CVIndependent

Sat09232017

Last updateFri, 16 Sep 2016 12pm

TV

20 Sep 2017
by  - 
It’s finally here—and CBS won’t let TV critics see it in advance. Everything’s probably fine, just fine. Star Trek: Discovery (series debut Sunday, Sept. 24, CBS) has been a troubled production since it was announced two years ago; the least of its problems is that it’ll move to yet another paid streaming service (CBS All Access, whatever that is) after it debuts on CBS proper. The showrunner (Bryan Fuller, moving onto America Gods) dropped out; casting the lead took forever (finally going to The Walking Dead’s Sonequa Martin-Green); the premiere date kept getting pushed back. Now, no reviews allowed? Maybe the debut will hook you into another subscription service. If not, there’s always The Orville. Young Sheldon (series debut Monday, Sept. 25, CBS) … dear god, no. As if an origin story for the most annoying, played-out character on television weren’t enough, one-note Big Bang Theory star Jim Parsons also…
13 Sep 2017
by  - 
The first season of Better Things (Season 2 premiere Thursday, Sept. 14, FX) debuted quietly and closed to a deafening chorus of critical huzzahs, but no one had an answer for the question: “Is it a comedy, or is it a drama?” Creator/star Pamela Adlon has summed it up best as an “incredible feelings show,” so there. Better Things is a different animal than other Comics Kinda Play Themselves series; thanks to the influence of Adlon’s creative partner, Louis C.K., the closest comparison is Louie. Adlon’s a far better actor than C.K., and she can make you laugh, cry and scream along with single mom Sam and her three daughters—the most layered, interesting kids on TV, BTW—with uncanny ease. Catch up, noncritics. Eastbound and Down Goes to School is back in session! Vice Principals (Season 2 premiere Sunday, Sept. 17, HBO), which reunites E&D creators Danny McBride and Jody Hill,…
05 Sep 2017
by  - 
As I write this, David Lynch is apparently in France, awaiting the reactions to his final episodes of Twin Peaks. After a 26-year pause, the story of Dale Cooper and Laura Palmer continued this summer with 18 otherworldly episodes—and the series concluded in a way that was just as perplexing as that moment when Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) stared at his Evil Bob reflection in the mirror all those years ago. Peaks fans, let’s face it: Whether or not this is the final bow for Peaks, the story will never be tied up in a neat little package, even if it does come back again. Lynch loves his puzzles—see Mulholland Drive and Lost Highway as proof—and Twin Peaks has proven to be the ultimate Lynch puzzler. You can approach the series in so many different ways—all of them making perfect sense—or you can look the whole thing as a failure…
06 Sep 2017
by  - 
No animated series, not even the vaunted Rick and Morty, makes you feel the feels like BoJack Horseman (Season 4 premiere Friday, Sept. 8, Netflix). Last season was especially dark, culminating with BoJack (the voice of Will Arnett) once again pulling defeat from minor comeback victory and attempting highway suicide (told ya—dark). Now, he’s gone missing, and Hollywoo—they still haven’t fixed the “D”—is without its third, or maybe fourth, favorite ’90s sitcom horse. Diane (Alison Brie) and Mr. Peanutbutter (Paul F. Tompkins) are dealing in their own ways (and not well), while Todd (Aaron Paul) has stumbled into a fashion-modeling gig with Sharc Jacobs. Oh, how I’ve missed the animal puns … Rescued from the obscurity of Vimeo, Con Man (network debut Saturday, Sept. 9, Syfy) is going to be a pleasant surprise for casual nerds. While his former co-star (Nathan Fillion) of the 10-years-canceled space-adventure series Spectrum has gone…
30 Aug 2017
by  - 
Too many people told me that I “just have to” watch Ozark (streaming, Netflix), another summer series that got by me because there are Too Many Shows. Ozark must be good, since Netflix has renewed it for a second season, right? I blame Netflix’s idiotic, downright Trumpian “Very Good/Very Bad” ratings system. The Jason Bateman crime drama (he also directed half of Ozark’s episodes) mostly lives up to its Southern-Fried Breaking Bad hype, leaning more heavily on action than creating any characters to give a shit about. This makes for a quick binge—smart, because the plot (a nonsensical money-laundering operation in a Missouri tourist trap) shouldn’t be overthought. “Very Meh.” Meanwhile, The Guest Book (Thursdays, TBS) is halfway through its debut season, and you’ve probably never even heard of it. Creator/producer Greg Garcia (My Name Is Earl) has created a sorta-anthology comedy about a rental cabin in a small mountain…
23 Aug 2017
by  - 
