusters Search that I also did not watch. But my first impressions are these guys are overexciteable, the type of guys who think everything is awesome

But I am not here for the host, I am much more interested in the myths. In the first episode the new host test out if when you put your feet up on the dashboard, would deploying the airbags be fatal even at low speeds and can you cut straight threw the neck where the head dramatically stays put before falling of like in ninja and zombie movies? Um, did the bust all the myths in the first run? To me, Occam ’s razor would say, you may lose some limbs but you will not die and you are not getting a blade threw bone. Well, unless a zombie has been rotting for a while. But you will have to watch to find out. I will say it is very amazing how realistic crash test dummies are now.

Then next week’s episode they will be testing that if a burgle gets stuck in a fireplace and the unknowing owners like the propane fireplace with a leak, will he become a “rocketman?” The other myth says that a bullet that is log in a tree will shoot into a lumberjack when he tries to cut into it. In my opinion Occam ’s razor would say guy may not survive but he is not going airborne. Then in the other myth, um, who would ever think of this. I am not sure there is an Occam ’s razor for that.

Mythbusters airs Wednesdays at 9:00 on Science Channel.

Now I had heard of Mythbusters, but not only have I never seen Street Science, I have never even heard of it. But they had me at: a five found Gummy Bear, potassium chlorate, a concrete block, and a blowtorch. Science people. Fun times. It is just in its second season but this show follows a bunch of scientists who perform experiments, well, on the street. Yeah, the title pretty much sums the show up. Okay not all their science happens on the street like in the premiere where the boys try to create a fire ball thrower that comes out their wrist like Spiderman’s web thrower. There is even a running segment of “Will it Burn” which is a lot more entertaining than Letterman’s “Will it Float.”

If fire launcher is not cool enough for you, the guys create a person launcher in the second episode. And the professionals are not helping because they have no interest in sharing trade secrets so the scientist have to figure it out themselves and then test it even though thirty “cannonballers” have died. Street Science is one of those fun science shows that is fun for the whole family. Well unless a member of you family is quick to ignore the “Do not try this at home” warning and go around lighting everything in the house just to see if it will burn.

Street Science airs Wednesdays at 10:00 on Science Channel.

Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Previewing Future Man

It is interesting in the advertising of Future Man says it is from the same guys behind Sausage Party and This Is the End and not Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg’s other television show on right now. It is a smart move, not just because it would be kind to say that show got mixed reviews. But Preacher was based on nineties graphic novel and Future Man is from the brains of the writing duo like the previous mention mentions. And what makes those two movies stand out was that they were high concept movies with low IQ characters.

Future Man follows that high concept filled with stupid people as Josh Henderson (Journey to the Center of the Earth) stars as a janitor who spends all his free time playing video games. He becomes so obsessed with Biotic Wars he is basically the only one left playing while everyone has moved on to the latest one. So he becomes the first person to actually beat the game. And while celebrating the only way a guy who spends too much time playing video games can, two characters from the game show up.

It turns out the game was sent from the future to recruit the best fighters from our time to fight the real Biotic Wars in the future because the resistance has run out of fighters to help win the war. (Yes this is the plot of The Last Starfighter, but even the writer cop up to this and that is even part of the trailer.) Except videos games in the future are for training, unlike this time when it is played by the least athletic. See what I said about high concept, I just burned through two paragraphs just explaining the basic plot even though must network executives want you to be able to explain your show in one line. Of course maybe this is why most network shows are boring.

One of the soldiers from the future is Derek Wilson (Preacher) who may actually be dumber than Henderson because the latter at least has a basic liberal arts education; all Wilson knows to do it fight. And his commanding officer, Eliza Coupe (Benched) is not much smarter. Like I said, high concept, stupid people. And you also get a bit of wacky partners mixed in too. The future soldiers are quick to kill the guy who invented the Biotics where Henderson, who is only comfortable with killing cartoon characters on his television would like to change history in less violent way in hilarity, ensues because everyone involved is kind of incompetent.

