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TV

09 Oct 2013
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Is it too early for a Fall Television Death Watch/Report Card? Not for The Only TV Column That Matters™! After crunching the ratings numbers (and several plates of nachos), I’ve semi-scientifically determined where most of the shows currently sit—the new ones, the old ones, the ones you didn’t even realize were still on, etc. The following doesn’t account for yet-to-return series like Community, Raising Hope, Grimm and whatever The CW hasn’t tossed back, or upcoming debuts like Once Upon a Time in Wonderland, Almost Human, Dracula and NBC’s visionary remake of Baretta. (Just kidding … or am I?) Already Renewed Fox has already signed on for a sixth and probably/hopefully final season of Glee next year, as well as a fifth for Bob’s Burgers, but the network surprised everyone last week with an early renewal for the new Sleepy Hollow, a solid Monday-night performer despite a wacko premise and the…
02 Oct 2013
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The Millers (Thursday, Oct. 3, CBS), series debut: When news reporter Nathan (Will Arnett) gets a divorce, it inspires his father (Beau Bridges) to leave his wife of 43 years (Margo Martindale). The occasionally hilarious fallout wrecks the lives of Nathan and even his cameraman (J.B. Smoove). As expected from too-big-to-fail CBS, The Millers is another lazy sitcom, though it does overcome some lameness through the sheer comedic force of its star power, as vets Arnett (Arrested Development), Martindale (Justified), Smoove (Curb Your Enthusiasm) and Bridges (brother of The Dude) work like hell to—just barely—pull The Millers out of the crapper. But CBS viewers will watch anything after The Big Bang Theory, so who cares? Welcome to the Family (Thursday, Oct. 3, NBC), series debut: Parents Dan (Mike O’Malley, Glee) and Karina (Mary McCormack, In Plain Sight) are finally sending their daughter off to college—until she gets pregnant by her…
25 Sep 2013
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The Crazy Ones (Thursday, Sept. 26, CBS), series debut: In his … triumphant? … return to television, Robin Williams (over)plays advertising exec Simon Roberts, a whacked-out genius who’s as difficult to tolerate as he is, of course, brilliant. His daughter and partner, Sydney (Sarah Michelle Gellar), is his uptight polar opposite; forced dramedy ensues. Like another new—and funnier—CBS comedy, We Are Men (premiering Monday, Sept. 30), The Crazy Ones is a single-camera, no-laugh-track outing, which means it’s ultimately doomed: The Eyeball Network’s viewers need to be told where the punchlines are—and there ain’t none here. Homeland, Masters of Sex (Sunday, Sept. 29, Showtime), season premiere, series debut: Alleged bomber Nicholas Brody (Damian Lewis) is laying low in the Season 3 premiere of Homeland … pretty damned low. Meanwhile, things are going from bad to worse to supremely eff’dup for Carrie (Claire Danes) during the Senate investigations into the “Second 9/11”…
18 Sep 2013
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Dexter (Sunday, Sept. 22, Showtime), series finale: Since it has been going head-to-head with the fiery final episodes of Breaking Bad every Sunday, Dexter has become an unfortunate study in How Not to End a Series. Dexter (Michael C. Hall, obviously already checked out) could have split Miami long ago with Hannah (Yvonne Strahovski), but instead, he just had to stick around to take out the Brain Surgeon, his dullest serial-killer nemesis since, well, the last one. (Not to sound like a, blech, TV critic, but it’s been quite a vanilla streak since the Trinity Killer.) And sister Deb (Jennifer Carpenter) and her ridiculous season-long “journey” from lost lush to reinstated cop could have been its own telenovela, La Suerte Puta. Still, The Only TV Column That Matters™ is just as curious to see how the eighth and final season of Dexter concludes as you are. Will Dex finally be…
09 Sep 2013
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THE HYPE You’ve been hearing about them for months, and they haven’t even premiered. Sleepy Hollow Fox, premiering Monday, Sept. 16 Thanks to a spell cast during the Revolutionary War, Ichabod Crane (Tom Mison) is transported 250 years to the present—but, surprise, so is the Headless Horseman! Turns out HH is but one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and Crane must stop him. Mison is intense and broody, and Sleepy Hollow’s production is dazzlingly high-dollar and chilling, but the story (which involves a lot of exposition about American history and secret societies) might be too thinky for those expecting the escapism of Once Upon a Time or pretty much anything on The CW. The Blacklist NBC, premiering Monday, Sept. 23 Raymond “Red” Reddington (James Spader), one of the FBI’s most wanted, mysteriously turns himself in and makes an offer to help catch an even bigger fish, a previously…
