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Last updateMon, 24 Aug 2020 12pm

TV

02 Nov 2020
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Finally, November. Within days, ’Merica could be in flames and under siege by obese militia rednecks while I’m stowed away on a flight to Any Other Damn Country in search of journalistic asylum. I’ll let you know how it shakes out. Anyway: A new month (fingers crossed) means new TV shows to stream. Here are 11 series premiering in November to enjoy (or tolerate) in the bunker. Moonbase 8 (Sunday, Nov. 8; Showtime): After Netflix’s Space Force and HBO’s Avenue 5, is there room for another surreal astronaut comedy? Only if it’s from Tim Heidecker (Tim and Eric) and Jonathan Krisel (Baskets). Moonbase 8 follows three bros (Heidecker, Fred Armisen and John C. Reilly) training for their first lunar mission in an isolated Arizona moon-base simulator, and slowly losing their minds (not that they had much to spare). Don’t think too hard—Moonbase 8 doesn’t. Industry (Monday, Nov. 9; HBO): If…
02 Oct 2020
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Everyone talks up the ’80s as the golden age of horror movies, but the ’90s? More like a golden shower! Aside from Leprechaun (Jennifer Aniston’s finest hour), 1990-1999 was a bust for scary flicks; scraping together a decade-encompassing list would be a fool’s errand. Hi. Fool here. Halloween—formerly known as “October”—is a demanding month. None of these 13 ’90s movies would be considered High Art; tellingly, few of them are even available on proper streaming services (at least not for free). Grab a Zima and some 3D Doritos, and prepare to be underwhelmed—though there are some accidental gems. Highway to Hell (1992; Prime Video): Lovebirds Rachel (Kristy Swanson) and Charlie (Chad Lowe) are en route to get married in Las Vegas when a demonic highway patrolman kidnaps Rachel and drags her to hell to become a bride of Satan. Charlie follows, encountering hell-dwellers like Lita Ford, Ben Stiller and Gilbert…
01 Sep 2020
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It’s almost fall already? Time flies when you’re … what’s been going on? The spring and summer were a bit of a blur, for some reason. September is usually loaded with TV premieres, but 2020 is leaner than previous years due to delayed productions and overall existential dread. At least new seasons of The Boys (Prime Video) and A.P. Bio (Peacock) have dropped, though they don’t make up for the cancellations of Drunk History (Comedy Central), High Fidelity (Hulu) and Altered Carbon (Netflix). But! There are actually some fresh shows streaming in September, pandemic be damned. Here are eight new series, and one returning champion, all premiering this month. Raised by Wolves (Thursday, Sept. 3 on HBO Max): A pair of androids, known as Mother (Amanda Collin) and Father (Abubakar Salim), are charged with raising a group of human children on newly discovered planet Kepler-22b. Sounds perfectly utopian, so of…
03 Aug 2020
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Movie theaters are over. Sure, you might for a minute feel nostalgic for the privilege of driving to the Gigantaplex, buying tickets, forking over a lump sum for an XXXL BladderBuster Diet Coke and MegaButter popcorn, and then being marched to your Assigned Corporate Seat, amongst the other chumps—but you’ll get over it. You probably already have. Video-on-demand releases during These Uncertain Times™ have proven that good content is venue-fluid. Hamilton on Disney+? Fantastic. Palm Springs on Hulu? Amazing. Extraction on Netflix? Didn’t see it, but it’s there and ready to kick my eyes in the balls with a single click. VOD isn’t without its downsides—after all, plenty of garbage also slips through the cracks. Here are 10 of the absolute worst movies to premiere over video-on-demand streaming in the past four months: If you haven’t been suckered into watching any of these yet, beware. Money Plane (VOD): A pro…
01 Jul 2020
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If you were an HBO Now subscriber prior to last month, you may have noticed that it somehow became HBO Max overnight. Or maybe it didn’t—it’s sheer confusion in the land of HBO streaming. Maybe you still have HBO Now, which is just HBO. Meanwhile, as of the end of the July, HBO Go will be HBO gone. Anyway: HBO Max is the New Hotness, because it streams all the HBO shows, plus some exclusive originals, though the only one worth mentioning is Doom Patrol, the greatest series ever—seriously, you need it in your life. The rest are just HBO Meh. The real draw of HBO Max is its deep library of classic shows from HBO and corporate parent WarnerMedia, which is owned by AT&T, which in turn is owned by … 5G Satan? Could be, but they don’t pay me enough here for that kind of investigative journalism. We’ll…
