CVIndependent

Mon10142019

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

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 10—latest Doctor Peter Capaldi is outta here. For his final go-round of 12 episodes, Capaldi will joined by a new companion, Bill Potts (Pearl Mackie). Nardole (Matt Lucas) and Missy (Michelle Gomez) are still around, as are those steel salt shakers of evil, the Daleks. With Capaldi set to exit Doctor Who after the 2017 Christmas episode, the question of, “Who’s going to be the next Doctor?” has pointed up a whole lotta British actors you’ve never heard of, but also a few intriguing U.S.-known quantities: Former Agent Carter Haley Atwell, Supergirl’s David Harewood and The IT Crowd’s Richard Ayoade. After 50+ years of white guys in the lead, could we finally get a female or black Doctor? Nah; it’ll probably be a ginger.

The Leftovers (Sunday, April 16, HBO), season premiere: Now that Rectify is done, The Leftovers could claim the Most Depressing Show on TV crown—or at least battle it out with Mama June: From Not to Hot. While the existential drama—about those left behind after a seeming Rapture took 140 million from the planet, if you recall—did lighten up in Season 2, there’s still plenty to ennui on about in this third and final run: The seventh anniversary of the event is looming; the pesky Guilty Remnant cult has invaded the new Miracle, Texas, hometown of Kevin (Justin Theroux); Kevin Sr. (Scott Glenn) is searching for an apocalypse-stopper in Australia; and creator/producer Damon Lindelof has asked the “Critical Community” to not spoil anything else. Fine. Except for this: Australia does not exist. (Look it up!)

Veep (Sunday, April 16, HBO), season premiere: In these stoopid political times, the phrase, “Now, more than ever,” gets tossed around frequently in regards to art-imitates-life shows like House of Cards, The Man in the High Castle—hell, maybe even The Last Man on Earth (which was the first series to “kill off” the Trump administration, after all). But it’s modern comedy treasure Veep that will carry the burden of detracting from real politics, and Season 6 continues to go gloriously blue while largely ignoring the New Orange Order. Ex-president Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) may be out to heal the world in public, but she’s out for private, personal vengeance against old pains-in-the-ass like now-Congressman Jonah Ryan (Timothy Simons): “I want to let you know that I will destroy you in ways that are so creative, they’ll honor me for it at the Kennedy Center.” Now, more than ever.

Fargo (Wednesday, April 19, FX), season premiere: It’s been a while—16 months since the end of Season 2, give or take—but Fargo has earned its Game of Thrones-esque lag time. Season 3 is set in 2010, and concerns the soon-to-be criminal misadventures of “The Parking Lot King of Minnesota,” Ray Stussy (Ewan McGregor); his bridge-loving parolee girlfriend, Nikki Swango (Mary Elizabeth Winstead); and Ray’s loser brother, Emmit (also MacGregor). On opposite lawful sides of this trio of hilarious clothes and hair are this season’s Endearing Cop, Gloria Burgle (Carrie Coon), and Greasy Villain, V.M. Vargas (David Thewlis). It’s another taut tale of small-town good vs. evil vs. dim, and since Fargo is an anthology with no obligation to keep characters around for next season, anyone could meet their bloody end at any time. Yes, even Gloria’s doughy deputy (doughy Jim Gaffigan).

Published in TV

SuperMansion (Thursday, Oct. 8, Crackle), series debut: Geezer superhero Titanium Rex (voiced by Bryan Cranston) and his equally creaky League of Freedom colleagues live together in the SuperMansion when not out fighting crime and/or the battle to remain relevant. This senior-citizen stop-motion Avengers looks like Robot Chicken, because it’s from the same creators, but the humor is geared toward (slightly) longer attention spans. Best of all, the League of Freedom counts among its members American Ranger, Black Saturn, Cooch and … RoboBot.

Red Oaks (Friday, Oct. 9, Amazon Prime), series debut: If Netflix’s Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp revival didn’t satiate your hunger for retro-’80s comedy, here’s Red Oaks, the Caddyshack 2 we deserved all those 27 years ago. College student David (Craig Roberts) takes a tennis-instructor job at Red Oaks country club in the summer of 1985, and every glorious coming-of-age lesson, fashion catastrophe and cheesy music underscore of the era unfolds—in a surprisingly earnest, non-parodic manner. Killer pilot, but Amazon’s Hand of God proved you can’t always trust the first up-voted taste.

