People Talking About TV
“Before you come at me to explain that you've seen UnREAL and all of this is phony, let me stress this: for the purposes of this argument, it doesn't matter. Consider it a manufactured narrative, and you come out at exactly the same place: the show has put itself in an intriguing bind by building into its story structure both a longstanding lean against interracial dating and a story where being chosen by this season's hero is key to being next season's hero. This link between each season and the next has created a way for the centrality of white leads to perpetuate itself, without anyone who set up the whole one-goofus-leads-to-another system having ever needed to have that motive.” Leave it to NPR’s Linda Holmes to write something worth posting about the Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise. I look forward to reading other pieces when Rachel gets her season.
“Recent Asian-American superhero stories like Gene Luen Yang and Sonny Liew’s The Green Turtle and G. Willow Wilson’s Ms. Marvel have examined what it means to be an American, and the generational tensions around assimilation and heritage. Such concerns could have anchored Iron Fist, and given it a reason for being in the same way that black community anchored Luke Cage, and women’s experiences with domestic and sexual violence anchored Jessica Jones. What does it mean to grow up in a country that is supposed to be yours and isn’t? What’s it like being an American hero while also being an immigrant person of color?” This is a pretty convincing argument for the casting of Iron Fist as a huge missed opportunity to tell a more interesting version of the story. (Seriously, there needs to be a weekly group counseling session for all of these billionaires with a sad origin story)
“Kaling is also on the record saying that one of the things she enjoys about her job is making out with her co-stars. Since she's the boss, why not maximize her fun by bringing in a hot new piece of ass with every episode? This viewer is just as interested in seeing thirty- to fortysomething dudes objectified as Kaling is in objectifying them. Let Mindy date around like Jerry did and literally everybody wins. I am not a crackpot.” This also an excellent argument for The Mindy Project to have Mindy just date a new guy every week or so, which solves the show’s problem of the boring long-term boyfriend.
Netflix is getting two stand-up specials from Louis C.K., with the first, called 2017, arriving on April 4th.
Pixar’s Andrew Stanton (Wall-E) will direct two episodes of Stranger Things’ upcoming season for his TV directing debut.
Speaking of excellent directors, Nicolas Winding Refn will direct and produce a show for Amazon. Too Old To Die Young will “explore various characters’ existential journeys from being killers to becoming samurai in the city of angels.” Nobody knows what that means, but it will probably look amazing.
John Hillcoat directed one of my favorite westerns, so obviously I am excited that he’s directing an episode of Black Mirror.
HBO picked up David Bowie: The Last Five Years, a documentary with a ton of unseen interviews and footage.
The BBC is launching a Scottish channel, so expect to see more TV that Americans will need to watch with the subtitles on.
This is interesting. Starz is launching a program with pre-paid subscription cards in order to reach the huge untapped market of potential subscribers who don’t have credit cards. According to the article, that’s ⅓ of U.S. adults.
Casting: Inhumans has cast the biggest villain from Game of Thrones, Ramsay Bolton, (aka Iwan Rheon) as Maximus. This sentence will make sense to some of you. Tim Robbins will star (along with Holly Hunter, yay!) in Alan Ball’s next show for HBO. Demi Moore has booked a recurring role on Empire, which is casting that seems totally right, somehow. Jamie Chung will play Blink in the X-Men pilot that FOX and Matt Nix are doing. Marg Helgenberger has been cast as the lead in FOX’s Behind Enemy Lines pilot. Campbell Scott and Patricia Clarkson have both joined House of Cards. Jason Ritter will star in The Gospel Of Kevin, an ABC pilot from the creators of Agent Carter.
Renewals: FOX renewed The Mick for a second season. FOX also renewed Lethal Weapon, which I actually kind of like, for a second season. NBC renewed Days of Our Lives for a 52nd (!) season.
Ryan Murphy says the next season of American Horror Story will be about the 2016 election, and might have a Trump character. I second this article's wish that series regular Kathy Bates plays that character.
