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31 May 2017

True TV: 'Flaked' and 'Fear the Walking Dead' Return; Jim Jefferies Takes on Late Night

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Season 2 of Will Arnett's Flaked is six episodes instead of eight—Netflix’s way of saying, “Get to the damned point.” Season 2 of Will Arnett's Flaked is six episodes instead of eight—Netflix’s way of saying, “Get to the damned point.”

Somebody must have watched the first season of Will Arnett’s Flaked (Season 2 premiere Friday, June 2; Netflix), right? I mean, I did, but I get paid to watch shows … at least I think I still do. Arnett’s recovering-but-not-really alcoholic Chip wasn’t exactly 2016’s most sympathetic character—a 40-something Venice Beach emotional leech who lied to his friends, sold out his community and routinely slept with women half his age. But! Late in Season 1, a satisfying-ish payoff finally arrived, which might explain why Season 2 is six episodes instead of eight—Netflix’s way of saying, “Get to the damned point,” maybe. Flaked is about Chip’s redemption this time around, and the show is asking for a second chance as well. Plus, it’s all just visually gorgeous; more TV series should be filmed through Instagram filters.

Meanwhile, would you believe that it’s already time for Fear the Walking Dead (Season 3 premiere Sunday, June 4; AMC)? It seems like only yesterday that you were screaming, “I’m so done with The Walking Dead!” at your TV, and here’s another run of the AMC prequel that bears the impossible burden of not being Better Call Saul. Now that Madison, Travis and Alicia have been kicked out of the Hotel Zombiefornia, they’re trying to flee Mexico and cross back onto the U.S.—too bad a band of border patriots are there enforcing anti-immigration policy, as Ofelia has already learned the hard way. The most intriguing new development on FTWD is the addition of Buffy the Vampire Slayer wildcard Emma Caulfield to the cast in a still-mysterious role. As for Nick … yeah, no one cares about Nick.

Speaking of fighting for your life against impossible odds and split ends: I’m Dying Up Here (series debut Sunday, June 4; Showtime), based on William Knoedelseder’s nonfiction book of the same name, dramatizes the struggles of Sunset Strip comedians in the ’70s, bad hair and all. Even though the “it’s a hard-knock life being a comic” trope is everywhere—most recently, and most gently, portrayed in Pete Holmes’ Crashing—the cast of I’m Dying Up Here is impressive: Melissa Leo, Ari Graynor, Michael Angarano, Clark Duke, Andrew Santino, Erik Griffin, R.J. Cyler, Al Madrigal and Jake Lacy, with drop-ins from Jon Daly, Robert Forster, Alfred Molina, Sebastian Stan and others (but not exec producer Jim Carrey). It’s like Boogie Nights, but with dick jokes instead of actual dicks. Ba-dum-bump!

The shoot-first-don’t-bother-with-questions-later action hero ’Merica needs now more than ever returns in Decker: Unsealed (Season 2 premiere Sunday, June 4; Adult Swim), Tim Heidecker’s … tribute? … to Tom Clancy novels, Steven Seagal movies and the comedic power of utterly incompetent production. How incompetent? In last year’s debut TV season, the show was titled Decker: Unclassified; this time, it’s Decker: Unsealed—referring to secret government files, and it means the same damned thing! Anyway: Superspy Jack Decker (Heidecker) and his codebreaker sidekick Jonathan Kington (Gregg Turkington) face new threats national and personal, if not at all logical, with guest appearances from powerhouse Hollywood A-listers like Joey Travolta, Jimmy McNichol and Steve Railsback. What, no Scott Baio?

If you think that sounds stoopid, you’ve obviously never seen Stitchers (Season 3 premiere Monday, June 5; Freeform). Kirsten (Emma Ishta), a ridiculously good-looking 20-something with no discernable personality and “temporal dysplasia” (no sense of time—and no, this condition isn’t real), is recruited by a black-ops government outfit to have her consciousness “stitched” into the quickly-slipping-away minds of the recently dead to help solve crimes, because, science. After an initial season of misplaced grim seriousness, Stitchers lightened up and embraced the dumb, adding Allison Scagliotti (Warehouse 13) for comic relief and dropping hints as to why the Stitcher program even exists (which will finally be revealed this season). If it all sounds similar to the methodology of iZombie, you’re overthinking it.

No one at FX was overthinking the relocation of the late, great Legit to then-baby network FXX a couple of years ago, which essentially killed the potential-laden comedy, helmed by Jim Jefferies. Nevertheless, the Aussie comic persisted with a string of solid stand-up specials that have now led to The Jim Jefferies Show (series debut Tuesday, June 6; Comedy Central). His new not-quite-a-talk-show follows the format adopted by comedians like Chelsea Handler and Iliza Schlesinger, among others: some monologuing, some desk work, some man-on-the-street chatter, and some international flair, broken up with the kind of biting, scorched-earth political and cultural commentary that only Jefferies can deliver. If you think the other late-night hosts have been hard on the Cheeto in Chief, you might want to brace for Hurricane Jim.

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