Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways (Friday, Oct. 17, HBO), series debut: If you’re new to The Only TV Column That Matters™, you should know that I like my music played and produced by humans—loudly, with electric guitars and minimal artificial sweeteners. In what’s left of the pop mainstream, Foo Fighters are the last band standing who fit that bill, and bless frontman-turned-director Dave Grohl for flying the rock ’n’ roll flag every opportunity he gets. Sonic Highways is an extension of Grohl’s Sound City doc, following the Foos to eight iconic studios in eight cities as they record and soak up local musical history at each stop. (Grohl even sits down with President Barack Obama in the Washington, D.C., episode, because, well, he can.) Grab any kid who thinks an iPad is a recording studio and Auto-Tune is an indispensable engineering tool, and make him watch Sonic Highways. (Scroll down to see the trailer.)
Transporter: The Series (Saturday, Oct. 18, TNT), series debut: Personally, I would have preferred Crank: The Series (and I have a spec script, potential investors), but a serialized take on Jason Statham’s Transporter franchise makes more sense. The lead casting of Chris Vance doesn’t; his Frank Martin lacks Statham’s menacing charisma and hairline (no baldies on TV—unless you’re Larry David), but at least he’s British and, really, all a Transporter script requires is explode-y action, exotic locales and dangerous packages and/or distressed damsels to transport. The series delivers on those fronts, and doesn’t dumb it down, either, likely thanks to showrunner Frank Spotnitz (The X-Files; underrated 2012 actioner Hunted). Wonder if he or Dave Grohl would be interested in my Crank screenplay …
American Dad! (Monday, Oct. 20, TBS), season premiere: The three American Dad! episodes that aired on Fox in September were leftovers from Season 10; the 15-episode 11th season will run on TBS. (This information is provided for readers who actually care about “seasons,” “networks,” “episodes” and other such TV minutia.) Despite the TBS promos, it’s not any “edgier” than before, but American Dad! is still smarter and more consistently funny than the series from whence it spun off, Family Guy. Even funnier: Fox canceled American Dad! to make room for Mulaney, which had one of the lowest-rated debuts in television history a couple of weeks ago. Well, not so much funny as an I Told You So moment (which, also for you newbies, I take advantage of as often as possible).
True Tori (Tuesday, Oct. 21, Lifetime), season premiere: There was no reason for the existence of the first season of True Tori, Tori Spelling and husband Dean McDermott’s 43rd reality show, but Season 2? Now that the producers have made McDermott slightly interesting by painting him as a cheating scumbag (with some woman named “Emily Goodhand” … yeah, right) who performed some kinky sex acts on poor Tori (or, more likely, had her perform them on him—strap that image on), there’s still no argument to be made for it. Wait—Tori might be pregnant with Child No. 5? Never mind; all priorities are in their proper places.
Web Therapy (Wednesday, Oct. 22, Showtime), season premiere: Lisa Kudrow is back for a fourth season as online therapist Fiona Wallice, with a new Web Therapy patient list that includes Gwyneth Paltrow, Jon Hamm, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Matthew Perry, Allison Janney, Lauren Graham, Craig Ferguson, Calista Flockhart, Dax Shepard and Nina Garcia. But get this: In November, Kudrow returns to HBO in the comeback ofThe Comeback—she’ll be headlining comedies on two premium-cable networks simultaneously. This is likely to be a touchy subject in that session with ex-Friend Matthew “Mr. Cancellation” Perry.
DVD ROUNDUP FOR OCT. 21!
Life After Beth
When Beth (Aubrey Plaza, pictured below) suddenly dies and then comes back to life, her boyfriend (Dane DeHaan) blissfully overlooks the fact that she’s turning into a violent, flesh-hungry zombie who can only be calmed by … smooth jazz? There’s the relationship-killer. (Lionsgate)
Five high-school friends skip class to party (so far, so good) in an abandoned mental institution (uh oh) notorious for ghost sightings and Satanic rituals (aw, hell no). Did no one read the abandoned mental institution Yelp reviews first? Kids. (MVD)
The Purge: Anarchy
On the one night of the year when all crime is legal, a man (Frank Grillo) bent on revenge for his son’s murder ends up saving innocents instead—which constitutes anarchy against The Purge, because The Purge itself is anarchy … right? (Universal)
Jay (Jason Segal) and Annie (Cameron Diaz) make a sex tape, which is accidentally made public via the cloud. We made fun of the “cloud” setup when Sex Tape premiered, but who’s laughing now, Jennifer Lawrence? Kate Upton? Nick Hogan? (Sony)
In the post-apocalyptic future, a super-train that never stops carries the reminder of mankind around the world—and, surprise, the rich are still dicks. Until one man (Chris Evans) leads a revolt for control of the engine—or at least the bar car. (Anchor Bay)
More New DVD/VOD Releases (Oct. 21)
Autumn Blood, Bloodworx, CrazySexyCool: The TLC Story, Earth to Echo, The Fluffy Movie, The Housewife Slasher, Mad Men: The Final Season Pt. 1, Misfire, RoboRex, The Scribbler, See No Evil 2, Super Babes, Swamphead, Wrong Turn 6: Last Resort.