Month: June 2016

What to Watch: 06/26/2016

It’s the busiest night in ages – HBO goes out, Showtime comes back in, and BET hands out awards … there’s also some international sporting event called the Olympics starting up, and that’s along with that soccer tournament going on across the ocean. It’s so crowded, we’ve enlisted all four editors with multiple selections to alleviate your TV decision-making.

KATHERINE’S PICK:

Roadies [Showtime, 10p]

Cameron Crowe’s new Showtime drama, about “the unsung heroes of rock doesn’t sit right,” follows the crew that keeps an arena band sounding great. It looks like a lot of deep conversation on the tour bus and a lot of hanging around warehouse arenas, but the involvement of Winnie Holzman is promising.

NAVANI’S PICK:

Game of Thrones [HBO, 9p]

After the epic episode last week where we all got what we wanted I’m sure someone will have to pay this week. Someone is going to die tonight but who???

JASON’S PICK:

Veep [HBO, 10:30p]

It really was a toss-up for me between this and its lead-in’s finale, both of which have had thrilling seasons. I’m gonna go with the denouement of Veep as we watch Hugh Laurie’s Tom James (presumably) ascend to the presidency, and, quite possibly offer our heroine her old job back – and resolve the title disagreement … and ease my mind.

BRAD’S PICK:

Preacher [AMC, 10p]

Tulip and Cassidy have an interesting meeting. Jesse continues to grapple with supernatural force inside him. And we’ll likely see more of Arseface – or as he’s known on the show, Eugene.

NAVANI’S OTHER PICK:

2016 BET Awards [BET, 8p]

Maybe now we’ll get a proper Prince tribute.

JASON’S OTHER PICK:

Game Show Night [ABC, 8p]

A trio of all-time classic game shows return – starting with the ever-present Celebrity Family Feud featuring families of Ernie Hudson, Lance Bass, and others. The Feud will be followed by $100000 Pyramid with new host Michael Strahan and Match Game led by Alec Baldwin. Hopefully, the latter will keep his cool, and not lose his blank on the blank.

ALSO ON TAP TONIGHT:

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  • This week on HBO’s Silicon Valley‘s finale, Richard apparently gets yelled at a lot, while Pied Piper tries to stay alive for one more day/week/year by any means necessary.
  • Showtime’s premiere night also includes the return of Ray Donovan with our “hero” a total mess and in recovery.
  • A star quarterback is offed in public on the third[?!?} season debut of Murder in the First on TNT.
  • TVLand’s The Jim Gaffigan Show notched another classic episode last week with the controversial tweet exploring “The Trial.” Tonight, he has to deal with one of the trails of being a wanted character actor.

 

 

 

 

What to Watch: 06/24/2016

Newton N. Minow coined the phrase “vast wasteland” over a half century ago, and while we obvs don’t agree as it’s become thousands of times more “vast,” it can be harder to deny in June…but don’t despair as we can find a little something something for every night of the year.

BRAD’S PICK:
Shark Week Kickoff [Discovery, 10p]
It’s shark week! Tune in this week to the Discovery Channel for such gems as “Shark After Dark,” “Jaws of the Deep,” and, if you dare “Sharks Among Us.” Tonight you can catch a preview. Or go see Blake Lively in “The Shallows”. Whatever.

JASON’S PICK:
2016 NHL Draft [NBC Sports, 7p]
Gotta rep one of the Big 4 sports leagues having their draft in my family’s hometown. Buffalo, New York hosts – and has the number eight pick – as a bunch of super-talented hockey hopefuls hear their names called and dreams fulfilled.

KATHERINE’S PICK:
As Time Goes By [PBS, 8:30p]
This British comedy, stars Judi Dench and Geoffrey Palmers as two true loves who were separated by war but reunited later in life, and settle into the lifestyle one finds in a warm, sitcom in the United Kingdom. Get cozy, you deserve it.

