Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm


11 Nov 2015
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W/ Bob and David (Friday, Nov. 13, Netflix), series debut: I’m going to assume/hope my audience is too young to remember HBO’s Mr. Show With Bob and David—if not, then I’m talking to a bunch of geezers who won’t be around much longer to continue to support my lavish lifestyle. Anyway: Mr. Show was a ’90s sketch-comedy series starring Bob Odenkirk (now of Better Call Saul fame) and David Cross (Arrested Development and The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret infamy) that was nothing less than the American Monty Python: a fearless, biting comedy whirlwind that eviscerated pop culture and influenced every show after it. W/ Bob and David isn’t the groundbreaking vehicle that was, but Odenkirk and Cross (as well as several returning Mr. Show regulars and some new faces) still deliver the goods like it’s 1995. Where’s my flannel shirt and sixer of Zima? Spotless (Saturday, Nov. 14,…
04 Nov 2015
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Master of None (Friday, Nov. 6, Netflix), series debut: Comedian/actor Aziz Ansari (Parks and Recreation) plays a New York City comedian/actor who’s a hell of a lot like Aziz Ansari. Depending on your Aziz Ansari tolerance levels, this is either great or terrible news (and nobody’s asking you, Family Guy). The pleasant surprise of Master of None is that the closer Ansari hews to himself—or at least this version of “himself”—the more likable and endearing he becomes. Whereas the Louis C.K. of Louie and the Marc Maron of Maron stay on-brand, this isn’t (always) the Aziz Ansari who yells his lines to the back row, and it takes to getting used to. Likewise, Master of None is more thoughtful than jokey—it doesn’t always work, but at least it shows another side of Tom Haverford, er, Ansari. Flesh and Bone (Sunday, Nov. 8, Starz), series debut: Showrunner Moira Walley-Beckett (a former …
28 Oct 2015
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Ash vs. Evil Dead (Saturday, Oct. 31, Starz), series debut: Attention S-Mart shoppers: Ash (Bruce Campbell), and his Boomstick and chainsaw are back! The original Evil Dead trilogy may have wrapped up more than 20 years ago, but gore-splattering technology has never stopped evolving, so of course Ash vs. Evil Dead had to happen—whether Ash likes it or not. After decades of doing little besides lying low, growing a beer belly and pretending the dead never rose—even though re-killing said dead and saving the world is the only thing he's ever been good at—Ash reluctantly springs (OK, creaks) back into action when the Deadites re-emerge. This time, he’s backed-up by adoring sidekick Pablo (Ray Santiago), indifferent runaway Kelly (Dana DeLorenzo) and a familiar face from the universe of producer/director Sam Raimi: Lucy Lawless. You could think of the 10 half-hour Ash vs. Evil Dead episodes as a couple of new…
21 Oct 2015
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Hemlock Grove (Friday, Oct. 23, Netflix), season premiere: As if your fall needed another show to keep track of, here’s the third and final season of Hemlock Grove … remember Hemlock Grove? It was American Horror Story Does Twin Peaks before American Horror Story started doing Twin Peaks (seriously, Hotel … stop), with a dash of Twilight for the kiddies. The Eli Roth-produced series debuted with a bloody splash in 2013, helping Netflix crash the Emmys party for the first time (along with House of Cards and Arrested Development), but it then quietly slinked off into the night. Season 2 righted the storytelling and structure problems—as in, there was little of either—while Season 3 promises to go out with a gloriously gruesome, special-effects-fueled bang that finally exposes all the supernatural secrets of the small town of Hemlock Grove. (Among them, hopefully, is the answer to: “Why the hell would anyone…
14 Oct 2015
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Truth Be Told (Friday, Oct. 16, NBC), series debut: Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Franklin and Bash and, of course, Saved by the Bell) has proven he can do funny, as has Tone Bell (the best part of last season’s Bad Judge). Unfortunately, they’re now saddled with a tepid, laugh-tracked bro-com that’s paired with the still-awful (but now “Live!”) Undateable on Friday nights, and a lone creative note from NBC that reads: “We’ve given up on comedy. Just fill 30 minutes, and turn out the lights when you leave.” At least they changed the name from People Are Talking, because that makes all the difference, and ponder this: As aggressively awful as Truth Be Told is, it’s still better than any of the new comedies NBC has in the production pipeline. I’ve seen it … the horror … the horror … Satisfaction (Friday, Oct. 16, USA), season premiere: The debut season of Breaking…
