I had to stop watching The Guild after about 15 minutes because it was too uncomfortable. The premise, at least early on, is that Felicia Day is an MMORPG addict who’s practically a shut-in. One day, this dude from her guild just shows up on her doorstep. She had not flirted with him, told him her real name or where she lived, or anything, he just stalked the shit out of her to find out where she lives.
From the tone and everything else, they were trying to make me accept this as a wacky sitcom premise, but instead I was practically yelling at the screen for her to call the police or flee in terror or forcibly throw him out of her home. Like, that seems like a thing that probably happens in real life. And probably the best case scenario is that it ends with a restraining order.
The character of the dude who showed up needed to be established first, like we needed to see him as harmless and dumb. Again, given the tone, I assume that would happen eventually. But as it was, I was sure he would end up raping and/or murdering her, because he has like every trait of a socially maladjusted dude who would flip out when the woman he’s obsessing over rejects him, but she was like “oh dear, now this guy is sleeping on my couch, what a predicament!” Nobody else seems to think it’s a big deal either.
I’d seen bits and pieces of Moral Orel when it originally aired, and wasn’t too impressed. It seemed very formulaic: adults try to give Orel a religious message, he takes it literally and then does something horrible, then his father beats him. But I’d heard people speak incredibly highly of it, comparing it to the really dark turn that Bojack Horseman took, and the people behind it (Dino “Starburns from Community” Stamatopoulos, and Scott “Pete from 30 Rock” Adsit) are usually pretty good, so I thought I’d give it a more earnest shot. Conveniently, it’s on Adult Swim’s website (the special, even though it’s listed first, goes last).
The first 7 or 8 episodes are sticking with the formula, like a poor man’s South Park dedicated specifically to satirizing religious fundamentalism (and, to a lesser extent, the 50’s sitcom ideal that some Americans strive for). The end of the first season did deal with some larger stuff, which set up the second season that gets more and more into Orel’s family and the town and actual plot and character development. The second season finale and the third season are unbelievably dark. Everything is awful and everyone is miserable and it’s kind of amazing. Possibly the most depressing show I’ve ever seen, which for some reason I consider an endorsement.
Forever is ABC’s upcoming drama where Ioan Gruffudd (the first Reed Richards) is an immortal guy who becomes a New York Medical Examiner, in the bullshit hopes that in studying death he can learn why he doesn’t die. The pilot is on the Hulu Plus, which I don’t have, but I watched it anyway because I’m a terrible person (and I like to catch pilots early while there’s nothing on, rather than when these things actually start and there are 8 shows on every night).
It uses the really tired “not being able to die is a curse” cliche, and I get that there would be huge problems with it, but I wish these immortality things would more often look at the cool parts. Compound interest meaning you’re almost certainly fabulously wealthy, tons of experience with all sorts of stuff, crap like that. Or the practical problems, how do you get a birth certificate or whatever to work at the M.E.’s office? Did he go to college recently with his current identity, or did he fake that too?
His deal is that when he dies of something, he just magically reappears, naked, somewhere in water. Alana de la Garza (Rubirosa from L&O) is a cop who is investigating his most recent death, where a bunch of other people died. Judd Hirsch is his only friend, the one guy who knows he’s immortal. I think it’s supposed to be really sad because Hirsch is super old. His assistant at the ME’s office is that one really morbid squintern from Bones, who is going to get type cast as assistant-to-someone-who-examines-murder-victims.
He’s got Sherlock Holmes observational powers, because virtually all police procedurals has to have one of those people. And he’s kind of a dick about it, because virtually all network dramas have to have an asshole too. I’m wondering if they didn’t borrow a set from Castle, because they had one shot in de la Garza’s precinct, and it looked just like the precinct where Beckett works.
Anyway, it’s nothing special, but actually decent enough to watch. So unless I acquire a life sometime between now and September 22nd, I’ll probably be watching this.
Amazon has a new bunch of pilots that I will probably forget about should they ever go to series (I think I watched some of that Garry Trudeau/John Goodman one about congressmen sharing a house?). Only two seemed reasonably interesting this time.
Really is written/directed/starring Jay Chandrasekhar from Broken Lizard as some guy married to Sarah Chalke with a couple of kids. And they have adult problems that I’m not really grown up enough to give a shit about.
Hand of God stars Ron Perlman’s a judge and Dana Delany’s his wife. Apparently their daughter in law Alona Tal was raped while their son was made to watch, and then the son tried to kill himself, but is now in a coma, possibly brain dead. I find it weird, because upon seeing them together, I thought Alona Tal should be playing Dana Delany’s daughter, because there is a resemblance there. But they’re not related, so maybe the son had some kind of Oedipal thing going on. Perlman’s character is losing his mind, hearing voices from his comatose son, hallucinating, and suddenly becoming super religious. Didn’t hold my interest long enough to even finish it.
