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23 Aug 2017

True TV: 'Party Boat' Streams in Your Face; 'The Tick' Returns Thanks to Amazon!

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Party Boat is an ’80s-riffic movie about a party boat on a streamer service thing called Crackle. Party Boat is an ’80s-riffic movie about a party boat on a streamer service thing called Crackle.

There may be a future version of this column that covers streaming content, and only streaming content, because that’s where we’re headed. (Some of you are already there; the Cord-Cutter Cabal constantly tells me, “But I don’t have regular TV anymore! What about meee?!”) There will be no networks, only on-demand platforms where everyone watches whatever at their own pace—it could be an HBO series from three years ago, or last week’s Bachelor in Paradise, or the latest TMZ report on Bachelor in Paradise STI stats; who knows? Anyway: Party Boat (movie premiere Thursday, Aug. 24, Crackle) is an ’80s-riffic movie about a party boat, on streamer Crackle. You’ll probably check it out in 2021.

A Netflix comedy starring Kathy Bates as a marijuana shop proprietor? How could this possibly suck? Easy: It’s created and produced by the king-daddy laugh-track-hack himself, Chuck Lorre. Disjointed (series debut Friday, Aug. 25, Netflix) stars Bates as a Los Angeles “weed legend” who opens her cannabis dispensary with her recently graduated son and sundry “budtenders”; lazy, outdated hippie yuks and mellow-harshing canned laughter ensue. Disjointed is no Weeds or High Maintenance—hell, it’s not even The Big Bang Theory, Lorre’s pinnacle achievement in co-opting a richly eccentric niche of society and dumbing it down for ’Merica. Bates bailed on American Horror Story for this?

This column reviewed the first live-action take on cartoon hero The Tick back in 2001, an initial Fox failure that’s now a beloved cult item for legions of fans (unlike this column, the continued existence of which is usually met with: “You still doing that?”). For The Tick (series debut Friday, Aug. 25, Amazon Prime), creator Ben Edlund is back onboard and determined to make it stick this time, delivering a darker and slightly more serious tone—more Christopher Nolan Batman, less Adam West Batman. The shift showed in the 2016 Amazon pilot, and carries through the new series; Peter Serafinowicz is no Patrick Warburton, but this isn’t the same Tick. We’ll get over the absence of Batmanuel.

Instead of my usual bitching about the Best “Rock” Video category (Coldplay and Fall Out Boy still in … I’m out), I’ll focus on the performers at the 2017 MTV Video Music Awards (Sunday, Aug. 27, MTV). Host Katy Perry will obviously have to show up and lip sync, but will Miley Cyrus make it after bailing on the Teen Choice Awards? The closest thing to a rock band performing this year is 30 Seconds to Mars, which reminds me: Have you seen the 2012 documentary Artifact, about the band’s battle with the record company? It’s 10 percent valuable music-biz lesson, and 90 percent Jared Leto in ridiculous hats and scarves, which I believe to be a performance-art piece within the doc. Watch that instead.

Right about now is when the Thronies start losing their shit. Game of Thrones (Season 7 finale Sunday, Aug. 27, HBO) is closing its penultimate chapter, so cue the handwringing: “Why is this season only seven episodes long?!” Because that’s how many they made. “Why do we have to wait a whole year for the final season?!” Because that’s how long it’ll take to make it. “But why does Game of Thrones have to end?!” Because the show runners have to get to work on their brilliant, already-so-well-received idea for a series about a Confederate United States. “But what will I watch now?! There’s literally nothing else on!” If only there were a guide, perhaps in weekly written form, recommending good TV shows. If only.

In honor of the 100th episode of Suits (Wednesday, Aug. 30, USA), this column will attempt to answer the question, “So, what the hell is Suits?” The crux of the story is that a big-deal Manhattan lawyer (Gabriel Macht) hired a young law-school dropout (Patrick J. Adams) to work in his corporate law firm/apparent modeling agency … and 99 episodes later, here we are! A whole lotta posing, hair-tossing and exclamations of, “I’ll see you in court!” happened between then and now; fortunately, USA’s White Collar ceased to be a point of series confusion years ago. (White Collar was about beautiful FBI agents and a rogue outsider—totally different.) Happy 100th, Suits!

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