What To Watch: 09/28/2021

After a week of debuts and a weekday with no major debuts, we do have one new major concept network show featuring a huge hole in its plot… and it’s also about a giant chasm opening up in the center of Los Angeles (ba dum bump). However, we’re more concerned with two of the best episodic TV shows already in progress–one ripped from 1990s headlines, the other a murder mystery featuring two comic geniuses and a deadpan pop star. There’s also a fun little featurette featuring Rob Lowe guiding a tour through movie cliches. Now here’s the stars of our recommendations doing a little tribute to that great equalizer of men, sitting!

JASON’S PICK:
Only Murders in the Building [Hulu]
Steve Martin and John Hoffman’s NYC murder mystery has combined gentle charm, adorably flawed characters, and twist after twist into perhaps the most enveloping new show of 2021. SM, Martin Short, and Selena Gomez work perfectly as three lonely podcast-addicted individuals who learn to trust one another while trying to solve a crime (and build a podcast) that hits close to home for at least one of them. And last week the intrigue hit a fever pitch as it turns out their abiding patron deli magnate (played by Nathan Lane) might not be the kind soul he seems. 

BRAD’S PICK:
Attack of the Hollywood Clichés [Netflix]
What do you get when you combine the satirical powers of the team behind Black Mirror with the guy next door charm of Rob Lowe? Was your answer a documentary special about the cliches we see in movies? Cuz that’s what you get. This new Netflix special is funny and accurate–it hails from the “it’s funny cuz it’s true” school. But all you had to tell me is that Florence Pugh is in it.

FIONA’S PICK:
Impeachment: American Crime Story [FX, 10p]
Last week we peeled back the layers on Linda Tripp and got to see more of her egotistical tendencies. This week, Linda takes a trip to Radio Shack as we watch the pieces come into place for her betrayal. 

BUT, WAIT, THERE’S MORE:

  • The pit… I fell into the pit… you fell into the pit… much of Los Angeles is going to fall into the pit this autumn in the sci-fi fantasy La Brea. It is a fun-looking, if silly, adventure series on NBC; the reviews are right at the balance of fresh and rotten, but for a ridiculous ride like this, that’s probably a sweet spot. Hopefully if this show about a giant sinkhole that reveals a lost world (words chosen carefully) to those who fall in falters early, NBC learns from its Manifest fiasco and gives the high-concept series a shot to succeed.
  • The LeBron-produced YouTube doc I Promise chronicles the lives of the students selected for a grand experiment in schooling–students from the bottom quarter of Akron, Ohio, schools were selected for the I Promise program with an idea (cribbed from The Good Place?) that if given the proper encouragement, children who might otherwise be left behind might succeed.
  • If you’d prefer to watch entitled people who had everything handed to them fight about nonsense, Vanderpump Rules returns on VH1 tonight to begin its mind-boggling ninth season.
  • If you’ve been following the 2021 saga of how the Spears family and others would not leave Britney alone–and that would seem to be half the country (and why wouldn’t it be?)–you’ll likely be interested to watch the Netflix documentary Britney v. Spears. Unfortunately, rumor has it that it’s trashy and that you might be yelling the Chris Crocker catchphrase anew.
  • The title of Hulu’s Wild Crime is a disarming play on words as the true crime doc looks into the mysterious death by falling of Toni Henthorn, an accident which took place on a hiking trail (i.e. in the wild). Only Murders in the National Park?

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