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Atlanta and Queen Sugar, more Narcos, and getting past a terrible title.

Tuesday September 6th 2016
 

People Talking About TV

“Now, Buffy the Vampire Slayer ran seven seasons, was never in danger of cancellation at any point (it jumped networks after season 5 only because UPN was looking to steal a hit from its rival the WB), launched a long-running (and, eventually, very good) spin-off in Angel, was beloved by its fans, and helped define the identity of an entire TV network for the short but memorable existence of the WB. By any standard you want to measure, Buffy was a success. Except maybe this one: If you tell someone who’s never watched it that a show called Buffy the Vampire Slayer is among the best TV dramas of all time, they will roll their eyes at you and change the subject to something less divisive, like immigration policy.” Alan Sepinwall and Matt Zoller Seitz wrote a book about TV, it’s called "TV (The Book)" where they argue about the top 100 shows. Buffy is in it, which is good because I feel like that title is getting in the way again, now that it’s been off the air for so long. So if you haven’t seen it, don’t let it scare you away. Vulture also ran their piece on The Simpsons, which won a probably controversial spot.

“For one thing, the documentary series, which spends each 50-minute episode profiling some of the world’s most extraordinary chefs, isn’t really about food at all—it’s about art. More explicitly, it’s about the strange and seemingly random circumstances that coalesce to produce unparalleled creative talents. The show focuses on each subject’s history not to pad out each episode with personal detail, but to reveal how much great food is a product of the soul of the person who made it. “A cuisine reflects what you have inside of you,” says the French chef Adeline Grattard in one new episode. “It’s an expression of your inner life.”” This summary of Chef’s Table will either sell you on the show, or make you roll your eyes. I watched the Dominique Crenn episode a few weeks back, and I loved that every dish is based on a memory. A giant bowl of macaroni and cheese is of course lovely, but it’s nice that we can have both.

 

The Business

I didn’t think we could top last week’s graffiti artist police procedural take on King Arthur, but NBC decided to try with Twist, "a sexy, contemporary take" on the tale, turning the London orphan into "a struggling 20-something female," who finds a sense of community in "a strange group of talented outcasts who use their unique skills to take down wealthy criminals." In case you missed it, it’s a take on Oliver Twist. Presumably she will be named Olivia Twist. Can’t wait to see what next week’s terrible idea is.

Netflix has renewed Narcos for two more seasons. In theory, this show could just go on forever, and just switch locations from time to time.

My least favorite part of Mythbusters, the build team, are getting their own show on Netflix. The White Rabbit Project arrives December 9th.

Casting: Jeremy Davies will play Jesus on American GodsJim O’Heir, Jerry/Garry from Parks and Recreation will guest star on Brooklyn Nine-NineGloria and Emilio Estefan will guest star as themselves, and Rogelio’s very dear friends, on Jane the Virgin.

Cancellations: Lifetime cancelled Devious Maids after four seasons. Based on the lack of critical love, or ratings, it’s no surprise that AMC isn’t ordering a second season of Feed the Beast.

In Development: Greg Berlanti, who already produces Arrow, The Flash, Supergirl, and Legends of Tomorrow is developing a Black Lightning show. Picnic at Hanging Rock will be adapted into a six part miniseries.

 

What To Watch

I hope you are all caught up on the summer TV offerings, because even though some shows have already returned, this week feels like the official start to the fall season.

The main show to premiere this week is Donald Glover’s Atlanta on FX, which is getting universally great reviews. “Imagine The Wire without the high-stakes cat-and-mouse game, Girls without the satire or even Louie without the extended vignettes.” Indie Wire gave it an A-. Matt Zoller Seitz at Vulture says it and Better Things (more about that one of Thursday) “are the best new sitcoms of the fall and high-water marks for half-hour, auteur-driven TV comedy.” This one says Atlanta is a “must-watch creative smash.” Sonia Saraiya calls it “a finished, cinematic, and beautiful production that may be one of the best new shows of the fall.” Vox also calls it the best new show of the fall, and here are two more glowing reviews from Tim Goodman and Alan SepinwallThe most recent trailer for is great at setting the mood, but it still isn’t a normal plot based trailer, which is kind of awesome.So yeah, you should watch Atlanta.

OWN’s adult soap Queen Sugar, executive produced by Oprah and Ava DuVernay, who directed the first two episodes, premieres tonight (and airs a second episode tomorrow.) Matt Zoller Seitz described it like this, “the show feels like Parenthood by way of Eugene O'Neill” which, I’d watch that. (The brief plot synopsis is that three siblings, at very different stages of their lives, return to the family’s Louisiana sugar cane farm.) Sonia Saraiya thinks the show looks amazing, but the writing falls short. Alan Sepinwall liked it better, and made more comparisons to Parenthood, and that it “feels less like watching a fictional story than being a fly on the wall to witness a real family's problems.” Here’s the trailer. I am definitely watching this one.

StartUp arrives on Crackle today, which I suspect you only know is a place that has scripted TV if you watch Comedians In Cars Getting CoffeeThis New York Times review makes it sound like they made the main mistakes of prestige TV, too much sex and male anti-heroes. Though one of the leads is a Cuban-American woman who isn’t playing the wife or the girlfriend, so that’s a start. If you require a letter grade, The A.V. Club gave it a B. Here’s the trailer.

Showtime released the premiere of the fourth season of Masters of Sex early, and so you don’t have to wait until the 11th. The ‘60s are turning into the ‘70s this season, so expect lots of talk about key parties.

If you are caught up on the previous two seasons, there are new episodes of From Dusk Till Dawn arriving on Netflix tomorrow.

Decider made a very helpful list of when all of your shows are returning, and where to catch up on previous seasons if you are behind.

Here’s Vox’s picks for the best of September’s offerings now available on streaming.

These are IndieWire’s picks for the 17 most anticipated comedies of the fall.

Here’s Uproxx’s take on what to watch this fall.

I’ve been catching up on Chef’s Table, which always makes me want to travel more than cook something. I am also catching up on Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, which is much better than I thought it was going to be, and it looks amazing. If you miss Penny Dreadful, you should definitely give it a go. I am also re-watching Arrow, but fast forwarding through 95% of all scenes featuring Laurel before she figured out what the deal is with The Arrow. Poor Laurel, so out of the loop.

 

Odds and Ends

According to this interview, Bob Ross actually had straight hair, which means he did that to his hair on purpose! For years! My mind is blown.

Good news Spotify subscribers! The Stranger Things score is finally available.

Larry Wilmore temporarily hosted The Late Show, because isn’t that usually the next step for anyone who previously held the 11:30 slot after The Daily Show?

Since a lot happened in season one, the new credits of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend are getting an update.

Io9 ranked all of the various stupid things zombies get called on The Walking Dead and Fear the Walking Dead besides zombies, which is a word that apparently doesn’t exist in this world.

Trailers: The newest trailer for Syfy’s Channel Zero once again stars the teeth guy, and ugh, no. Gross. Clearly I missed a lot on Longmire last season. New episodes arrive September 23rd.

If you were frustrated by Chandra’s storyline on The Night Of, don’t worry, you are not the only one.

 

That’s me for today, but I will be back on Thursday with even more new TV. Thanks for reading!

-Alana Cloutier

 

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