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Last Week Tonight, the Simpsons live episode, and is Love worth a binge watch?

Thursday February 18th 2016
 

People Talking About TV

V:“If what you’re doing is really just joke crasftmanship, is it not problematic that people are watching Last Week Tonight as a news resource? JO:It’s not problematic for us because that’s not what we are. That’s not a responsibility we’re willing to put on our own shoulders. It’s probably problematic if someone just watches this show for the news — problematic for them, in a very big way, and for society at large. But that’s not our fault. V:Why is that problematic for them? JO: They probably have an outsize view of the importance of chicken farming. And that would be the best consequence.”  It’s long, but you should read Vulture's interview with John Oliver about Last Week Tonight.

“The personalities of the characters played by Ray Romano and John Slattery are distinct, but I suspect they’ll serve the same function. Yankovich is a partner and close friend of Richie, who is miserable in his marriage with a woman his own age. Like Sterling, he also has a daughter who owns him. How long before Yankovich is shacked up with his much younger secretary, like Sterling? I give it six episodes.” A lot of the complaints about Vinyl were about how we’ve seen this show before, which is perfectly illustrated by the 11 ways that Vinyl and Mad Men are the exact same show.

“The PTC’s four full-time TV analysts watch, record, and archive all primetime broadcast television — 8 to 11 p.m. Monday through Saturday and 7 to 11 p.m. on Sundays — as well as some cable shows, and track their findings. A dark side room in their slick skyscraper office houses huge stacks of DVRs and servers. Another room is taken up by dozens of boxes of VHS tapes of TV shows from their pre-digital days, which represent about half of a catalogued library that comprises tens of thousands of hours of footage, all in the effort to track television’s moral transgressions.” From Buzzfeed, inside the world of the Parents Television Council.

“The two were the beneficiaries of some valuable advice that they have recently taken to heart. Bill Murray, the actor and former cast member, stopped by the “SNL” offices in the fall, and suggested the duo start reading the “Update” script together to each other. “You just might find something there,” Jost recalled Murray telling them. “It was very simple advice,” Jost said, but “it helps us find asides or ways we can help each other tighten our jokes, or punch them up with a phrase.”” Behind the scenes at SNL’s Weekend Update, which is so much better this season.

“Successfully running a broadcast network in the Platinum Age of Television is a ridiculously impossible job. ABC will find the exclamation point of that statement now that its man on the hot seat, Paul Lee, has stepped down in a lost power struggle with his boss, Ben Sherwood, president of Disney/ABC TV Group. Sherwood has installed Lee’s head of drama, Channing Dungey, into the smoldering seat of doom, becoming the first African-American woman to run a broadcast network. Congratulations on getting one of the worst jobs in TV!” Tim Goodman at The Hollywood Reporter on Paul Lee stepping down, and what’s next for the network. Pretty great to have a woman running ABC, even if it’s a thankless job.

 

The Business

FOX has apparently run out of things to do on The Simpsons, so they are giving three minutes from the May 15th episode over to live questions. Dan Castellaneta will take the questions, and will control the motion capture suit. I just want to point out that io9 including the line “You'll  have to speak up, I’m wearing a towel” with this article made me laugh.

You might not watch any of them, but last week CBS had all 10 of the highest rated programs on TV.

VH1 has given the greenlight to Satan’s Sisters, based on Star Jones’ book about her time on The View.

Casting: Lisa Bonet will have a major recurring role on Ray DonovanJoe Manganiello has joined the cast of History’s Navy SEAL drama Six. David Morrissey will play the father of a missing child who returns after many years on the second season of The MissingDjimon Hounsou has joined the second season of Wayward Pines, which has also added Kacey Rohl, who is in everything this season. I guess casting directors watched Hannibal? Anna Diop will play Nicole Bauer in FOX’s 24: Legacy. Let’s hope she has an easier time than the previous Mrs. Bauer.

I hope you Scandal fans like Rowan Pope, because Joe Morton has been promoted to series regular.

Amazon has ordered I Love Dick, a comedy pilot from Transparent’s Jill Soloway. It's not about what you would think it's about from the title.