02 Jun 2020
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Perhaps the biggest tragedy of These Uncertain Times is the plight of our precious film critics: With no movies in theaters, they’re reduced to covering new releases debuting … on TV. The horror—reduced to the level of a common television critic! Thoughts and prayers. Meanwhile, over here in the TV streamverse, business is booming. You may think you’re caught up on all the shows—having been stuck in lockdown for months with nothing but a remote and your own existential dread—but no; there’s always more. (TV, that is … well, existential dread, too.) Here are nine series that debuted recently that you might have missed, a couple of which were brought to my attention by listeners of my podcast, TV Tan. They’re a sharp dozen. The Dress Up Gang (Season 1 on TBS): L.A. roommates Donnie (Donnie Divanian) and Cory (Cory Loykasek) have a squirmy, surreal dad/son dynamic straight out of…
05 May 2020
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To paraphrase Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, “When the going gets stupid, the stupid turn pro.” Now is the time for comedy, so put down the Clorox mojito; turn off Contagion (you can wait until after Gwyneth Paltrow’s brain is removed—it’s my favorite scene, too); and open yourself up to the idea of relaxing with some stupid sitcoms. Trust me; I’m a professional. Dumb comedies have a strange, soothing effect on the psyche that you just can’t get from other modes of TV. (Reality shows with screeching blow-up dolls throwing White Claws at each other might have a similar upshot, but I’m certainly not going to watch that shit to find out.) Here are 13 recent comedies to stream right now, ranging from the truly stupid to the deceptively dumb-but-subliminally-genius. Or you could just binge the entirety of Friends on HBO Max—you choose your own brain-removal machine. (Cue The Cult riff.)…
01 Apr 2020
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You’re out of a job. You’ve been stuck inside for weeks. You’ve re-watched Tiger King so many times that you’re starting to ask, “What was the crime here? Loving big cats and the Seth Wadley Auto Group too much? Free Joe Exotic!” Shut-in delirium can only countered with new streams of entertainment—preferably at no extra cost, because that gub’ment check will only go so far. This month, streaming TV services Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Showtime, CBS All Access, Shudder, Sundance Now, Acorn TV and Urban Movie Channel have extended their free-trial windows to 30 days. New streamer Quibi will let you have up to 90 days free, which is nearly enough time to figure out, “What the fuck is a Quibi?” Beyond all that: There are also plenty of totally free, no-strings streaming TV apps out there to take advantage of through Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast…
03 Mar 2020
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In the winter of 1997, great American sketch series Mr. Show With Bob and David revealed the true secret of thespianism: “All acting is, is jumping up and down and screaming a lot.” I drop this bit of knowledge not to entice you to watch Mr. Show (though you totally should, on HBO Now), but to warn you that Adam Sandler’s inexplicably acclaimed Uncut Gems arrives on VOD this month. Film critics … what the hell? Anyway: Here are seven TV series that are actually worth streaming in March, the lamest of the winter months. It’s not cold; it’s not warm; assholes are drinking green beer … again, what the hell? Better Call Saul (Seasons 1-4 on Netflix; Season 5 on AMC): Speaking of Mr. Show, can we take a beat to appreciate Bob Odenkirk? Yes, everyone on Breaking Bad prequel Better Call Saul is fantastic—Rhea Seehorn in particular—but Odenkirk’s…
06 Feb 2020
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Like you, I was on the fence about the whole “The world ended in 2012, and we’ve been existing in an eff’dup alternate reality ever since” theory. But then the resurrection of the XFL was announced, so there’s no denying it: This is another dimension, and it is OFF. For those unaware, the XFL was an “xtreme” football league launched by World Wrestling Entertainment in 2001. You don’t remember it, because the XFL crashed and burned after one mismanaged dumpster-fire of a season … or because your memory was wiped by the 2012 shift. But now it’s back! Why? Stop thinking so hard. Here are the XFL teams we’ll all be following to glory, streaming on ABC, Fox and ESPN beginning Saturday, Feb. 8. D.C. Defenders (Debut: Saturday, Feb. 8 on ABC): Washington D.C.’s 68th pro sports franchise will be led to violent, bloodletting victory by head coach Pep Hamilton.…

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