Wednesday, March 29, 2017
Prostitution has been called the oldest profession and brothels routinely pop up in prestige historical dramas (real or fake) from Deadwood to Game of Thrones. Yet despite being as populous as one in every five women in Victorian England in the profession, these prestige dramas usually just use them as gratuitous nudity and we rarely get to know many of these women. Until now. Harlots put these women up front. And not only are the women the focus of the show, they are also behind the scenes with all the producers, writers and directors being women too so the scene come off as less exploitative as those shows where these women are more background characters.
Harlots features two warring brothels in eighteenth century England. Samantha Morton (John Carter) is a madam of the people who goes up against Lesley Manville (Maleficent) who appeals to a more high class clientele who expect their companions to known an instrument and can converse in French. Morton has two daughters, Jessica Brown Findley (Downton Abbey) is the one who got out and is now not quick to sign a contract to be someone else’s wife. Newcomer Eloise Smyth (look out for her, she is going to be big) has yet to join the family business but there are plenty of suitors looking to be the highest bidder to take her virginity.
We have seen the spunky upstart vs. high class stalwart many of time before, but never like this. We have seen historical dramas set in 1700’s England, but never like this. Ever since The Handmaiden’s Tale trailer premiered at the Super Bowl, I have thought that show was going to be Hulu’s first great series, well, it looks like Harlots, which kind of came out of nowhere, may win that title a month sooner.
Harlots premieres today on Hulu.
Sunday, March 05, 2017
Full disclosure notice: I have not watched E! in probably over a decade. Sure I used to watch E! News Daily and Talk Soup occationally but the channel just got too trashy for me the more the focused on fake famous people. Now that content is king and future libraries are the key to survival and the shelf-life of red carpet coverage and trashy reality shows pretty much end the minute it airs, E! has finally realized that like every other cable network, it is time to start making their own content instead of just talking about every else’s.
E!’s first attempt at scripted programming was successful enough that The Royals is already on its third season and renewed for a fourth. It seemed apropos for the network to greenlight a trashy show about the British monarchy since they go wall to wall with every major royal event. And it also seems right up their alley that their second deals with Hollywood relationship, the kind they fawn about when they walk down the red carpet, but The Arrangement looks what happens when the camera are not on.
The Arrangement is a tale as old as cinema, for better or worse, waitress by day, struggle actress by night who can only seem to get work in vampire doctor shows meets the biggest actor in the world, fall in lust, and he asks her to marry him. Okay the show is not as fairy-tale as that as the title suggests the newly minted relationship has some string attached as the big actor seems to have some deep dark secret and likes to have all his bases covered. And no, it is not that, as he tells the actress, she is not his beard (though I cannot decide if the show would be better or worse had he actually been gay).
The young actress is Christine Evangelista who is a great find for the show as she just fills the screen whenever she is front and center. I was a bit surprised to see she does have a lengthy IMDB page, thirty roles in the past decade and yet the closest thing she has come to a big break so far is a trashy lead on E!. Well I guess there was a quickly canceled ABC show in there that I do not even remember. Really, her hip hop tribute to Shakespeare in a bikini is the single greatest thing I have seen all year.
Unfortunately that is followed up with one of the worst lines I have heard, “I have to kiss you now.” Ugg. Those words are spoken by Josh Henderson (J.R. Jr. in the Dallas reboot) who is about an unbelievable biggest actor in the world as the guy from Entourage. But the series going forward may hinge on Michael Vartan (Monster In Law) and Lexa Doig (Continuum) who play a married couple very close friends of Henderson and run some weird, possibly cultish, science institute. Really, the more evil they turn out to be, the more interested I would become. Well that and more hip-hop tributes to dead writers.
The Arrangement airs Sundays at 10:00 on E!.
Wednesday, February 22, 2017
It is always jarring whenever an episode starts with gun fire. After that we see the detectives of Major Crimes climbing the stairs of an office building as the employees there flee the scene. The thing is, the scene end up not having anything to do with the case of the week. That instead revolves around a woman being found by the LA River after rigorous has set in and bruising around her body. There is even one of the more shocking interrogation scenes I have ever seen on television.
After the case is closed, there is still some time for some personal time. Buzz has to decide whether to help out the family of the man who murdered his father. There is also a Philip Stroh update. Then the episode ends with a major life decision that we do not get as the elevator door closes before we the audience get to hear the answer. And just a reminder, as the second half of Major Crimes starts up, it was recently renewed for season six.
