CVIndependent

Sun09242017

Last updateFri, 16 Sep 2016 12pm

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Friday, May 19, Netflix), season premiere: Where will the perkiest TV character ever created (cartoons included) go in Season 3? Now that she has her post-doomsday-cult-imprisonment GED, Kimmy (Ellie Kemper) is entering higher education: “After high school, most white girls go to college,” explains Kimmy’s landlady, Lillian (Carol Kane). Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt will also welcome back everybody’s favorite cult leader and No. 1 draft pick for his own spinoff series, Richard Wayne Gary Wayne (Jon Hamm), as well as guest stars like Ray Liotta, Laura Dern, jinx killer Robert Durst (actually, Fred Armisen) and Beyonce (actually, Titus Burgess). We’ll also learn that Jaqueline (Jane Krakowski) attended Trump University, which makes sooo much sense. Still full of heart, Kimmy is as weird, warm and hilarious as ever.

12 Monkeys (Friday, May 19, Syfy), season premiere: Before the 2016-17 TV season’s onslaught of time-travel shows (Timeless, Time After Time, Making History, all of which have been canceled), there was Syfy’s 12 Monkeys. There was also Doctor Who, but there’s always been Doctor Who. Anyway: 12 Monkeys, based on the 1995 movie of the same name, doesn’t so much replicate the Bruce Willis/Brad Pitt classic as warp the hell out of it, with Cole (Aaron Stanford) expanding on Willis’ stop-the-apocalypse tenacity, while Goines (show-stealer Emily Hampshire) takes Pitt’s mental patient to giddy new levels. Season 3 will be the final chapter for 12 Monkeys, and Syfy is blowing out all 10 episodes over three nights—I’d suggest a Hulu binge of the first two seasons before sending off the TV Time Travel Trend. Except Doctor Who, because, Doctor Who.

Twin Peaks (Sunday, May 21, Showtime), return: Sure, it seems like you’ve been reading/ignoring this TV column forever, but it didn’t even exist during the original 1990-91 run of Twin Peaks—no, really! David Lynch’s long-long-long-awaited Showtime revival takes place 25 years later, consists of 18 episodes, features 200 characters, and … that’s about all anyone knows. The new Twin Peaks hasn’t been shown to critics, and Lynch and co-creator Mark Frost have been tight with details beyond name-dropping guest stars (Laura Dern, Ashley Judd, Tim Roth, Naomi Watts and Robert Forster among them). This Pacific Northwest bizarre-noir was too much for ’90s television to handle, and even after dozens of subsequent rip-offs (sorry, “homages”), no one should doubt Lynch’s ability to push the envelope on Showtime. Now, where’s the pie?

Neon Joe: Werewolf Hunter (Monday, May 22, Adult Swim), season premiere: Now that Neon Joe (Jon Glaser) has exacted revenge upon his father, defeated the evil Cybots and retired from the werewolf hunting game (see how much you missed in Season 1?), he can finally realize his lifelong dream: opening his own tiki bar, Oahu Joe’s. But, before you can say “Heyup!” Joe’s pulled back into supernatural danger to take on a rival werewolf hunter, billionaire playboy Plaid Jeff (Godfrey, Steven Universe). Glaser’s eye-patched mercenary with an incomprehensible Cajun accent may be one of the most ridiculous Adult Swim characters ever, but at least he’s concise: Neon Joe’s second season is only five episodes long, running nightly and wrapping up on Friday. Jason Sudeikis (R.I.P., Son of Zorn) shows up in the premiere, not that you needed to be sold harder.

The Fox News Specialists (Weekdays, Fox News), new series: Weird times at Fox News: Bill O’Reilly’s out; Tucker Carlson keeps failing upward; Jesse Watters somehow still has a job after dropping an Ivanka Trump blowjob joke; on and on. And now there’s The Fox News Specialists, a new weekday talker hosted by personality free stalk of celery Eric Bolling, too-smart-for-any-room-but-especially-this-one Eboni Williams, and my personal favorite Fox News floater, National Review reporter Katherine Timpf (also a regular on The Greg Gutfeld Show, the best thing to happen to Saturday nights since blackout bingeing). The trio are joined daily by two “specialists” on … something … making five—but not The Five, which is a different Fox News show. It all adds up to an even more pointless waste of airtime than Fox and Friends, bringing less to the news cycle than a waterskiing squirrel. Just lock down Tomi Lahren and Milo Yiannopoulos and launch Live! With Tomi and Milo! already.

