What To Watch: 10/14/2021

Thursday TV’s got vampires and Aquamen, white savior hero complexes and witches with ennui, Hollywood tales with too-tragic early endings and kids pretending to be adults in multiple manners. Here’s what we suggest to watch along with so many other shows we neither endorse or shun. Well, actually, there’s at least one, maybe two, we kinda shun. Read below to find out!

KATHERINE’S PICK:
Aquaman: King of Atlantis [HBO Max]
It’s not as bad as you think: this animated three-part miniseries promises “epic underwater excursions filled with colorful animations,” and appears silly, fun, and exciting, versus whatever came of the Jason Momoa film. The film features voices from Cooper Andrews,  Gillian Jacobs, and Thomas Lennon.

NAVANI’S PICK:
What Happened, Brittany Murphy? [HBO Max]
If you grew up in my era, quoting infamous lines from the cult classic Clueless (AS IF), you were enamored with its breakout star Brittany Murphy. And like me, you were devastated at her untimely demise. Unanswered questions still swirl regarding the actress’ death and relationship with husband Simon Monjack, and now we’ll get a peek at what her last days looked like via the two-part documentary. 

JASON’S PICK:
Guilty Party [Paramount+]
A comic thriller satiring the subtly racist trope of movies overtly focusing on and congratulating white people for saving non-white people from a racist society could be a disaster due to the danger of being hoisted by the very petard it was trying to tweak. That it stars Kate Beckinsale, was written by Rebecca Adelman–creator of the great and vastly underrated dark comedy Dead To Me–and produced by Funny or Die is promising. 

BRAD’S PICK:
What We Do In The Shadows [FX, 10p]
Nandor has tired of still having roommates at age 700, but will this hilarious show’s best character really really leave the house that is its central premise. Tune in tonight.

BUT, WAIT, THERE’S MORE:

  • Have we normalized a Gunn-less Project Runway? The long-running fashion competition hosts its third contest of the catwalk without its charismatic coach and while Nina Garcia is still there and Cristian Siriano is always a delight, it still feels a bit empty. The show’s 19th season debuts tonight with so many new fashion designers on Bravo.
  • It’s Fallon Babies time (or Higgins Babies) as the grandpappy of late night talk shows spawns a new streaming version that’s all created by teens and hosted by pre-teens. Four hosts, aged 9-12, rotate at the desk of The Kids Tonight Show, while the writer’s room is headed by someone only slightly older. It’s on Peacock and you know how we Peacock Peacock at a level rivalling Kenneth the Page.
  • In the same vein, HBO Max airs another batch of episodes of Little Ellen–the children’s show featuring the dance happy TV host as a Dora-esque child. No word on how the miniature version treats her cartoon co-stars when the animators stop drawing.
  • 1 Dope Queen hops on the mic to deliver jokes about pandemic life (among other things) for what should be a hilarious and truthful time for one and all. Phobe Robinson: Sorry, Harriet Tubman drops on HBO Max today.
  • HBO Max also takes the role–usually performed by Netflix–of subject of our foreign import round-up: the Mexican comedy Love Spells (Amarres) stars Gabriela de la Garza as Ana, a dissatisfied woman who gains spellcasting powers after a near-death experience. Brazil’s The Missing (Os Ausentes) tells the Equalizer-esque tale of a vigilante missing persons bureau run by an ex-police chief haunted by his daughter’s disappearance. Sweden chimes in with the atmospheric wilderness [insert genre here cuz we’re stumped] Welcome to Utmark.
  • Netflix does offer a couple new titles from overseas with the Indonesian supernatural cult thriller A World Without about three women who find peace in an organization called The Light–of course until they start to see its dark underbelly, and the French comedy fundraiser One Night in Paris.
  • If you loved Jennifer Lawrence’s Oscar-nominated (and Golden Globe-winning) performance in David O. Russell’s Joy… well, there’s no reason why you would like or dislike the infomercial reality show America’s Big Deal, but it’s the connection we’re going with here. The program features the real-life Joy Mangano, inventor of the Miracle Mop, showcasing entrepreneurs. The twist is that the judges in this lower-budget Shark Tank are… you (duh duh DUHHHHHHN). The other twist is that the show is essentially just one big advertisement as the votes are cast in the form of online purchases.
  • The pandemic-delayed second season of the big budget/terribly reviewed sci-fi series Another Life appears on Netflix today and its ad screams “the stakes have never been this high.” As with a certain ’70s battleship (and its popular reboot), the goal is to get back to Earth.
  • In the Thai mockumentary The Medium by Ha-nook Jin, a group of filmmakers interview a spirit channeller who conjures up the beast Bayan, and since it’s on Shudder, you know Bayan ain’t gonna bring you gentle tales about how well your grandmother is adjusting to the beyond.
  • We’re not so sure what’s more surprising–that Thomas Middleditch is apparently not cancelled or that the high-concept formulaic sitcom he stars in, B Positive, is back for a second season. Well, it’s easily the former, since CBS will stick with its shows for a long, long time. We’re sure Bob will still be hearting Abishola into the 2030s.
  • Coincidentally, next up, is the CW’s Legacies which has sneaked along to a 4th season which begins tonight. The rare spin-off of a spin-off features the stories of Hope Mikaelson, a supernatural figure containing elements of vampire, werewolf, and witch–but thankfully no were-panther.
  • Last, but not least (hey, just look two bullet points up), Sundance brings back Indefensible, a true crime doc about the anti-semitic character assassination of murder victim Elana Steinberg.

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