Major Crimes airs Wednesdays at 9:00 on TNT.
Tuesday, February 21, 2017
There was a point when watching the second season of The Detour, it actually crossed my mind to ask, does TBS actually deserve to be in the discussion for best network on television? It is an amazing thought considering people rarely talk about TBS except the, no really there is an actual great show on TBS piece and just two short years ago they were known as the channel that Conan when to die and Big Bang Theory reruns. Sure they tried a bunch of original programming, but they were all forgettable throwbacks to the time when sitcoms rarely left a work place, bar, or living room.
But since then they have diversified and have a comedy for every type of person that likes to laugh. There is the absurdist comedy of Angie Tribeca, the dark humor of Search Party, the dumb comedy Wrecked, the very weird People of Earth, for political junkies there is Full Frontal with Samantha Bee. Then there is The Detour, a smarter comedy. Oh yeah, and Conan is still there.
Sure, it would be easy to write off The Detour as a cheap Vacation rip off turned into a television show, but it turned out to be better than its concept. Sure most people would have to wonder how you take the Vacation movies and turn it into a full season, but they somehow did it. Then you have to ask, um, seriously, a second season? Are actually go on another road trip? Much like Christmas Vacation, no (though there is a fake out in the premiere where you may think they are about to have a wacky bus adventure).
Instead Nate has gotten a job at a shady bottled water company and the whole family is moving to New York City. Oh yeah, and there was that cliffhanger where we learn Nate in the future is actually not being detained by law enforcement because of all the illegal things he did last season, but because his wife may not be who he thought he was.
It has been one year since the last season (though the flashforwards still remain at some unknown time in the future but is so far ahead that Nate has had enough time to grow a beard). And of course just when things start looking up for Parker family, Robin’s real husband shows up to wreak havoc. And what may be the most amazing part of the show is the children remain funny, a rarity on family sitcoms. Really, one of the best parts of the early new season is when Delilah learns the incorrect definition of cockblocker.
The Detour airs Tuesdays at 10:00 on TBS, including back to back episodes tonight. You can download The Detour on iTunes.
Monday, February 20, 2017
I have a long standing theory that a character on television is not really dead until you see the body (and even then I am usually suspicious), but it became pretty obvious in the season finale of Bates Motel that Norma was dead as a doornail. That’s not to say that Vera Farmiga is leaving show, her name remain in the credits for the upcoming, and final season, and everyone who saw the final scene from last year can see how the actress stays around as a vision of Norman.
Yep, after teetering for the first four seasons, Norman has gone full crazy and now talks to his dead mother whom he has built a shrine to in the basement (you know, where Norman does his taxidermy… ew). Imaginary Norma even claims to be pretending to be dead as an excuse to not leave the house. And you have to feel sorry for the new young lady who runs the hardware store Norman meets early in the new season who looks very much like his dead mother, you know that relationship will not be ending very nicely.
It is unclear just how long it has been since the previous season, Dylan and Emma now have a baby to take care up while Dylan admits he doesn’t talk to his mother or Norman so he has not even learned that his mother is no longer among the living. After his perjury charge, Romero starts off the season in prison. While back in the titular setting, Norman is now the manager who is having increasing amounts of blackouts and ends the premiere answering a very interesting phone call.
The second episode starts off with a very interesting meeting between Norman and Romero in the prison meeting room. Season two also sees the return of Dylan’s creepy neighbor who has a proposition to Norman. New this season is the mayor’s son from The Walking Dead (as Sam Loomis, but he is not a doctor so this is not some Halloween crossover) and Supergirl’s Ms. Teschmacher. Not seen in the first two episode is Rihanna who is reportedly showing up in a famous role sometime this season.
Like most remakes and reboots, I found Bates Motel to be mostly unnessisay, but now in the final season, the show is now what it probably should have always been. Knowing what we always knew about Norman Bates and his relationship with his mother those first couple season drug on a little slow, but now that Norma is dead and Norman is in full split personality mode, the show has turned into a horror version of Mr. Robot. It is a shame they did not kill off Norma earlier in the show’s run..
Bates Motel airs Mondays on A&E. You can download Bates Motel on iTunes.