Published in TV

Orphan Black (Thursday, April 14, BBC America), season premiere: Tense sci-fi soap Orphan Black has so much going within its clone-crowded narrative that the news of out-there musician Peaches appearing in Season 4, playing herself, barely even registers. (In fact, it almost makes too much sense.) In this chapter, Sarah (Tatiana Maslany) sets out to investigate Beth, the deceased sister-clone whose identity she stole at the beginning of the series, as well as the origins of the clone conspiracy—which, of course, leads to trouble, as does trying learn anything in this universe. Unrelated … maybe: Yet another clone, a mysterious outsider who’s been aware of her multi-sister status all along, enters the picture, upping Maslany’s character load for the season to eight (and still no Emmy, huh?). One again, There’s Too Many Shows, but definitely move Orphan Black to the top of your TV homework pile.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Friday, April 15, Netflix), season premiere: Last year, Netflix snapped up Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt after NBC decided to get out of the “thinky” comedy business and canceled it before ever going to air; if you can name a single now-dead sitcom the network ran with instead, you probably work at NBC Universal (for now). Kimmy (Ellie Kemper) won hearts as a bubbly, wide-eyed ex-doomsday cult member discovering the modern world for the first time … but where to take her in Season 2? Don’t worry; she’s still plenty naïve—and, after 15 years in an underground bunker (possible spoiler alert), still a virgin. Also, brace for waaay more of UKS breakout star Tituss Burgess (“Peeno! Noir!”), if not a return appearance by Kimmy’s bunker mates (including, if there’s any justice, Jon Hamm’s hilarious cult leader, the Rev. Richard Wayne Gary Wayne).

Containment (Tuesday, April 19, The CW), series debut: Under the Dome, Colony, any dystopian-future YA book/movie you care to name—should it be disturbing that ’Merica seems to love stories about communities held captive? Go write a thesis or call Alex Jones; I have TV to review here. Oddly paired with the superhero fun of The Flash, the dark Containment follows the panic, societal breakdown and, of course, conspiratorial whisperings behind the outbreak of a deadly virus in Atlanta. (First The Walking Dead, now this—Georgia can’t catch a break.) Between the pretty citizens freaking out and dying inside the quarantined area, and the pretty scientists on the outside racing to find a cure, there’s mucho Big Drama to go around. But enough to carry 13 episodes? Here it comes: Containment isn’t all that infectious.

The Night Manager (Tuesday, April 19, AMC), miniseries debut: Tom Hiddleston is, of course best-known for the films Midnight in Paris and Muppets Most Wanted, or a handful of Marvel movies as Thor’s uptight brother with the mullet (aka the Asgard Natural, or “Party in the back, extermination of the human race up front”). In The Night Manager, he plays a British ex-soldier charged with infiltrating the inner circle of an international businessman/criminal (Hugh Laurie) and taking down his arms-dealing trade. The undercover-spy-in-too-deep trope isn’t anything new, but Hiddleston and Laurie !Acting! off one another is expectedly fantastic—and The Night Manager is every bit the Bond adventure that Spectre should have been. From the look of it, it was probably almost as expensive; at least AMC is spending some of that Walking Dead money wisely.

Time Traveling Bong (Wednesday, April 20, Comedy Central), miniseries debut: Ilana Glazer, the bigger-haired half of Broad City’s comic duo, is one of the funniest women on the planet—within the context of Broad City as “Ilana.” Outside of it, we don’t yet know. Time Traveling Bong, premiering after the Season 3 finale of Broad City on 4/20 (dude …), pairs her with a new partner, Paul W. Downs (also of Broad City), in a three-episode miniseries that’s summed up entirely by its title: Glazer and Downs play cousins who discover a bong that enables time travel, and they subsequently “blaze through time.” Until the bong breaks, that is, and the two become lost in the space-time continuum. TTB is even more stoopid than you’re already imagining it to be, but, hell, it’s only three half-hour episodes over three nights. You know the proper states in which to enjoy this; one is Colorado.

