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Last updateMon, 20 Apr 2020 1pm

TV

01 Jul 2020
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If you were an HBO Now subscriber prior to last month, you may have noticed that it somehow became HBO Max overnight. Or maybe it didn’t—it’s sheer confusion in the land of HBO streaming. Maybe you still have HBO Now, which is just HBO. Meanwhile, as of the end of the July, HBO Go will be HBO gone. Anyway: HBO Max is the New Hotness, because it streams all the HBO shows, plus some exclusive originals, though the only one worth mentioning is Doom Patrol, the greatest series ever—seriously, you need it in your life. The rest are just HBO Meh. The real draw of HBO Max is its deep library of classic shows from HBO and corporate parent WarnerMedia, which is owned by AT&T, which in turn is owned by … 5G Satan? Could be, but they don’t pay me enough here for that kind of investigative journalism. We’ll…
02 Jun 2020
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Perhaps the biggest tragedy of These Uncertain Times is the plight of our precious film critics: With no movies in theaters, they’re reduced to covering new releases debuting … on TV. The horror—reduced to the level of a common television critic! Thoughts and prayers. Meanwhile, over here in the TV streamverse, business is booming. You may think you’re caught up on all the shows—having been stuck in lockdown for months with nothing but a remote and your own existential dread—but no; there’s always more. (TV, that is … well, existential dread, too.) Here are nine series that debuted recently that you might have missed, a couple of which were brought to my attention by listeners of my podcast, TV Tan. They’re a sharp dozen. The Dress Up Gang (Season 1 on TBS): L.A. roommates Donnie (Donnie Divanian) and Cory (Cory Loykasek) have a squirmy, surreal dad/son dynamic straight out of…
05 May 2020
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To paraphrase Dr. Hunter S. Thompson, “When the going gets stupid, the stupid turn pro.” Now is the time for comedy, so put down the Clorox mojito; turn off Contagion (you can wait until after Gwyneth Paltrow’s brain is removed—it’s my favorite scene, too); and open yourself up to the idea of relaxing with some stupid sitcoms. Trust me; I’m a professional. Dumb comedies have a strange, soothing effect on the psyche that you just can’t get from other modes of TV. (Reality shows with screeching blow-up dolls throwing White Claws at each other might have a similar upshot, but I’m certainly not going to watch that shit to find out.) Here are 13 recent comedies to stream right now, ranging from the truly stupid to the deceptively dumb-but-subliminally-genius. Or you could just binge the entirety of Friends on HBO Max—you choose your own brain-removal machine. (Cue The Cult riff.)…
01 Apr 2020
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You’re out of a job. You’ve been stuck inside for weeks. You’ve re-watched Tiger King so many times that you’re starting to ask, “What was the crime here? Loving big cats and the Seth Wadley Auto Group too much? Free Joe Exotic!” Shut-in delirium can only countered with new streams of entertainment—preferably at no extra cost, because that gub’ment check will only go so far. This month, streaming TV services Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Showtime, CBS All Access, Shudder, Sundance Now, Acorn TV and Urban Movie Channel have extended their free-trial windows to 30 days. New streamer Quibi will let you have up to 90 days free, which is nearly enough time to figure out, “What the fuck is a Quibi?” Beyond all that: There are also plenty of totally free, no-strings streaming TV apps out there to take advantage of through Roku, Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Chromecast…
03 Mar 2020
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In the winter of 1997, great American sketch series Mr. Show With Bob and David revealed the true secret of thespianism: “All acting is, is jumping up and down and screaming a lot.” I drop this bit of knowledge not to entice you to watch Mr. Show (though you totally should, on HBO Now), but to warn you that Adam Sandler’s inexplicably acclaimed Uncut Gems arrives on VOD this month. Film critics … what the hell? Anyway: Here are seven TV series that are actually worth streaming in March, the lamest of the winter months. It’s not cold; it’s not warm; assholes are drinking green beer … again, what the hell? Better Call Saul (Seasons 1-4 on Netflix; Season 5 on AMC): Speaking of Mr. Show, can we take a beat to appreciate Bob Odenkirk? Yes, everyone on Breaking Bad prequel Better Call Saul is fantastic—Rhea Seehorn in particular—but Odenkirk’s…
06 Feb 2020