Saturday, February 18, 2017
I got a little depressed watching the new season of Billions. Not because of what I wrote last season about if Bobby was not thrown into jail by the end of the season, the thought of Bobby vs. Chuck going on seasons seemed like a drag. No, watching Bobby being all evil could not help me think, great, these are the people running the country right now. And then when Chuck popped up for the first time, I realized, well these are the douches that use to run the country for decades.
So Chuck starts the season under internal investigation after the aborted case against Bobby while Bobby steal reeling after Chuck got close to getting him behind bars. Bobby has gotten even more paranoid (remember the last episode where he ripped apart his whole office looking for bugs) and have even more strict rules for his employees when he gets his office back together.
If season one was about Chuck taking down Bobby, season two looks like it will be Bobby trying to take down Chuck. I would say, just like I hoped with season one, that season two ends with one of them taking down the other and moving on to something different, but I have a feeling just like every movie that followed this path, the third installment is always the two former antagonists joining up to fight a mutual adversary.
Billions airs Sundays at 10:00 on Showtime. You can download Billions on iTunes.
Wednesday, January 25, 2017
I wanted to love the first season of The Path, I really did, everything was in place, produced by the Friday Night Lights guy, starring the guy from Hannibal. There was even a guest spot from Lyla Garrity. But the shoe just did not completely gel for me. I think maybe it is the whole cult theme but I spent most of the first season hoping for something more that never came. I still hold out hope the show can find its footing.
There are some changes in the second season, mostly by subtraction. Gone is Hawk’s high school crush which is understandable as the cult alienated her mother (Hawk gets a new love interest this season, a fellow level one rung member). Also gone is the hot blonde deserter. I vaguely remember her walking onto a frozen lake at the end of last season. I guess we are led to believe she fell in. Maybe? (I will say we do see one of these two ladies at some point in the second season.) On the bright side there is a new curly haired hot blonde this season to entice Eddie.
I guess the new season started off five months after the last season when Eddie went to Peru and saw the supposedly dying leader of the Mierist movement rising from his deathbed (there are flashbacks to that moment in the first episode. I guess five months because Mary is now five months pregnant and we are led to believed that the father can either be Sean’s (who has been promoted to the main credits) or Cal’s. There is a humorous scene early on where she asked Sarah’s adoptive Asian sister how likely her mixed raced kids look like her. Apparently she missed that day in biology class or has never heard Public Enemy’s Fear of a Black Plant where they talk about the dominant and recessive genes.
That is about as entertaining a moment in the two episodes that are uploaded to Hulu today. Yes the show is sticking to its weekly schedule even though Hulu has since experimented with Netflix season dump with their latest show Shut Eye. Still the most interesting part of the show is the war between Cal, the true believer who wants more than anything to be the next leader and will do anything to obtain power, and Eddie, the nonbeliever who may actually be the chosen leader but wants nothing to do with it.
But the thing is, as the second season progresses, the most enthralled I got into it as it really build to something which was lacking in the first season. Okay, I did not care that much for the resolution of this build, but I will say it sets up an interesting plot for a potential season three.
The Path releases new episode every Wednesday on Hulu, the first two are available today.
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
As it has been written many times before, we are truly in the era of peak television. There are hundreds of new scripted shows (352 in 2014 and probably rising) coming every year now so it is easy to miss them. Seriously, I have never even heard of The Crown until it won the Golden Globe for Best Drama (so good promotions dollars to whoever bribed the Hollywood Foreign Press for that award). So I have never even heard of Six until History made it available for me to watch the first couple episode. And to be honest, the only reason I watched was because Boyd Crowder was in it.
If you are like me and only hearing about the show now, Six is for Seal Team Six, led by Crowder back in 2014. For fans of action, there are two firefights in the first ten minutes, three in the first twenty-five. Not surprising, Crowder is kind of a psychopath who makes a question kill on the last mission we see with him as the team leader.
Fast forward two years, Crowder is now employed by a private contractor who is building a new school in Africa, right in the middle of Boca Haram country. Naturally Crowder gets captured setting up the season where his old team has to rescue him and the schoolgirls who were also taken. The team is still in tack sans Crowder and a newbie replacing him while the team is now being led by Barry Sloane (who I best know as the guy who ruined Revenge). The only other cast member I recognized is My Name Is Earl’s Nadine Velazquez as one of the team member’s wife who is a little irritated at her husband’s insistence that it is “one last mission.”
