Last updateMon, 24 Aug 2020 12pm

On this week's unseasonably warm weekly Independent comics page: Jen Sorenson wonders what would happen with Watergate in today's media climate; The K Chronicles wonders what's wrong with Philadelphia Eagles fans; This Modern World has a chat with ICE Officer Friendly; Red Meat needs a substitute shortstop; and Apoca Clips critiques the Super Bowl.

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Animals (Friday, Feb. 5, HBO), series debut: HBO’s history with animated series is sparse but solid; the most-recent network original, canceled 2008-12 obscurity The Life and Times of Tim, was a dry, hilarious slice of weirdness that more than deserved a second chance on Adult Swim. (Come on, HBO and Adult Swim are owned by the same media megacorp—why can’t we Family Guy Tim back from the grave, already?) Anyway: The new Animals comes from the Duplass brothers, the guys who brought you HBO’s Togetherness and many far-less-watchable indie-flicks; this sharply-drawn cartoon hints that maybe the bros have been wasting their time on humans. Animals follows the daily lives of dogs, cats, rats, mice, horses, birds and bugs in New York City, arguably the worst residence on Earth for wildlife. The tropes are NYC comedy-typical (relationships, racial tensions, jealousies, being swallowed by snakes, etc.), but Animals’ deep bench of voice talents and clever critter-specific writing makes even 30 seconds of a rat with a podcast (voiced by Marc Maron, of course) more entertaining than the 79 minutes of the Duplass’ The Overnight that I’ll never get back. However, you probably won’t want to live with a pet ever again.

Manson’s Lost Girls (Saturday, Feb. 6, Lifetime), movie: Everything’s coming up Manson! Not only will NBC’s Aquarius, wherein David Duchovny hunts 1960s cult-leader-in-the-making Charles Manson, return this year; now there’s a Lifetime movie about the original hipster. More accurately, as per the title, Manson’s Lost Girls is about Linda Kasabian (MacKenzie Mauzy), Susan Atkins (Eden Brolin) and Leslie Van Houten (Greer Grammer), teen girls lured into Manson’s SoCal Spahn Ranch commune by free love, drugs and—just where The Man said it would lead—the occasional murder spree. This movie’s Manson (Jeff Ward) is at least more menacing than Aquarius’ hippie bore, but Manson’s Lost Girls didn’t even license the better tunes of the time. (The Turtles? Donovan? Bummer.)

Super Bowl 50 (Sunday, Feb. 7, CBS), sportsball event: I’ve been calling for dropping the pretentious Roman numerals from the Super Bowl ever since this column launched in the late ’70s in the back of The Koupon Klipper, and it’s finally happened! Vindication! And now I suppose the National Felons League (Ha! See what I did there?) will be looking for some free ink on their little football match this year—not gonna happen. The Carolina Putas and the Denver Bunkos … eh, close enough … will have to scramble for publicity on their own, and the less said about the halftime show (Coldplay … seriously, Coldplay), the better. Wait, what? The Roman numerals will be back in 2017? Oh, you bastards …

Full Frontal With Samantha Bee (Monday, Feb. 8, TBS), series debut: The late-night talk show “sausage fest,” as former Daily Show correspondent Samantha Bee calls it, has settled into a predictable groove: Jimmy Fallon does celebrity playtime; Stephen Colbert remains too smart for ’Merica; Jimmy Kimmel snags the A-listers; James Corden does celebrity playtime on MDMA; and Carson Daly is … still on, right? Meanwhile, Trevor Noah and Larry Wilmore are trying like hell to return their Comedy Central block to greatness, and my two personal favorites, Seth Meyers and Conan O’Brien, still manage to surprise occasionally. So what does Conan’s new nightly lead-in, Full Frontal With Samantha Bee, bring to the fray? Since, like you, I haven’t seen the show yet, I’ll say … a vagina. Late night is better already!

Not Safe With Nikki Glaser (Tuesday, Feb. 9, Comedy Central), series debut: Between Chelsea Lately and Full Frontal, MTV gave two women a shot in late-night talk: 2013’s Nikki and Sara Live was one of the funniest and freshest shows the network ever launched—so, naturally, it had to be canceled after 24 episodes. In her new series sans Sara Schaefer, Nikki Glaser will focus less on celebrity pop culture and get right down to topics like “losing your virginity, masturbation and putting stuff in your butt!” Not Safe is a sex-and-relationships talk show with fellow-comedian interviews and pre-taped bits—it’s been done before, but Glaser has the smarts and presence to eventually rise to the comic level of Chelsea Handler and Amy Schumer. Also, she’s on Comedy Central, not MTV, so maybe she’ll be around for a while.

Published in TV

Don’t care to watch millionaire meatbags throw a Stewie-shaped sportball around between 500 pricey commercials during many over-analyzed hours on end this weekend? Or is that just The Only TV Column That Matters™?

If you’re looking for an alternative to Super Bowl 48 (it’s the 21st century—ditch the damned Roman numerals already), options are limited. Even HBO blinked, opting to pull the premium shows you pay extra to see instead of going up against America’s Favorite Timesuck, on Sunday, Feb. 2.

