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Last updateFri, 16 Sep 2016 12pm

TV

28 Dec 2016
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The Mick (Sunday, Jan. 1; Fox): Broke lowlife Mackenzie (Kaitlin Olson, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia) gets stuck raising the kids of her just-incarcerated rich sister. It’s Uncle Buck meets Mary Poppins meets, well, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. Ransom (Sunday, Jan. 1; CBS): A good-looking hostage negotiator (Luke Roberts) and his good-looking team resolve kidnapping and ransom cases in Your Town, USA (which is really Canada—shhh!). Ransom moves to Saturdays after tonight, so it’s already canceled. One Day at a Time (Friday, Jan. 6; Netflix): A remake of the ’70s sitcom—with a Cuban-American twist, complete with single mom (Justina Machado), precocious kids, a sleazy building manager and, unfortunately, a damned laugh track. Almost had it, Netflix. Emerald City (Friday, Jan. 6; NBC): A dark “reimagining” of The Wizard of Oz that’s been kicked around for two years, with a smoldering Puerto Rican Dorothy (Adria Arjona, True Detective) and a…
21 Dec 2016
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No, not all of the great shows are here; 2016 served up too much quality TV to contain in this space, while not all of the great shows rise to the level of year-end best lists. (Too many other critical lists are surrendering space to Stranger Things; just sayin’.) These 16 shows are binge-worthy alternatives to holiday family time—Merry Xmas! Westworld (HBO): This Westworld was smarter, sleeker and more terrifying than its 1973 origin flick, but it also imbued the Wild West park’s androids with a tragic “humanity.” (Evan Rachel Wood and Thandie Newton for all of the awards.) It also reminded us that actual flesh-and-blood humans are just the worst. Veep (HBO): Now more than ever, huh? Vice president-turned-president-turned-footnote Selina Meyer (Julia Louis-Dreyfus) suffered an exhausting political beating months before the rest of us did in 2016, but at least hers was funny (and slightly more F-bomb-heavy). Forget Idiocracy—Veep…
14 Dec 2016
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In a year so loaded with great TV, it’s easy to forget the crap—unless you’re a professional television watcher in need of holiday-month filler. The best will come next week; here are (some of) the worst: Kevin Can Wait (CBS): Kevin James plays a recently retired cop who finds that life at home with the family is exactly like a shitty sitcom from the ’80s. He’s fat! He’s dumb! He’s ’Merica! And we’re in for at least four years of it, if not eight. Thanks for nothing (again), CBS. Party Over Here (Fox): A bait-and-switch Andy Samberg/Paul Scheer production that hinted at a Lonely Island sketch show, but instead pitted a trio of unknown (but talented) female comics with no material against Saturday Night Live. Just stay out of late night, Fox. Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders (CBS): It has a decent cast (including Gary Sinise and Alana de la Garza),…
07 Dec 2016
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SuperMansion: War on Christmas (Thursday, Dec. 8, Crackle), holiday special: Oldster superhero Titanium Rex (voiced by Bryan Cranston) and his geezeriffic League of Freedom are forced to stop arguing for a hot minute to save Christmas from a new supervillain, Mr. Skibumpers (Jim Parsons), a malevolent alien who’s turned Santa Claus (Gary Anthony Williams) into a bloodthirsty murder machine wreaking havoc upon Storm City. War on Christmas is SuperMansion’s unofficial kickoff of a second season, arriving in 2017 on Crackle, that little orange-button app you should get around to trying sometime. The Robot Chicken team didn’t quite nail its debut season—about a senior-citizen stop-motion sub-Avengers—but War on Christmas is a step in the right direction, amping-up the crazy and the cohesiveness for a solid holiday entry. As psycho Santa says, we could all use “the gift of oblivion” right about now. Fuller House (Friday, Dec. 9, Netflix), season premiere: ’Merica…
30 Nov 2016
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Pacific Heat (Friday, Dec. 2, Netflix), series debut: Much has already been written about how animated Australian import Pacific Heat looks a hell of a lot like long-running American series Archer—and now here’s one more, damn it. First of all, the animation isn’t as slick as Archer’s; Pacific Heat more resembles a haphazard Microsoft Paint attempt at a tribute than a calculated rip-off. Second, the real stoopid-genius of Archer lies in its writing and voice talents, which are among the best on TV, cartoon or otherwise. The Gold Coast law-enforcement agents of Pacific Heat aren’t particularly clever or distinct, and every joke can be seen coming from a kilometer away. You could blame an Aussie/American disconnect, but remember Danger 5? That was some Down Under funny—time to bring it back, Netflix! Mr. Neighbor’s House (Friday, Dec. 2, Adult Swim), special: You probably know actor Brian Huskey as “that guy” from…
