CVIndependent

Fri01172020

Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

If you think adapting Stephen King’s The Mist (series debut Thursday, June 22, Spike) for TV is bad idea, know that ABC is launching a reboot of The Gong Show and a boy-band reality-competition show on the same night as the premiere of The Mist to compete with the summer filler stinking up Fox and NBC—there’s nothin’ else on. King’s Under the Dome, which was essentially the same story—a small town is isolated by a supernatural event—ran for three whole seasons on CBS, one of which didn’t suck. The Mist doesn’t have the luxury of known actors, just a crew of nobodies with zero lead-in assist from Lip Sync Battle, the only thing anyone ever watches on Spike besides Bar Rescue and off-brand MMA. But, as I said, there’s nothin’ else on.

Alison Brie has had memorable supporting roles on Community and Mad Men, but GLOW (series debut Friday, June 23, Netflix) is her show, all the way. In GLOW, she plays Ruth Wilder, an unemployed actress in ’80s Los Angeles who’s desperate enough to try anything that isn’t porn—even a low-budget/high-cheese all-female pro-wrestling TV show, Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling (which was a real thing), being launched by a failed film producer (Marc Maron). Like a lighter Orange Is the New Black (Jenji Kohan is a producer here, and wrote one episode), GLOW is a tale of very different women bonding in a “man’s” world that does surprisingly emotional heavy lifting when it needs to. All this, and some of the worst ’80s fashions ev-er. Wooo!

The last of Playing House (Season 3 premiere Friday, June 23, USA)? Jessica St. Clair and Lennon Parham’s cozy comedy about almost-uncomfortably close girlfriends and a new baby has barely survived to see a third season on USA, a cable net that’s concentrating more on gritty hour-long dramas after failing to launch a string of smart half-hour comedies. Since USA is blowing out new episodes back-to-back on Friday nights, it’s obvious they’re done with the show, because it doesn’t appeal to the Chrisley Knows Best idiocracy. This could be your last chance to see a genuinely funny and sweet comedy that deserves a shot somewhere else. TV Land? Hulu? Netflix? Ugh … Crackle? Step up.

Like Into the Badlands, Preacher (Season 2 premiere Sunday, June 25, AMC) is an American Movie Classics (’member those cable days?) gem that just doesn’t get the buzz it deserves—the same could be said of Halt and Catch Fire and Humans, but they’re pretty much goners at this point. Preacher, on the other hand, is poised to blow up—in every sense—in its expanded second season, a wild ride that sees preacher Jesse (Dominic Cooper), badass Tulip (Ruth Negga) and vampire Cassidy (Joseph Gilgun) hitting the highway in search of an absentee God, as ordained in the original Vertigo comic, only to find more trouble/violence/black comedy in New Orleans. Preacher: It’s hell-arious! (Quote me, AMC.)

Why networks continue to produce reality shows wherein horny fuckwits are herded together in front of cameras 24/7 and fed gallons of alcohol is beyond me—did we learn nothing from Rape Island, I mean, Bachelor in Paradise? Anyway: Summer staple Big Brother (Season 19 premiere Wednesday, June 28, CBS) introduces a new gaggle of vile stereotypes for your viewing … pleasure? … and tacks on the subtitle Over the Top because who knows/cares why. I also didn’t understand why a seemingly classy lady like Julie Chen continues to host this Axe-soaked cockfight year after year, but then I remembered that she’s a former homewrecker mistress now married to the president of CBS. Makes total sense.

When it debuted in 2015, Younger (Season 4 premiere Wednesday, June 28, TV Land) didn’t seem like a series with legs—unless you count the legs on star Sutton Foster, a fantastic set of stems that, as they say, go all the way to the ground. Forty-something Liza (Foster) posing as a 20-something to land a job in the cutthroat millennial world of book publishing (?) was a cute idea, but how long could she keep the secret? Three seasons, apparently; she finally revealed the truth to her co-worker BFF Kelsey (Hilary Duff), causing a shitstorm that will allow Younger to lean more heavily than ever on the drama side of dramedy. Meanwhile, I still want a spin-off series about power hipster Lauren (Molly Bernard).

Published in TV

After a fall-winter-spring blur of Too Many Shows, you’re thinking to yourself, “Summer is finally here—I can take a break from TV. Praise the Lord!”

Sorry. Your god has abandoned you: Here are 32 new and returning series you’re going to have to watch this summer, because peak TV knows no season.

In the unexpected return of Flaked (Season 2 premiere; Friday, June 2; Netflix), Chip (Will Arnett) heads back to Venice to rehab his ruined Local Hero status, if not his booze problem. Matters are even more dire for the gang on Fear the Walking Dead (Season 3 premiere; Sunday, June 4; AMC), as vigilante Build the Zombie Wall border patrollers won’t allow them to cross back over from Mexico. It could be worse; they could be struggling comedians in 1970s Hollywood—which is the setting for I’m Dying Up Here (series debut; Sunday, June 4; Showtime).