The Last Kingdom (Saturday, Oct. 10, BBC America), series debut: He was raised by Vikings as a Norseman, but Uhtred (Alexander Dreymon) was originally a Saxon—and King Alfred is now coming for him. This torn-between-two-cultures epic is based on the historical novels of Bernard Cornwell, which gives The Last Kingdom a thinkier edge on History’s Vikings. But really, you want blood, and you’ve got it: The Last Kingdom has plenty of sword-swinging action to go with its history lessons, not to mention a bigger budget and better actors—yet it still can’t quite match the odd, gritty appeal of Vikings. Upside: It’s easier to follow than The Bastard Executioner.

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (Monday, Oct. 12, The CW), series debut: This was originally developed as a half-hour comedy for Showtime, but now a full-hour dramedy on The CW, where you’ll have to imagine your own profanity and nudity. (Try it; it’s fun.) The setup: A successful-but-lonely New York City lawyer (Rachel Bloom, a “YouTube Star,” but don’t hold it against her) impulsively moves to California to pursue/stalk her high-school sweetheart. And not the good part of California, if there is such a thing: It’s the Los Angeles suburb West Covina, “Two hours from the beach! Four with traffic,” as the song-and-dance number goes. Did I mention that Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is also a musical? Just like Jane the Virgin last season, Crazy Ex-Girlfriend is a wild, original swing that could hit big or fail spectacularly. Either way, there’s nothing else like it on TV—maybe you shouldn’t have taken a pass, Showtime.

Fargo (Monday, Oct. 12, FX), season premiere: The 2014 debut season of Fargo recaptured and redirected the dark humor of the 1996 Coen Brothers film; Season 2 refines and expands upon it. Set in 1979—a year rife with hilarious hair and clothing choices, all exploited here—this Fargo story follows an escalating turf war between small-town thugs and big-city crime bosses, adding to the headaches of local cop Lou Solverson (Patrick Wilson, playing the younger version of Keith Carradine’s character from Season 1), who not only has a child and cancer-striken wife (Cristin Milioti) at home, but also a new assignment to protect a visiting presidential candidate on the campaign trail, one Ronald Reagan (Bruce Campbell—yes, really). Those are only three of multiple intersecting storylines and characters (colorfully delivered by Kirsten Dunst, Jesse Plemons, Ted Danson, Jean Smart, Jeffrey Donovan, Nick Offerman, Bokeem Woodbine, Brad Garrett and others). It’s a seemingly overwhelming abundance of people and predicaments, but series creator/writer Noah Hawley again makes it all flow effortlessly. If you’re still feeling let down by True Detective (I stand by Season 2, but we’re not getting into that here), Fargo might well be the American crime-anthology series you’re looking for.

Published in TV

Here’s my list of some of the better DVD/Blu-Ray gift options for 2014.

A warning: If you give one of these as a gift, and the person who gets it has actually read this article, he or she will know you cheated and aren’t at all original in your gift giving. But that’s OK … we all have our shortcomings.

The prices listed here are from Amazon.com as of the time of this writing (and for some reason, Amazon.com prices change ALL THE TIME, so consider yourself warned).


BLOCKBUSTER GOODNESS

Guardians of the Galaxy (Blu-ray) $19.99: One of the year’s better blockbusters is out on Blu-ray just in time for stocking-stuffing. Giving this one also provides a nice excuse for you to make somebody a mix tape.

Godzilla (Blu-ray) $14.99: At the beginning of the year, I said this was the film I most anxiously anticipated, and that if it were a bad movie, I would spiral into severe depression. As things turned out, I enjoyed it immensely, and I have a distinct spring in my step. The Blu-ray is cool, with some fun mock documentary stuff about Godzilla and behind-the-scenes items.

Edge of Tomorrow (Blu-Ray) $24.99: This was a blockbuster wannabe that fell a little flat at the box office. Tom Cruise’s character gets caught in a death loop and must die thousands of times—and the film is amazing. Give this one to that science-fiction-loving person who refused to plunk down the dough at the IMAX theater. They will love it, for sure.