Oh, and a lot of hilarity ensues. Be it in the past where they debate killing baby Hitler, or in the future where they break into a famous director’s house to get more time travel material. There is a very high laughs per minute ratio. Well that is if you really enjoy sophomoric humor. If you have not liked any of Rogan or Goldberg’s movies, this show will not change your mind about them. But I will be laughing all the way to the end.

Hulu might not be pumping out the content of other streaming options or networks are, but of the three new shows they debuted in 2017, Harlots was really good, The Handmaids Tale was great, and Future Man is already one of the funniest shows on television. Then next week, Marvel’s Runaways premieres and, well, no one bats a thousand. Which may end up being my official review because the screeners I watched of the first two episodes were not for review. Hulu took those two down a month ago and have not put any up for review.

All episode of Future Man are available now to stream on Hulu.

Monday, November 13, 2017

Previewing Ill Behaviour

Cancer is not funny. This is probably why there are not many comedies about the subject. Off the top of my head there is 50/50 where Joseph Gordon Levitt is diagnosed with schwannoma neurofibrosarcoma and Funny People in which Adam Sandler has acute myeloid leukemia. Weirdly enough Seth Rogan was the second lead in both movies coming out two years apart. Leave it to the British to turn tragedy into a television show with Ill Behaviour. Of course since this is an originally a British show, the series lasts just three hours which Showtime will be showing in six half hour episodes here stateside.

Ill Behaviour stars Tom Riley (Da Vinci’s Demons), father of two who has decides after finding a cancerous lump on his neck that he is going to forgo chemotherapy, with a ninety-four percent success rate, for more holistic treatments of acupuncture, enemas and juicing. This does not sit well with his childhood friends including Chris Geere (You’re the Worst) who, after some life changing news too, decide to kidnap their sick friend and force chemotherapy treatments on their friend.

To do so, first they need some chemo drugs, and those are supplied by a morally questionable oncologist in the form of Lizzy Caplan (Masters of Sex). Needless to say hijinks in sue and concludes is a surprisingly tense climax. Despite hiding behind some cringeworthy British humour and drugged out characters it does tackle some deep philosophic and moral question, most importantly should you and when should you step in when someone you love is doing something harmful to their being. And at just three hours, it does not stick around too long. I wish America would do more bite sized shows like this as there are too many shows on right now whose thin conceit is spread out amongst ten to twenty episodes.

Ill Behaviour airs Mondays at 10:30 on Showtime.

Saturday, November 04, 2017

Previewing Shameless: Season Eight

It seems like every season of Shameless, something happens which I call the most shameless moment in the history of the show never to be topped… only for it to be the next season by something even more wild. That moment happens near the end of the third episode, and, oh my goodness, I doubt the writers can ever top that moment. But they will undoubtedly will somehow next season.

Shameless is predictable that way. Life in the Gallagher house sucks at the start of every season, things start looking up, then something horrible happens, and they are back at where they started by the end of the season. Then we get a couple month flashforward and a soft reboot every season. That is until now. All of the Gallagher love interests from last season are still around even if the couples crashed and burned last season. Ian’s ex-boyfriend who used to be a chick pops up a couple times in the first couple episodes. Lip’s ex-girlfriend is still working with him at the dinner as he offers to babysit. Her brother and Debbie are still a thing.

And though Fiona spent most of last season going from one Tinder hookup to the next, the first season involves her deleting the app because she wants something more. The person who went to the alter twice and averages a boyfriend per season is ready to settle down. Things are changing and growing so much, even Liam I think gets more lines in the first episode than he got in the previous seasons of the show combined.

But the biggest change of all this season may be Frank who, after the death of his wife has seen the error of his ways, is going around making amends and even goes so far to be a functioning member of society by actually getting a job. And not just to get injured so he can get more workmen’s comp. We will see just how long it last (I will predict it will last the season before he takes a copious amount of drugs and is back to his old degenerate self next season). Elsewhere this season, someone gets an unfortunate tattoo, Fiona runs into tenants in her new apartment who as bad as her father used to be (and some hot lesbians), there is a DUI, an ICE raid… of, yeah, and someone has a breast cancer scare. Never a dull moment on the South Side.