Tim Heidecker re-ups for more ultra-violent spy action in Decker: Unclassified (Season 2 premiere; Sunday, June 4; Adult Swim), while Aussie comic Jim Jefferies takes another stab at ’Merican TV with late-night talker The Jim Jefferies Show (series debut; Tuesday, June 6; Comedy Central). Latina heroine (?) Teresa (Alice Braga) continues her quest to rule the drug trade in Queen of the South (Season 2 premiere; Thursday, June 8; USA), and the ladies of Litchfield are still doing time in Orange Is the New Black (Season 5 premiere; Friday, June 9; Netflix), hackers be damned.

The ragtag crew of ridiculously good-looking intergalactic criminals remain lost in space in Dark Matter (Season 3 premiere; Friday, June 9; Syfy), and TV’s coolest demon hunter is back and gunning for souls in Wynonna Earp (Season 2 premiere; Friday, June 9; Syfy). Meanwhile, the end is near for the Clone Club in the final run of Orphan Black (Season 5 premiere; Saturday, June 10, BBC America), and even nearer for frenemies Billie and Gene in the two-weekend burn-off of Idiotsitter (Season 2 premiere; Saturday, June 10; Comedy Central).

An all-star cast chews scenery and buffs cuticles in new Florida nail-salon dramedy Claws (series debut; Sunday, June 11; TNT), and primetime goes grindhouse with Blood Drive (series debut; Wednesday, June 14, Syfy), about a cross-country death race where the cars run on—what else?—blood. The Mist (series debut; Thursday, June 22; Spike) rolls out more subtle Stephen King-y scares, and the Gorgeous Ladies of Wrestling finally get their ’80s-spandexed due in the Alison Brie-led docu-comedy GLOW (series debut; Friday, June 23; Netflix).

Fiddy Cent’s nightclubs ’n’ drugs drama Power (Season 4 premiere; Sunday, June 25; Starz) finds kingpin Ghost (Omari Hardwick) caught in the middle of a, yep, power struggle, while Jesse, Tulip and Cassidy finally hit the road looking for God in Preacher (Season 2 premiere; Sunday, June 25; AMC). Liza (Sutton Foster) deals with the fallout of her bestie Kelsey (Hilary Duff) learning her dark, old secret in Younger (Season 4 premiere; Wednesday, June 28; TV Land), and everybody’s favorite ragtag trio of ridiculously good-looking interplanetary bounty hunters gear up to fight the good-ish fight in Killjoys (Season 3 premiere; Friday, June 30; Syfy).

John Singleton’s Snowfall (series debut; Wednesday, July 5; FX) dramatizes the crack-cocaine epidemic of ’80s Los Angeles, while modernized period piece Will (series debut; Monday, July 10; TNT) juices the legend of a young William Shakespeare as he arrives in the, wait for it, “punk-rock theatre scene of 16th century London.” Back in the present, a pair of college eggheads break it to the White House that an asteroid is six months away from mercifully colliding with Earth in Salvation (series debut; Wednesday, July 12; CBS).

Game of Thrones … yeah, nothing more needs to be said here (Season 7 premiere; Sunday, July 16; HBO). In the final stretch of The Strain (Season 4 premiere; Sunday, July 16; FX), nuclear winter is in full effect; the Strigoi vampires have seized the planet; and our heroes are down for the count—but are they, really? Meanwhile, Ballers (Season 3 premiere; Sunday, July 23; HBO) and Insecure (Season 2 premiere; Sunday, July 23; HBO) are paired up for the most incongruent HBO hour ever, while Midnight, Texas (series debut; Monday, July 24; NBC) takes Charlaine Harris’ supernatural novels for a TV spin.

Would you believe … Sharknado 5 (movie premiere; Sunday, Aug. 6; Syfy)? Marvel’s The Defenders (series debut; Friday, Aug. 18; Netflix) finally brings together Daredevil, Jessica Jones, Luke Cage and Iron Fist for a dysfunctional superhero team-up, while the 21st go-round of South Park (season 21 premiere; Wednesday, Aug. 23; Comedy Central) attempts to find the funny in Trump’s America—if he’s still in office at that point. Fortunately, Abbi and Ilana drop the long-long-long-awaited comeback of Broad City (Season 4 premiere; Wednesday, Aug. 23; Comedy Central), and the new take on The Tick (series debut; Friday, Aug. 25; Amazon Prime) may reunify the country, after all. Spoon!

Published in TV