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07 Jun 2017

True TV: 'Dark Matter' and 'Wynonna Earp' Return; 'Blood Drive' Revs Up the Grindhouse

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Get ready for the return of Dark Matter, everyone’s favorite show about amnesiac intergalactic criminals/models. Get ready for the return of Dark Matter, everyone’s favorite show about amnesiac intergalactic criminals/models.

Syfy will be “rebranded” as a—get this—science-fiction channel on June 19; never mind that it was once upon a time actually called the Sci-Fi Channel. If you think that’s confusing, get ready for the return of Dark Matter (Season 3 premiere Friday, June 9, Syfy), everyone’s favorite show about amnesiac intergalactic criminals/models. The hook of the series is the gradual unveiling of each Raza crew member’s true identities as they hurtle through space, alternately solving and causing crises. The story doesn’t always make sense, but the actors (particularly Melissa O’Neil—2005 winner of Canadian Idol!) sell the drama and the action like there’s no tomorrow (not a cliffhanger spoiler … as far as you know).

Back on Earth in the supernatural tsunami of Purgatory (lovely name for a town), Wynonna Earp (Season 2 premiere Friday, June 9, Syfy) finds the demon-hunting great-great-granddaughter of Wyatt facing a whole new set of threats: Since no one built a wall to make Purgatory great again, the Ghost River Triangle is wide open and flooding the county with a fresh batch of demons, ghosts and lord knows what else. Wynonna (Melanie Scrofano) exudes Jessica Jones-like swagger, but the IDW Comics-based series is less angsty and more Buffy—when the demonic terror and violence subside, Wynonna Earp is the funniest show on Syfy (sorry, Z Nation). All this, and a hot, immortal Doc Holliday? Watch, already.

Last year, Jillian Bell and Charlotte Newhouse debuted Idiotsitter (Season 2 premiere Saturday, June 10, Comedy Central), a hilarious, flipped-to-female Workaholics of sorts that looked like another Comedy Central one-and-done. But! Idiotsitter is back for a second season, and broke “baby sitter” Billie (Newhouse) and heiress “idiot” Gene (Bell) are now off to college. However! After mysteriously pulling the season premiere from its April schedule, Comedy Central has decided that Idiotsitter is a two-and-through and will be burning off all seven episodes over a couple of summer weekends. Sad! Guess having more than two female-fronted shows (Broad City, Another Period) was just too much for CC.

A whole lotta women chew scenery and buff cuticles in new Florida nail-salon dramedy Claws (series debut Sunday, June 11, TNT), another plain-folk-dabbling-in-crime tale with an impressive cast, including Niecy Nash (Scream Queens), Carrie Preston (True Blood), Jenn Lyon (Justified), Judy Reyes (Scrubs), Karrueche Tran (The Nice Guys), Harold Perrineau (Lost) and Dean Norris (Breaking Bad). Claws’ sheer volume of colorful characters (example: Norris plays “Uncle Daddy, a dangerous Dixie Mafia crime boss who is deeply Catholic and actively bisexual”) nearly overwhelms the nails-and-drugs-and-money-laundering narrative, but a surprisingly grounded Nash keeps the drama in check.

Following Fox’s “We’ve Given Up on Summer” lead that launched cheap-and-dumb reality fillers Beat Shazam and Love Connection, ABC cedes Sunday nights with a trifecta of tripe: Celebrity Family Feud, Steve Harvey’s Funderdome and The $100,000 Pyramid (premieres Sunday, June 11, ABC). You’re probably familiar with Celebrity Family Feud and The $100,000 Pyramid, as they’re just terrible ’70s game shows (barely) re-imagined for modern morons, but what the hell is Steve Harvey’s Funderdome? It’s Shark Tank, but with a live audience voting to fund useless inventions instead of actual business experts. Remember the memo: “Do NOT engage or make direct eye contact with Mr. Harvey!”

If, like me, you’ve been waiting for a Death Race 2000: The Series or a Grindhouse Cannonball Run, like, forever, rejoice! Blood Drive (series debut Wednesday, June 14, Syfy) is finally here! Even better, it’s a cross-country death race wherein the cars run on blood! “Soaked in high-octane chaos and just barely approved for television” (oh, Syfy), Blood Drive follows ex-cop Arthur (Alan Ritchson) and trigger-happy Grace (Christina Ochoa), who are forced to partner up in the race across an environmentally ravaged ’Merica in the “distant future” of 1999 (just go with it). In the summer of WTF TV (Twin Peaks, American Gods, etc.), Blood Drive is a pedal-to-the-metal standout. I just may buy into this “rebrand,” Syfy.

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