BoJack Horseman (Friday, July 22, Netflix): Prior to the premiere of Season 3, Netflix released promo art that placed cartoon character BoJack Horseman (voiced by Will Arnett) in the same league as troubled dramatic TV anti-heroes Tony Soprano, Don Draper and Frank Underwood. It’s no joke: They all struggled to find happiness within the American Dream (though it could be argued that House of Cards’ Frank Underwood is simply nuts—and still a better presidential choice than anyone running in reality), and so continues BoJack. He should be happy: He’s back in the public eye, doing press and Oscar (!) campaigning for his dream starring role in Secretariat … but it’s all meaningless, hollow crap. More so than depression and ennui—yes, a cartoon has forced me to break out the fancy words—BoJack Horseman is about the aggressive shallowness of Hollywood and celebrity, and Round 3 goes even deeper and darker than before. This might be a good time to mention that this show is also funny as hell. Really, it’s everything as hell. BoJack Horseman should win all of the awards, not just the handful of niche critical trophies it has already … but awards don’t bring joy or a sense of achievement … so … I don’t know what to think. Thanks, BoJack.
Looking: The Movie (Saturday, July 23, HBO), movie: Canceled more than a year ago by HBO, Looking was never a flashy “Gay!” series, but a low-key and honest, if occasionally over-talky, depiction of everyday (but, admittedly, ridiculously good-looking) gay men in San Francisco—which could be why it only lasted 18 episodes. Unlike those in the then-groundbreaking Queer as Folk more than a decade ago, the characters of Looking have nothing to prove or reveal; they’re already out and established, and just trying to get through this thing called life. Looking: The Movie is a 90-minute series wrap-up, and easily one of the more satisfying TV finales in recent memory. (At least it’s better than the unexpected ends of HBO’s Vinyl, Togetherness, The Brink, Enlightened, Bored to Death, etc.)
Ozzy and Jack’s World Detour (Sunday, July 24, History), series debut: Ozzy Osbourne and son Jack are back on reality TV—but this time, it’s educational-ish. The 10-episode Ozzy and Jack’s World Detour is a travelogue history lesson (on the History channel? GTFO) hitting such destinations as Mount Rushmore, Stonehenge, Roswell, the Jamestown Settlement, Sun Studios and even The Alamo, which Ozzy famously pissed on in the ’80s when he was chemically insane (as opposed to whatever strain of insane he is currently). World Detour has its share of funny, obviously scripted “reality” moments, but Ozzy’s indecipherable mutterings and Jack’s … what does he bring to the table again? … feel 10-years played-out.
MadTV (Tuesday, July 26, The CW), series re-debut: The CW’s recent 20th anniversary special for MadTV proved that there’s little from the 1995-2009 Fox sketch-comedy series that holds up today—so this must be the perfect time to revive it as summer filler. The “new” MadTV features an unknown cast of varyingly talented newbies who could have come up with something better if not stuck with an ancient brand name that means nada in 2016, as well as forced guest-appearances by original Mad cast members dredging up best-forgotten characters from the past. (Seriously, no one needs to endure “Mrs. Swan” and “Stuart” ever, ever again.) Even if Maya and Marty hadn’t just destroyed any possibility of sketch comedy working in modern primetime, MadTV would still be a tough (re)sell.
Wayward Pines (Wednesday, July 27, Fox), season finale: Well, that was a complete waste of time. It’s getting harder to remember how good Season 1—you know, the originally planned only season—of Wayward Pines was; I’d say the limp, unnecessary follow-up is the Speed 2: Cruise Control of sophomore TV seasons, but poor Jason Patric (who replaced Keanu Reeves in that movie, and Matt Dillon on Wayward Pines) has been through enough, and I can’t completely dismiss 1997 Sandra Bullock in a bikini. Anyway: I’m rooting sooo hard for the mutants outside the walls of Wayward Pines (the unfortunately named “Abbies”) to kill off all of the remaining humans on Earth and any chance of a third season. The only remaining question is … Is Speed 2 on Blu-ray?