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Last updateTue, 18 Sep 2018 1pm

No animated series, not even the vaunted Rick and Morty, makes you feel the feels like BoJack Horseman (Season 4 premiere Friday, Sept. 8, Netflix). Last season was especially dark, culminating with BoJack (the voice of Will Arnett) once again pulling defeat from minor comeback victory and attempting highway suicide (told ya—dark). Now, he’s gone missing, and Hollywoo—they still haven’t fixed the “D”—is without its third, or maybe fourth, favorite ’90s sitcom horse. Diane (Alison Brie) and Mr. Peanutbutter (Paul F. Tompkins) are dealing in their own ways (and not well), while Todd (Aaron Paul) has stumbled into a fashion-modeling gig with Sharc Jacobs. Oh, how I’ve missed the animal puns …

Rescued from the obscurity of Vimeo, Con Man (network debut Saturday, Sept. 9, Syfy) is going to be a pleasant surprise for casual nerds. While his former co-star (Nathan Fillion) of the 10-years-canceled space-adventure series Spectrum has gone on to become a big deal, Wray Nerely (Alan Tudyk) can only get work at sci-fi conventions, which are slowly (but hilariously) crushing his soul. If the Firefly/Serenity meta-signals have already eluded you, there’s no point in mentioning geektastic Con Man cameos like Gina Torres, Summer Glau and Jewel Staite, as well as Tricia Helfer, James Gunn, Felicia Day, Seth Green and even the now-controversial Joss Whedon himself.

Seth MacFarlane can do whatever the hell he wants at Fox these days—even cast himself as a live-action lead, which is always a dicey proposition. His hour-long sci-fi comedy The Orville (series debut Sunday, Sept. 10, Fox) looks like one of the more promising new shows of the fall 2017 season, which isn’t saying much. For one, it’s not a dirty, “dystopian” future in MacFarlane’s space, but more of a sleek, earnest Star Trek-via-Galaxy Quest vehicle. For two, his U.S.S. Orville shipmates (including Adrianne Palicki and Scott Grimes) make up for their captain’s not-quite-Shatner shortcomings. It’s not as wacky as the promos suggest, but The Orville could break out this season … or just as easily flame out.

After all the ordeals Claire and Jamie have endured thus far in Outlander (Season 3 premiere Sunday, Sept. 10, Starz), what’s the worst that could happen now? Being separated by two centuries and a continent, that’s what! As Jamie (Sam Heughan) faces the post-Battle of Culloden fallout back in 18th century Britain, Claire (Caitriona Balfe) is pregnant and stuck with Frank (Tobias Menzies) in 20th century Boston. As Celine Dion says, their hearts will go on, but just barely: Jamie is a ginger shell without his time-traveling love, and headstrong Claire is even worse off in mansplaining 1948. Outlander may not be Starz’s flagship series anymore (hello, American Gods), but it’s as tear-jerkingly compelling as ever.

The Wire and Treme ended years ago, but they’re still more revered than most current series—writer David Simon can do no wrong, not even when working with wildcard James Franco. In The Deuce (series debut Sunday, Sept. 10, HBO), co-producer Franco plays twin brothers Vincent and Frankie, 1971 Brooklyn knockabouts who get in too deep with the mob and, eventually, prostitution and porn. He’s effectively subdued in the roles, and by the time Maggie Gyllenhaal (playing a nicely nuanced hooker) shows up to remind everyone she can bring it when called upon, it’s clear that The Deuce is neither rosy glamorization nor cautionary tale—it’s just life on the street, and Simon writes the hell out of it.

The dual return of South Park (Season 21 premiere Wednesday, Sept. 13, Comedy Central) and Broad City (Season 4 premiere) was rescheduled from August for no real reason, but who cares? They’re back! South Park is wisely getting out of the Trump business after a hit-and-miss 2016 of trying to satirize our IRL Idiocracy—though “Member Berries” is a theme worth revisiting—but at least Abbi Jacobson and Ilana Glazer are treating the president’s name as an F-bomb (T-bomb?) in their first post-Obama season of Broad City. The women still have plenty to say through their Brooklyn-stoner misadventures, but can South Park rediscover its boys-will-be-awful-boys magic? Again, who cares? They’re back!

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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!

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The League (FXX; Wednesday, Sept. 3, season premiere): The funniest sorta-sports-related show ever returns, with Katie as the reigning (and insufferable) fantasy football league champion. Thanks to The Simpsons, FXX is finally on America’s radar.