And that is kind of the downfall of Six, I really do not care when they go home as all the (ex)wives are kind of wet blankets. Sloane’s wants to have children while he is more reluctant. The only home storyline that is remotely interesting is that of the playboy who grown teenage daughter starts popping up all of the sudden much to his dismay. But aside from those home diversions, added to the race against the clock to save Crowder is unknown to the team, they are racing against someone else looking for Crowder, remember the question kill I mentioned earlier, that guy’s brother also learns of Crowder’s capture. Six should appeal to those who have enjoyed History’s first foray into scripted fair Vikings (even though Six is not actually based on real events and is not even that historic taking place three to one years ago). But I guess it makes more sense than the unscripted shows that History currently airs.
Six airs Wednesdays at 10:00 on History.
Monday, January 16, 2017
When Morgan Freeman talks, people listen (okay, we will forget the ads he lent his voice to last fall). And now it is time to listen to his golden voice as his show The Story of God with Morgan Freeman. Tonight’s premiere sees Freeman travel the globe to find “chose ones” of various religion. He starts off with probably the most famous living “chosen one,” the latest Dali Lama a nine year old who Morgan goes his first ever public speaking event since being declared the next Dali Lama at age two. From there Freeman talked to someone who was convicted in North Korea for “attempting to overthrow the government,” or just praying to God in North Korea.
For those who always wondered is the difference between Sunni and Shiite Muslims, Freeman goes back in time to look at the split where the Shiites believe in a chosen one that the Sunni do not. Also in the episode are Thailand religious people mutilate themselves in the name of god with multiple piercing including swords and pipes.
Later this season, Freeman tackles how different faith look at Heaven and Hell and looks for proof of God. The series also visits some of the world’s most sacred places, including Angkor Wat in Cambodia, constructed in the 12th century as a model of Hindu heaven; Devil’s Tower in Wyoming, which the Lakota tribe believe to be one of the power points of their worship; the underwater caves, or “cenotes,” of the Maya in Mexico, which they believed were the entryways to heaven and hell; rare access inside the Golden Temple in Amritsar, India, the holiest shrine of the Sikh faith; and the Meskel celebration in Ethiopia that commemorates the discovery of the true cross by Helena, mother of Roman Emperor Constantine.
The Story of God with Morgan Freeman airs Mondays at 9:00 on the National Geographic Channel.
Sunday, January 15, 2017
At the end of last season of Homeland, it looked like this season would revert back to familiar time when Saul offered her a job back at the CIA with full autonomy of her team. But shockingly, she turned it down to continue working with her philanthropist fiancée. The other big new from the end of last season was Quinn pretty much dying after being the giunie pig for a chemical bomb Except the show left his death ambiguous as the season went to black, but basically he needed a miracle to survive,
I thought the show was going to tease out Quinn’s fate after the lack of a title sequence to see if the actor’s name was still in the credits, but it is easy to deduce his fate in the first scene of the season and confirmed in the second. At the start, Carrie has moved back to the United States (which means a return of computer guy Max), taking up roots in New York City still working for the foundation But instead of working for the poor like in the past, she has steered the new New York chapter towards unjust Muslim arrests.
Saul and Dar are still at the CIA and start the season meeting with the new Madam President Elect. Before you decry the presumptuous liberal Hollywood for already electing Hilary Clinton before the votes were cast, this female president is vert dovish whose one of the first questions she has is why do we just pull out of the Middle East completely? But what exactly does this have to do with Carrie who last we saw had no interest with the CIA. Well the first time Saul and Carrie meet this season, he points out the President Elect is friends with Carrie’s boss and point blank accuses her of being the president-elect’s secret council.
Okay, enough beating around the bush, I am going to talk about the fate of Quinn since the premiere has been on the internet for a while. So SPOILER ALERT if you have not watched it.
Brody should have died at the end of season one. Clearly in hindsight because of the horrible and eventual Carrie/Brody romance that completely ruined the show for a season and a half, but I think most people in the moment knew he should have exploded his vest at the end of the first season. I fear things will be repeating itself. Quinn should have died last season. It is completely inexplicable that he survive the chemical booth. And goodness is he annoying this year as a half dead person who still pining over Carrie. If they actually hookup it may be worse than Brody because that means the writers have not learned their lesson. But other than that, a female president elect… how novel.
