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Hating on the Olympics, vacation and TCA catch-up, and Hulu cuts off freeloaders.

Tuesday August 9th 2016

And I’m back! It’s less humid here, which is the good news, but the bad news is that the state is so dry it’s basically on fire. In TV news, TCA happened while I was on vacation, and amusingly, everyone there realized something some of us have known for a while, which is Mariah Carey lives in her own world, and so Mariah's World is going to be amazing to watch. (She doesn’t walk anywhere unassisted, and if you think I’m kidding, check the tapes.) 

The Watercooler

“NBC's irritating strategy has been official practice since the 1980s, but it became especially odious during the 2000 Games in Sydney: That's when the network decided to treat the world's greatest international display of athletic prowess not as a news event, but as raw material with which to create sentimental and softheaded entertainment "product" — much of it taking the form of prerecorded "up-close-and-personal" biographical sketches, the result of focus-group research contending that women don't care about sports unless there's an uplifting story about the athletes.” People seem to enjoy watching the Olympics despite the way NBC decides to package it.

Tim Goodman calls himself “the Olympics Pollyanna” and feels like it’s worth the inconveniences.

Thanks to her social media skills, SNL’s Leslie Jones has been invited to Rio by NBC as a contributor for the Olympics, so at least some of the commentary will make you laugh on purpose.

Previously TV dug up a video of the highlights from the opening ceremony from the 1976 games, and it looks like a local track meet (but with QEII in the audience) compared to the extravaganza we had this year.

Speaking of uniforms that look like they belong on flight attendants, Tom and Lorenzo have some thoughts on the outfits, including the shirtless guy, from the opening ceremony. 

“Things didn’t improve much on Saturday, the first night of competition: NBC averaged an 11.4 for its prime-time broadcast, down about 28 percent from London’s 15.8 and another at least 20-year low. Part of the problem is big defections among millennial audiences, i.e. the audience segment most likely to be turned off by NBC’s non-stop commercial breaks. Final numbers aren’t in yet, but among adults aged 18 to 34, it looks like Friday’s opening was down around 43 percent compared to London (versus the aforementioned 35 percent decline among viewers of all ages).” While nobody likes commercials, it turns out that those used to commercial free on demand TV really don’t like commercials.

The Business

The era of free Hulu is coming to an end, but if you still want free TV with the same commercial repeated 6 times in 30 minutes, then Yahoo View is something you should check out. I didn't watch much on Hulu before I got the commercial free version, but now I think I watch more TV there than on Netflix, by far.

You’ve got to give people what they want, I guess, so VH1 picked up Martha & Snoop’s Dinner Party, a show featuring recipes and interviews co-starring Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg. I would like to time travel back 20 years to tell people this show exists.

Huh, well that’s an interesting idea. Brooklyn Nine-Nine and New Girl are going to do a crossover episode for each show in October.

Jay Pharaoh, Taran Killam and Jon Rudnitsky will not be returning to SNL in the fall, as well as Jon Rudnitsky, and it sounds like this was Lorne Michaels’ decision, not theirs.

The Simpsons will do an hour-long episode this fall that is a “hip-hop homage to The Great Gatsby” featuring Taraji P. Henson and Keegan-Michael Key.

JImmy Fallon will host the 2017 Golden Globes, which is actually a perfect, and celebrity friendly choice.

It’s like this show is made just for me! Portishead’s Geoff Barrow will do the score for the Netflix episodes of Black Mirror. Can’t wait.

HBO might have cancelled Togetherness, but the Duplass brothers are still OK with working with them on Room 104, an anthology comedy series about one room in a hotel and all the people who stay in it.

FOX is pretty serious about promoting Pitch, their upcoming baseball drama, as they’ve rented out whole nights to air the pilot at 43 minor league and college ballparks.

Casting: Maya Rudolph will play a U.S. marshall on Brooklyn Nine-Nine for several episodes. Michael Imperioli will play an angel on Lucifer next season. Kyra Sedgwick will star in ABC’s 10 Days in the Valley, a drama about a missing child that was given a straight-to-series order last week. Friday Night Lights’ Adrianne Palicki will play the female lead in Seth McFarlane’s untitled space comedy/drama. Rachel Brosnahan will play the title character in Amy Sherman-Palladino’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon. Jeremy Davies, who had the best/worst haircut on TV on Justified, will play the villain on Sleepy HollowSean Hayes and Rosie O’Donnell have joined NBC’s Hairspray Live! Ken Marino will play the temporary new captain on Brooklyn Nine-Nine. Megan Fox will return to New Girl at midseason for an extended arc. Joe Biden will play himself on an episode of Law & Order: SVU. Orlando Bloom has joined the cast of Tour de PharmacyBrendan Fraser will have an arc on The Affair.

Cancellations: PlayStation has decided not to bring Powers back for a third season.

Renewals: Starz has ordered a second season of The Girlfriend Experience, which will now be an anthology show, with a different cast each season. Bravo renewed Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce, for three more seasons, but says that is the full run of the show. Apparently I wasn’t the only one who thought Queen Sugar had a fantastic trailer, as OWN has already renewed it for a second season. ABC renewed their Sunday night block of 1970s game shows, so I guess I’d better get used to both tiny microphones and Match Game. USA renewed Suits for a seventh season, defying expectations for the network post Mr. Robot. John Cena’s American Grit, another show that makes me feel like a wimp, will return for a second season on FOX.