Shameless airs Sundays at 9:00 on Showtime.

Thursday, November 02, 2017

Previewing SMILF

Showtime recently premiered White Famous loosely based on executive producer Jamie Foxx’s life as he transitioned from stand up to actor. I spend most of my time wondering just how loosely is it based on his life? Did he sleep with his agent’s ex-boss? What show is Angry Black supposed to be on his resume? Who is Michael Rappaport supposed to be? Or is basically, stand up turned actor with a baby mama trying to be white famous and basically everything else is made up?

Starting this week, White Famous is going to be paired with another semi-autobiographical show based on the creator’s life called SMILF. Okay, let us get this out of the way first: SMILF is a horrible name for a television right up there with Better off Ted as the worst of all time. Even the titular character knows how icky that name is when someone calls her that (for those that cannot figure it out, Eleanor from The Good Place would call her a “Single Mother I’d Like to Fork”). Okay, enough with that.

Where Jamie Foxx came up in the nineties where there is not much personal information readily available on the internet and any relation to Floyd Mooney; just a look at Frankie Shaw’s (Mr. Robot) Wikipedia page shows just how much she shares with SMILF’s Bridgette. They are both from Boston, and have a baby daddy who went on to date an extremely attractive Australian. So when SMILF’s Nelson (Samara Weaving, Ash vs. the Evil Dead) says she was named after the saintly Nelson Mandela, it could not make me wonder if Teresa Palmer happened to be named after Mother Teresa.

Yeah, I am not sure if Teresa Palmer, Frankie’s real life baby daddy’s now wife, will want to watch SMILF. In the first episode she is calls her by a name that references one of her amble body parts (only behind her back of course) and later during a Google session of the ex’s new beau, something we all have done, Bridgette goes somewhere I personally I have never gone while cyberstalking one of them. Then in the second episode we learn of Nelson’s irrational love of standing in line. Although, I have to say, no matter how bad she comes across, Nelson is by far my favorite character on the show.

And that really is because as bad as Shaw may make Nelson look; Bridgette comes off looking a lot worse. That post-college time is a time of trial of error and doing plenty of stupid kid, a time that can make for a funny television show. But when that twenty-something has a kid, it makes that moment more cringe worthy than funny. Especially when she covers up her kid in her studio apartment to have sex with a dude for the first time since having a kid. Which of makes this the perfect pair for Shameless (which premieres at 9:00 the same night), Fiona and Bridgette are essentially the same person in someone different situations. The only thing is the Gallaghers come off as cartoony but SMILF just feels a little more real despite about one dream sequence per episode.

Almost as depressing is Rosie O’Donnell (Exit to Eden) who definitely looks like a beleaguered grandmother from the lower middle class. Sure, she will probably get an Emmy for this role, but I think it will be more as a troll to the president than because she is the funniest supporting lady on television. Then the baby daddy played by Miguel Gomez (The Strain) who is a boring as the real life baby day who has an IMDB with movies I have seen but cannot place him in any of them. But he has hooked up with Frankie Shaw and Teresa Palmer so clearly he is doing something right.

SMILF airs Sundays at 10:00 on Showtime.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

Previewing Major Crimes: The Final Season

Tonight started the end of an era with the final season premiere of Major Crimes as the unit will close it final case at the end of season six which will include its one hundredth episode which will air December 19. Of course this is after seven seasons and a hundred and nine episodes of The Closer. But the end is still thirteen episodes away.

Tonight they crew starts a multiple episode case of three young boys that is not your typical missing persons case. Well obviously or it would not be a major crime. One is a diabetic, one is a DREAMer, and the third has a step-father with ties to Mexican drug lords, and tangling the web even more, he died under suspicious circumstances not too long ago. Throw in a priest who is not quick to cooperate and a neighbor who probably owns a MAGA hat and a daughter who has eyes for one of the brown skinned boys and you have plenty of suspects but very few leads.

Which is probably this is one of the rare cases that do not get solved in one episode. Or even two. They even need to bring in a new detective to the case who is quick to introduce her fist to an unruly perp’s nose. And of course the early season gets plenty of Philip Stroh mentions too, a guy who was first season during season five of The Closer.