Published in TV

Dig (Thursday, March 5, USA), series debut: At least the USA Network is trying new ideas. However, for every creative win (like comedies Sirens and Playing House, or dramas Graceland and Satisfaction), there’s a pandering pantsload (like reality steamers Chrisley Knows Best and Summer Camp) and a handful of lingering legacy shows that refuse to die (Royal Pains, still a thing!). Ten-episode conspiracy-thriller series Dig is presented as a Major Television Event, but it really could have been wrapped less than two hours as a Nicolas Cage flick: An FBI agent (Jason Isaacs—you know, Malfoy) investigating the death of an American in Jerusalem uncovers a nefarious 2,000-year-old plot of Da Vinci Code proportions. It all looks great and seems important, but Dig fades in the stretch, as you’d expect from the creatives behind Heroes and Homeland, two series that couldn’t sustain their mythologies. Upside: Anne Heche is an FBI boss who transforms from Serious to Sexy by simply removing her glasses—now that’s writing!

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (Friday, March 6, Netflix), series debut: In my Pulitzer-winning Fall TV Preview last year (look it up), I predicted that midseason replacement shows The Last Man on Earth and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt would never make it to air. I was half right: Last Man is on Fox Sundays (for now), but Kimmy was handed off to Netflix after NBC decided it no longer recognized comedy. Good call, because Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (headlined by Office alum Ellie Kemper and produced by Tina Fey) is the kind of wonderful-weird stuff that gets chewed up and spit out on network TV. Kemper plays a woman rescued from a doomsday cult’s underground bunker after 15 years of waiting for the apocalypse, and she’s now adjusting to life in the real world (well, New York City). Everything’s shiny and new to Kimmy, and Kemper’s wide-eyed optimism and joy is downright infectious—now if only she could overcome her hysterical fear of velcro. Longmire notwithstanding, saving Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt could prove to be Netflix’s best decision since “accidentally” leaking House of Cards Season 3.

The Returned (Monday, March 9, A&E), series debut: If you loved French import The Returned when it aired stateside on Sundance, and then were fooled into thinking American network rip-off Resurrection might be anywhere near as good, consider this official U.S. adaptation a full apology. A&E’s The Returned doesn’t stray far from the original: Former residents of a small mountain town begin showing up after years of being presumed dead, with no recollection of the time past nor signs of aging; the Returned are as confused as the Remained are freaked the hell out. Resurrection went more weepy than creepy; The Returned strikes a deft balance between both, which the solid cast (which includes Mark Pellegrino, Michelle Forbes, Jeremy Sisto, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and several impressive newcomers) delivers convincingly. This may end up as a story with no viable end—it is produced by Carlton Cuse of Lost, after all—but the initial episodes are a rush. I’m glad to see all of that Duck Dynasty money is paying for something worthwhile (besides Bates Motel—Season 3 of which premieres prior to The Returned).

CSI: Cyber (Wednesdays, CBS), new series: Is avoiding jail time for criminal hacking by agreeing to work for the feds a real thing? Only on CBS procedurals—the latest being the “zietgeist-y” CSI: Cyber, wherein award-winning (and likely regretful) actress Patricia Arquette bosses around James Van Der Beek (as the requisite handsome muscle) and Shad Moss (aka Lil’ Bow Wow, as the requisite hacker). It only sounds terrible because it is, as if CBS cranked it out just to make Scorpion look legit. So, naturally, CSI: Cyber will probably run for 12 seasons.

Published in TV

Stick a fork in this TV season—it’s time to look ahead to the next one. Here’s some of what the networks have green-lighted for the 2014-2015 season:

Agent Carter (ABC): Or, more likely, Marvel’s Agent Carter, as it’s a spin-off of Captain America: The First Avenger. In the 1946-set drama, Peggy Carter (Hayley Atwell) takes on secret spy missions for Stark Industries, because she’s a skilled, capable woman (yay) … and she needs something to distract her from pining over Cap (boo).

American Crime (ABC): And the dullest show-title award goes to American Crime, which follows the personal toll taken on those affected by a racially motivated crime and trial. If TV audiences are clamoring for anything, it’s to be lectured on race and class politics every week, right?

Forever (ABC): The Fantastic Four’s Ioan Gruffudd stars as a New York City medical examiner who also happens to be immortal and uses his extended life experience to solve crimes with the help of a plucky female detective. Not so much a boring show name as overly optimistic.

The Whispers (ABC): A sci-fi epic about an alien invasion targeting Earth’s children, because Steven Spielberg apparently forgot that he also produces Falling Skies.

