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Last updateFri, 16 Sep 2016 12pm

TV

24 May 2017
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After a fall-winter-spring blur of Too Many Shows, you’re thinking to yourself, “Summer is finally here—I can take a break from TV. Praise the Lord!” Sorry. Your god has abandoned you: Here are 32 new and returning series you’re going to have to watch this summer, because peak TV knows no season. In the unexpected return of Flaked (Season 2 premiere; Friday, June 2; Netflix), Chip (Will Arnett) heads back to Venice to rehab his ruined Local Hero status, if not his booze problem. Matters are even more dire for the gang on Fear the Walking Dead (Season 3 premiere; Sunday, June 4; AMC), as vigilante Build the Zombie Wall border patrollers won’t allow them to cross back over from Mexico. It could be worse; they could be struggling comedians in 1970s Hollywood—which is the setting for I’m Dying Up Here (series debut; Sunday, June 4; Showtime). Tim Heidecker re-ups…
17 May 2017
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Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Friday, May 19, Netflix), season premiere: Where will the perkiest TV character ever created (cartoons included) go in Season 3? Now that she has her post-doomsday-cult-imprisonment GED, Kimmy (Ellie Kemper) is entering higher education: “After high school, most white girls go to college,” explains Kimmy’s landlady, Lillian (Carol Kane). Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt will also welcome back everybody’s favorite cult leader and No. 1 draft pick for his own spinoff series, Richard Wayne Gary Wayne (Jon Hamm), as well as guest stars like Ray Liotta, Laura Dern, jinx killer Robert Durst (actually, Fred Armisen) and Beyonce (actually, Titus Burgess). We’ll also learn that Jaqueline (Jane Krakowski) attended Trump University, which makes sooo much sense. Still full of heart, Kimmy is as weird, warm and hilarious as ever. 12 Monkeys (Friday, May 19, Syfy), season premiere: Before the 2016-17 TV season’s onslaught of time-travel shows (Timeless, Time After Time,…
10 May 2017
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I Love Dick (Friday, May 12, Amazon Prime), series debut: Much has been think-pieced about Transparent showrunner Jill Soloway’s follow-up Amazon Prime series, I Love Dick: It’s a showcase for the rarely dramatized “female gaze”; it’s upending standard methods of linear storytelling; it has “Dick” in the title, etc. But … is it funny and/or moving? The first episode, launched last year in Amazon’s up-voting Pilot Season, answered with a hard “duh.” I Love Dick tells the story of New Yorkers Chris (Kathryn Hahn) and Sylvere (Griffin Dunne), who’ve relocated to a Texas artist town; she’s a struggling indie filmmaker, while he’s a writer-in-residency, and they’re both obsessed with local cowboy artist Dick (Kevin Bacon), a rugged bastard who couldn’t care less. If you loved the pilot, you’ll want to spend a whole season with Dick. Get Me Roger Stone (Friday, May 12, Netflix), documentary: Listeners of Alex Jones and…
03 May 2017
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Live PD (Fridays and Saturdays, A&E), new series: Well, new-ish. A&E (the “Anything & Everything” network) has aired Live PD, which is essentially Cops meets Facebook Live in hell, since October 2016, much to the delight of slackjawed homebodies who can no longer get it up for Duck Dynasty. The “action” unfolds as a real-time ride-along, with ex-cops providing stilted commentary from a studio desk like a low-rent SportsCenter; “action” is in quotes, because Live PD captures a whole lotta nothin’ for hours on end—except for that one time when they scored footage of a guy who’d just been shot and killed over a drug deal, and A&E execs probably scored a quarterly bonus. I’m not saying that viewers of Live PD are immoral, brainless dirtbags for watching shakedowns of drunk college coeds. I am heavily implying it, though. 2017 MTV Movie and TV Awards (Sunday, May 7, MTV), special:…
26 Apr 2017
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Dear White People (Friday, April 28, Netflix), series debut: A few white people were angry about the mere title of creator/director Justin Simien’s 2014 film Dear White People, and even more got pissed when Netflix dropped a trailer for his new 10-episode series of the same name. They’ve never seen more than a minute of either, but said whiteys waged futile YouTube downvote campaigns and “cancel Netflix” drives to stop this reverse oppression … or whatever the hell was perceived as happening. Too bad, because Dear White People is a ferociously funny look at “post-racial” relations, PC college culture and misconceptions from both ends of the color spectrum. Could it maybe change some minds? Nah, probably not. But! For everyone else, DWP features some killer performances and nimble comical/political scripting. What’s in a name? Not the White House Correspondents’ Dinner (Saturday, April 29, TBS), special: In the name of Serious…
19 Apr 2017