FOR THOSE WHO ESCHEW CABLE AND MISS COOL STUFF ON TV

Twin Peaks: The Entire Mystery (Blu-ray) $83.81: Far and away, this is the best Blu-ray of the year. If somebody you know loves Peaks, get them this. When they open it, just throw your hands up like you scored a touchdown and start dancing.

One of the greatest TV shows ever made gets a spectacular treatment, full of archived features. You also get Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me and the movie’s long-rumored deleted scenes. Yes, the movie would’ve been a little more fun had director David Lynch kept some of these in.

The show is coming back for season three in 2016, so this works as a nice primer for more things to come.

Family Ties: The Complete Series (DVD) $55.29: Alas, this classic series will probably never have a date with Blu-ray, meaning you will never see Justine Bateman’s Mallory Keaton in HD glory.

Batman: The Complete Series (Blu-ray) $174.96: Adam West and Burt Ward finally get their due on Blu-ray. I would suggest boycotting this, because the two fools skipped out on Reno Comic Con this year, but that would be unprofessional. If you feel like springing for another $400, get them the cool collectible dolls available over at sideshowtoys.com. There are some people on your list worth $700, right?

Fargo: The Complete First Season (Blu-ray): $29.96: I had my doubts about this one, but the Coen brothers movie’s TV-show offshoot, which stars Billy Bob Thornton, proved to be a worthwhile endeavor. The Blu-ray comes with audio commentaries, deleted scenes and making-of docs.


CULT GREATNESS

UHF (Blu-ray) $18.38: Shout Factory has grown into one of the cooler purveyors of cult-cinema home-viewing. “Weird Al” Yankovic’s one and only foray into being a movie headliner was great satire in its day, and it’s still funny. Michael Richards kicked ass as Stanley the Janitor, and the “We don’t need no stinkin’ badgers!” moment still kills me. You get a Weird Al commentary, his 2014 Comic Con panel, deleted scenes and more.

Eraserhead (Blu-ray) $26.49: What can bring on the holiday cheer quicker than an embalmed cow fetus crying for its mommy? Nothing whatsoever, I say! Gift this one along with the aforementioned Twin Peaks box set to give that special someone a joyous David Lynch geekgasm. It’s a Criterion Collection release, so that means it costs a little more than the average Blu-ray—but it’s totally worth it.

Snowpiercer (Blu-ray) $9.99: This came out this year, and it’s an instant cult classic. Yes, it’s an apocalypse film, but there’s lots of snow in it, so that qualifies it as a holiday movie, sort of. Even though this one is about the survival of the planet and contains some gross stuff, it’s no scarier than that freaking creepy The Polar Express animated movie.

Monty Python Live (Mostly): One Down, Five to Go (Blu-ray) $18.74: The alleged last Python show ever was a little sloppy, but everybody still alive in the troupe is like 139 years old now, so we’ll cut them some slack. The five remaining Pythons were fun during this stretch of live performances in London, with big musical numbers and a surprisingly nimble Terry Gilliam, who jumped 10 feet off the ground during the Spanish Inquisition sketch.

Frank (Blu-ray) $12.99: Here’s another movie from 2014 that next to nobody saw, although it’s already garnered that instant-cult-classic badge. Michael Fassbender wears a big mask on his head the whole time, and the result is one of the year’s funniest movies. Give this to the music-lover who idolizes Syd Barrett.


GIVE THE GIFT OF GARBAGE TO SOMEONE YOU DESPISE

Blended (Blu-ray) $22.99: Remember when we used to gather ’round the TV in the living room around holiday time, ready for a good laugh? We’d have the fireplace going, and we’d pop in the latest Adam Sandler flick for chuckles. We’d roast candy canes, and smoke marshmallows, safe in the knowledge that Sandler would provide a couple of good gut-busters. Those days are so gone. Long gone. This movie is a crime against movies, people, dogs and various insects. Give it to somebody you can’t stand, and then run out of the house as soon as they unwrap it.