Boardwalk Empire (HBO; Sunday, Sept. 7, season premiere): In the fifth-season (and final-season) premiere, Nucky’s in Cuba wooing Bacardi Rum as Prohibition ends, and the Great Depression of the 1930s sets in. So, if you though the show was a downer before

Sons of Anarchy (FX; Tuesday, Sept. 9, season premiere): In the premiere of the seventh and final season, Jax sets a new mission for SAMCRO: Avenge the murder of Tara, as soon as he figures out who did it. Yes, the premiere is 90 minutes, and yes, half of it is musical montages.

Z Nation (Syfy; Friday, Sept. 12, series debut): In Syfy’s answer to The Walking Dead, a group of survivors must transport a man with the potential cure across a zombie-ridden U.S. of A. Finally, we’ll learn if West Coast zombies are more laid-back than East Coast zombies.

Tim and Eric’s Bedtime Stories (Adult Swim; Thursday; Sept. 18, season premiere): Last year’s Halloween special is now an anthology series, with Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim inflicting more weirdness on a higher budget than ever. Like $200.

Squidbillies (Adult Swim; Sunday, Sept. 21, season premiere): The redneck sea creatures return for Season 9 (!), this year taking on “marriage inequality, taint cancer, speciesism, and the impending Russian snake apocalypse.” Thanks a lot, Obama!

South Park, Key and Peele (Comedy Central; Wednesday, Sept. 24, season premieres): No one knows what Trey Parker and Matt Stone have in mind for Season 18 of South Park, probably not even them. Same goes for Keegan-Michael Key and Jordan Peele with their new season. Godspeed, Comedy Central censors.

Homeland (Showtime; Sunday, Oct. 5, season premiere): It’s now The Carrie Mathison Show, as our precarious heroine is deployed to the frontline in the Middle East (great plan, CIA). No, she won’t be bringing the Brody baby—she’s not that nuts.

American Horror Story: Freak Show (FX; Wednesday, Oct. 8, season premiere): In 1952 Florida, a traveling troupe of carnival folk (including AHS regulars Jessica Lange and Sarah Paulson, as well as newcomers Michael Chiklis and Wes Bentley) encounter dark, evil forces. Insert Florida joke here.

The Walking Dead (AMC; Sunday, Oct. 12, season premiere): Will Rick and the gang get out of the boxcar alive? Or will they become Terminus burgers? Are Carol and Tyreese on the way? Where’s Beth? Will the Z Nation entourage pass through Georgia? Why the hell is Comic Book Men still on? So many questions.

The Affair (Showtime; Sunday, Oct. 12, series debut): Joshua Jackson, Maura Tierney, Dominic West and Ruth Wilson star in the story of how an extramarital affair affects two families. It’s a departure for Showtime in the fact that only one affair is happening.

Foo Fighters: Sonic Highways (HBO; Friday, Oct. 17, series debut): Director Dave Grohl documents the history of musical landmark cities over eight episodes. Oh, and the Foo Fighters record one song for their new album Sonic Highways in each town.

Web Therapy (Showtime; Wednesday, Oct. 22, season premiere): Lisa Kudrow is back for a new season as online therapist Fiona Wallice, with a new patient list that includes Gwyneth Paltrow, Jon Hamm, Jesse Tyler Ferguson, Matthew Perry, Allison Janney, Lauren Graham, Craig Ferguson, Calista Flockhart, Dax Shephard and Nina Garcia. Then, in November, Kudrow returns to HBO in the comeback of The Comeback—she’ll be starring in two comedies on two premium-cable networks simultaneously. What are you up to, David Schwimmer?


DVD ROUNDUP FOR SEPT. 9!

Captain America: The Winter Soldier

Cap (Chris Evans), Black Widow (Scarlett Johansson) and the Falcon (Anthony Mackie) battle an inside conspiracy against S.H.I.E.L.D. and the titular Winter Soldier (Sebastian Stan). It ties in with a certain TV show below. (Marvel/Disney)

Homeland: Season 3

Carrie (Claire Danes) and Saul (Mandy Patinkin) search for the CIA headquarters bomber, while Brody (Damian Lewis) takes on a mission of redemption in Iran, which doesn’t go well at all. Oh, don’t get hung up on spoilers. (Paramount)

Mantervention

After a girl breaks his heart, a dude asks his friend to stage a “mantervention” of sex and debauchery to cure him of being a hopeless romantic—only to learn that love isn’t so bad, after all. But neither is sex and debauchery, so win-win. (Vision)

Marvel’s Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.: Season 1

Not-dead Agent Coulson (Clark Gregg) assembles a ridiculously good-looking team of operatives to investigate weird cases-of-the-week and occasionally intersect with Marvel movies. Maybe just skip the first nine episodes. (Marvel/ABC)

Supernatural: Season 9

Sam and Dean must reopen the gates of heaven and stop a demon insurrection in hell while dealing with their own personal, heh, demons. Meanwhile, Castiel adjusts to being human and Crowley steals the whole damned, heh, show. (Warner Bros.)

