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The Walking Dead is in a rut, more reboots, and Jessica Jones has the best Marvel villain.

Tuesday December 1st 2015

People Talking About TV

“But aside from his startlingly personal motivation, what makes Kilgrave feel like such a standout character in Marvel’s villainous roster is how much a product of our current climate he feels like. For all intents and purposes, Kilgrave is an abusive-ex-turned-serial harasser. In an age where the vile harassment of women online and offline is becoming a steadfast part of the news cycle, Kilgrave is essentially a superpowered man reacting like an emotionally-stunted child for being spurned by a woman he idolizes.” io9 thinks, and I agree, that Jessica Jones has given us the best live action villain in the Marvel universe. Vulture is also on the same page.

“How many times have you seen a series perform strongly out of the gate, only to falter when it returned for another go-round? But it’s the second season that often defines the character of a series. It’s a test of inventiveness as well as of stamina, and very often when you look back on a long-running show that’s mostly great, mostly terrible, or maddeningly inconsistent, you realize that season two is where the show’s true potential (or lack thereof) started to come into focus.” Matt Zoller Seitz on the “renewed energy of a good second season” and calls out several current shows with successful second seasons, like Fargo and The Leftovers, and then reminds us of what a failure True Detective season two turned out to be. Who would have thought that Fargo would be the one that turned out to be consistently, surprisingly good? Speaking of True Detective, look who ended up on Variety’s list of the biggest turkeys of 2015.

“In and of itself, this wouldn't be worth noting if the storytelling weren't there to back it up, but Agent Carter, Supergirl, and Jessica Jones offer three wildly different takes on how to make a feminist superhero series, while Daredevil considers what it would mean to live in the world with a disability but still have powers far beyond those of other people. TV still lags in terms of superheroes who are people of color, but Netflix's upcoming Luke Cage and Iron Fist series will change that in 2016. In all of these series, the diversity of the characters onscreen enhances the storytelling. As it should be.”  Todd Van Der Werff lists five reasons why TV tells better superhero stories than film, and I completely agree. I seriously doubt I would watch a movie about The Flash.


The Walking Dead is a show that deserves to lose at least half its audience. We say this not because we want to punish the show but because we strongly believe it needs to be shocked out of its complacency, which has become all too evident this season as we spent EIGHT+ HOURS of story time depicting a 36-hour span of time in which absolutely nothing new or interesting occurred, nor were any new themes developed. Eight episodes rehashing the exact same beats, themes and motivations the show has always traded in. Eight episodes watching Rick’s terrible plan collapse while everyone tells him what a great leader he is.” I think this bit of Tom and Lorenzo’s review of The Walking Dead’s mid-season finale says it all. The show is in a serious rut. Vox has a list of the five ways the show is held back by its own past.


The Business

Reboots!: Kevin Bacon will star, and executive produce a reboot of Tremors for TV. I am a little ashamed to admit that I will probably watch this. Netflix has decided to bring back Lost In Space, now that it’s been long enough that everyone has forgotten the 1998 movie. However, Neil Marshall (The Descent, Hannibal, Game Of Thrones) might direct, which is enough to make me very curious about the direction they are taking. Are you interested in a Rambo TV series? How about one that includes Rambo’s long-lost son? Yeah, that’s still probably a no from me. It’s not quite a reboot, because it picks up where Hey Arnold left off, but the news that Nickelodeon is making a TV movie is still good news for fans.

FOX is the first broadcast network to abandon live plus same day ratings, since unless it’s for football, or the Oscars, those numbers don’t really mean anything anymore.

Mad Men’s Matthew Weiner will direct an episode of Orange Is The New Black for the show’s fourth season, and  Jackson might be directing an episode of Doctor Who. That seems on brand.

Showtime has given the greenlight to Dark Net, a show that sounds like it's straight out of the 90’s. It's a half hour unscripted look at the perils of technology and the internet, with episodes on pornography, bio-hacking and online cults.

Casting: It sounds like Felicia Day will be the next mad scientist on Mystery Science Theater 3000, which is truly perfect casting. Also perfect casting? Patton Oswalt as her henchman.Tom Hardy’s Taboo has added Jonathan Pryce, Oona Chaplin and Michael Kelly. Sonia Braga has joined Netflix’s Luke Cage, as Claire Temple’s mother. Lori Petty has joined the cast of Gotham, presumably as a villain because that show just can’t stop casting villains.Sherri Shepherd has joined the cast of Rosewood in a recurring role.

RenewalsFX has renewed Fargo for a third season. Not a big surprise. CBS has given Supergirl a full 20 episode first season. Girl Meets World will return for a third season. ABC Family, sorry Freeform, has renewed The Fosters for a fourth season. Disney XD has renewed Star Wars Rebels for a third season.