ALSO ON TAP TONIGHT:

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  • If Olympics fever hasn’t struck you yet (and we’re not talking that very real fever that’s making it harder to keep up our upbeat, slightly snarky tone here), check out tonight’s feature on NBC highlighting the unique training site of the U.S. Women’s Gymnastics Team, The Ranch: Home of an American Sports Dynasty.
  • The Cinemax series Outcast has been fairly overlooked for all its above average reviews and its Robert Kirkman pedigree. But it has been renewed for a second season, so no excuse to not check it out.
  • Larry Wilmore joins Bill Maher on tonight’s Real Time on HBO.
  • One time inspiration to millions, now better known as convicted killer Oscar Pistorius speaks on 20/20 tonight.

Weekend Box Office, June 24, 2016

This post was written too far in advance to provide box office numbers. Think of me, toiling through an airport while you Bing “weekend box office winner was it Disney probably.” This weekend’s big winner will almost certainly be the sequel to 1996’s Independence Day, a celebration of the time we fought the aliens, for America. Welcome to Earf!


Vigilante Diaries is an ensemble action film about a team of black-ops agents.


The Kind Words is about three brothers seeking the secrets of their late mother. One assumes they are not taking a train journey.


The Duel stars Liam Hemsworth and Woody Harrelson. Hemsworth is a Texas Ranger investigating a series of unexplained deaths in the old west.


Independence Day: Resurgence is the sequel to Independence Day. It will make a lot of money this weekend and I can not stop you. But I can get on this plane to the other side of the country and pretend none of this is happening. This is Liam Hemsworth’s second feature film of the weekend.


The Neon Demon is an allegorical tale about fashion or women in the media or what director Nicolas Winding Refn thinks of women; Elle Fanning is an innocent teen who becomes a muse the fashion industry of Los Angeles. It gets violent, bloody, and stylish.


Free State of Jones is a drama starring Matthew McConaughey as a Southern Unionist who maybe did some things in protest of the Confederacy, maybe? I’m saving my Civil War film quota for Birth of a Nation which maybe? is more factual? but will feature Black people fighting the Confederates instead of Southerners “fighting the Confederacy.” Anyway, this is the second film about Newton; 1948’s Tap Roots is also inspired by his maybe? life. (It is currently unavailable on Amazon. It stars Susan Hayward.)


Les Cowboys is a drama about a man searching for his missing daughter after she disappears from her backyard in the East of France. The trailer feels more like The Searchers (itself a racist and xenophobic film about a woman who did not want to be yanked back to American life) and less like Not Without My Daughter. The man is accompanied by his son. The film also stars John C. Reilly.


Eat That Question is a documentary about rock legend Frank Zappa and In His Own Words.


The Phenom is a drama about a rookie pitcher (Johnny Simmons) with an abusive father (Ethan Hawke) is sent back to the minor leagues and a psychologist (Paul Giamatti).


Wiener-Dog is the tale of four disparate stories with a common thread: an adorable daschund. It’s twee as hell, yet directed by Todd Solondz, so of course the cast includes Greta Gerwig, Julie Delphy, Kieran Culkin, and Zosia Mamet.

What to Watch: 06/23/16

It’s a pretty quiet night — soft enough that we’re mentioning Bones in here. But we wouldn’t leave you completely cold.

KATHERINE’S PICK:

Thirteen [BBC America, 8p]

Debuting tonight: After thirteen years in captivity a woman escapes and must adjust to normal life. This drama is less cheery than Kimmy.

JASON’S PICK:

The Jim Gaffigan Show [TVLand, 8p]

If you missed the first two episodes the first time around, you get a second chance this week to watch Jim Gaffigan wriggle his way out of an awkward, offensive joke on this deceptively edgy show.

ALSO ON TAP TONIGHT:

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  • Antarctic remains are about as Bones as Bones can get. Tonight on FOX.
  • A double-shot of Lip Sync Battle tonight sees a showdown between pals of Chelsea (Chris D’Elia vs. Brent Morin), followed by the contest of Kaley Cuoco and Josh Gad.

What to Watch: 06/22/2016

It’s a night of reality show all-stars — from marrying chefs to housewives that are real to that bunch of people thrown together in a house. We also see the debuts of a sports talk show by an ESPN ex-pat with many, many opinions, and a promising noir-ish murder mystery.