07 Oct 2015
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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…
30 Sep 2015
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Benders (Thursday, Oct. 1, IFC), series debut: Denis Leary has produced shows about firefighters (Rescue Me), EMTs (Sirens) and music (Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll), so it was inevitable he’d get around to another of his obsessions: hockey. Benders’ beer-soaked concept—an amateur hockey league that spends more time bro-bonding and trash-talking off the ice than playing on it—feels a bit off-brand for IFC, which has established itself with a more highbrow style of comedy (or whatever you’d call Maron and Documentary Now!). But Benders is the best new hockey-themed comedy of this season, so it has that going for it. Dr. Ken (Friday, Oct. 2, ABC), series debut: In the fall battle for Worst New Comedy (not to mention First Cancellation), Dr. Ken may have the edge over Grandfathered and Truth Be Told: The latter two have stars that could, in theory, carry a well-executed comedy, whereas Ken Jeong (The Hangover, Community) is the…
23 Sep 2015
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The Player (Thursday, Sept. 24, NBC), series debut: Philip Winchester (Strike Back) plays Alex Cane, an ex-FBI operative now working as a Las Vegas security consultant who’s approached by the mysterious “Mr. Johnson” (Wesley Snipes—yes, that Wesley Snipes) to play a game: Try to stop these high-stakes crimes while a secret society of the super-rich bets on the outcome, aided by a high-tech “crime prediction” computer. So, it’s Person of Interest with a pit boss. Snipes and Winchester are solid, and the action is flashy (The Player comes from the same producers as The Blacklist), but there’s also a tired “Who killed my wife?!” subplot—and the fact that NBC hasn’t launched a viable Thursday-at-9 player since ER ended. I could say roll the dice on this one … but I won’t. Heroes Reborn (Thursday, Sept. 24, NBC), series debut: Noah (Jack Coleman) is back, and Hiro (Masi Oka) and Matt…
16 Sep 2015
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Blindspot (Monday, Sept. 21, NBC), series debut: A naked woman (Jaimie Alexander) turns up in a duffle bag in Times Square, covered in mysterious tattoos and devoid of memory. One of the largest tats is the jumping-off point: “Kurt Weller FBI.” Turns out the ink is a tapestry of clues about future terrorist attacks on American soil, and it’s up to Agent Weller (Sullivan Stapleton) and “Jane Doe” to decode and stop the crimes—and maybe learn her identity. Sure, Blindspot is another Quirky Outsider Works With the Law drama, but there are enough twists and tension to almost justify the “next Blacklist” hype. Alexander is note-perfect here, while Stapleton could stand to dial down the tough-guy routine (probably a residual of five seasons on Cinemax’s Strike Back). Nagging first-episode question: Are we really to believe that no one in the New York City FBI speaks Chinese? Minority Report (Monday, Sept.…
09 Sep 2015
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Longmire (Thursday, Sept. 10, Netflix), season premiere: Cable net A&E canceled modern-day western Longmire after its third and strongest-yet season in 2014, because the viewership demo was too old. While A&E forged ahead with shrewd new programming like Neighbors With Benefits (canceled after two episodes), Netflix picked up Longmire for a 10-episode Season 4 that continues right where it left off: Wyoming Sheriff Walt Longmire (Robert Taylor) is finally on to the man who had his wife killed, and Deputy Branch Connally (Bailey Chase) is once again on the wrong end of a gun. Think of Longmire as a grizzled cousin to Justified, but with more pathos than clever quips, and binge all four seasons post-haste. Z Nation (Friday, Sept. 11, Syfy), season premiere: In its debut season a year ago, lo-fi zombie romp Z Nation enjoyed the luxury of airing in a Walking Dead-free zone for a few weeks.…