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John Oliver's thoughts on birds, The Every Ninja, and The Great British Bake-Off gets a new home.

Tuesday September 13th 2016

People Talking About TV

“When the Every Ninja decided to make a change, she had to drive to the parkour gym after work, approach the shirtless dude working the front desk, and tell him that she’s here for the 8 o’clock ninja class and no, she’s never been before. No customized workouts, no personal chefs, no guarantee that she’d be the one in a hundred chosen to compete.” This article argues that forget the stunt pros, the parkour instructors or the rock climbers, it’s the regular people who compete, and usually fail, on American Ninja Warrior that make it inspiring. I am not exactly the most graceful person, but even I’d love to take a crack at that course. (Preferably without cameras, or any people watching me totally fail at it.) Unsurprisingly, it has been renewed for a sixth season.

“Leaning again on his favored economic metaphor, he continues: “That person in that mythical housing-crisis story wasn’t necessarily saying, ‘We need more people to be homeless, and that’s a good thing.’ They weren’t saying that it’s a bad thing that more people are buying homes; what they’re saying is there’s something distorted about this marketplace. Meanwhile, the more people that can live in a home, the better. The more diverse people can make a television show that’s a good television show, the better.”” Interesting piece from Vanity Fair about FX’s John Landgraf, which covers diversity on TV, comparing the era of Peak TV to the 2008 housing crisis, and which shows he’s sad FX didn’t get.

“I treasured the tapes I did keep, however, maybe too much. I still remember getting angry at my best friend because he accidentally recorded over a tape containing a rare airing of Police Squad!, the short-lived Zucker-Abrams-Zucker series which led to the Naked Gun movies. And, looking back, maybe all that time spent recording reruns of The Avengers off A&E or The New Adventures of Mighty Mouse on Saturday mornings could have been better spent. Then again, could they?” Confessions of a videotape hoarder, for those of us old enough to remember the possibility that something could air on TV and then never be seen again. (Which basically happened with "Home," The X-Files' most disturbing episode.)

“We already know the history — it can feel inevitable and unsurprising. We already know Pablo’s a strange, bad, ambitious dude. What better way to present him than to show him through the eyes of someone marginal to his story, who can inform us and admire him while also loathing him? In a twisted way, Murphy is like an inverse Forrest Gump. He’s perpetually on the edge of the story we know, but rather than asking us to focus on Murphy, Murphy’s narration constantly drags our eye outward, to the bigger context and the less familiar history.” A rare vote in favor of the Narcos narrator, but only for season one. I am not in the pro camp, as it always felt like a version of the fantastic narration from Casino, but with an off putting edge of sounding too cool to be a narrator. Also, a lot of people watched season two illegally, though a lot of them didn’t stay until the end. Maybe they finally Googled it?

The Business

First Top Gear and now this! Channel 4 outbid the BBC for the next three seasons of The Great British Bake-Off, which is the most watched show in the UK. Hosts Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc have announced they will not follow the show to its new home.

The Creative Arts Emmy’s were this weekend, and Game of Thrones added quite a few new awards to the pile. The full list of winners is over here.

SNL added three new cast members this week. Mikey Day was already a staff writer, and was a cast member of the SNL adjacent Maya and Marty. Also joining the cast as featured players are Alex Moffat and Melissa Villaseñor, who amazingly, is the show’s first Latina performer, which only took 42 years.

Hulu gave a 13 episode order to Future Man, which stars Josh Hutcherson as a janitor/gamer sent back in time to try to prevent the extinction of humanity.

Casting: Tony Shalhoub has joined the pilot for Amy Sherman-Palladino's The Marvelous Mr. Maisel. Kirstie Alley will be a series regular on Scream Queens. She will play the hospital’s administrator. Ben Barnes has been cast, and is rumored to be playing Bobby Saint, on The Punisher. A lot of people are going to read this as Richard Madden (Robb Stark) has joined Stranger Things, but he’s actually joining Amazon’s pilot for Strange New Things. It’s about a priest bringing “the word of God on a newly discovered planet.” How toGet Away With Murder has cast Brett Butler in a mystery role. Nurse Jackie’s Dominic Fumusa has joined Homeland as an FBI agent.

