Great News is a sitcom starring the girl I thought was nice looking in Neftlix’s Love, playing an actress on the Witchita show (it’s a CW/ABC Family kinda thing about witches in Kansas, get it?), and Andrea Martin who I guess is famous for SCTV but she seems sorta like a That Lady to me, as a daughter who ‘s a low level producer on a TV news show and the mother who gets an internship on that same show. I think whatshername is really cute, Tina Fey is a producer or something, and John Michael Higgins is always funny, so I gave it a shot.
It’s actually a lot better than it has any right to be. It’s a premise that feels expected, the young woman trying to make it in her dream career, the meddling mother invading her space. The side characters are pretty much stock characters, the blowhard news anchor guy, the blonde lady anchor who does fluff pieces, the jerk boss. But it has a certain charm, the cast is solid (Nicole Richie seemed like she’d suck but she’s actually not bad), and the creator is a former 30 Rock writer.
Bill Nye Saves the World is the pop-sci celebrity’s new Netflix series for grown-ups. And I normally dig pop science, edutainment, hot models, and a lot of the things this show offers, but it’s pretty terrible.
They shoot it in front of a live audience, and he’s not really the kind of host that can do that without it seeming cringey. He’s a little awkward reading from a script (which could be fixed with edits if it was shot sans audience), the audience laughter throws off his timing, he’s pretty bad at the post-pre-taped-piece-Q&A with the correspondents, and the audience really gets in the way of the panel part.
Karlie Kloss is one of their correspondent type people for pre-taped stuff, and though she’s easy on the eyes, she’s a little bit awkward. Although more TV correspondents should be very, very tall women, because it’s quite amusing. When she first appeared on screen, I thought “who is that giantess?” And then when she was in some field piece in Venice, she wasn’t even wearing heels, but this engineer guy doesn’t even come up to her shoulders.
Topically, he’s basically preaching to the choir. Global warming is real, alternative medicine is not a substitute for real medicine and should be viewed skeptically, AI is cool, GMOs are probably perfectly safe. That kinda thing.
Brockmire is a new IFC series which stars Hank Azaria as a radio baseball announcer who has a meltdown and wrecks his MLB career, and the series picks up 10 years later when he’s returned from overseas hoping his public humiliation will have faded, and he takes a job announcing for a minor league team in nowheresville owned by Amanda Peet.
I had some concerns early on that it might be one of those comedies that would rather be a drama, because of how Azaria was getting emotional in one scene, but it doesn’t shy away from jokes at all. If anything, Azaria’s commitment to keeping the announcer voice going prevents any real dramatic moments. It mixes some baseball with the kind of depressing, dark comedy that I tend to enjoy. Some high quality suicide jokes in the pilot. The second episode isn’t as strong, but it’s not bad at all.
Iron Fist is the latest Netflix Marvel series, about Kung Fu billionaire Danny Rand. I thought it would be the hardest to do, and it turns out to be the weakest of the four Marvel Netflix series so far.
Where other series had comic relief or a snarky main character, Iron Fist has no laughs. Where other series had charismatic villains, Iron Fist has no villain you love to hate, or kinda root for, or anything (it does have a possibly unintentional Donald/Donald Jr./Ivanka vibe though). I don’t remember even a slight chuckle, either at a joke or at surprisingly evil villainous move (for some reason those make me laugh). And really my biggest complaint: his hand glows yellow but it’s not on fire. And that’s before thinking about the weird racial issues (Netflix Marvel’s second “white guy uses martial arts to beat up hundreds of asian guys” show).
It’s entirely watchable, but it’s not great (or even good) TV like the other series have been. The actual highlights of the series are the “hey I know that thing from a comic!” moments, which are incredibly fleeting.
There are a lot of references to Fraction/Brubaker’s Immortal Iron Fist comic (Bride of Nine Spiders and someone who I think is Dog Brother #1 appear, they mention the seven capital cities of heaven in passing, plus a reference to an Iron Fist legacy and maybe Orson Randall), but the story is totally unrelated. It’s largely about The Hand, which doesn’t interact much with Danny in the comics as far as I know (being Japanese, while K’un-lun is more in the himalayan area).
Most of the cast is pretty unknown to me, other than people from other shows and David Wenham (Faramir). Apparently I’ve seen Jessica Stroup a few times, but her face doesn’t ring a bell.