Major Crimes airs Tuesdays at 9:00 on TNT. The season starts with back to back episode and concludes with a two episode series finale January 16.

Saturday, October 21, 2017

Previewing Too Funny to Fail

What if I told you there is a television show starring Steve Carrell, Stephan Colbert, Robert Smigel, the head writer is Louis C.K. while other writers include Charlie Kaufman and Robert Carlock whose name you may not recognize but who was in every title sequence of 30 Rock and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt as creator? You would probably think there will be the bidding war in the history of television between networks, cable, premium channels, and streaming services. But here is the thing, that is not an upcoming show, it already existed. And not only would all those future very successful people involved, the face on the marquee was Dana Carvey fresh off of Saturday Night Live where he was arguably the greatest cast mate of all time.

Except The Dana Carvey Show failed and it failed miserably. That was pretty much it for Dana Carvey the star. It was six years until he was allowed to star in another movie and nothing after that. Of course almost everyone else associated with the show went on to superstardom. The Office, The Late Show, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, Louis C.K. and Carlock have multiple Emmy’s, while Kaufman has an Oscar for writing Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Two decades later many of the players get interviewed for the documentary Too Funny to Fail. Sorry, no Charlie Kauffman, but after watching most of his weird movies, maybe it is somewhat understandable his weird sense of humor did not fit in the same hour as Home Improvement.

With the talent involved, the documentary is plenty funny. You get to see Carvey’s Saturday Night Live audition (the bit ended up on the show) as well as an early burger ad starring Carrell, and a truly bizarre audition tape by Colbert that involved his daughter. Even the editor gets a few laugh in, be sure to read the descriptions under the talking head’s name. But maybe the funniest part of the whole documentary was a real ad for a very special episode of Home Improvement… followed by "The Mug Root Beer Dana Carvey Show." Yeah, okay, now I am seeing how this show did not work back in 1996.

The documentary is also littered with plenty of interesting stories like which future star Louis C.K. (who had plenty of hair back then) was very adamant they did not hire. They even shared a letter of an angry fan berating a critic who bashed the show in a review… read by that very critic. And you better bet they found the fan who wrote it too. And of course they show plenty of sketches and I have to agree, maybe not the best idea to start the series with Dana as Bill Clinton breastfeeding a dog. Also, there was a very racist sketch that would have made Twitter explode today and may have even gotten a few people fired today. Awe, the nineties. And there was even a sketch for The Dana Carvey Show that actually lived on after the show as a running bit on Saturday Night Live. The documentary actually made me want to go back and watch the show for the first time. And lo and behold, after you are watching Too Funny to Fail on Hulu, which is available to stream now, all eight episodes of The Dana Carvey Show, including the unaired episode, are also available to stream exclusively on Hulu.

Thursday, October 19, 2017

Previewing George Michael: Freedom

Man, we have lost some all-timers recently. Just in the last two years we have lost Davis Bowie, Glen Frey, Prince, George Michael, Chuck Berry, and most recently Tom Petty. All at some point could be considered the biggest artist in the world. Michael is an interesting case because it is very rare for an artist to go from teen idol to a critically acclaimed all timer. It is basically him and The Beatles. But on the flipside, fewer one time biggest act in the world fell faster and harder out of public consciousness.

George Michael: Freedom is a film the singer was finishing at the time of his death last Christmas. But after his death there was no epilogue added mourning his death, just an introduction by Kate Moss explaining the circumstance of how the documentary was being made. George is the director and narrator for better or worse. Obviously when you have the subject so deeply involved you get the most accurate account, but then the subject can also gloss over event that an objective filmmaker knows is important.

First off, Wham! gets a very short shrift. Michael goes solo within ten minutes of the film (and that even includes credits and his early life) and Andrew Ridgeley is not even interviewed. Also George’s most infamous moment is not discussed. The only time the bathroom incident is even referred to was showing the Outside music video and an Extras cameo when George says, he is doing community service, but ”not for that incident.”