THE BOX SET I WANT THE MOST

Halloween: The Complete Collection (Blu-ray) $79.99: Hey, I’m not shy. This is probably my only chance to let folks know what I really want under the Christmas tree (over at their place, because I don’t have a Christmas tree). This puppy comes with all of the Halloween movies—even the ones Rob Zombie did—and a big load of extras. So … now you know. Would somebody buy this for me, please?

Published in DVDs/Home Viewing

True Detective (HBO): Creator/writer Nic Pizzolatto probably screwed himself by launching this mesmerizing crime anthology with stars Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson at the top of their respective games. Good luck following up these eight near-perfect episodes.

Banshee (Cinemax): This left-field, visceral mashup of Justified, Twin Peaks and Fight Club went pulp-gonzo harder in Season 2, expanding the world of Banshee, Penn., just enough to introduce even more Amish mobster/Ukrainian thug mayhem. It’s that weird, and that cool.

Shameless (Showtime): Things somehow got worse as they got better for the Gallagher clan in Season 4, with William H. Macy and Emmy Rossum delivering alternately heartbreaking and hilarious performances. This is America’s family.

Justified (FX): Star Timothy Olyphant put his boot down and rescued Justified from becoming entirely the show of Boyd (Walton Goggins) in its fifth and penultimate season, and brought some new colorful characters along for the ride.

Broad City (Comedy Central): Few comedies arrive as fully-realized as Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer’s Broad City (though it did have a head-start as a Web series); their broke Brooklynites are the female flipside of Workaholics, only smarter, funnier and occasionally grosser.

Helix (Syfy): This Arctic Andromeda Strain/Walking Dead hybrid from Ronald D. Moore (Battlestar Galactica) crept up with no big splash, but it did earn a second season for 2015—catch up on Netflix now.

The Americans (FX): Keri Russell and Matthew Rhys continued to out-spy Homeland while still stuck in Cold War 1981, facing down more danger (and wigs) than Carrie and Brody could ever imagine.

Archer (FX): Meanwhile, Archer (code-named Archer Vice) blew up its spy premise and dove face-first into cocaine and country music. Literally.

House of Cards (Netflix): Vice president Frank Underwood (Kevin Spacey) delivered a shocking twist in the first episode of Season 2, and the train didn’t stop a-rollin’ from there. As with actual D.C. politics, it’s best not to think too hard about the machinations en route to the presidency

Fargo (FX): Lorne (Billy Bob Thornton), Lester (Martin Freeman) and Deputy Molly (Allison Tolman) shut down the “You can’t touch that movie” doubters from frame one with this dark, funny adaptation that faltered fewer times than True Detective. Oh, you bet’cha.

From Dusk Till Dawn (El Rey): Another film-to-TV transition that defied the haters, From Dusk Till Dawn expanded the 1996 cult classic into an even crazier, racier 10-episode ride where the definition of “the good guys” is subjective.

Game of Thrones (HBO): Like anyone’s going to make a list without Game of Thrones. Get real.

Silicon Valley (HBO): Mike Judge finally, if not intentionally, created the sequel to Office Space with Silicon Valley, a hysterically profane (and tech-jargoned, at least at first) saga about programmers in waaay over their heads. If only Halt and Catch Fire had been half this much fun.

Veep (HBO): Speaking of profane: VP Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) and her team continued to fail upward in Season 3, from WTF? to the brink of POTUS. Pray for your country.

Bates Motel (A&E): Murder, drugs, love triangles, commercial zoning disputes—Bates Motel has it all! Norman (Freddie Highmore) became as intriguing as mother Norma (Vera Farmiga) in Season 2, no small feat, as did some of the supporting players. Why wait for Showtime’s Twin Peaks revival? It’s already here.

Mad Men (AMC): Splitting the final season in half was a lousy idea (the Mad Men buzz is pretty much nil at this point), but those first seven episodes provided a course-correcting jolt that should make for a hell of a 2015 finale, whenever that happens (hopefully, not in the ’70s).

Orphan Black (BBC America): See Game of Thrones.

Last Week Tonight With John Oliver (HBO): Sure, it’s a Daily Show knock-off with F-bombs—but those rants! Corporations, media, condiments—suck it! Everything the overblown Newsroom attempted over three seasons, Oliver nailed in 30 minutes.

