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08 Mar 2017

True TV: 'Love' Returns for Another Shot at Commitment; 'Trial and Error' Is Only the Latter

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Love stars Gillian Jacobs and Paul Rust (and an ever-expanding guest list) are fantastic; at its best, Love plays like an introverted cousin of couplehood-is-hell MVP You’re the Worst. Love stars Gillian Jacobs and Paul Rust (and an ever-expanding guest list) are fantastic; at its best, Love plays like an introverted cousin of couplehood-is-hell MVP You’re the Worst.

Love (Friday, March 10, Netflix), season premiere: In its 2016 debut season, Judd Apatow’s Love received wildly mixed reviews from real people and TV critics (who, it should always be noted, are not real people) alike. I was on the positive side—but, then again, I also liked Will Arnett’s universally despised Netflix baby Flaked, so there’s obviously something wrong with me. Lovebirds Micky (Gillian Jacobs) and Gus (Paul Rust) still aren’t exactly right, either, but they’re giving the committed-relationship thing a go with predictably messy/hilarious/sad results. Both Jacobs and Rust (and an ever-expanding guest list) are fantastic; at its best, Love plays like an introverted cousin of couplehood-is-hell MVP You’re the Worst. A great place to be in Season 2, and the haters are still gonna hate.

Samurai Jack (Saturday, March 11, Adult Swim), return: A long, long time ago, I wrote about a Cartoon Network series called Samurai Jack, which premiered way back in 2001. Also more than a decade ago, friends would ask me: “Are you still doing that little TV review thing?” with the same regularity that they do now … sigh. Anyway: Samurai Jack was a simply plotted tale of a time-traveling warrior fighting his way through monsters, robots and general dystopia, as well as all-powerful villain Aku. While the stories were rudimentary (or often indecipherable), Samurai Jack’s dense, mind-tweaking animation set a standard that’s still rarely matched today; Hulu the original five seasons, and behold for yourself. This final chapter of the saga looks to be up there with Logan in terms of brutality and finality. Catch up.

Trial and Error (Tuesday, March 14, NBC), series debut: How to follow the season finale of all-the-feels tearjerker This Is Us? With wacky midseason filler! Trial and Error, a probably-funnier-on-the-drawing-board hybrid of Making a Murderer and The Office, gives proven comedic talents (including John Lithgow, Jayma Mays and Sherri Shepherd) a prime setup, but little material to work with, emphasizing “small-town quirkiness” over what could have been biting comedy with a dark, media-overkill backhand (which It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia already did earlier this year). Lithgow goes big as a maybe-wife-killing poetry professor (!), but Trial and Error definitely won’t be a part of NBC’s comedy rebuild.

Hap and Leonard (Wednesday, March 15, Sundance), season premiere: Missed Season 1? Of course you did—it was on Sundance, and who has that? After you check out the six-episode origin story of ’80s Texas ne’er-do-wells Hap (James Purefoy) and Leonard (Michael Kenneth Williams) on Netflix, come back for another installment of comic criminality that nearly rivals Fargo in sheer volume of WTF? twists. Hap and Leonard Season 2 picks up with a new mystery to unravel (the death of Leonard’s uncle) and a new cast of unsavory characters to butt heads with. (Spoiler: few not named Hap or Leonard made it out of Season 1 alive.) They’re just good(ish) guys in a bad, bad world; when you do get around to this series (because, again, Sundance), you’ll love ’em.

Modern Family (Wednesdays, ABC), contract crisis: Currently in its eighth season, Modern Family has (or had, depending upon when you get around to reading this) a problem: The contracts for stars Sofia Vergara, Julie Bowen, Ty Burrell, Eric Stonestreet, Jessie Tyler Ferguson and Ed O’Neill are up, and signing them all for the inevitable Season 9 would be almost as expensive as a Trump weekend getaway—give or take bronzer budget. The obvious solution? Kill the adults off-camera in a plane crash during the show’s annual Disney-vacation infomercial episode, and refocus Modern Family on the kids. Haley, Alex, Luke, Manny and Lily could easily take over and Party of Five the situation—hell, I’d watch a Lily solo series, even. You’re welcome, ABC.

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