Even then, this still an intimate look at a guy who once refused to appear in his own music videos or really do much promotion of his music starting in the nineties. There is plenty of time devoted to his secret boyfriend who died of AIDS and was the inspiration of much of Older. There are also plenty of interviews from his influences (Stevie Wonder was shocked to learn he was white), contemporaries (Elton John, in true Elton John fashion is pissed he was not playing the piano on Freedom ’90), people he influences (unfortunately Liam Gallagher did not come with subtitles), and all the supermodels in the Freedom ’90 music video (one of which admits to throwing eggs at him when Wham! opened for Culture Club in their pre-fame days).

George Michael: Freedom may not be the bit of filmmaking ever which can be expected when it is being helmed by the singer and not an actual filmmaker. But he wisely picked plenty of good storytellers who sell his life and times well. My favorite parts are when they just drop the pin on the record and have the talking heads listen and comment on certain songs. This is a devise that should be used by all future music documentaries.

George Michael: Freedom premieres Saturday at 9:00 on Showtime.

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Previewing Freakish: Season Two

I wrote off the first season of Freakish as a simple and cheap The Walking Dead rip-off for teenagers. It even had one of the members of The Walking Dead as the gym teacher until he was turned into a zombie like creature (granted more 28 Days Later than Walking Dead) because apparently there is a strict no one old enough to buy alcohol limit on the show. But the thing is, while watching the first couple episodes of season two; I started to realize I may actually be enjoying the show.

Where the first season felt very insular, the show never left the school grounds or introduced anyone who was not part of the initial detention group besides one person, the second season really opens up as it slowly starts going outside the walls of the school while the mystery and twist come fast. And they are much more interesting than the obligatory cliffhangers at the end of each episode in season one.

We even get to meet many different groups of people, some friendly, some not, and some yet to be determined and these additions are much better actors than the novices cast in season one. Well, they are mostly better actors and Jake Busy. Has that guy even worked since Shasta McNasty? (A scroll of his IMDB, oh my, he actually has been steadily working with 100 credits to his name. Sure less than ten I even recognize and most of those are one and done episodes on television shows, although I may have to check out Nazi at the Center of the Earth staring another what have they been up to since the nineties star, Dominique Swain who apparently has also steadily been working though the last thing on her IDMB I actually recognized was Alpha Dog in 2006. But again Sharkansas Women’s Prison Massacre may be worth checking out.)

The new season starts off letting us know where exactly LaShawn went after looking for help when their water supply got shot off and runs into the military that may not be that interesting in finding and helping survivors. Later in the season, a search supplies leads to a group holed up, some of whom are more than what they seem while another has a past with one of the original survivor. Then there is a mysterious third group. Oh yeah, and there is a new person who can walk outside without turning into a freak and has some weird thing on the back of his neck. In season two, Freakish finally has found its groove and if it can actually give competent answers to what is going on, it could turn into something worth talking about.

All episodes of Freakish season two are streaming on Hulu now.

Thursday, October 12, 2017

Previewing Good Behavior: Season Two

One quote about television that has really stuck with me was an interview with the creators of Homeland when asked about why they packed five to ten season finale type reveals into the first season and they said (and I am probably poorly paraphrasing) audiences are too smart these days, you can no longer shock them with what happens, you can only shock them with when you do them. And that is true with most shows these days which you can tell exactly what is going to happen in the season finale from what happens in the season premiere.

One of the rare exceptions was the first season of Good Behavior. I remember really liking the first episode but did not care for what I thought was going to be the set up for the rest of the season. Except they wrapped that up storyline in two episodes and kept playing with my expectations and surprising me with where the plot was going all the way to the finale which saw Letty sell out Javier to get her child back and then double-cross the FBI and leave town with her son and Javier.

As exhilarating the first season was, I have to admit that I was not as entertained with the first couple episodes of season two. Of course suburban bliss is never that entertaining even if both Javier and Letty quickly go back to old habits with varying results. Really the only thing that kept me away in those first two episodes was the presence of a nosy neighbor and the occasional appearance of Letty’s step-father who stole every season. Then Letty shows up for Christmas in the third episode and things get interesting.