Legit (FXX): Poor Jim Jefferies. His Louie-like Legit finally got good by the end of its first season, then FX exiled it to the untested FXX for Season 2: no promotion, no viewers, just yelling into a vast, empty room. See what you missed on Netflix (along with Jeffries’ stand-up specials).

Playing House (USA): Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham as almost-uncomfortably close BFFs failed on network TV, but found a niche on cable with Playing House, which could be the first series ever to make pregnancy play funny and inclusive.

Parks and Recreation (NBC): While as excellent as ever, Season 6 probably should have been the last (maybe even halfway through), but at least we’ll get a proper sendoff for NBC’s last great Must-See comedy in 2015.

Rick and Morty (Adult Swim): Few “get” Community, but Dan Harmon’s other TV project, the animated, and simultaneously brainy and crude Rick and Morty—imagine Back to the Future with more universes, booze and malicious aliens—clicked immediately on Adult Swim.

Louie (FX): Louis C.K. made us wait two years for a new season, then delivered 14 arty-if-not-always-funny installments of Louie, which were rightfully hailed as “brave,” “experimental” and “mostly free of black T-shirts.”

Maron (IFC): Marc Maron didn’t stray too far from the formula of his debut season in his second go-round—regarding how difficult it is to be Marc Maron, specifically, and a middle-aged white dude with a podcast in general. Still brilliant.

Orange Is the New Black (Netflix): Season 2 leaned more dramatic than comedic, and pulled killer performances from everyone in (and out) of Litchfield Penitentiary. Creator Jenji Kohan is well on her way to achieving the heretofore-thought impossible: Topping her previous series, Weeds.

The Leftovers (HBO): Life sucks when you’re not Raptured, and The Leftovers was the ultimate summer-bummer wallow, not to mention the vehicle that finally made Justin Theroux matter.

Rectify (Sundance): And while we’re on the topic of dramas filmed in Depress-o-Vision … damn.

Longmire (A&E): In its third season, Longmire fully broke away from its Justified Out West trappings and became a gripping, dusty crime drama in its own right. A&E rewarded this creative triumph—and high ratings—with a cancellation notice in order to make way for more Duck Dynasty. Fortunately, Netflix came to the rescue, and Season 4 will be streaming by late 2015. I’m beginning to understand you cable-cutters …

Coming next week: Part 2—even more shows!

Published in TV

Game of Thrones (Sunday, June 15, HBO), season finale: Not only has this been the most rape-y and head-popping season of Game of Thrones yet; it’s also the most-watched: Season 4 has averaged 18.4 million viewers, beating out The Sopranos as HBO’s highest-rated series. (Just imagine the numbers if HBO Go actually worked.) So now HBO has even less incentive to send preview screeners out to TV critics—all I’ve received is this synopsis of the season finale, “The Children”: “An unexpected arrival north of the Wall changes circumstances; Dany (Emilia Clarke) is forced to face harsh realities; Bran (Isaac Hempstead Wright) learns more of his destiny; Tyrion (Peter Dinklage) sees the truth of his situation.” Wild speculations: Wreck-It Ralph; split ends; an Animal Planet reality series; he’s screwed.

Louie (Monday, June 16, FX), season finale: It’s over already, and while not every episode of the year-delayed fourth season of Louie has been “funny,” “cohesive” or, in some cases, “watchable,” at least Louis C.K. took a chance or 14 and created some of the weirdest television of the year—here’s hoping FX doesn’t reward him with a new timeslot in Comedy Purgatory (aka FXX). Overlooked in all of the critical analysis, C.K. also deserves credit for letting this season’s guest stars (especially Sarah Baker, Todd Barry, Yvonne Strahovski, Ellen Burstyn, Ezter Balint, Charles Grodin and, closing it out tonight, Pamela Adlon) outshine him. Hell, he even dragged a decent performance out of Jerry Seinfeld, something no one’s seen in years.

