CVIndependent

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Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

TV

02 Dec 2019
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Most review columns are dropping their “Best of 2019” lists right about now, thanks to a deadly combo of holiday resignation and critical narcissism. On one hand, it’s almost Christmas, so who cares? On the other, critics absolutely must disseminate their invaluable hot takes to the masses, because how will The Sheep know what was good if they’re not told?! Screw the tree—people need to know about Parasite! I’m not playing like that; there are too many shows to stream. Here are nine series from this fall alone you might have missed—so tune out the family, and catch up. Succession (Seasons 1-2 on HBO Now): Forget Game of Thrones and The Sopranos—the most cutthroat family on HBO is Succession’s Roy clan. A black AF satire of wealth and passive-aggressive family dysfunction, Succession follows a vaguely demented patriarch (Brian Cox) dangling the keys to the empire before his damaged, power-hungry kids.…
06 Nov 2019
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Think you’re already oversubscribed to streaming TV services? Bend over, and grab your HDMI cables, because November has just dropped two more on you: Disney+ and Apple TV+. Also, HBO Max, Peacock and Quibi are coming in 2020. But the Purge may happen first. Back to Disney+ and Apple TV+: Disney+ costs $6.99 a month, while Apple TV+ goes for $4.99—are they worth it? Here are eight original series that may or may not sway you to subscribe to yet another new app. High School Musical: The Musical: The Series (Disney+): Right below Twilight and Saw on the list of 2000s reboots no one asked for rests High School Musical, the 2006-08 series of Disney Channel movies (though I’m all in for a Twilight/Saw mashup). In mockumentary HSM:TM:TS, students meta-stage a production of the classic High School Musical. That sound in the distance is the universe imploding—catchy beat, no? The…
02 Oct 2019
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The original Halloween (1978) and Friday the 13th (1980) movies didn’t invent the “slasher” genre, but they did kick off a bloody wave of horror that ruled the ’80s. Which makes sense—have you seen archival photos of ’80s people? They needed some killing. Since the entire month of October has been swallowed up by Halloween, Inc.™, Content Shifter is digging up some lesser-known ’80s slasher flicks. There’s a reason you’ve haven’t heard of most of these: They’re terrible AF. Some don’t even hit that “so bad it’s good” sweet spot—meeting a “13” quota isn’t easy, just sayin.’ Here are 13 ’80s slasher flicks to stream between the Halloween parties that nobody invites me to anymore. You dress up as Sexy Ben Shapiro one time … Slumber Party Massacre II (1987; Prime Video, Tubi, Shudder, YouTube): High-schooler Courtney (Crystal Bernard) takes her girl group on a weekend retreat, only to have…
03 Sep 2019
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For those of you who missed my TED Talk, “Passion, Perseverance and PBR: Don’t Let Your ‘Job’ Come Before Your Shows,” here’s the takeaway: There’s no shame in watching TV all summer. Unless you’re an acclaimed TV reviewer like myself, there’s also no money in watching TV all summer. Should you quit your so-called “career” in order to keep up on Peak TV? That’s not for me to say … but my answer would be “Fuck yeah—tell your boss to take this job and place it firmly in a dark cavity!” Now that you’re unemployed, here are nine killer series you missed this summer. Since they’re new and mostly only available on pay platforms, you might want to pick up a part-time gig. Hey, I don’t make the rules of capitalism. On Becoming a God in Central Florida (Season 1 on Showtime): Kirsten Dunst’s wild and weird film career has…
01 Aug 2019
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Summer’s not even over, and you’re already broke? Don’t worry—your big payout from those billionaires’ tax cuts will be trickling down any day now; many people on both sides are saying it’ll be tremendous. In the meantime, you need some free TV—and I mean, as Our Lord Frank Zappa once said, absolutely free. None of these paid-subscription Netflix/Hulu/Prime Video/etc. shows that Content Shifter usually pushes on you while receiving no financial kickbacks. (Seriously, where are the damn kickbacks?) Enter Pluto TV. It’s free, and it’s fantastic—but beware: There are commercials. (Sorry, Frank.) It’s a “live” streaming service with hundreds of “channels,” available through an app on streaming devices and smart TVs, or directly via Pluto.tv. It even does on-demand! Here are 11 Pluto TV channels worth checking out: Funny AF (Channel 423): Remember now-dead subscription comedy streamer Seeso? Funny AF is kinda like that—especially now that it’s picked up the…
