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The Walking Dead disappoints, SNL does not, and Nickelodeon is to blame for your cable bill.

Tuesday October 25th 2016

The Watercooler

So how was the season premiere of The Walking Dead? Did the wait to find out who Negan was going to pick pay off? Let's see what the critics think...

“The show is so stupid that it thinks we’re stupid, prays we’re stupid; cross its fingers and hopes like hell that its legion of loyal, obsessive followers will rend their garments at the horrible demise of a fan favorite, but still be back next week for another round of spin the murder bottle.”- The A.V. Club.

That's not a good start. 
Maybe others liked it?

“I’ve had a lot of issues with The Walking Dead of late — especially with that genuinely terrible season six finale — but I probably still would have called myself, in general, a “fan” of the show until tonight. Being a fan sometimes means rolling your eyes at something stupid but powering through. I’m not sure I can power through this.” -Vox.

“But Dead is just shock for the sake of shock. And worse, because shock is all Dead has, the pacing of episodes and seasons is garbage. The season premiere ran just over an hour but could have been ten minutes long, that’s how little the events of the story itself matter.” -Lainey Gossip.

OK, guess not. Maybe there’s a recap out there that isn’t totally negative?

“Had this scene played out at the end of season six, it would have been incredible. It would have done everything The Walking Dead wanted from this scene—it would have shocked us because we were still only guessing there’d be one victim back then. We also didn’t know, until the final moments of the finale, which characters would be facing Negan’s wrath in the final scene. The momentum was there. We were all invested.” -Io9.

Any others?

“The show is not really about the slow process of desensitization to violence that occurs after disasters, during wars and so on; it’s (inadvertently, I think) about our own desensitization as audience members in a country that is, despite pockets of deprivation and violence, basically a soft place day to day, compared to the hellholes we see on the news and read about online. You get to come into your job Monday morning and talk about that awesome kill last night, or that sad but awesome kill of some character you liked.” -Vulture

Guess not.

So yeah, people were not a fan. The ratings however, are on track to make this the most watched episode ever. Though based on the reactions, I am curious about next week’s numbers.

The Business

I like this trend. The second season of Jessica Jones will only have female directors.

Benedict Cumberbatch will host the November 5th episode of SNL with Solange KNowles as the musical guest.

Casting: Carol Burnett will star as an actress who lives with the new owners of her house in a comedy produced by Amy Poehler. Chris Pratt will guest star as a horseback riding instructor on MomHouse of Cards has added Patricia Clarkson and Campbell Scott to the cast. Adam Scott will guest star on several episodes of The Good Place. That seems like a good fit. Narcos has added a bunch of new regulars to the cast for season 3, but the big news for me is the addition of Halt and Catch Fire’s Kerry Bishé

Renewals: Netflix ordered a second season of Frontier, the fur-trading drama starring Jason Momoa ahead of the first season premiere.

FOX ordered Bad Sugar, a comedy about a family fighting over an inheritance from Catastrophe’s Sharon Horgan. Co-creator Olivia Coleman will star.

Alex Kurtzman will produce Salvation, an event series for CBS about an asteroid that is discovered to be on six month collision course with earth.

In Development: Oh good, CBS is developing a show based on Candy Crush. Yes, that is what the world needs. NBC wants a TV version of Sneakers, which is an amazing time capsule of pre dot-com San Francisco.


People Talking About TV

“But because it raised a generation to expect more from TV than what the broadcast networks were dishing out, Nick was also a sort of long-term investment for the cable industry. Kids who came of age in the Reagan years were being taught to look for TV in places not named ABC, CBS, or NBC. (MTV, launched two years after Nick, served a similar function with teenagers). By the time they were ready to move into their own apartments a decade or two later, hooking up cable would become as much of a no-brainer as turning on the power.” As part of Vulture’s ‘80’s week, here’s a piece on how Nickelodeon got American hooked on cable TV, and also made us want to buy something called "Floam."

“Street food is essential to Bourdain’s identity. For all of his good living—the paycheck-destroying sushi, the visits to classical French restaurants, the terraces overlooking the Aegean Sea—Bourdain tends to look his happiest when he’s holding a takeout container of something perfect and delicious and entirely of that moment.” Vogue talked to Anthony Bourdain about Parts Unknown, and Bourdain Market, the food hall of just street food that’s scheduled to open in New York in 2019.

What To Watch

Well I don’t know about you, but I am epically behind on fall TV. Turns out the Spanish lifestyle doesn’t leave much time for Netflix binges, and also HBO and Hulu don’t work overseas without some tinkering. So I am caught up on well, nothing really, but I did watch the first couple of episodes of Westworld and I am in. I also liked The Good Place, Insecure, Divorce, and surprisingly, Lethal Weapon. And this week’s SNL was the best in a long, long time. I am looking forward to checking out Berlin Station and Chance.

If you have a new favorite from this fall, let me know, because I am super curious.

Really the only new show returning over the next couple of days is the final season of Rectify, which like all TV, (see above) I am currently way behind on. It is an excellent show, but is not to be binge watched, or else you will end up feeling really weird. It lingers, and unsettles, is what I am saying. Here's a review. It arrives Wednesday on Sundance.

Did you miss the Hamilton doc on PBS? Because it’s available to watch right here.

Depending on where you live, you are probably watching game one of the World Series tonight. I am a Giants fan, so I am over here cursing Taylor Swift for jinxing the team because she didn't release an album this month.Conspiracy theories are weird.

Vulture has a list of nine British murder mystery shows you can watch right now. There’s just something about fall weather and mysteries, isn’t there? I have been pushing Foyle’s War on everyone I know for years now. It’s excellent, go make a cup of tea and watch it.

Vulture also made a handy list of binge watchable shows that have a short running time, so you won’t need 100 hours to catch up. Any list that includes The Hour gets my vote.

Both Esquire and Vulture ranked every episode of Black Mirror, which has new episodes on Netflix, and (according to this review is the “bleakest yet.”) they really only agree on which one is #1, which I also agree with. “Be Right Back” was the one that wrecked me the most.

Here’s the list of movies and shows leaving Netflix in November, and which ones are arriving.

Speaking of leaving, the Criterion Collection is leaving Hulu on the 11th, and so Vulture has a guide for making the most of it before it moves over to another streaming service you will need to pay for.


Odds and Ends

I mentioned this week’s SNL above, and if you haven’t you should probably just watch the whole thing, but at the very least watch the excellent Black Jeopardy sketch, the alarmingly accurate A Girl’s Halloween, and the sure to be referenced forever, David S. Pumpkins.

Now that I am catching up on Westworld, so far Slashfilm is the best place to find all of the bits and pieces, from crazy theories to logistical questions about how the park operates (i love this), and all the lingering questions. Here’s a list of the Westworld filming locations you can go visit. Most of them are in Utah, which you should visit anyway, because it's gorgeous.

Trailers: FX’s Legion looks great, and now I’m annoyed that it doesn’t arrive until February. A lot of you are probably annoyed that there’s still a month of waiting until new Gilmore Girls episodes. Season two of Amazon’s Red Oaks also has a new trailer.

Scientists have been using a piece of the score from Band of Brothers to induce sadness in study participants. Sounds like a fun study.

The Late Late Show had James Corden and Tom Cruise recreate 30 years of Cruise’s movies in 9 minutes.


Thanks for reading! I will be back with more on Thursday.

-Alana Cloutier


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