Pilot Casting: Henry Winkler has joined HBO’s Barry, the hitman comedy from Bill Hader. Winkler will play Barry’s acting teacher. Josh Hutcherson has been cast as the lead in Hulu’s Future Man, with a plot that kind of sounds like The Last StarfighterNiecy Nash will once again play a cop, in FOX’s female buddy cop drama The EnforcersJoel McHale has been cast in CBS’s The Great Indoors, an adventure reporter who is forced to work with millennials on a magazine. Justin Long will play the lead in ABC’s Dream Team, about a soccer coach and manager of a sporting goods store. UnREAL’s Freddie Stroma has been cast as H.G. Wells in ABC’s Time After Time, and Revenge’s Josh Bowman will play Jack the Ripper.

A&E has cancelled Unforgettable, which true to it’s name is a show I had forgotten all about.

One thing Vinyl and The Walking Dead have in common are lower than expected ratings.

 

What To Watch

I’m not sure I have room for another show about messed up 20-somethings in Los Angeles, especially one that just looks like a 10 hour long indie movie, so I am probably not the target audience for Judd Apatow’s Love, which starts tomorrow on Netflix. Vulture warns that it doesn’t work as a binge watch, but both Vulture and Variety agree that like all Apatow projects, the side characters are the best. Alan Sepinwall is totally on board, despite occasionally rooting against the central couple. Mostly the reviews all make some play on liking, not loving Love, but they are pretty positive. Here's the trailer.

Wired made a binge watching guide for You’re the Worst, which is a show that I am constantly pushing on people. TV is lousy with shows about messed up people who live in L.A. (see above) so you might roll your eyes at one about two terrible people, who know they are terrible, slowly falling in love, but you’d be wrong. It’s the best and you should watch it. Forget Love, head over to Hulu and watch season one of You’re the Worst and then tell me I’m wrong.

I am pretty damn excited about the second season of The Returned finally making it to Netflix. The first season was SO GOOD.

Do you like reading The New Yorker? Then you should probably check out Amazon’s New Yorker Presents. Sonia Saraiya at Salon described it as “The result is a surprisingly pleasant and bite-size hybrid of two very different sensibilities, one that offers that difficult-to-imitate combination of breadth and depth that reading the New Yorker provides.”

Other things you can watch: Craig Ferguson returns to TV tonight with History’s Join or Die, which sounds like a history based version of Britain QI, which is not a bad thing. Vikings returns tonight with more braids, boats and hard to pronounce names. Michael Pollan’s Cooked arrives tomorrow on Netflix, and I will definitely be watching that one. Girls and Togetherness both return to HBO on Sunday, and Decider has the five reasons why it should be the “white people problems show” you should be watching. The X-Files season (series?) finale is on Monday.

If you’ve been curious about Making a Murderer, but you don’t have Netflix, the first episode is up on YouTube.

If you’ve already watched the whole season of The Great British Baking Show on Netflix, and you are hungry (heh) for more, Decider has the details on where you can find the earlier seasons.

 

 

Odds and Ends

Here’s this week’s Marcia Clarke cigarette count from American Crime Story. Vulture also checked the facts from this week’s episode.

Here’s a look at all the visual effects from Amazon’s Man In the High Castle. Unsurprisingly, a lot of the locations they scouted didn’t want a giant swastika on them, so they had to be changed as well.

The Late Late Show is going to wear out the Carpool Karaoke concept much sooner than expected if they keep releasing them like this. The current one is with Sia.

Everyone looks pretty worried in the new trailer for Orphan Black, which returns April 14th.

Star Trek bloopers are always great, you can really tell how low budget the show was. So how about 4 minutes of Michael Dorn as Worf flubbing his lines or failing to keep a straight face on TNG?

The honest trailer for the last couple of seasons on The Walking Dead pretty much sums up why I don’t watch the show on a regular basis.

 

Thanks for reading! I will be back on Tuesday with more on this week’s (hopefully less irritating) episode of The Walking Dead.

-Alana Cloutier


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