Selfie (ABC): After inadvertently becoming a social-media sensation because of a humiliating Internet video, Eliza Dooley (Doctor Who’s Karen Gillan) hires a marketing expert (John Cho, Star Trek) to help her rehab her image. Didya catch the My Fair Lady reference? No? Probably for the best.

Manhattan Love Story (ABC): Gawd, these show names.

Galavant (ABC): A “musical fairytale comedy” (!) about a brave knight (Rogue’s Joshua Sasse) and his quest to rescue his true love (Mallory Jansen) from the clutches of an evil king (Timothy Omundson, Psych). Upside: It’s produced by The Neighbors’ Dan Fogelman, which reduces the Suck Potential somewhat.

NCIS: New Orleans (CBS): It’s NCIS, in New Orleans. Ask your parents.

Backstrom (Fox): A self-destructive-but-brilliant Portland detective (Rainn Wilson, The Office) is given one last chance to get his shit together by leading a special crimes unit. Hey, at least it’s not called Special Crimes Unit.

Gotham (Fox): The origin story of Batman’s Commissioner Gordon (as a young detective, played by Southland’s Ben McKenzie), before Gotham City became a super-crime hub. His most daunting obstacle: co-star Jada Pinkett Smith, aka The Show Killer.

Hieroglyph (Fox): An action-adventure drama set in ancient Egypt that was probably pitched on a dare, like last year’s Dads.

Last Man on Earth (Fox): Saturday Night Live’s Will Forte is, literally, the last man on Earth. OK, maybe this was the dare.

Mulaney (Fox): Speaking of SNL, ex-writer John Mulaney plays himself as an aspiring comic coming up in New York City. Says here, “multi-camera,” which means “laugh track,” which means “The Only TV Column That Matters™ ain’t watching a canned-laughs comedy in 2014.”

Mission Control (NBC): It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia’s David Hornsby writes/produces an “Anchorman-in-space” comedy starring Krysten Ritter (Don’t Trust the B). This almost makes up for the loss of Community. Almost.

State of Affairs (NBC): Katherine Heigl’s … triumphant? … return to television as a CIA attaché who balances advising the president with her own turbulent personal life. No, the president isn’t a hunky single dad just waiting for the right hot mess to settle down with—it’s Alfre Woodard!

Constantine (NBC): From DC Comics, a supernatural monster-of-the-week drama that will make you forget that 2005 Keanu Reeves flick. Not that you already haven’t.

Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt (NBC): My favorite premise/star of them all: Ellie Kemper (The Office) stars as a woman starting her life over after … escaping a doomsday cult! Even better, it’s produced by Tina Fey and was originally titled Tooken. Can’t wait to watch all three airings of this.


DVD ROUNDUP FOR MAY 20!

3 Days to Kill

A spy (Kevin Costner) sets out on One Last Mission, but gets stuck with his teen daughter and, almost as bad, brain cancer. Can he take down the terrorist and bring his family back together? Hell, if Liam Neeson can do it, why not? (20th Century Fox)

Fugitive at 17

When a teenage computer hacker (Marie Avgeropoulos) is framed for her best friend’s fatal O.D. at a rave, she goes on the lam and uses her cyber-skills to find The Real Killer. Despite all evidence, not a movie from 1996. (MTI)

The Monuments Men

A group of art curators and historians (including George Clooney, Matt Damon, Bill Murray and John Goodman) are recruited by the Army to retrieve masterpieces from the Nazis during World War II. All together now: It’s Ocean’s 1943! (Sony)

Pompeii

A hunky gladiator (Kit Harington) fights to save his true love (Emily Browning), who’s been betrothed to a corrupt Roman senator against her will. Oh, and there’s a volcano called Mount Vesuvius about to flood Pompeii with molten lava. Priorities. (Sony)

Vampire Academy

So you expect me to believe that, not only is there a movie actually titled Vampire Academy, but there is also a series of books? I’m supposed to accept that the Young Adult audience will just buy any crap? Good day. I said good day, sir! (AnchorBay)

More New DVD Releases (May 20)

Call the Midwife: Season 3, Grand Piano, House of Dust, In Secret, Like Someone In Love, Mischief Night, The Moneychangers, Nikita: Season 4, Pleased to Meet Me, Raze, The Right Kind of Wrong, Warehouse 13: The Complete Series, Way of the Wicked.

Published in TV