There may be a future version of this column that covers streaming content, and only streaming content, because that’s where we’re headed. (Some of you are already there; the Cord-Cutter Cabal constantly tells me, “But I don’t have regular TV anymore! What about meee?!”) There will be no networks, only on-demand platforms where everyone watches whatever at their own pace—it could be an HBO series from three years ago, or last week’s Bachelor in Paradise, or the latest TMZ report on Bachelor in Paradise STI stats; who knows? Anyway: Party Boat (movie premiere Thursday, Aug. 24, Crackle) is an ’80s-riffic movie about a party boat, on streamer Crackle. You’ll probably check it out in 2021. A Netflix comedy starring Kathy Bates as a marijuana shop proprietor? How could this possibly suck? Easy: It’s created and produced by the king-daddy laugh-track-hack himself, Chuck Lorre. Disjointed (series debut Friday, Aug. 25, Netflix)…
16 Aug 2017
by  - 
Be careful what you whine for: Marvel’s The Defenders (series debut Friday, Aug. 18, Netflix) is only eight episodes long, maybe partially in response to complaints that previous Marvel/Netflix series Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist felt stretched thin at 13 episodes per season each. The story that finally brings them all together as the Defenders arguably could have been longer, but the no-filler/mostly killer approach works well here, leaning heavily on franchise favorite Jones (Krysten Ritter) while somewhat redeeming the maligned Iron Fist (Finn Jones) and introducing a subtle-but-menacing new villain (Sigourney Weaver). Marvel’s Defenders delivers on the built-up hype and promise, just at a brisker pace. Everyone presumed it dead after Season 1, but Halt and Catch Fire (Season 4 premiere Saturday, Aug. 19, AMC) just kept coming back—but this time, it really is the end. The series that dramatized the rise of 1980s personal computing…
09 Aug 2017
by  - 
The summer of 2017, like the summers of Peak TV before it, has been overloaded with buzzy hot-weather series like GLOW, Preacher, Twin Peaks, Rick and Morty, Orphan Black and, of course, Game of Thrones, to name just a few. Fortunately, there weren’t any other, below-the-radar shows that you’ll need to add to your catch-up cue once you’ve had enough of the sun and the outdoors and whatever the hell else life away from the screen offers, right? Wrong. Here are 10 you probably missed: The Jim Jefferies Show (Comedy Central): The overworked late-night talkers have done an admirable, if repetitive, job of taking the piss out of our Made-for-TV president. But none have done it with the glee and zero-fucks-given swagger of Australian comedian Jim Jefferies, who backs up his barbs with cold facts, on-location bits and “weatherman” Brad Pitt (yes, really) consistently predicting climate doomsday. Blood Drive (Syfy):…
02 Aug 2017
by  - 
No franchise defines our times like Syfy’s Sharknado series: It’s brazen; it’s ridiculous; it defies science; it celebrates D-list celebrities; and it distracts us from reality. (It may also be a product of Russian collusion; investigation pending.) Sharknado is also apparently un-killable, as we’ve been gifted with a new chapter every summer since 2013, each one starring all-American hero Ian Ziering and mostly plastic cautionary tale Tara Reid. Let’s look back at the greatest shark-related franchise in history—there were only four Jaws films, and most were garbage; each Sharknado has been more wondrous than the last—as we prepare to drink in this weekend’s Sharknado 5: Global Swarming. Sharknado (2013): The one that started it all, launching a phenomenon that actually made us root for California, reversing years of subliminal anti-Cal propaganda from the Red Hot Chili Peppers. A massive cyclone (not a tornado, but who’s going to watch Sharkclone?) scoops…
26 Jul 2017
by  - 
The Duplass Brothers have created some intriguing, if not always watchable, shows for HBO (Togetherness and Animals, only one of which is still a thing), and Room 104 (series debut Friday, July 28, HBO) could be their best yet. A time-spanning anthology series, Room 104 follows various occupants of a single motel room; the premiere episode, about a baby sitter and a strange boy, is a mini horror film, while the others range from mysterious (a maid looking for clues) to visceral (a pair of female MMA fighters sparring) to sexy (a pizza-delivery guy invited into a twisted threesome) to awkward (two Mormon missionaries questioning their faith, among other things). Verdict: Watchable! It’s finally here! Rick and Morty (Season 3 resumes Sunday, July 30, Adult Swim) dropped the first episode of its third season on April Fool’s Day (how delightfully schwifty) and then made us wait three more months, because…

Page 1 of 23