Homeland airs Sundays at 9:00 on Showtime.
Wednesday, December 07, 2016
Hulu is at a crossroads. It started out as a great way to catch up on last night’s television you missed with a few webseries quality shows, usually underwritten by a advertiser who put gratuitous product placements throughout. But it clearly became envious of Netflix and all its buzz and deep pockets. Hulu slowly started adding movies you have actually heard of and more credible original programming. It also started providing commercial free version and put most of the movies and original programming behind their paid wall.
They took a very huge step earlier this year eliminating their free tier leaving people like me who are not bothered by ads and primarily use Hulu for catch-up with the choice between ponying $7.99 a month (or an extra $4 to get rid of those pesky commercials) to continue using the service or go back to channel specific websites to catch up on what we missed last night. I chose the latter and really forgot how much I hate the other video players (especially ABC).
So now that you have to pay, Hulu really need to step its game up when it comes to original programming if it even want to get to Amazon Prime territory, let along Netflix. The Path was good but a little underwhelming and Casual was solid but will not be winning any awards or show up on anyone’s top ten lists. Hulu really stumbled out of the gate with their first post no free tier era with Chance which was met with a resounding meh. Personally I was not even able to make it through a full episode. And this is coming from someone who somehow watched every episode of Wicked City.
Now comes Shut Eye which seems like it want to be The Sopranos except instead of gangsters, the show focuses on psychics. And instead of seeing a therapist, the lead sees another type of head doctor after an angry boyfriend gives him a concussion after telling his girlfriend he was cheating on him. Oh, and we are led to believe this concussion may have also given him real psychic power that are triggered whenever he is around doughnuts.
Shut Eye stars Jeffery Donovan as the small time hustler who is looking for a big score after leaving Vegas and his cushy job as the guy who builds tricks from magicians. But in Los Angeles he has run into real gypsies who do not like people taking their business (Isabella Rossilini plays the matriarch) and expect their cut from any pretend psychic. Hey, selling $5,000 candles to simpletons can only get you so far.
So Donovan sees and opening when an obvious gangster (Dexter’s David Zayas) comes in seeing help for his kid with Asperger’s. Needless to say, when you get in bed with gangsters, bad things start happening. And there is the problem with Shut Eye, I actually had to put the phrase “needlessly to say” in a review. It is kind of easy to predict where the show is going from the opening scenes. And since the show is trying to be prestigious, the show is peppered with just enough gratuitous violence (someone gets dunked in a doughnut fryer), gratuitous sex (though not gratuitous enough because Emmanuelle Chriqui manages to stay pretty hidden during a lesbian sex scene in the first episode). And what want to be prestigious show be without a worthless teenage son who abuses drugs? Though it fell flat in places, The Path was a much more ambitious attempt for Hulu to get their named made. Shut Eye just seems to be recycling decade’s old attempts at making television.
All episode of Shut Eye are streaming now on Hulu starting today.
Wednesday, November 30, 2016
One of the big advantage of cable shows (other than the lack of FCC regulation) is the shorten season. When you only have eight to thirteen episodes a year to fill than the network standard of twenty-two, you storyline can be more concise and can easily trim the fat. But for some reason, occasionally cable channels expand their shows episode number (okay, that reason is obviously money). The worst in memory was when Rescue Me went from thirteen to twenty-two one season and the show cratered creatively. It quickly went down to ten the next season.
So I am a little worried to hear History has boosted the number of Vikings episodes this season from ten to twenty. Okay, they did have a seven month break between episode ten and eleven. The voice over for the intro even says, “Last season on Vikings,” even though it is still technically still season four. But no matter how you cut it, there will be twenty episodes of the show that air over twelve months.
There was a very specific break in between blocks this season as the first half ended with Ragnor being humiliated in Paris only to desert his land. A teaser at the end of the last episode jumped ahead about a decade with a returning Ragnor placing his sword in the ground that as surrounded by a crows and shouted, “Who wants to be king?” Welcome back Ragnor.
The new half of the season starts with the same question that ended the last. Sorry to anyone hoping to learn what happed between Paris and the return, no flashbacks in the premiere? Instead we get reintroduced to Ragnor’s grown sons including Gimpy who has grown into a son that only Donald Trump could love. Seriously, that kid is all sorts of horrible even though he cannot use either of his legs but still manages to crawl everywhere to watch people have sex.