Cancellations: Nickelodeon’s Regular Show will end after the upcoming eighth season. Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll, a show with a title I hate typing, will not be back for a third season at FX. ABC cancelled Mistresses after four seasons. The season four finale aired last week.

In Development: Vince Gilligan is developing Raven for HBO, a limited series about Jim Jones and the Peoples Temple. Michelle MacLaren and Octavia Spencer are EPs. It’s a huge understatement to say that those final couple of episodes are going to be hard to watch. Dick Wolf is developing a show about the FBI, with help from the actual FBI. If picked up it will be on USA.

Remember the diversity in TV conversation we had last year around this time? And how everyone vowed to get more women and minorities behind the camera? Yeah, it’s still mostly white dudes directing your favorite TV shows.


What To Watch

Thankfully it’s a slow couple of days for new or returning shows. I’ve been catching up on Fortitude, which is on Amazon prime. It’s a weird mix of Nordic and British murder shows, but crossed with an episode of The X-Files. It’s very snowy, which fits in nicely with the very fall-like soup weather we’ve had here this week.

IFC’s Documentary Now! Is back for a new season starting tomorrow. This season spoofs Jiro Dreams of Sushi, and The War Room, among others.

Blindspot, a show I watch while exercising, returns to NBC tomorrow. I’m sure they are a pain to apply, but Jane’s tattoos are pretty great looking. They could have got all the information across in less elegant forms. Also, this show amuses me because there's always a huge shootout 2/3 of the way through each episode. So much paperwork.

The sixth season of American Horror Story returns to FX tomorrow, and unlike previous seasons, this one has managed to keep the setting under wraps.

Son of Zorn started on Sunday, but a lot of the reviews arrived late, and honestly it seemed kind of weird based on what I'd seen in the trailers, so I decided to wait. Mostly it got B’s, like these reviews from both The A.V. Club and Entertainment WeeklyAnd Tim Goodman calls it an “interesting little experiment.” Here’s the trailer. Having only one character be animated is interesting, but also kind of weird. It must be odd to film this.

Full Frontal with Samantha Bee returned last night, and she has some thoughts about “human Splenda” Matt Lauer. I am worried that Sam’s head is going to explode before November 8th.

Decider has a list of the 10 best British dramas on Netflix. It includes Peaky Blinders, Skins, and Sherlock, and several others you might have skipped.

TV Line has their picks for the best episode of each season of Supernatural.

We mostly agree, since my favorites are always the funny ones. That show can be too serious, it needs more scenes of Dean running from a yorkie.

Vulture ranked all of Netflix’s original series. Spoiler alert, Orange is the New Black takes the top spot. I am OK with that, though I enjoyed Master of None more.

The A. V. Club found 10 actual episodes where Daria gave a damn.


Odds and Ends

Last Week Tonight is still on hiatus, but John Oliver took the time to share some of his thoughts on birds. Especially ostriches.

Here’s a short video of a pug dressed up as most of the characters from Stranger Things.

Frank Grimes is returning to The Simpsons this season, but only for the Treehouse of Horror episode, because Frank Grimes, who lived above a bowling alley, and below another bowling alley, is still dead.

Trailers: Amazon’s Goliath has a new very Amazon (they need better trailers) out, and if you need a new legal drama with a pretty amazing cast, this is itI got a lot more interested in watching Divorce, not after this trailer, but after reading that Catastrophe’s Sharon Horgan is the creator of the show. I am also very interested to see what Noah Hawley does with Legion, as these trailers tell me nothing really.


That’s me for today, but I will return with more on Thursday. Thanks for reading!

-Alana Cloutier


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