02 Jul 2019
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Surprise: 2019 is halfway over. Another six months of your life have slipped by, and you were doing … what? Spending time with loved ones? Participating in humanitarian efforts? Pursuing higher education and enlightenment? Hey, no judgment here … hippies. I know what you weren’t doing: watching enough TV. All that content isn’t going to consume itself—at least not until I launch my own premium streaming service, FrostyVision. For the low price of $6.66 a month, you’ll have access to the latest TV series and movies—but only for a week. Then, the shows self-delete forever, and a new batch appears for another seven days: Rinse, repeat, no more catch-up guilt. Just tell your friends, “Sorry, but Ozark is, like, gone—thanks, FrostyVision!” In the meantime, here are seven of the best streaming series you’ve missed so far in 2019. Doom Patrol (Season 1 on DC Universe): You’ll never to subscribe to…
28 May 2019
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There was a time when nothing was available “on demand” unless you dragged your ass to Blockbuster Video—and then you had to settle for what wasn’t already rented out. I’m talking about the ’90s—the glorious age of grunge, G-funk and godawful TV action series. “New content” rolled out over rabbit-ears TV in the summer. Local stations were flooded with low-budget syndicated action series every weekend, and few of them pass the smell test in 2019. If we’re currently in the Platinum Age of TV, the ’90s were Tin Foil, at best. Here are nine ’90s action series worth a stream and a laugh—but good luck making it past the first episode of most. As with a six-pack of Zima, there’s no shame in tapping out after one. V.I.P. (Season 1 on Sony Crackle): In 1998, Pamela Anderson’s V.I.P. satirized the inherent misogyny and T&A exploitation of previous action series—while also…
03 May 2019
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Fictional “historical” characters are celebrated over several U.S. holidays—Christmas, Easter, Ash Wednesday, Good Friday, Presidents Day, etc. Meanwhile, the very real creators of life, moms, receive only one annual nod: Mother’s Day, this year taking place on Sunday, May 12. Fortunately, there’s television, the great equalizer. TV is where moms get their proper due, much more so than in movies. (The best-ever film about “motherhood” is 1983’s Mr. Mom—let that patriarchal shit sink in.) Here are seven streaming TV series that showcase wildly different mothers at their best, worst and straight-up weirdest. And no, forwarding this article to your mom’s Hotmail doesn’t count as a Mother’s Day gift. Better Things (Seasons 1-2 on Hulu): Is Pamela Adlon’s Better Things a comedy or a drama? Yes. Adlon herself simply says it’s an “incredible feelings show,” which fits like a fresh pair of Spanx. It’s also about motherhood; Better Things will make…
03 Apr 2019
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I’m a Spotify Premium subscriber, because I don’t want ads interrupting my stream of the 16 new Oh Sees albums released last week. Thanks to my exorbitant Coachella Valley Independent salary, it’s a small luxury I can easily afford. Please clap. In March, Spotify added another perk to Premium membership: a free Hulu subscription. Sure, it’s the basic ad-supported version of Hulu, but so what? There’s plenty of cool shit on the streaming service, including every Seinfeld ever (spoiler—it doesn’t hold up) and mucho-buzzed-about originals like The Handmaid’s Tale (the feel-good hit of the Trumpy the Clown era). Here are eight more lesser-hyped original Hulu series that you may or may not be aware of, so you can get the most out of your freebie sub. Also, after you spring for the Spotify Premium upgrade, give my band a listen—10 million more streams, and we’ll make enough in royalties to…
06 Mar 2019
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Back in my day, comic-book stories stayed on comic-book pages. Yes, there were Batman movies—the best still being 1997’s Batman and Robin, naysayers be damned—but superheroes were mostly relegated to print. A live-action Hulk could fucking not be done. I’m still right on that one, but the rest of the Marvel, DC and other comic-brand universes are now inescapable on all the screens all the time. TV has been more prolific and creative with its adaptations—Netflix (Marvel) and The CW (DC) in particular. But you already know about those, so they won’t be covered here. Instead, here are 10 comics-based TV series ranging from, “Hey, I’ve heard of that!” to “Huh?” status to stream while you’re waiting for Captain Marvel, Avengers: Endgame, and Aquaman v. Magic Mike: Dawn of Thrust-Us. Deadly Class (Season 1 on Syfy.com and Syfy app): Based on the same-named Image Comics series, Deadly Class is an…

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