As you can expect from a half season that starts with a dude striking the ground with his sword, there is plenty of conflict this season. Ragnor wants to go back to England while in his absence, Bjorn has found a map of the Mediterranean with plenty of Roman outposts to plunder. Granted this path goes through France which means permission from Uncle Rollo. And while the guys are away, the women back home will play, and not nice as Lagertha seems to want her throne back. Here is hoping this is enough storyline to keep the show from dragging on now that it has doubled its yearly episode output.
Vikings airs Wednesdays at 9:00 on History.
Monday, November 21, 2016
In the past couple years, networks have gotten creative rolling out new shown, but none was more bold when TBS debuted Angie Tribeca during a twenty-five hour commercial free marathon. The second season had a more traditional roll out, same for every new TBS show since. TBS has gotten creative again for their latest new show Search Party which premieres tonight with back to back episodes at 11:00. And then will premiere two new episodes every night this week (yes even Thanksgivings night; a marathon of the first four episode preceding it) with the final two episodes this season airing Friday.
It is probably for the best that they are airing Search Party over a short period of time because it feels more like a very long indie movie instead of an episodic series. The show focuses on a group of self-absolved millennials, one of which Alia Shawkat (Arrested Development) who becomes obsessed when a college acquaintance goes missing and is presumed dead while the other placate her new obsession.
Search Party is listed as a “dark comedy” but is pretty lite on the second half. Ironically the hardest I laughed all season was at the conclusion of the mystery in the season finale which may leave more people upset rather than in a laughing mood. But the adventure in the show is the mystery and the long line of interesting characters we meet why trying to find Shantel Witherbottom (yes that is the missing girl’s name) including a crazy real estate agent, an Inappropriate a capella group, a weird fetish model, a cult, and a shady zookeeper.
Search Party airs at 11:00 every night this week with back to back episodes on TBS.
Saturday, November 19, 2016
As Showtime usually does with many of its shows, they premiered the first episode of The Affair new season early through various outlets. If you have not seen it yet, be warned I am going to spoil it because something huge happens at the end that I do not want to be vague about it, so head to your On Demand station or Showtime Anytime pass to watch it now. I will be vague about the other episodes I have seen. You have been warned.
At the surface, you would think The Affair was some intense family drama, but it was sneakily a murder mystery too as we learned early in the series that one of the characters was murdered. We finally learned last season that it was in fact Helen that ran over Scott Lockhart but Noah actually stood up in court and took the rap for his ex-wife. The new season picks up three years later, because apparently vehicular manslaughter is not a very serious crime in New York State. There is still the multiple act structure, but just like in the second season, it looks like some episodes, one person’s POV will take up the entire hour.
With that murder now solved, they replaced with another mystery, who stabbed Noah (I will no spoil whether he survived the attack yet, on account I do not know if he did or not yet). And what a bizarre scene, Noah clearly knew someone was there but does not turn around. And what kind of attacker just stabs once and leaves not making sure they got the job done? Of course the potential killer list is very long with all the Lockhart’s, really all of Montauk, he son was very cold at the funeral, and the eldest daughter did not even bother to show up.
I believe last season, the first couple episodes were solo perspective episodes, but in the early episodes of season three, Noah I the only one who gets a full hour to himself. The second episode gets split between Helen and Allison split time. Although this is a split from previous seasons because the two never cross paths in each other act, but we do get to see Helen’s visit to the prison from her perspective. And much like last season which saw the addition of the perspectives of Helen and Cole, this season we get the point of view of Juliette, a French Lit professor Noah meets in the first episode and we get to see the dinner party he attends (Haddie Braverman also is there as a student of both Juliette and Noah's) from her perspective in episode three.
Hopefully this opens up the show even more as the two person point of view got stale pretty quickly in season one as you were confined to following just two characters around. Even upping that to four got tedious at the end of season for. Maybe everyone is a possibly this season. I would wager a guess that Cole’s bride will get an act or two. But really, I just hope the bratty daughter gets her own episode. C’mon, who would not want to see how she ended up in a hot tub with her father last season? And this season is even better now she is dating an erotic photographer who calls himself Furkat who livens up the episode where Helen comes to visit. Actually I am now kind of hoping for a Furkat perspective episode.