Obviously I cannot say what happens but it may be the biggest twist to date. Granted the twist in episode four kind of dampens my enthusiasm. But still, much like the first season which may not have been perfect, I am still very intrigued to see when the rest of the season goes.

Good Behavior airs Sundays at 10:00 on TNT.

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Previewing White Famous

Saturday Night Live really needed Jay Pharoah. The late night show which relayed more and more heavily on political sketches as the show aged, had one lone black man at the time, and let’s say Kennan Thompson had a hamburger or a hundred too many to play Barack Obama, instead for three years Venezuelan/German/Korean actor Fred Armisen. And really, the best presidential sketch of his tenure was The Rock Obama when the Polynesian/Black wrestler took turns pretending to be the Commander in Chief. Pharaoh’s Obama actually looked and sounded like the president even though it took two years being in the cast to take over the role.

But the thing is, other than that, it is hard to think of another Pharoah sketch. Um, there were those horrible middle school dances where he played the principle. So when Barack got the boot, so did Jay. Though there are not many of them, black SNL cast members go into categories, the eventual superstars (Eddie Murphy, Chris Rock) and the ones who stay so long because they know there is nowhere else out there for them but bit roles (both Tim Meadows and Keanan Thompson have been in alumni monologue thanking them to come back for their triumphant hosting return only for the black guy sheepishly saying they are still in the cast).

For his first post-SNL gig, Pharoah teamed with another underutilized member of a sketch comedy show who himself who went into superstardom: Jamie Foxx who started on Fox’s In Living Color and was last seen on Fox’s Beat Shazam. The reason the game show was able to land an Oscar winner was because Foxx produced the show. Foxx is also the producer of White Famous based loosely on his life and makes a cameo in the premiere lampooning getting his start wearing dresses which his stand in Pharoah wants no part of.

The first episode is funny. Showtime has already released it so you can check it out at your lesure if you do not want to wait until it official airs this Sunday. Pharoah’s agent Utkarsh Ambudkar (Pitch Perfect) steals the show as an Indian Ari Gold doing whatever he can do to make Pharoah white famous even though the stand-up is content telling jokes on stage. Plus he want to stay close to his baby, and maybe even more so with his estranged baby mama Cleopatra Coleman (Step Up Revolution).

But as funny as that first episode is, I am a bit more dubious of the second episode when Michael Rapaport, who even managed to ruin my enjoyment of Justified, shows up as a director interested in casting. Future enjoyment of the show may hinge on just how long Rapaport sticks around. But at least Raylan Givins baby mama shows up in episode three as his agent's rival / former boss.

White Famous premieres Sunday at 10:00 on Showtime and moves to 10:30 November 5.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Previewing Mysteries of the Missing

There was a time when my biggest complaint about the cable news stations was they would get obsessed over insignificant stories like random dead white chicks and missing plains from halfway across the world with no Americans on board. Just wall to wall coverage despite no new news to report for days. Much simpler times. When Natalie Holloway’s dad popped up recently I thought, what a reprieve to what modern news has devolved into.

For those that miss these types of stories, Science Channel has a new show that will delve into stories that puzzled us all and still do with Mysteries of the Missing. Tonight’s premiere starts off with CNN’s favorite missing plain, Malaysian Airlines Flight 370. In a time of security cameras, satellites, and cameras in almost every phone, it is increasingly shocking how a plain leaving from Kuala Lumpur, traveling to Beijing could just disappear. The show goes over the various theories (a couple I never heard of before) as well as talking to aviation specialist as well as a hacker that has been banned from a couple airlines.

The series features other prominent vanishing acts including the three Alcatraz escapees who managed to flee the island fortress in 1962; the Lost Roanoke Colony in North Carolina; the unexplained cause of a 1908 explosion in an extremely remote part of Siberia that is said to have been the equivalent of a thousand atom bombs; and the notorious Bermuda triangle, among others. The series is narrated by Lost’s Terry O’Quinn.

Mysteries of the Missing airs Saturdays at 10:00 on Science Channel.