11 Sep 2013
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Robocroc (Saturday, Sept. 14, Syfy), movie: It may be a summer leftover, but this cheese-saster flick has the best title after Sharknado. In Robocroc—see what I mean?—a minding-its-own-business crocodile accidentally becomes infected with military nanobots, transforming it into a “metal killing machine” (note to self: future band name) bent on chomping bikini babes at a nearby resort, because there are always bikini babes and a nearby resort. Robocroc is all the awful you’ve come to expect from Syfy, and now that every animal mash-up has been explored, it’s a perfect scene-setter for Sharkborg. Under the Dome, Siberia (Monday, Sept. 16, CBS and NBC), season finales: One is a heavily-promoted Summer Event watched by millions every week; the other is overlooked Summer Filler forgotten by even its own network—the “huh?” look on your face suggests that you have no idea what Siberia even is. Under the Dome started off strong, but…
04 Sep 2013
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Ragin’ Cajun Redneck Gators (Thursday, Sept. 5, Syfy), movie: It’s the last Syfy B-flick of the summer—and this one doesn’t live up to the idiot-genius of Sharknado. As you’ve probably guessed, Ragin’ Cajun Redneck Gators is about killer swamp-chompers; what you can’t possibly surmise is how they got that way: “Contaminated moonshine dumped in a Louisiana swamp turns the bayou’s gators—and the people who eat them—into deadly mutants.” Yes, alligators are a delicacy in the South—do you think Syfy just makes this stuff up? The “Sy” stands for syience! Boardwalk Empire (Sunday, Sept. 8, HBO), season premiere: Last year’s psycho villain Gyp Rosetti has been dispatched; one of this season’s potential antagonists is a far-more-subtle kind of weirdo: Agent Warren Knox (Brian Geraghty, The Hurt Locker) isn’t just the newbie fed he appears to be; that’s all I’m sayin.’ Meanwhile, Nucky (Steve Buscemi) cautiously gets back to Atlantic City business;…
28 Aug 2013
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On Monday, Sept. 2, FX is launching spinoff network FXX. If that’s not confusing enough—most viewers aren’t going to notice that extra “X,” no matter how many promos are beaten over their heads—the new net is taking three of FX’s biggest players in the switch. (OK, it’s two big players and a late-night talk show seen by more critics than real people.) It’s not all bad news: During the shuffle, the Fox Soccer channel will cease to exist, with most of that network’s white-knuckle coverage of leisurely jogs and 0-0 ties being parsed out to Fox Sports 1 (the former Speed channel) and Fox Sports 2 (ex-Fuel TV). The Fox News Channel will still retain the “News” in its title, as a Federal Communications Commission ruling on using the ironic quotes is currently in deadlock. What does this all mean to you, Average Joe/Jane TV Viewer? If you want to…
21 Aug 2013
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Ghost Shark (Thursday, Aug. 22, Syfy), movie: “Maybe all we gotta do is stay dry, and it’ll leave us alone,” says Victim No. 46 of Syfy’s Ghost Shark, injecting logic where it damned well doesn’t belong—but at least this is more plausible than Sharknado: “A great white shark is tortured and killed by a fisherman, then returns from the dead, exacting vengeance on all humans.” Well, all humans and Night Court’s Richard Moll, who plays a crazy lighthouse keeper (is there ever any other kind?) who teams up with some meddling kids (including 7th Heaven’s Mackenzie Rosman) to stop the spectral-chomping wrath. The only legitimately scary aspect of this flick is that I’m referencing Night Court and 7th Heaven in 2013. America’s Next Top Model (Fridays, The CW), new season: Cycle 20 (!) started a few weeks ago, but somehow, The Only TV Column That Matters™ totally missed it—and there…
14 Aug 2013
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Owner’s Manual (Thursday, Aug. 15, AMC), series debut: This week’s “That’s a Show?” award goes to Owner’s Manual, wherein two dudes attempt dangerous challenges like flying stunt planes, driving trains and brewing beer (?)—but here’s the twist you already saw coming: One follows the instruction manual, while the other follows “his gut.” The network that brought you Mad Men, Breaking Bad and The Walking Dead (and Hell on Wheels—really, it’s still a thing) sorta stepped up its lagging reality-TV game with this because, let’s face it: There was no stepping down from Small Town Security. Me, I’m holding out for the “Diffuse a Bomb” episode. Polyamory: Married and Dating (Thursday, Aug. 15, Showtime), season premiere: Try to follow this: San Diego married couple Michael and Kamala are in a four-way relationship with married couple Tahl and Jen; Tahl and Jen are both bisexual; Michael and Kamala are both dating people…