More New DVD/VOD Releases (Sept. 9)

Blue Bloods: Season 4, Brick Mansions, Burning Blue, Dead Within, Deadheads, Doctor Who: Deep Breath, God’s Pocket, The Goldbergs: Season 1, Killer Mermaid, Last Passenger, A Long Way Down, Monika, Palo Alto, Top Model, The Vampire Diaries: Season 5.

Published in TV

Perhaps drilling rigs should be allowed in cities, towns and even into our own metaphorical backyards. It would be good for the environment. Maybe not your personal environment, but more broadly for our environment.

Community planners for decades have urged mixed-use development, in which we combine work, play and shopping in closer physical proximity. Lately, we’ve expanded the idea to food. Some people have always supplemented their pantry with backyard gardens, and now we have the concept more formally called “urban agriculture,” a phrase that embraces in-town farms.

Growing your own victuals feels good and connects you more directly with the weather and changing climate. Soil fertility becomes something personal, and creepy-crawly things become a delight or demons, depending upon their role in your personal ecosystem.

Energy, however, remains an abstraction—and many people would like to keep it that way. Fort Collins, Colo., has banned fracking, which amounts to a ban on drilling, as few wells are drilled these days without fracking. In fairness to those municipalities, legitimate concerns remain about the technology’s impacts on water and air quality.

Yet the bigger picture is that we all use natural gas. Milk doesn't originate in a carton, nor water in a faucet. With natural gas, it’s even worse. We never actually see, smell or taste the gas, only the heat it produces or, in the case of electricity, the light it provides or the cool air it produces via air conditioners. That’s a huge disconnect. Bridging that gap would be useful.

Consider the debate in Carbondale, Colo. Locals have high regard for a nearby area called Thompson Divide, where they graze their cattle, go mountain-biking, and hunt wildlife. I can’t vouch for it personally, but I take them on their word that it’s a special place.

Carbondale, however, wasn’t named after somebody named Bill Carbon. Coal was mined intermittently in the Thompson Divide area for a century, and drillers have poked around there previously—and perhaps not delicately so. Now comes the question of whether the federal government will issue extensions for drilling in the basin.

The Aspen Times, reporting on a recent meeting attended by 300 people, said the current quandary was best summarized by a local student. While everyone who uses natural gas must, at some level, support energy extraction, she said, some places should be off-limits. And Thompson Divide is one of them.

OK, fair enough. But then came another local resident who warned of the “wolf at the door” that had already devoured half of his county with drilling. And, reports the Times, he got a resounding “no” when he asked the crowd if it was worth “poisoning the Earth” to extract more natural gas to feed the country’s addiction to fossil fuels.

It turns out that one protector of the last, best places commutes to the West Coast, where he oversees the manufacturing and retailing of a well-known line of outdoor clothing. That requires a 2,000-mile commute—a carbon footprint the size of Poland.

In reading about the Carbondale meeting, I was reminded of the 2006 South Park episode called “Smug Alert,” in which the local residents buy “Pious” cars, which makes them feel smug. Then clouds of “smug” originating from Hollywood, San Francisco and South Park threaten to converge over the Rocky Mountains in an apocalypse of self-righteousness.

It’s easy to be smug about drilling for natural gas. Legitimate questions from citizens haven’t fully been answered by industry and state regulators, and it’s not clear that standards and oversight have been strengthened enough to protect the environment. If this is indeed going to be the giant bridge fuel to deliver us into a renewable future, it needs some work.

But how can we say no, no, no to drilling, when our actions say yes, yes, yes to the demand that drives the drilling—especially in an air-conditioning-dependent place like the Coachella Valley? Carbondale and Pitkin County don’t want drilling at Thompson Divide? Fair enough. Like Fort Collins, they’re ahead of the curve in energy-efficiency programs. But to say absolutely no to drilling? They’d need to say no to energy use, too. Mandating passive-home construction that tamps down energy use to almost nothing would be one major step.

Right now, we all have grime on our hands from drilling. But for some people, the grime seems to be invisible. Maybe a drilling rig down the street would at least remind us of the part we all play in this dirty business.

Allen Best is a contributor Writers on the Range, a service of High Country News. He lives in the Denver area and publishes Mountain Town News, an online newsmagazine.

Published in Community Voices