I Love the 2000s (Tuesday, June 17, VH1), series debut: About as necessary as VH1 itself in 2014, the I Love series was at least mildly entertaining when it was looking way-way back (although I fail to see anything snark-worthy about the ’90s—I’ll take Zima and grunge over Bud Light Lime and pansy-ass coalminer pop any day). But the idea of talking-head comedians riffing on 2000-2009 sounds as enticing as a second look at Paris Hilton’s sex tape, which holds up only slightly better than Napoleon Dynamite … damn it, now I’m doing it …

Rizzoli and Isles, Perception (Tuesday, June 17, TNT), season premieres: It’s not the best series about female buddyhood—that would be USA’s Playing House, which you should be watching, and then re-watching, much harder—but TNT’s resilient Rizzoli and Isles is the only current cop drama that gets the dynamic right without being preachy about it. As Season 5 opens, Boston homicide detective Rizzoli (Angie Harmon) is pregnant; medical examiner Isles’ (Sasha Alexander) relationship with Rizzoli’s brother is heating up; and you’re still probably not going to believe that R&I is one of the highest-rated cable series of all-time—just ask your mom, or HBO. Even harder to swallow: Perception is still a thing.

Fargo (Tuesday, June 17, FX), season finale: That full-year time-jump freaked everyone out a few weeks ago, but there should be no doubt that Deputy Molly (secret-show-lead-all-along Allison Tolman) is finally going to get her man. Or there should be plenty of doubt: Fargo has been nothing if not unpredictable; perhaps a tidy conclusion like that of fellow anthology series True Detective (which, it’s odd/funny to note, only had a fraction of Fargo’s body count) isn’t in the cards. Malvo/Dr. Michaelson (Billy Bob Thornton, who’s been fantastically evil) may well take out Salesman of the Year/wife-killer Lester (Martin Freeman) before Molly hauls him in, but The Only TV Column That Matters™ gave up making plot predictions the second Lester eyed that hammer in Episode 1.


DVD ROUNDUP FOR JUNE 17!

Authors Anonymous

A group of unpublished writers welcome in a newbie (Kaley Cuoco-Sweeting), who then becomes a best-selling overnight success. Will they let jealousy destroy them? They’re writers—of course they’ll let jealousy destroy them. (Screen Media)

Four of Hearts

A couple looking to spice things up has a four-way with uninhibited friends, and everything’s just fine. Kidding! The relationships turn weird and uncomfortable, further proving that porn is preferable to romantic drama. (Image)

The Lego Movie

An average Lego dude (the voice of Chris Pratt) is mistakenly drafted into an epic quest to bring down an evil bastard (Will Arnett). Likewise, an average writer dude is drafted into a quest against unwarranted all-caps. (It’s Lego, not LEGO!) (Warner Bros.)

No Clue

A mysterious woman (Amy Smart) hires a detective (Brett Butt—yes, really) to find her missing brother. Thing is, he’s actually just an adman who works across the hall from the real detective. He takes the case; nothing as funny as “Brett Butt” ensues. (eOne)

Walk of Shame

After a one-night stand, a TV news reporter (Elizabeth Banks) is stranded in downtown L.A. without a phone or ID—will she make it back to the station in time for her big anchor break? It’s After Hours in a ridiculously tight dress. (FilmDistrict)

More New DVD Releases (June 17)

Assumed Killer, Blood Soaked, Dark Souls, A Fighting Man, The Grand Budapest Hotel, House of Cards: Season 2, Joe, Joy Ride 3: Roadkill, Judex, Meth Head, Regular Show: Season 3, Teen Wolf: Season 3 Pt. 2.

Published in TV

Mad Men (Sunday, April 13, AMC), season premiere: The seventh and final season of Mad Men, the series that made AMC legit years before the money-printing machine of The Walking Dead fired up, will split 14 episodes over this spring and next, because why not? You put up with it for Breaking Bad, so AMC assumes you’ll do the same for ad man Don Draper. The network has requested the omission of certain plot points in reviews; The Only TV Column That Matters™ requested review materials in a timely manner, and we all failed. Season 7 opens in January 1969, two months after last season left off, and the series’ long-dreaded pre-’70s fashion catastrophes are in full effect (the horror, the horror). Don (Jon Hamm) and Megan (Jessica Paré) are now in California, as is Pete (Vincent Kartheiser), while Peggy (Elisabeth Moss) is still in New York, banging her head against the glass ceiling of SC&P (now minus the Draper “D”). The stacked-deep storylines of “Time Zones” suggest no obvious conclusion for which Mad Men is headed, other than the trip being more important than the destination. God, that is sooo California.