NAVANI’S PICK:
American Gothic [CBS, 10p]
As GoT comes to an end this week I’m currently taking applications for a new summer show to watch and scream about on Facebook. Could this be it? The Stephen Spielberg produced series follows the reopening of a murder investigation in Boston as a family discovers one of their own could be linked to the crimes.

 KATHERINE’S PICK:
MasterChef [Fox, 8p]
The 18 contestants must cater the wedding for season six homecook Nick Nappi.
JASON’S PICK:
After a very public split with ESPN, Bill Simmons brings his particular brand of affable confrontation to HBO, a home which between Real SportsReal Talk, and Last Week Tonight, has thrived on these sorts of provocative news/talk hybrids with charismatic hosts.
ALSO ON TAP TONIGHT:
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  • It’s the kickoff for Big Brother‘s 18th season tonight on CBS, if that’s your sort of bag.
  • The ladies get matching annulments on this week’s Another Period on Comedy Central. We don’t mean to be negative, but we’re gonna bet some complications pop up.
  • While this season of Wayward Pines has been a bit of a change-up, you can always count on secrets and lies. On FOX.

Tuesday’s Best Reviewed: Person of Interest

Given the outstanding season Person of Interest is having, it’s not exactly a stunner that it would stick the landing on its series finale. “Return 0” achieves about as perfect of a perfect score as can be. There’s not a whole lot of competition either. The third episode of ripped-from-the-arthouse Animal Kingdom scores a tepid response. TV Fanatic‘s Ashley Bissette Sumerel nominally enjoys it, but notes “these are unlikable characters for the most part, but they do all have redeeming qualities.” That A now has a second initial (“D”) is just one of Jessica Goldstein at Vulture‘s concerns with the return of Pretty Little Liars. It still outpaces the David Schwimmer restaurant story Feed the Beast, which has taken up secure lodging at the bottom rung of the Tuesday line-up.

Tuesday, June 21st’s Best: Person of Interest (10.0/10)

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This is it, and what an it this is. Staring down oblivion, with a Kurt Vonnegut-inspired computer virus waging war with out heroes, Person of Interest, as AV Club‘s LaToya Ferguson eloquently puts it, “had to go ahead and be Person Of Interest one last time, complete with a little narrative-bending structure, just for old time’s sake.” Matt Fowler at IGN dubbed it “exquisite. A fitting, moving end for a great series.”

The Rest of the Night:

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Animal Kingdom – 7.5

Pretty Little Liars – 6.0

Feed the Beast – 5.5

What to Watch: 06/21/2016

There’s a definite sense of variety — including an actual variety show — on this Tuesday night, from real-life adventurers to self-destructive families, and the end of the line for one of CBS’ most successful standalone shows of the last decade.

JASON’S PICK:
Person of Interest [CBS, 10p]
It’s been one hell of a final season for the Jim Caviezel/Michael Emerson techno-thriller, and it all comes to a head tonight — and I cannot look away.

NAVANI’S PICK:
Casual [Hulu]
Val is hoping to find a new tribe while picking a homeschool group for Laura and Alex is fighting change as per usual denying invetors to come in and save the day. Seems like we always want validation from those who don’t really give a care.

 KATHERINE’S PICK:
Bert the Conqueror [Travel, 8p]

Can Bert withstand a hurling of 15 tons of tomatoes at Seattle’s Tomato Battle? Uh, yeah.

ALSO ON TAP TONIGHT:

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  • It’s probably the definition of insanity, but I still hold out hope for Maya & Marty on NBC.
  • While TBS’ Wrecked does not possess the sharp wit of network-mate Angie Tribeca, it’s still a pretty funny ride, so far.
  • A is still strong in the mischief, and the Pretty Little Liars ladies are still on the run on Freeform.

Tuesday’s Best Reviewed: The Fosters

It’s something new at the top, as ABC Fam…we mean FreeForm (we’ll never get used to that) program The Fosters shows up in the roundup for the first time — and takes the night. On the other end of the spectrum, reality show soap opera UnREAL finally went too far as the Chet sideshow overshadowed the real drama between sociopathic besties Quinn & Rachel. Gwen Ihnat at AV Club contends it’s fun to watch him flail, but “he’s a ridiculous buffoon kind of villain, who is so clearly outmatched by Quinn and Rachel that, like them, we just think he’s in the way.” It shares the bottom rung of the night with the flatlined on arrival BrainDead.