Intruders is a new BBC America series that for some reason I had it in my had was X-Files-ish from the half a commercial I’d seen about it. Mostly I just saw John Simm, the guy from the original Life on Mars, and Mira Sorvino and thought I liked both of them so I’d give it a shot. Turns out it’s a vaguely horror-ish series about people who I guess are murdered or something on their birthdays, it sounds like because they’ll turn evil or something if the guy doesn’t kill them? Not really my kind of thing. I find it weird that they hired John Simm but make him play an American, so he has to adopt a somewhat shaky accent.
During this they had a commercial for BBCA’s post-Doctor Who talk show, which is hosted by Chris Hardwick. It would suck to be anyone else who wanted to host a talk show about a TV show that airs after that TV show, because he has completely monopolized that format. Also, they called it “After Who,” which I think was a missed opportunity for “Talk-tor Who.”
Bojack Horseman is Netflix’s new adult animated series about a talking horse/man who is a washed up ex-sitcom star. It features the voices of Will Arnett, Alison Brie, Aaron Paul, Paul F. Tompkins, Amy Sedaris, and, has guest voices Patton Oswalt, Kristen Schaal, and J.K. Simmons. I didn’t like the pilot that much, but kept going out of laziness/boredom, but it turned out the second and third episodes were much better. It’s not bad at all.
I had meant to check out The Knick, but apparently missed the premiere, since the third episode is about to air. But thanks to the wonders of modern technology, I watched the pilot.
It’s centered around the Knickerbocker hospital in 1900 New York. So, you know, lots of blood and primitive surgical methods and stuff. the main character is addicted to what I thought was opium, since he was spaced out in a room with an Asian woman, but apparently it’s cocaine? Also he is an asshole. Because I guess they wanted to make him a House-like as possible.
Clive Owen, who a few years back seemed ready to be this big movie star, is now playing the main guy on a Cinemax series. I realize doing a TV series is not what it used to be, but Cinemax doesn’t exactly have the cache of HBO, AMC, FX, Netflix, or even Showtime. Even if it is Steven Soderbergh. He’s about the only recognizable face in the show. The black guy from that show where Josh Gad was the President’s son is in this, and Matt Frewer has a small part.
I find it interesting that they use very modern music, kind of moody synth stuff that would be at home in the >Drive soundtrack.
Anyway, it’s interesting enough to keep up with while I’m on night shift and there’s a dearth of new TV.
Coffee Town stars Glenn Howerton as a guy who brings his laptop to a coffee shop every day… which is a weird premise for a movie. His friends, including Jean Ralphio from Parks and Rec, hang out with him at the coffee shop, Josh Groban is the douche that works there, and Adrianne Palicki is the girl who comes in who he wants to bang.
It was on some list someone made on reddit of independent movies worth checking out. I figured I like Glenn Howerton just fine, it’s written by some guy who wrote for Arrested Development, and it turned out to be on HBO Go, so why not? Turns out it’s not that bad, but I have no idea why anyone would go out of their way to recommend it. Fairly predictable, a few mildly funny parts but nothing all that special, and there’s a weird subplot about his former roommate who died (possibly of AIDS?) that seems to have no point to it.
Selfie is an upcoming ABC sitcom starring Karen Gillan and John Cho as Eliza and Henry in a social media-era update to My Fair Lady. The pilot is on Hulu. Sadly, Karen Gillan employs an American accent, and we’re kinda supposed to hate her. But she’s still super hot.
Never having seen My Fair Lady, I guess despite Rex Harrison seeming super gay to me, there’s supposed to be romantic tension between the two. Which is weird. I can’t say I care even a bit about that. But she’s hot, and there is one joke in the pilot that was really funny, so I can give it another episode or two.
Legends is the new TNT show with Sean Bean as an FBI undercover agent. It’s not very good at all.
They explain his English accent by saying he was a military brat whose father was stationed overseas, in a really clunky bit of exposition courtesy of Tina Majorino’s character. He adopts an American accent while undercover, though. With… marginal success.
A scene involves him undercover at a strip club while his asset is exposed, so his handler, Ali Larter, shows up as a stripper to give him a private dance to clue him in. Now, how the fuck does this work? Does she go to the owner, flash her badge, and say “FBI, I need to pretend to be a stripper here”? What if the owner is friends with the bad guys at the strip club with him? It’s obviously an excuse to show off Ali Larter’s body (which I’m not complaining about) and to force a pair of adversarial, opposite-gendered characters to create sexual tension. But it makes zero sense if you give it any thought.
I can see how it’s an interesting acting challenge for Sean Bean, because I gather he’ll have to create a new character for every episode. But aside from a decent cast, there’s not much to like. Cliched writing and a setup for a larger mystery that isn’t very interesting at all. So this will be a pass.
Oh, I also watched the pilot to Partners, the FX series about Kelsey Grammer and Martin Lawrence as lawyers. It’s lame and no one should watch it.