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Mary Kills People (Sunday, April 23, Lifetime), series debut: Canadian actress Caroline Dhavernas has starred in left-of-center American series like Wonderfalls and Hannibal, but Mary Kills People is probably the first to fully realize her oddly chilly-sexy potential. (It’s also a Canadian production, so no U.S. credit earned.) As the title bluntly spells out, Dr. Mary Harris (Dhavernas) kills people—terminally ill patients who want to go out on their own terms, specifically. Her secret Angel of Death gig threatens to spill over into every other aspect of her life, echoing dark-side classics like Weeds and Dexter, and Dhavernas’ complex Mary is an easy equal to Nancy Botwin and Dexter Morgan. The first season of Mary Kills People is only six episodes, but it’s an addictive taste of what should be more to come. Make it happen, Canada! Silicon Valley (Sunday, April 23, HBO), season premiere: Another season, another seemingly insurmountable…
12 Apr 2017
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Mystery Science Theater 3000 (Friday, April 14, Netflix), season premiere: While MST3K O.G.s Mike Nelson, Kevin Murphy and Bill Corbett continue their movie-mockery biz at a staggering pace with RiffTrax, Mystery Science Theater 3000 proper is still missed. Netflix, proving that not all pop-cultural reboots are heinous abominations, picked up the 1988-1999 series after creator Joel Hodgson sparked a revival firestorm via Kickstarter. Hodgson has also recast the show, with comedian Jonah Ray as the new astro-host on the Satellite of Love, as well as new ’bot voices (Hampton Yount and Baron Vaughn as Crow T. Robot and Tom Servo, respectively), and Felicia Day and Patton Oswalt as MST3K’s new “Mads.” Exactly which cinematic disasterpieces the crew will be viewing and skewering in these 14 fresh episodes are currently unknown, but who cares? New MST3K! Doctor Who (Saturday, April 15, BBC America), season premiere: After Series 10—that’s U.K. for Season…
05 Apr 2017
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Idiotsitter (Thursday, April 6, Comedy Central), season premiere: If you somehow made it through the 2016 “holiday” flick Office Christmas Party, you must concur that Jillian Bell’s bipolar she-pimp character was the funniest part of the movie—really, you must. Earlier in 2016, Bell and comedy partner Charlotte Newhouse dropped the debut season of Idiotsitter, a hilarious, flipped-to-female Workaholics of sorts that looked to be another Comedy Central one-and-done (see also, 2015’s genius Big Time in Hollywood, FL). But! Idiotsitter is back for a second season, and broke “baby sitter” Billie (Newhouse) and heiress “idiot” Gene (Bell) are now off to college. Despite what the Ghostbusters trolls told you, 2016 was a fantastic year for women in comedy—on-demand Idiotsitter Season 1 now, and report back. You the Jury (Friday, April 7, Fox), series debut: Was Fox News host Jeanine Pirro’s recent spanking of House Speaker Paul Ryan merely a publicity stunt…
29 Mar 2017
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Prison Break (Tuesday, April 4, Fox), return: Make that Prison Break: Resurrection, because the “dead” Michael Scofield (Wentworth Miller) is actually alive in another prison—this time in Yemen, like that matters. The original 2005-2009 run of Fox’s Prison Break was a cultural phenomenon for a hot minute, but the story of blueprint-tattooed Michael springing his wrongfully convicted brother Lincoln Burrows (Dominic Purcell) from jail held up surprisingly well over four seasons, thanks to a colorful supporting cast and ri-dic-u-lous plot twists. Sara (Sarah Wayne Callies), Sucre (Amaury Nolasco), C-Note (Rockmond Dunbar) and the unforgettable T-Bag (Robert Knepper) rejoin the Buzzcut Bros. for this nine-episode international Break-out event; it’s best if you don’t think too hard. New Girl (Tuesday, April 4, Fox), season finale: Is Season 6 the end for New Girl? Fox yet to come to a decision, and tonight’s season finale could easily serve as a series finale for…
22 Mar 2017
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RuPaul’s Drag Race (Friday, March 24, VH1), season premiere: For Season 9, RuPaul’s Drag Race moves from niche network Logo to the slightly more mainstream VH1—what does this mean? That drag queens are now ready for ’Merican primetime? That our divided country needs fabulousness now more than ever? That VH1 could use some new programming unrelated to basketball, hip-hop and potluck dinners? Yes. Like a flashier, bitchier Project Runway, or a taller America’s Next Top Model, RuPaul’s Drag Race brings the D-R-A-M-A like nothing else on television, and deserves to be exposed—phrasing—to a wider audience (and if a few unsuspecting motorsports fans accidentally tune in, even better). On the educational side, I also now understand the phrases “Read to filth” and “She done already done had herses,” and hope to use them in a doctoral dissertation soon. Bones (Tuesday, March 28, Fox), series finale: When it premiered in 2005, Bones…

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