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Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

Girls (Sunday, Feb. 12, HBO), season premiere: Yes, Girls creator/star Lena Dunham has made some astoundingly stupid statements on social media—isn’t that what social media is for?—but she’s also cranked out a half-dozen solid seasons of an HBO series, so she’s far more than just a “privileged snowflake.” Season 6 will be the last for Girls (though there may be a follow-up movie), and Brooklynites Hannah (Dunham), Marnie (Allison Williams), Shoshanna (Zosia Mamet) and Jessa (Jemima Kirke) are totally different, and somehow exactly the same, as they were in the beginning. Girls’ infamously un-glam sex scenes and monologues continue, but it’s Dunham’s nimble comedy writing that deserves the attention—lines like “I don’t give a shit about anything, yet I simultaneously have opinions about everything” are as funny as they are instantly relatable (to some of us writers, anyway).

Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis (Monday, Feb. 13, HBO), documentary: Locally born party-rockers Eagles of Death Metal were a cult band, more or less, prior to the November 2015 terrorist attack at a Paris concert that claimed 89 lives—now, they’re a slightly more-notorious cult band who, surprisingly, still haven’t been sued by Don Henley of the Eagles proper. Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis (Our Friends) isn’t just about the Bataclan incident and the band’s subsequent return to play for Paris fans; it also explores the decades-long, yin-yang friendship between EODM founders Jesse Hughes and Josh Homme (of Queens of the Stone Age). It’s a sweet and sometimes harrowing story with a triumphant conclusion. If Nos Amis inspires some more sales of Eagles of Death Metal’s four excellent, ramshackle rock ’n’ roll records, even better.

Humans (Monday, Feb. 13, AMC), season premiere: Before HBO’s Westworld, AMC’s Humans was delving into lifelike-androids-among-us drama in a more understated manner. (Four whole episodes passed in Season 1 before someone had sex with a robot.) Busy London couple Joe and Laura (Tom Goodman-Hill and Katherine Parkinson) bought a refurbished “Synth” (a human-like robot servant, Mia, coolly/creepily played by Gemma Chan) who displayed flashes of organic emotion and passive-aggressive tendencies. (Never, ever buy “refurbished”; eBay 101.) What could go wrong? Everything, of course, and now Mia and her like-minded “family” of Synths are loose in the populace with the “consciousness code” (a backdoor switch that could make all Synths “wake up” and toss off their servitude). It’s going to be a looong time before Westworld returns—get some Humans in your life.

You Me Her (Tuesday, Feb. 14, Audience/DirecTV), season premiere: Last year’s surprise polyamory rom-com (!) played wacky-to-serious-and-back-again hijinks out over 10 near-perfect episodes that rung comically real. Then, You Me Her was about an unexpected love triangle between bored Portland couple Jack (Greg Poehler) and Emma (Rachel Blanchard), and free-spirited escort Izzy (Priscilla Faia), and their anxiety over hiding this new relationship, whatever it was, from their friends and family. Now, in Season 2, it’s about going public and, perhaps even harder, dealing with Izzy as a full-time housemate. The only predictable aspect of You Me Her is that the guy is going to screw things up, and inadvertent third wheel Jack is right on schedule. Happy Valentine’s Day!

Doubt (Wednesday, Feb. 15, CBS), series debut: TV's latest attempt to make Katherine Heigl a thing is yet another pretty-lawyers show—but with a twist! Attorney Sadie Ellis (Heigl) falls in lust/love with her client, a charismatic doctor (Steven Pasquale) accused of murdering his girlfriend years ago. Did he do it? Can she trust him? Will CBS somehow drag 13 episodes out of this? Meanwhile, the rest of her law firm (which includes Dulé Hill, Elliott Gould, Dreama Walker and Laverne Cox) are … around. Doubt has all of the sexy banter, perfect hair and designer clothes required of modern legal soaps, but it’s all as empty as a showroom briefcase. Quit dicking around, and just get Heigl a Fox comedy (à la The Mick) or back on Grey’s Anatomy, Hollywood.

Published in TV

When I interviewed local music legend Jesse Hughes in August 2015, he was in good spirits and quite excited about the then-soon-to-be released Eagles of Death Metal album, Zipper Down.

“This album is like John Holmes, only with a bigger dick,” Hughes told me. “I’ve never been one of those dudes who has tried to change or do something different. I pretty much want to make Little Richard proud, and I feel that this album has gotten me closer to that goal than any other record.”

Sure enough, the Eagles of Death Metal made waves with the release of Zipper Down—the band’s first new release in seven years. In fact, the Palm Desert-born band was enjoying the most critical acclaim it had ever received.

This high would not last: On Nov. 13, 2015, during an EODM concert in Paris at the world-famous Bataclan, the venue was attacked by terrorists. While the band escaped physically unharmed, 89 people lost their lives.

A new documentary directed by Colin Hanks, Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis (Our Friends), was screened at the Palm Springs International Film Festival on Saturday night, Jan. 14, at the Annenberg Theater. Both Jesse Hughes and Josh Homme attended the screening, as did Colin Hanks, who introduced the film and took questions afterward.

The film will air on HBO starting Monday, Feb. 13.

The documentary starts with Jesse Hughes at home in Los Angeles, about three months after the attack, on the day he and the rest of the band were slated to return to Europe to resume the tour. Gone is Hughes’ jovial, comedic attitude that he so often displayed while off-stage: He appears nervous as he packs his luggage and his manager hands him the boarding passes for the band and crew. He emotionally explains that the rock ’n’ roll music for which he’s always been known is now a huge question mark—because the tragedy in Paris will always be what comes up when people talk about the band.

The film covers the backstory of the band. Hughes and Homme talk about the first time they met each other, as kids in Palm Desert—and include an anecdote about Homme rescuing Hughes from bullies who had thrown him in a pool and wouldn't let him out. Homme describes Hughes as a guy who loves to talk about himself—although that talk is so amusing that you want him to keep talking.

Homme, who can't always tour with Eagles of Death Metal, was not with the band at the Bataclan. He describes being in a recording studio when he started receiving alarming text messages from the band at the time of the attack.

The band members each describe the attacks and their aftermath. While most of the members have already told these stories to VICE, Dave Catching—the band's guitarist and owner of the Rancho de la Luna studio in Joshua Tree—tells his story for the first time: He describes spending two terrorizing hours in a dressing room, hiding in the shower with the door barricaded. He said terrorists tried at various points to get into the dressing room—and that one of the terrorists eventually blew himself up nearby.

The final portion of the film shows the moment when the band finally plays again in Paris. Homme and Hughes are filmed greeting many of the survivors of the attack, shaking their hands and hugging. One man tells Hughes he saw the terrorists enter the Bataclan—and feels sorry because he didn't do anything to stop them. Hughes emotionally tells the man that he’s not at fault.

Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis (Our Friend) is a heartrending look at Hughes, a rock ’n’ roller who lived through an event that would change him and his band forever. The film pays tribute to the victims in a beautiful way, and affirms that the terrorists in no way won anything as a result of the attack.

While the Eagles of Death Metal EODM will be associated with tragedy forever, the members confirm: They still believe in rock ’n’ roll.

Eagles of Death Metal: Nos Amis (Our Friends) premieres Monday, Feb. 13, on HBO.

Published in TV