Month: June 2016

What to Watch: 06/30/2016

JASON’S PICK:

Preacher [AMC, 8p]

AMC’s Preacher has combined a compelling dramatic core with delightfully unsettling narrative shifts and comic book quirkiness to create one of the most exciting shows of the Summer. If you’ve missed it, here’s your chance to catch up, with a re-showing of the first couple episodes. If you’ve been watching, these episodes are enhanced and feature fun featurettes extending the world around conflicted “hero” Jesse Custer.

KATHERINE’S PICK:

The Big Lebowski [Fuse, 7:30p]

The only problem with the Coen Bros. best movie is that we can’t all stop at In-N-Out.

ALSO ON TAP TONIGHT:

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  • Quietly, David Duchovny-fronted Aquarius has been doing its little 1960s period piece for a second season, and this week it uncovers one of the Manson-murder houses – before it was occupied by Sharon Tate.
  • British import, Thirteen, airing logically enough on BBC America is getting more-than-solid reviews, and as it’s only the second episode, it’s early enough to hop on the train of the thriller about a 26-year-old woman experiencing the world after 13 years of imprisonment.
  • Lifetime is intent on crushing the hopes and dreams of, well, anybody who might hold to hopes and dreams. Tonight, I Love You…But a Lied and My Crazy Ex both return to put a few more dents in Cupid’s armor.
  • We’d like to stop recommending Lip Sync Battle, but they keep booking such fun stars – which this night includes one of the most successful comedians in creation. Kevin Hart vs. Olivia Munn tonight on Spike.

 

What to Watch: 06/29/2016

There’s no theme running through tonight’s shows – which range from gaudy reality shows to neurotic comedy to dark drama – so we’re not even gonna pretend.

NAVANI’S PICK:
Maron [IFC, 9p]
As the title suggests Marc is at the making amends point in his sobriety and during this time of finally getting his ish together discovers he is a father. Cue gasp.

KATHERINE’S PICK:
MasterChef [Fox, 8p]
Aarón Sánchez is this week’s guest judge, as we whittle the contestants down from 17 through the 60-minute Mystery Box Challenge.

JASON’S PICK:
Glengarry Glen Ross [Flix, 8p]
New, original programs?! New, original programs are for closers! Who drink coffee! And who ABC…easy as…1… Anyway, I’m not over-enthused by the night’s fare, so why not watch this classic collection of rhythmic and angry Mamet-at-his-apolitical-prime dialogue wrapped around the shattered lives of some really truly sad people. Second prize is hosting the new version of the Match Game.

ALSO ON TAP TONIGHT:

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  • Sort-of-reality maybe-parody Barely Famous returns to VH1 for a double-shot to start its second season. They’re also airing two episodes of that other “reality” show which I’d rather not name, but people are naked and date on it.
  • The reviews were not overly kind to CBS summer replacement gory procedural American Gothic, but reviewers aren’t always right, even if they are so tasty.
  • Speaking of tepid TV page-turners, FOX has a new helping of Wayward Pines tonight.

Our Tuesday Reviews

The Mindy Project – A-

0629mindybox.jpgMoving to Hulu has been especially advantageous for The Mindy Project_, which is suddenly, well, funny. The second half of the season has been especially on-the-nose, delivering laughs and satisfying character development, while staying true to the Fox iteration fans loved so much, and yet, Tuesday’s “TK” was a sweet return to the Mindy of yore, as Morgan goes on a caper to meddle in the ashes of Mindy and Danny’s romance, believing more than they do that Mindy and Danny belong together. (And yet, at no point did anyone say, “We have a child together, of course she’ll always be in my life!”) Mindy is embarking on a new relationship while Danny is engaged to a nurse at his new practice, a bombshell gracefully dropped at the end of the episode in a way that was bittersweet and charming, a reminder of the leaps and bounds Mindy has taken this season.
– Katherine M. Hill

What to Watch: 06/28/2016

We’re gonna mix the old and the new here today with our suggestions for this evening, so here goes nothing.

KATHERINE’S PICK:
Dead of Summer [Freeform, 9p]
Freeform takes on the horror-at-camp subgenre. A long dormant summer camp reopens, and only one counselor, who isn’t a veteran, realizes that evil lurks on the grounds! Pass the popcorn.

JASON’S PICK:
Wrecked [TBS, 10p]
This oddly timed Lost parody has mostly worked, and tonight’s episode focuses on what’s clicked best, the relationship between Zach Cregger’s Owen and Brian Sacca’s Danny.

NAVANI’S PICK:
George Lopez [TV Land, 8:30p]
George is stuck with a co-manager that he ever so blatantly tries to vet while having them over for dinner. Hilarious antics ensue.

ALSO ON TAP TONIGHT:

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  • CBS’ series based on James Patterson’s 3620th novel Zoo survives for a second season. That starts tonight.
  • Hey Pretty Little Liars, I believe in you … hard not to as its little mystery has survived how many seasons now – not to mention the change of its home from ABC Family to Freeform.
  • Early reviews on the TV adaptation of Aussie indie crime drama Animal Kingdom has received decent reviews so far. Its fourth installment is tonight on TNT.

Our Monday Reviews

UnREAL – B

0628unrealbox.jpgOh, Quinn, we knew you were a sociopath, but there’s a need for a modicum of composure (i.e. not smiling from ear to ear) when you’ve just deliberately tried to paralyze an NFL quarterback – and when doing so by stoking anti-muslim fears is just the icing on the depraved-as-fuck cake. Ok, that last part was more engineered by Chet, with an assist by Madison – who, by the way, is taking to the sleazy manipulations like Andy Cohen to a feigned shocked look; our favorite pig-tailed protege pops up with a drink at the ready to entice London, the token Pakistani, to abandon her religion’s basic tenets, take a swig, and loosen up because the suitor might choose her if she’s not too uptight. And just like that we have a series wrap on London (is just everything Brit-related falling apart this week?).

Unfortunately, therein lies the problem – and one that’s hopefully not fatal – with UnREAL after a season and a half. While the labyrinth of battling egos and swirling deceptions is amazingly well constructed and the drama is mesmerizing, eventually it becomes formula, and desensitizing formula at that. Seeing just how low Quinn or Chet or Rachel (or Madison?!?!?!) will descend into the depths is fascinating, but it can become a distracting game. While admittedly the whole reality scene is this game, UnREAL exists beyond its source material as such an exquisitely written drama that there is a danger when it collapses into a ping-pong match as it did at times this episode. However, Rachel’s last volley, her convincing Darius to risk his health for an epidural that numbs his pain, does set up quite the next level showdown between the players.
– Jason Thurston