Nurse Jackie, Californication (Sunday, April 13, Showtime), season premieres: Edie Falco’s Nurse Jackie has now run as long as her previous series, The Sopranos—six seasons, with a seventh already announced—and we still don’t know if it’s a comedy or a drama. Californication, on the other hand, has always been squarely about the funny with a small side of serious, and Season 7 (the last—they mean it this time) brings it back to Santa Monica Cop, the film Hank (David Duchovny) wrote for hip-hop superstar Samurai Apocalypse. He’s hired by a TV showrunner (another Sopranos alum, Michael Imperioli) to turn it into a series—and after books, music, movies and theater, how can Hank possibly blow a television gig? Obviously, he finds a way. (Other) critics be damned—I still love Hank and Californication, and it’ll suck to see ’em go after 11 more episodes. Here’s hoping for some final appearances from Lew Ashby (Callum Keith Rennie) and Eddie Nero (Rob Lowe).

Rocky Mountain Bounty Hunters (Sunday, April 13, Animal Planet), series debut: Why is this new reality series about human rednecks on Animal Planet? Because “when fugitives disappear into the immense wilderness inhabited by predators like black bears and mountain lions, it takes a special type of hunter to bring these fugitives to justice.” And one of the bounty hunters’ nickname is “Animal.” That’s it. Thus concludes today’s lesson in Why All Cable Channels Will Soon Be the Same Cable Channel.

Fargo (Tuesday, April 15, FX), series debut: This show offers the same setting and tone as the 1996 movie, but a different story and characters. And what characters they are: Lorne (Billy Bob Thornton), a manipulative drifter who has his own definitions of “law,” “order” and “fun”; a put-upon insurance-salesman schlub (Martin Freeman) whom Lorne introduces to the Dark Side; a recently-widowed ex-Vegas stripper (Kate Walsh) who’s just now realizing what a terrible idea it was to move to Minnesota; local cops of varying intelligence (Bob Odenkirk and Colin Hanks); hitmen Mr. Numbers and Mr. Wrench (Adam Goldberg and Russell Harvard); a local supermarket magnate (Oliver Platt) with a secret; a dim personal trainer with crime in mind (It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s Glenn Howerton) and more—yes, more. At 10 initial episodes, FX’s Fargo will tell a more expansive story, but the overly accented, near-cartoon acting and clever cinematography and dialogue are pure, old-school Coen brothers (who are onboard with this TV adaptation as executive producers). In other words, it’s okey-dokey.


DVD ROUNDUP FOR APRIL 15!

Better Living Through Chemistry

A dull pharmacist (Sam Rockwell) is drawn into an affair of meds, martinis and sex with a sultry prescription addict (Olivia Wilde)—until the Drug Enforcement Administration comes around. If you buy Rockwell and Wilde as bored suburbanites, you’ll buy this. (Universal)

Date and Switch

High school buds Michael and Matty (Nicholas Braun and Hunter Cope) make a pact to lose their virginities by prom night—then Matty announces he’s gay. If you buy these two (and Dakota Johnson) as teens, you’ll buy this. (Lionsgate)

Flowers in the Attic

A flighty widow (Heather Graham) leaves her children (including Kiernan Shipka) with her crazy mother (Ellen Burstyn), who abuses them and locks them in her attic for years. Based on the “gothic teen incest classic” (!) of the same name. (A&E)

Ride Along

A police academy newbie/Chris Tucker impersonator (Kevin Hart) goes on a ride-along with his girlfriend’s veteran cop brother (Ice Cube) to prove his worth, and all the crazy shit you’d expect happens over the next 24 hours. (Universal)

Trap for Cinderella

After awakening from an accident with amnesia, a woman (Tuppence Middleton) tries to piece her life back together with the help of a childhood friend (Alexandra Roach); deception and psycho-sexual lesbian obsession ensue. Of course it’s French. (MPI)

More New DVD Releases (April 15)

Anger Management: Vol. 3, Camp Dread, Confine, Copperhead, Death Do Us Part, The Formula, Great Expectations, Interior. Leather Bar., Legend of the Red Reaper, Mobius, Not Safe for Work, The Nut Job, Philomena, The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.

Published in TV