Both Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and iZombie got orders for extra episodes from The CW.

Gravity Falls will end its run next year after two seasons, but don’t get mad, this was apparently the plan all along.

Also cancelled: BBC Three. It will be replaced by an online version to appeal to younger viewers.

It’s almost mid-season, so everyone is putting together their list of shows that might be in danger of being cancelled. Here’s TV Line’s list, and Entertainment Weekly’s.

Scheduling: Legends of Tomorrow will be paired with The 100 on Thursdays on The CW, and The Originals and The Vampire Diaries will be moving to Fridays. ABC Family, sorry Freeform, has scheduled The Fosters for a 1/25 return, and Pretty Little Liars for 1/12.


What To Watch

So, what did you catch up on over the break? Did you binge watch Jessica Jones like i did? Or did you watch three episodes of Man In The High Castle and then switch over to something else? I got several people hooked on Master Of None, which actually isn’t that hard because it’s an excellent show and it sells itself.

I spent an entire day last week reading the first book in the Expanse series, which is timely because Syfy has released the first episode ahead of the premiere. I...don’t like it? This is probably a book reader problem. If you need a show that fills the hole Battlestar Galactica left when it ended, this is a good candidate.

If you were anxiously waiting for the 11th so you can finally watch the second season of Transparent, then I have some good news. Amazon has already put up the first episode exclusively for Amazon Prime members. If you need to read a review first, here’s a very positive one from Tim Goodman.

Tonight and tomorrow are this season's The Flash and Arrow crossover episodes. Team Arrow arrives in Central City tonight, and then the action moves back to Star City on tomorrow’s episode. And speaking of tomorrow, expect tons of build up for the new Legends Of Tomorrow show.

I am always telling people to watch the Graham Norton Show, because unlike a lot of other celebrity interview shows it's long enough that the guests run out of publicist approved soundbites and weird stuff happens. Like Benedict Cumberbatch and Johnny Depp beating up a six foot tall teddy bear.

I know trying to sell a show to you that’s basically the TV version of Debbie Downer (but not funny) isn’t easy, but maybe all the good reviews for the second season of The Leftovers will change your mind? At the very least it’s going to get some acting nominations, so if you watch you can lord over everyone at your Golden Globes party.

Die Hard is my favorite Christmas movie, so clearly I am not the best person to give recommendations to keep you in the holiday spirit, but perhaps this advent calendar from Netflix will help.

Vulture has a list of what’s new on Netflix for December, and what is leavingHere's a list of what is leaving HBO Now, and what is arriving, and Decider has what's new on Acorn and Hulu this month.

Mark your calendars because the new HBO based Sesame Street will arrive on January 16th. Expect several articles about ruined childhoods.

BBC’s Top Gear will return on May 8th. This is the one Jeremy Clarkson got fired from, not the one he’s working on at Amazon.


Odds and Ends

Billy On The Street took Julianne Moore to Times Square where she acted out scenes from her movies for tips. I love that they included her rant from Magnolia. “Don’t you call me lady!”

Uproxx has some details, and probably some big some spoilers, on what’s next for The Walking Dead after watching the post credits scene.

If you’ve ever wondered what everyone on Scooby Doo are up to now, maybe this Twitter feed will fill in the blanks.

Last Week Tonight added to the chorus of people who want to get rid of the penny.

Thanks to the Rugrats storyboard artist, you now know what all the characters would look like in their 20’s.

Tony Sopranos Escalade sold at auction for $119,780. That's one dedicated Sopranos fan.

TV Line has the details on the one night only musical of Friday Night Lights. Scott Porter, aka Jason Street, will be playing Coach Taylor.

The Late Show and Stephen Colbert, well mostly just Colbert, giant Tolkien fan, want you to know the difference between Gollum and Smeagol. Especially if you are naming a spider after one of them.

Trailers: Bad news for kilt fans: Jamie is wearing a lot less of them in this first trailer for the second season of Outlander. Shameless season six promises more Gallagher messes, especially now that Frank has moved back in. Samantha Bee’s Full Throttle goes the Star Wars route in the new trailer. Since I already watch The Flash and Arrow I am obviously on board for Legends Of Tomorrow, and you might be too after this trailer. Hey look, it’s a trailer for the new season of Luther. Portlandia is back on January 21st, and there’s a new teaser trailer. You might be into FOX’s Grease: Live, but that one is a giant nope for me. We probably won’t get to see E4’s Tripped for a while, since it doesn’t air in Britain until next week, but based on the trailer I am in for the premise of two idiots running from an assassin through parallel worlds.

Decider has five fan theories about Rick and Morty, and most of them are pretty great. Hey, anything can happen with parallel universes, right?

If you are anxiously waiting for more Absolutely Fabulous

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