Live PD (Fridays and Saturdays, A&E), new series: Well, new-ish. A&E (the “Anything & Everything” network) has aired Live PD, which is essentially Cops meets Facebook Live in hell, since October 2016, much to the delight of slackjawed homebodies who can no longer get it up for Duck Dynasty. The “action” unfolds as a real-time ride-along, with ex-cops providing stilted commentary from a studio desk like a low-rent SportsCenter; “action” is in quotes, because Live PD captures a whole lotta nothin’ for hours on end—except for that one time when they scored footage of a guy who’d just been shot and killed over a drug deal, and A&E execs probably scored a quarterly bonus. I’m not saying that viewers of Live PD are immoral, brainless dirtbags for watching shakedowns of drunk college coeds. I am heavily implying it, though.
2017 MTV Movie and TV Awards (Sunday, May 7, MTV), special: TV critics are considered lesser lifeforms than film critics—just ask any film critic. Likewise, movie-awards shows are more highly vaunted than television-awards shows, even though TV programming is currently destroying film in terms of quality, quantity and viewership. This is why MTV has finally tacked TV onto its long-running Movie Awards, with small-screeners mixing it up with theatrical releases in categories such as Best Villain, Best Hero, Best Kiss, Best Fight Against the System (?) and Best American Story, which has TV sitcoms like Blackish and Fresh Off the Boat going up against heavy film drama Moonlight. (Confused voters will probably play it safe and vote Transparent.) At least the MTV Movie and TV Awards will be live; let’s hope host Adam DeVine takes full advantage of that.
Truth and Iliza (Tuesdays, Freeform), new series: Comedian Iliza Shlesinger won NBC’s Last Comic Standing in 2008, which, like being an American Idol victor, was a consistent ticket to obscurity and/or the state fair. However, she’s built up a solid body of work since then, including three Netflix stand-up specials and, as required by current entertainment law, a podcast, Truth and Iliza. Now, Truth and Iliza is a weekly late-night talk show, making Shlesinger one of the few women in a bro-crowded field. (There’s Samantha Bee; there’s Chelsea Handler … and that’s about it.) Unlike TV Land’s recent crash-and-burn attempt to turn a pop-cultural podcast into a late-night cable series, Throwing Shade, Truth and Iliza is a smart mix of social commentary, conversational politics and Shlesinger’s “casual feminism”—it maybe too smart for Freeform, even.
Nobodies (Wednesdays, TV Land), new series: Oh, TV Land—what does it want to be? The Jim Gaffigan Show seemed like a perfect beacon, but Gaffigan canceled himself, leaving a hodgepodge of network sitcom reruns, edgy-adjacent originals (Younger, Teachers) and George Lopez’s latest in a long line of laughers. (More on him in a moment.) And then there’s Nobodies, the kind of behind-the-scenes Hollywood-biz comedy that Showtime couldn’t get enough of in a previous century. Comics Hugh Davidson, Larry Dorf and Rachel Ramras play versions of themselves, toiling as writers for a kids’ cartoon (The Fartlemans, yep) while pitching a script for a potential big-budget comedy for Melissa McCarthy (who appears, frequently and hilariously). Ramras’ borderline-filthy jokes hint that maybe this should have been on Showtime.
Lopez (Wednesdays, TV Land), new season: Now in Season 2, Lopez continues to be the funniest of all—what, 50?—George Lopez-related TV comedies, but not necessarily because of Lopez himself. Like Curb Your Enthusiasm, Louie, Maron and others before it, Lopez is about the daily life and career speed bumps (and severe social-media confusion) of a veteran stand-up comedian; more so than those did, Lopez makes great use of its supporting characters. George’s driver Manolo (Anthony “Citric” Campos), as well as comic friend/squatter Maronzio (Maronzio Vance), juice every scene they’re in, but it’s indefatigable 20-something manager Olly (Hayley Huntley) who’s arguably the real star of Lopez, a caffeinated firehose of positive-ish support and neon fashion sense. I’d like to pitch an Olly spin-off … to a different network.