While you’re waiting for the much-hyped post-game new episodes of New Girl (with Prince!) and Brooklyn Nine-Nine (with Fred Armisen … really?) on Fox, here are 16 other TV choices for Super Bowl Sunday:

Shameless, House of Lies, Episodes (Showtime): Unlike HBO, Showtime isn’t afraid of The Bowl—fresh episodes (and Episodes) all around!

Downton Abbey, Sherlock (PBS): The Brits don’t care about what ’Mericans refer to as “football,” as PBS is steadfastly presenting a new episode of Downton Abbey, and the Season 3 finale of Sherlock. Or maybe they just assume that you downloaded them months ago.

Puppy Bowl X (Animal Planet): Since the Lingerie Bowl is dead (or has gone legit—same diff), the Puppy Bowl is TV’s most-infamous counter-programming to the Super Bowl. It’s still just a pile of mutts playing in a toy stadium for hours, which has spawned knockoffs like …

The Kitten Bowl (Hallmark): Obviously. What the hell took so long? If you weren’t so preoccupied with wasting airtime on Bigfoots and tree houses, Animal Planet, you wouldn’t have gotten pwned by, of all channels, Hallmark.

The Fish Bowl (Nat Geo Wild): Literally, four hours of a fish bowl. This is the kind of programming that layoff-ridden daily newspapers actually pay to send reporters to cover at the Television Critics Association’s bi-annual press tour. Just sayin’.

The Walking Dead Marathon (AMC): It’s not so much a straight-up marathon as a “Zombie Bowl” (hey, that’s what AMC is calling it) featuring cherry-picked episodes from Seasons 1 and 2 that specifically include “every Humans vs. Walkers moment.” That sounds like the same way I fast-forward through the dull parts of entire TWD seasons.

Crazy Hearts: Nashville Marathon (A&E): Eight hours of A&E’s unofficial answer to “Think we can’t come up with an even more idiotic, contrived ‘reality’ show than Duck Dynasty? With worse music? Game on!”

Top of the Lake Marathon (Sundance): In this acclaimed seven-part mystery miniseries from 2013, Elisabeth Moss (Mad Men) plays a troubled detective investigating the disappearance of a pregnant 12-year-old girl. Yes, another feel-good romp from the Sundance Channel!

Swamp People Marathon (History): In a word, swamptastic.

Wives With Knives Marathon (ID): In a word, stabtastic.

Snapped Marathon (Oxygen): Wait for it … snaptastic!

Twilight Marathon (FX): Twilight, New Moon and Eclipse—back-to-back-to-back! After six hours, you’ll have to answer honestly: Is it football you hate … or just yourself?

The Tudors Marathon (BBC America): The sweeping, sexy series tells the tale of King Henry VIII (Jonathan Rhys Meyers) and the many, many, many women who try to come between him and his reign. And his pantaloons. Minus most of the original Showtime nudity, but still historical-ish.

Cops Marathon (Spike): Don’t most episodes of Cops feature a Super Bowl Sunday domestic violence call? Sooo meta.

Smart Guy Marathon (MTV2): Smart Guy was a 1997-1999 WB network sitcom about a kid (Tahj Mowry) who skipped from fourth grade to 10th grade. Related, MTV2 used to be an edgy, music-centric channel that’s managed to become even more embarrassing than MTV.

Sex Sent Me to the ER Marathon (TLC): Broken boners, two-hour orgasms, headboard traumas, tree-related incidents and more true stories re-en(over)acted. Genius. If this could somehow be combined with the Kitten Bowl, the NFL would be out of business.


About Time

After a father (Bill Nighy) informs his son (Domhnall Gleeson) that he can time travel, the son, of course, uses the power to trick a woman (Rachel McAdams) into falling in love with him. And, yeah, enslave the planet, because why not? (Universal)

Android Cop

A future cop (Michael Jai White) and his android partner attempt to stop a mysterious disease from spreading in The Zone, a rundown city that’s nothing like the rundown cities in Robocop, Judge Dredd, Robocop 2, Robocop 3, etc. (Asylum)

Escape Plan

An engineer (Sylvester Stallone) and a con (Arnold Schwarzenegger) must escape a secret, high-tech prison called “The Tomb” in time for Stallone to box Robert De Niro in Grudge Match, and for both of them to hobble through Expendables 3. (Summit/Lionsgate)

The Wedding Pact

BFFs Mitch (Chris Soldevilla) and Elizabeth (Haylie Duff) promise to marry each other if they’re both single 10 years after college. A decade later, he tracks her down and disappointedly learns that she is, in fact, not Hilary Duff. (Phase 4)

The White Queen

The BBC/Starz series that proved women lust for power as much as men; Belgium passes for England; and you can’t rip-off Game of Thrones or The Tudors without a budget. One historical accuracy: The Queen is very white. (AnchorBay)

More New DVD Releases (Feb. 4)

Baggage Claim, Banshee Chapter, A Case of You, Dallas Buyers Club, Dark Tourist, The Divorce, Family Matters: Season 4, Finding Normal, Free Birds, From Above, House of Versace, The Lady Vanishes, Nuit #1, Patterns of Attraction, Romeo and Juliet, Waterwalk, Wings.

Published in TV