Trial & Error is NBC’s new single camera comedy, a mockumentary where John Lithgow is on trial for the murder of his wife. Harvey Dent from Gotham plays his lawyer (somehow he’s old enough to be Gotham’s DA, but he’s playing a novice attorney here). Bob Gunton is the victim’s father. The waitress from Heroes is the DA. Sherri Shepard is Harvey Dent’s secretary. And John Lithgow’s adult daughter is a not unattractive actress who I don’t recognize.
It’s ok. I wish it weren’t on Tuesday, but I might just let it sit on the DVR until Thursday, when I have next to nothing to watch. With a possible hiatus while I’m in Mass Effect mode.
Time After Time is the other time travel series that started Sunday night. This one is a drama, where H.G. Wells (a dude this time) really invents a time machine, which Jack the Ripper uses to avoid the police to 2017, and Wells chases after him. It stars literally no one I recognize, which doesn’t happen often. I guess Wells was in Harry Potter and the Ripper was on Revenge, neither of which I’ve seen, and the love interest was the voice of Honey Lemon and in a few Entourages but I don’t remember her. There’s a supporting character who I do know from a few Rosewoods but that’s it.
Jack adapts to the future faster than Wells, but of course Wells is the good guy so he makes friends better. But Jack is out killing again, and they have to try to stop him. There’s an obvious solution to their predicament, use the time machine to go to before Jack arrives, and stop him when he arrives in 2017. Like 45 minutes later (it’s a 2 hour premiere), Wells says they can’t do that, because using the time machine at the same destination or destinations too close together often will fuck up time, but he’s ignoring the fact that it’s time, he could go to a month before Jack arrives and wait.
Anyway, I stuck it out the full two hours, but I don’t see myself continuing. Sunday’s TV schedule is crowded enough anyway.
Making History is the first of two time travel series that premiered Sunday night (weird, huh?). This one’s a sitcom, with the guy from that Jo/Elisha Cuthbert show I didn’t watch, a black guy I don’t recognize, and Leighton Meester (who is hotter with darker hair, but still cute). In this one, the white guy discovers time travel and thinks he’s fucking up history, so he recruits a history professor to join him. It seems like at least for a while, the action will be centered on the American revolution. I like it enough to follow it for a bit.
Crashing is Pete Holmes’ new HBO show that premiered a couple weeks ago but I didn’t realize it’d started. Holmes plays an aspiring stand-up comedian, and not a very good one, who ends up semi-homeless, and the title refers to him crashing on the couches of various notable stand-ups playing themselves (Artie Lange and T.J. Miller so far). I’m not sure how long it’ll work for, but I found the first two episodes to be reasonably good.
Shut Eye is a Hulu series starring Burn Notice‘s Jeffrey Donovan as a tarot card reader. Which is weird. Emmanuelle Chriqui is in it, which is largely why I checked it out. She does make out with a relatively good looking woman in it, which is nice, but there’s not a lot else going for it.
Jeffrey Donovan as a tarot card reader is weird to me. Possibly me being racist, but I feel like someone of any non-generic white guy ethnicity would have a better shot getting people to believe in their tarot reading abilities.
It’s sorta about organized crime, different groups fighting over territory in which to do psychic scams and all. Nothing in the pilot, besides Ms. Chriqui’s lesbian thing, made me want to watch any more.
Chance is Hulu’s bold strategy to put Hugh Laurie in a show where he plays an American doctor, he sees patients with weird maladies, and the title is the doctor’s last name. How could that possibly work?
In this, he’s a neuropsychologist, mostly dealing with people with weird symptoms after head injuries. It doesn’t look, from the pilot, like a “case of the week” type thing. And instead of being aggressively dickish in a highly amusing way, he’s kind of beaten down by life and kind of soft spoken. That is a little annoying, since Hugh Laurie is a funny guy, and one of the strengths of House was to break up the drama with some laughs. Here… not so much.
The Wire‘s Clarke Peters, Rounders‘ Gretchen Mol, Loveline‘s Dianne Farr, and My Name is Earl‘s Ethan Suplee co-star, along with some people I don’t recognize. Mol is the patient that seems to run through the series, while most of the others are used in interstitial bits where Chance reads a case file while we see footage of the injury that caused it and/or the crazy behavior resulting. Mixed in are Chance’s daughter, ex-wife, financial troubles, and a weird friendship-ish thing with Suplee’s character.
It’s not instantly great, but I’m interested to see where the Gretchen Mol plot goes.