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Like you, I was on the fence about the whole “The world ended in 2012, and we’ve been existing in an eff’dup alternate reality ever since” theory. But then the resurrection of the XFL was announced, so there’s no denying it: This is another dimension, and it is OFF. For those unaware, the XFL was an “xtreme” football league launched by World Wrestling Entertainment in 2001. You don’t remember it, because the XFL crashed and burned after one mismanaged dumpster-fire of a season … or because your memory was wiped by the 2012 shift. But now it’s back! Why? Stop thinking so hard. Here are the XFL teams we’ll all be following to glory, streaming on ABC, Fox and ESPN beginning Saturday, Feb. 8. D.C. Defenders (Debut: Saturday, Feb. 8 on ABC): Washington D.C.’s 68th pro sports franchise will be led to violent, bloodletting victory by head coach Pep Hamilton.…
29 Dec 2019
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New Year, new you? Likely not—but at least there’s new TV to stream. You’re thinking, “New TV? I’m not even caught up on last year’s shows!” Just accept it: Unless you somehow land a sweet gig as a pro TV reviewer, you never will. I’m not saying I’m better than you; I’m just saying … Onward and upward—or at least fast-forward. Here are 11 new streaming shows to kick off the New Year. (I didn’t say “new decade,” because that starts in 2021. Don’t @ me.) Reprisal (streaming now on Hulu): A flashy bouillabaisse of Tarantino pulp, rockabilly fetishism and neon-noir camp, Reprisal was lost in the December streaming overload—and I know that WTF? synopsis certainly didn’t help. The plot is simpler than the execution: A wronged woman (Abigail Spencer) is out for revenge against the savage hot-rod gang who left her for dead. Reprisal is weird and imperfect, but…
02 Dec 2019
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Most review columns are dropping their “Best of 2019” lists right about now, thanks to a deadly combo of holiday resignation and critical narcissism. On one hand, it’s almost Christmas, so who cares? On the other, critics absolutely must disseminate their invaluable hot takes to the masses, because how will The Sheep know what was good if they’re not told?! Screw the tree—people need to know about Parasite! I’m not playing like that; there are too many shows to stream. Here are nine series from this fall alone you might have missed—so tune out the family, and catch up. Succession (Seasons 1-2 on HBO Now): Forget Game of Thrones and The Sopranos—the most cutthroat family on HBO is Succession’s Roy clan. A black AF satire of wealth and passive-aggressive family dysfunction, Succession follows a vaguely demented patriarch (Brian Cox) dangling the keys to the empire before his damaged, power-hungry kids.…
05 Nov 2019
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Think you’re already oversubscribed to streaming TV services? Bend over, and grab your HDMI cables, because November has just dropped two more on you: Disney+ and Apple TV+. Also, HBO Max, Peacock and Quibi are coming in 2020. But the Purge may happen first. Back to Disney+ and Apple TV+: Disney+ costs $6.99 a month, while Apple TV+ goes for $4.99—are they worth it? Here are eight original series that may or may not sway you to subscribe to yet another new app. High School Musical: The Musical: The Series (Disney+): Right below Twilight and Saw on the list of 2000s reboots no one asked for rests High School Musical, the 2006-08 series of Disney Channel movies (though I’m all in for a Twilight/Saw mashup). In mockumentary HSM:TM:TS, students meta-stage a production of the classic High School Musical. That sound in the distance is the universe imploding—catchy beat, no? The…
02 Oct 2019
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The original Halloween (1978) and Friday the 13th (1980) movies didn’t invent the “slasher” genre, but they did kick off a bloody wave of horror that ruled the ’80s. Which makes sense—have you seen archival photos of ’80s people? They needed some killing. Since the entire month of October has been swallowed up by Halloween, Inc.™, Content Shifter is digging up some lesser-known ’80s slasher flicks. There’s a reason you’ve haven’t heard of most of these: They’re terrible AF. Some don’t even hit that “so bad it’s good” sweet spot—meeting a “13” quota isn’t easy, just sayin.’ Here are 13 ’80s slasher flicks to stream between the Halloween parties that nobody invites me to anymore. You dress up as Sexy Ben Shapiro one time … Slumber Party Massacre II (1987; Prime Video, Tubi, Shudder, YouTube): High-schooler Courtney (Crystal Bernard) takes her girl group on a weekend retreat, only to have…

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