23 Nov 2016
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Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life (Friday, Nov. 25, Netflix), return: Do not, repeat, do not, watch all four seasonal 90-minute installments of what is technically Gilmore Girls’ eighth season in a single binge—even writer/producer Amy Sherman-Palladino doesn’t recommend it. But you’re going to anyway. This return to Stars Hollow has everything a Gilmore Girls fan could possibly want, and Lorelai (Lauren Graham) and Rory’s (Alexis Bledel) caffeinated banter hasn’t lost a beat since the end of the original WB/CW series nine years ago. Like all nostalgia wallows, however, A Year in the Life (the Netflix run’s unnecessary subtitle) has a few problems balancing ’Member This? with Here’s a New Thing! plot points. But it still hits all the feel buttons with a sentimentally deadly accuracy that lesser revivals like Netflix’s Fuller House crapfest can’t touch. Stretch it out over the Thanksgiving weekend, because this a lot of Gilmore…
16 Nov 2016
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Lovesick (Thursday, Nov. 17, Netflix), season premiere: The British series formerly known as Scrotal Recall returns for a second season as Lovesick. Admittedly, that’s not as catchy of a name, but how could one ever top Scrotal Recall? Dicks for the Memories? Poundtown Abbey? Doctor Strange? Anyway: Lovesick is still a romantic-ish comedy about sexually prolific Dylan (Johnny Flynn) contacting his former bedmates episode-by-episode to inform them that he has an STD; perhaps he will come across … let’s rephrase that … happen upon a Miss Right whom he may have blindly overlooked before. It’s charming-enough fluff, worth binging over the holidays after you’ve torn through Gilmore Girls, and you won’t have to explain the (new) title to the parental units. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (Fridays, The CW), new season: We’ve recently learned a hard, orange lesson about trusting polls and ratings, but the numbers show that no one is watching the…
09 Nov 2016
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Better Things (Thursday, Nov. 10, FX), season finale: Like the just-wrapped Atlanta, Better Things is a comedy like no other—on FX or elsewhere. Pamela Adlon’s semi-autobiographical story of a B-level actress/saint-level mom (her daughters are the worst) delivers no overly grand statements or sitcom-wacky situations; it just makes it through another day and drops subtle, been-there wisdoms. Better Things swings from sweet to sad to snarky with an assured precision that her creative partner Louis C.K.’s Louie never quite nailed, and Adlon subverts the first impressions of her co-stars beautifully. (OK, her daughters aren’t that bad.) Hell, FX aired the 10 episodes in random order—a note to future on-demanders—and it still worked. Thank goodness the show has been renewed for a second season. People of Earth (Mondays, TBS), new series: It’s not as instantly defined as recent TBS comedies like The Detour or Angie Tribeca (you know, as Vacation and…
02 Nov 2016
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Election Night 2016 (Tuesday, Nov. 8, ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, PBS): You could trust the Lamestream Media to give you accurate, unbiased coverage of voting results across the country, just like you could trust a urine-scented man in a ratty clown costume to baby-sit your kids in a windowless van under the overpass while you attend your political party’s “Victory!” bash at the local bar. Just sayin.’ ABC’s Your Voice Your Vote, CBS’ Campaign 2016, Fox’s You Decide 2016, NBC’s 2016 Election Night and PBS’ Newshour Election Night can’t even come up with decent titles, much less disclosure that their Liberal Media reporters and analysts are all Team Hillary. Except for that dreamy Shepard Smith, anchor of Fox’s recycled broadcast from Fox News … Election Night 2016 (Tuesday, Nov. 8, Fox News): The Make America Great Again™ crowd will be glued to Fox News tonight, grabbing for any crumbs of…
26 Oct 2016
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The Great Indoors (Thursday, Oct. 27, CBS), series debut: Well, this is uncomfortably familiar: Outdoor-adventure magazine editor Jack (Joel McHale) returns from—what else?—an adventure, only to find that the print arm of his company has been put out of its dwindling misery, and he’s now in charge of cranking out “web content” with the “digital daycare division.” Everybody knows that print is dead (pause for audible sigh from this tabloid’s publisher … and … moving on). The Great Indoors is just an excuse for hack gen-x sitcom writers to lazily mock millennials, and a waste of McHale as a snarky shadow of his former Community self. Besides, we gen-xers need to just lay off millennials and concentrate on making fun the real enemy: baby boomers. Pure Genius (Thursday, Oct. 27, CBS), series debut: A tech billionaire (Augustus Prew) enlists a maverick doctor (Dermot Mulroney—not Dylan McDermott) for his cutting-edge Silicon…