Kevin Smith – who tends to talk about projects before they are a sure thing – is developing a Spawn spin-off for BBC America.
Aaron Paul is one of the producers on a drama for WGN about the life of famous Tennessee whiskey distiller Jack Daniels.
What To Watch
It’s been raining here pretty much non-stop lately, so I’ve been catching up on some TV, as well as re-watching some old episodes of The Vampire Diaries, for some reason. (Everyone but Damon has such great hair on this show.) I am loving Legion, despite not knowing what is happening, (don’t miss the great recaps from /film.) but I am along for the ride, and it looks AMAZING. Here’s some details on the costumes. I also caught up on the always insane Peaky Blinders, which has got to be a terrible show for anyone who is trying to quit smoking, or who hates slo-mo shots of people in coats walking.
While I was on break a bunch of good TV came back. Lucky us! Last Week Tonight continues to channel John Oliver’s anger in a way I find deeply appealing, and Girls continues to create content for TV writers everywhere. Humans, the robot drama with tricky ethical questions that isn’t set in the old west, returned to AMC last week. Billions, Showtime’s favorite “tough guy talk” drama returned Sunday with more Paul Giamatti scenery chewing. And A&E’s – we know where this is going but not how– drama Bates Motel started its final season on Monday. Oh, and you probably know this, but Hulu has all of the episodes of The Golden Girls available to stream right now. Planet Earth II arrived on HD TV’s everywhere this week, so if you need to zone out to amazingly shot footage of animals, you are in luck. Here’s a cool look at how this series was shot, and details on the “cinematic style”
New TV includes The Good Wife spin-off The Good Fight, and Pete Holmes’ Crashing, about a couch-surfing comedian who is going through a divorce. Fortunately it’s funnier than that premise. Part murder mystery, part reinforcement for not having kids, and part real estate p@rn, Big Little Lies arrived on HBO this Sunday. I might wait to binge watch a couple episodes.
The Oscars are on Sunday, so HBO is releasing all of the Sunday night shows this Friday instead. If you still need to fill out your Oscar ballot, the list of nominees is right here. Though a more fun Oscars list is the Law & Order guide to nominated guest stars. Seriously, Isabelle Huppert, you guys. I will have a recap next week on the ceremony, and of course, what everyone wore.
I really need to finish the first season of TBS’s The Detour. I watched the first few episodes on a plane a few months back and was cackling like a crazy person. The second season just started, so if you want to feel like you are doing a decent job of raising your own kids in comparison to the parents on the show, this is the show for you.
Odds and Ends
It’s Always Sunny has introduced us to some questionable food items over the years, and this video both recreates them, and then makes them better. Ugh, milk steak? So gross. This video made me laugh several times. The chef's reactions are amazing.
Let’s hope this fan theory about Futurama being a documentary isn’t true. Though I think Nixon’s head in a jar is preferable to the White House’s current occupant.
Trailers: The details for what exactly Hulu’s Castle Rock series is actually going to be about are non-existent, but if this is in any way a Marvel style universe that ties all of Stephen King’s works together, I am SO IN. I am obviously very excited for Archer to come back, and even more so since this season is sort of set in the 1940s. I am also totally all in on Feud. Can’t wait. Of course Titus is completely obsessed with Lemonade. Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt returns May 19th. TNT’s Animal Kingdom still looks intense. Also intense, but in a more apocalyptic way, is The Leftovers, which starts its final season in April. Oprah returns to TV in HBO’s adaptation of The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.
I think ending this week with five minutes of Sterling Archer making literary references on Archer is the way to go. I love his repeated dissing of Animal Farm.
Sorry about the long break. I’m working on some other ideas right now, and despite still watching a ton of TV the last couple of weeks, I wasn’t in the right mood to do a good job over here. But I’m back! So expect to see me once a week, usually on Wednesday.
As always, thanks for reading. And pass it on!