Tuesday, June 20th’s Best: The Fosters (9.0/10)

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While The Fosters, the tale of a blended family, has earned quiet lauds, it’s usually of the it’s-better-than-you-might-think variety. However, last night, taking on critical favorites like UnREAL and 12 Monkeys, and centering on one of the most timely of topics (gun violence), the Freeform show wins the night. Actor Rob Morrow (Mr. Northern Exposure) directs a thrilling episode. Vulture‘s Maggie Fremont admits “I clutched my hand to my mouth for about 75 percent of this episode. It was that intense.” Jasmine Blu at TV Fanatic agreed “that was a truly harrowing hour!”

The Rest of the Night:

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Reign – 9.0

12 Monkeys – 8.6

UnREAL – 6.9

BrainDead – 6.9

What to Watch: 06/20/2016

Not a bad selection for an off-season Monday, and we’ve got kids cooking, producers conniving, and some cops doing very, very silly things.

KATHERINE’S PICK:
Kids BBQ Championship [Food, 8p]
Food Network’s response to MasterChef Junior now includes wee ones gathered around the grill. Tonight the tween contestants stress over steak.

JASON’S PICK:
Angie Tribeca [TBS, 9p]
This police procedural parody has proven a lasting power — hey, it already has eight more episodes than the classic Police Squad. Tonight, Heather Graham guests on a techno-thriller mock up.

TEAM PICK:
UnREAL [Lifetime, 10p]
Ugh, Chet has the chance to do his sexist show as Quinn fumes and plots and Rachel bottoms out, but we have faith that will change on one of the best shows currently on television.

ALSO ON TAP TONIGHT:

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  • BrainDead got mixed reviews in its debut on CBS for its Alien Ants Go To Washington act, and it’s certainly an acquired taste, but quirky can be fun, so we’d give a shot to the second episode of this strange show from the creators of The Good Wife.
  • It’s the first day at the academy for ABC’s So You Think You Can Dance?
  • Word is the titular characters of Devious Maids are being even more devious this week, so if you need more machinations from the peeps at Lifetime, well, there you go.
  • There’s some rogue action going on at one of the most critically favored shows, Syfy’s 12 Monkeys.

Sunday’s Best Reviewed: Veep

Almost everything that got roundly reviewed earned top grades, but recappers truly loved Veep‘s climactic concept episode. It even beat a Game of Thrones that featured an epic battle that has been cited as one of the best on-screen fights in history (well, at least the best one between bastards). As Vulture‘s Jen Chaney colorfully observes, “Even if you’re the biggest pacifist since Michael Jackson declared that he was a lover and not a fighter, it was very difficult not to feel some amount of joy while watching Ramsay Bolton finally get what he deserved on this week’s Games of Thrones.” HBO had a huge night as all three of its shows eclipsed a 9.0 reviewer rating, as Silicon Valley‘s exploration of honestly in the tech world also fared well with Max Nicholson at IGN touting with reservations that the show “delivered yet another “turning the tables” storyline, but did so in such a way that hearkened back to other subplots in the season — and in entertaining fashion.” On to next week’s trio of finales!

Sunday, June 19th’s Best: Veep (9.7/10)

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Veep took a chance by throwing in a concept episode at the most climactic of dramatic moments: the House vote to determine Selina Meyer’s fate as the U.S. leader. And it pays off, as we gave it its only non-perfect score (and ours was still a rave). AV Club‘s Kate Kulzick hails the brave format for an episode that is “fantastic, the writers taking advantage of the opportunities presented by this format to explore the characters in new ways while delivering a consistently hilarious episode.” Jessica Goldstein at Vulture also loves the episode in general, but especially as Cliff’s Notes to explain what’s at stake: “Veep writers correctly assume we need something close to Schoolhouse Rock to walk us through the proceedings.”

The Rest of the Night:

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Game of Thrones – 9.5

Silicon Valley – 9.0

Penny Dreadful – 8.6

Preacher – 7.3