People Talking About TV

“As you’ll recall, when last we left the Animal Avengers, they had stolen an immortal jellyfish everyone keeps calling an “eyewitness” to both animal uprisings. Thank goodness for Abe, who points out jellyfish don’t actually have eyes, so why doesn’t everyone cool it with the cutesy phrases.” Everyone is paying attention to elite athletes, but don’t worry, over on CBS Zoo is still on, and is still totally insane. This week there were immortal jellyfish, x-ray machine wielding carnies and panther attacks. All usual TV stuff.

“For anyone who has contributed to this canon — which recently reached a fever pitch with an image of Arthur’s clenched fist — WGBH’s scolding is a satisfying sign that the Arthur meme-ment has grown big enough to fluster The Olds. But the fact that a public TV station had to emerge from layers of Antiques Roadshow dust to tsk-tsk the millennials for their tomfoolery tells us a lot about how the internet has learned to communicate with itself.” The Ringer has a brief history of how Arthur, a show about an 8-year-old aardvark, became such a popular meme.

What To Watch

I don’t know if you’ve heard, but there’s this little show on TV right now called the Olympics? Here’s the full schedule for when NBC has decided to air the events.

Feeling overwhelmed by the sheer amount of events you could be watching? Perhaps The Ringer’s “Watchability Matrix,” which has categories like "public access TV" and "Jason Statham movies", will help you narrow it down.

Everything else is staying out of the way of the Olympics, you have until this weekend before anything new and notable debuts. So now is your chance to catch up on whatever you’ve been putting off. I’ve been watching Felicity, because I missed it the first time around. As a big fan of The Americans, it’s really weird, and I keep expecting Felicity to kick Ben through a wall. It gets lumped in with My So-Called Life a lot, but that seems unfair. I hate Felicity so much less than anyone on My So-Called Life. Both feature a lot of terrible clothing from the 1990s. #neverforget #lumpysweaters

I am also going to try out two shows from WGN, Underground and Outsiders, two shows that got good to great reviews for their first seasons, and are now on Hulu.

I’ve probably mentioned my love for the idea of Slow TV, and now Netflix has the Norwegian import, so if you like watching people knit in real time, or watching a very soothingly paced train journey, this is the show for you.

The Great British Bake-Off is still airing new episodes, and now I need to go find some chocolate cake.

UnREAL’s second season wrapped up last night, and like the rest of the season it was kind of a mess, but don’t let that stop you from trying out the excellent first season on Hulu.

Stranger Things! Netflix got a big win with the show of the summer, so give it a try. Everyone in your office is talking about it.

Alan Sepinwall has some fantastic lesser known suggestions for your next show, but I would not recommend binge watching the unsettling and leisurely paced Southern-set drama Rectify. I would also not recommend binge watching the star-studded In Treatment, or you might feel weird.

Feel like a good binge watch? Then Decider’s list of the 100 best should help you decide. I am mostly in agreement about the top 10, but I would only binge on Friends if I was kidnapped and strapped into a chair.

Odds and Ends

The Hodor backstory reveal on Game of Thrones caused some issues for countries where just using the English language translation wouldn’t make any sense for viewers. Here’s some examples of how they made it work. Pretty clever.

Hey remember The Simpsons based time waster Frinkiac? Well now you can share GIFs and make memes from not only The Simpsons, but also Futurama thanks to Morbotron.

Stranger Things! Apparently everyone finally started watching this show, because there are all of a sudden a million stories about it. (Slow burn.) Jalopnik reviewed the accuracy of the cars, and you know your show is doing well when it gets the 1980s intro treatment. /film talks about all the parallels to Stephen King’s terrifying It.

Jenna Maroney’s dialogue from 30 Rock makes great Donald Trump memes, because both are clueless about how the world works and their place in it.

The Muppets house band, Dr Teeth and The Electric Mayhem played a set at SF’s Outside Lands this weekend.

Last week on Late Night: Will Smith wasn’t happy with the standard entrance on The Tonight Show, so he tried some showier options. Also on The Tonight Show, giant ham Seth Rogen brought it, with a lot of help from The Roots, on Lip Sync Battle. Stephen Colbert takes questions from the audience at the end of Late Show tapings, and people often ask Tolkien questions. Nerd knows his stuff.

There’s a theory that Dennis from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia is actually a serial killer, and not just a sociopath.

Trailers: Netflix released a real trailer for Luke Cage, and I hope Claire Temple gets more screentime in this one, because she’s awesome. Transparent returns to Amazon on September 23rd, and now there’s a full trailer. I will basically watch anything with Hugh Laurie in it, so fortunately Hulu’s upcoming drama Chance looks pretty good. Lifetime’s Girl in the Box is this generation’s made for TV movie about the perils of hitchhikingTig Notaro is great, but the trailer for One Mississippi is cut to look like a weird rom-com, minus the romance or comedyNow I’m wondering if this is just an Amazon problem, because the trailer for Goliath isn’t great either.

How about we end this one with a supercut of Clay Davis from The Wire saying “sheeeeeeeeeeit?”


That’s all for today, but I will be back on Thursday with a hopefully less super sized edition, and lots of details about Netflix’s The Get Down.

Thanks for reading!

-Alana Cloutier

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