The Affair airs Sundays at 10:00 on Showtime.
Thursday, November 17, 2016
I was a bit surprised to learn The Librarians are just on their third season, it seems like it has been on for much longer than that. I guess maybe the movies makes the series seem older than it really is. Like it has been the last two winters, The Librarians is a fun and silly diversion while other more serious shows go on a winter hiatus.
This season it looks like the team will be attacked on two fronts, one from a familiar mystical threat, this time in the form of the Egyptian God of Chaos who looks to unlock pure evil. But new this season is the new government agency with the normal jumbled governmental words of the Department of Statistical Anomalies headed by Vanessa Williams. The Librarians may not be reinventing television, but it remains cheesy fun that will keep your television glowing warmth while you wait for your shows to slowly return after the holidays.
The Librarians airs Sundays at 8:00 on TNT. You can also download The Librarians on iTunes.
Tuesday, November 15, 2016
There may be fewer people better at what they do then the people who make trailers. If only the trailer editors were the ones actually made the movies because ninety percent of the time, the actual movie does not live up to the trailers. Even when you know there is no way the movie was going to be any good, these trailers put that seed of doubt in your head. So it is very noticeable when there is a bad trailer (like the Ghostbusters reboot). Weirdly enough, the best show in recent memory, Mr. Robot, also had a really bad trailer. It was so bad I was going to pass on it until I saw Dalia Royce had a starring role.
I had a similar reaction when I saw the first trailer for Good Behavior. Like Mr. Robot, the Good Behavior trailer was very vague and like many shows in the post-Golden Age era seemed way too self-important. After seeing the first episode I understand why the trailer is vague; there is a pretty big plot twist at the end of the first episode and it would be hard to properly market the show effectively without spoiling the very interesting reveal. But wisely, TNT is running back to back episodes for the premiere so you will not have to stew waiting to see where the show goes next.
Unfortunately the show is not running back-to-back-to-back episode for the premiere because the second episode could give you a false idea where the show is going next because another curveball comes in episode three. And I cannot really talk much about it because I do not want to spoil anything for you. But the thing is, three episodes in and I still am not sure where exactly the show is heading and that is a refreshing when most everything on television these days is telegraphed from the first frame.
It is hard to explain the show without spoiling it (which is probably why this is one of the few trailer fails in recent memory. One of the few things you can deduct from the title Good Behavior is that our main character, played by Dontown Abby’s Michelle Dockery, is a recent parolee who is released from prison early because of good behavior. Now she has to decide to continue that good streak, which could lead her to reuniting with her son, now under the supervision of her mother, or go back to her petty theft past. A chance encounter throws all that up in the air.
Unlike Mr. Robot, the Pilot of Good Behavior is not a tell all your friend to get on board early type of show but what I really liked about it was that I had no idea where the show was going. Okay, I was not a fan of the direction I thought the show was taking after the big plot twist at the end of the first episode, but by the end of the third episode I was back to guessing just exactly where the show was heading next and in a landscape where most television shows are telegraphed fairly easily, Good Behavior is a refreshing show that actually leaves you guessing as to what is coming next.
Good Behavior airs Tuesdays at 9:00 on TNT. You can download Good Behavior on iTunes.
Monday, October 31, 2016
The Daily Show used to be my right before bedtime ritual, turn it on and watch the first segment while the dogs did their last doggy business of the day so they do not have an accident at night. I did give Trevor Noah a try but it was rough and never really got much better. I guess having a foreigner tell us how messed up our country comes across as mocking while when New Jersian John Stewart did it the show was more cathartic. What makes the transition worse is that The Daily Show had a deep bench of correspondent yet no of them were the ones that got promoted. John Oliver started the mass exodus going to HBO, but since then a few former Daily Show members have found a soft landing at TBS. First husband and wife team Jason Jones and Samantha Bee got a pair of shows, she is doing a weekly version of The Daily Show while he is headlining The Detour.
Now Wyatt Cenac has found himself on the latest TBS comedy, People of Earth. He plays a skeptical journalist sent to report on an alien abduction support group lead by Ana Gasteyer (Suburgatory) meeting in a church overseen by Oscar Nuñez (The Office). But it comes more and more obvious that Cenac may have a close encounter while traveling to the small town after seeing deer everywhere he goes. See animal attracts are the number one cover up for alien abductions, or so the support group would have others believe.
The reoccurring line the aliens tell the abductees is, “Don’t get weird.” Thankfully few people in the group take their advice. There is the guy who blames the lizard people for everything wrong in his life including abducting his wife, though she may have just left a year ago. But the weirdest of them all may be Gerry, the one guy in the group who was not actually abducted but wants nothing more than to be taken away. And though they ask the humans not to get weird, the aliens are just that. And by weird, I mean the funniest part of the show, I just wished they were a bigger part of the show.
People of Earth airs Mondays at 9:00 on TBS.
Saturday, October 22, 2016
We have known for a while now that ancient rulers had very expansive thoughts of the afterlife, just look at the enormous pyramids in Egypt that houses the tombs of the pharaohs. But a recent tomb uncovered in China puts those Egyptians to same with a tomb to an emperor there that is the size of Manhattan and features an entire army made out of clay, including horses, carved in exquisite detail. And now explorer Albert Lin has been given unprecedented access to the tomb of China’s first empower for the new special China’s Megatomb Revealed premiering Sunday at 9:00 on the National Geographic Channel.
“The Terracotta warriors are just the tip of the iceberg in the largest tomb complex ever discovered, which has gone largely unexcavated… until now. These silent statues guard explosive, macabre findings that paint a very different picture of the ancient world from what we thought we knew.” Some new information uncovered include evidence that Europeans were in contact with the Chinese millennia before Marco Polo. A skull with a crossbow bolt embedded in the back. And much more.
China’s Megatomb Revealed premieres tomorrow, Sunday, at 9:00 on the National Geographic Channel.
Monday, October 10, 2016
I tend to think I am up on television news, even if the show does not even air on television. Yet I had no clue what Freakish was when Hulu sent over their screener link for the show. Nor did I even recognize anyone in the cast other than The Walking Dead’s Chad L. Coleman. The press release actually had links from the cast list to their YouTube and Vine pages which also gave me pause. Then I started to watch the first episode and realized that the reason I had never heard of the show was because it was not made for me really looking back, casting YouTube and Vine stars should have also tipped me off).
So it was pretty clear that I am well out of the show’s targeted demographic as it is more aimed to teens. But the story is still as old as time… or at least as old as John Hughes because the detention setting has a very Breakfast Club feel to it, with Coleman as the coach is supervising. Except the school is extremely busy for a Saturday morning as computer club, orchestra practice, and a basketball pickup game are all going on.
Oh yeah, there is also a chemical plant explosion that happens on the same day and everyone has to head to the bomb shelter at the bottom of the school. Except most of the students do not want to spend the week their waiting fr the all clear, and that is when things get a little, are I say, Freakish.
Like I said, I am out of the show’s demographics but the show gave me some nostalgia vibes to the stuff I watched on Nickelodeon as a kid or the Saturday morning teen block of shows with a supernatural twist that gives it a modern flavor. Of course all the main characters (the bad boy, the basketball star and his cheerleading girlfriend, the computer nerd, the normal guy, and his violinist sister) have a secret. So if you have a teen in middle school (or are one), this may be something to watch together. Although I should point out to overprotective parents, even though the show seems to be geared to the younger set there is one curse word in the first episode.
You can stream all ten episodes of Freakish starting today on Hulu.
Sunday, October 02, 2016
One of these days, someone should go back and count the number of times Frank Gallagher should have died. In the previous six seasons of Shameless, it has definitely gotten over double digits. And add another one on at the end of the season when his family dumped his body off a bridge and let him sink. He somehow wakes up in the hospital after almost a month with a sizable bill for being taken care of during the coma. But luckily for Frank, I guess it is hard to collect that from a John Doe with no ID.
The rest of the Gallagher clan is also recovering from the events of the finale. With Sean out of the picture, Fiona is the temporary manager until they find a new one. Lip is just out of rehab (and disturbingly becoming more like his father every day). New mom Debbie is still adjusting to her new life and needs to find a way to support her child (again, she gets by doing things much like her father).
Then you have Kev and V who opened their home and bed to a new partner last season and now have to adapt to the polygamous relationship that looks like it will be messier than anything on Big Love. And what would the new season be without a new low in shamelessness and this season Carl learns he has a little extra going on than his brothers and goes to extreme measures to assimilate.
Shameless airs Sundays at 9:00 on Showtime.