Wednesday, March 22nd 2017

People Talking About TV

“But more than any single editing decision, the movie approach fails because Breaking Bad wasn’t made as a movie — not even, to paraphrase the GoT guys, a 62-hour movie. Vince Gilligan and company were making a television show, by God, with the understanding of the medium’s many distinct and valuable properties. They told a serialized story that’s powerful precisely because you get to see it all unfold over a long period of time, even as each individual episode is treated as its own entity: To borrow the Friends title approach, it’s “The One Where They Dissolve A Body In Acid,” followed by “The One Where Krazy-8’s Locked In The Basement,” or later “The One Where The RV Breaks Down” or “The One With The Train Heist.” Each episode helps add something to the larger story — and takes advantage of the length of a TV series to focus on what Vince Gilligan talks about as “the in-between moments” that crime movies (this fan-made one included) rarely have room to depict — but there’s a specific structure, conflict, and often theme to each that makes it satisfying whether watched a week apart from the others (as it originally aired) or as part of a binge now.” Once again, in defense of the episode, and why great TV does not need to be referred to as a “62 hour movie.” Breaking Bad is a god damn unicorn, a completely perfect TV show, that does not require a movie edit, thank you very much.

“Danny talks to Joy, who has a great meanface but is really a softie. She’s like: No way, you can’t be Danny, Danny died, but there’s something in her face that says, Hey — but what if he really is Danny? Then Danny talks to Ward, who was once a bratty, bullying kid and is now a bratty, bullying adult, and he’s like, No way, you can’t be Danny, Danny died, but there’s something in his face that says, Hey — but what if he really is Danny? And then Danny talks to some other character, and at first they’re all like, No way! and Danny is like, Way! and they’re like, No way … but … what if?Then there are scenes where members of the Meachum family talk about Danny when Danny’s not around. At first they’re like, No way, that guy can’t be Danny, Danny is dead, but then they’re like, Way? and finally the truth sinks in and they’re like, Way! We should send somebody to beat him up or destroy evidence that he’s really Danny or maybe kill him, who knows.” I love bad reviews. They are always so much more creative – not that Matt Zoller Seitz ever phones it in – than a great review. This one is for Netflix’s Iron Fist, which is nobody’s favorite of the Netflix Marvel series.

Buzzfeed has a long list of all the things on the show that happened that make absolutely no sense. If you are planning on watching The Defenders when it comes out, but don’t want to suffer through Iron Fist, here’s a handy list of the important stuff.

“Are you…seriously choosing to focus on the so-called profound complexity of the rich, dissatisfied, straight dude instead of the lives of the women on a show that is literally about a Queen? Do you sincerely believe that the demographic that watched this show looked up from their iPads and mused, “you know what I wish The Crown had more of? This dude whinging! I cannot get enough of spoiled white men complaining about their privileged lives and then blaming their wives for all their problems!” And while I’ve got all this steam coming out of my ears: You know who I’m quite sure has lived a complex inner life? ELIZABETH II. You know. The lady on the stamps?” Yes, that is definitely what The Crown needs. We all need several more episodes filled with Prince Phillip’s pouting.


The Business

For seven weeks in a row CBS’s The Late Show With Stephen Colbert has won late night in total viewers. His numbers are up 24% over this week last year.

We can probably give the president a little bit of credit, or at least those who are tweeting about it, for the news that SNL will now air live across the U.S., instead of using a tape delay outside the eastern time zone. 

UGH. Like we need more of this. CBS is determined to move ahead with Young Sheldon, the Big Bang Theory prequel about Sheldon’s childhood. WILL NOT WATCH.

You know what we do need? More episodes of Fleabag. Which we will get sometime in 2018.

BBC America has ordered 8 episodes of Top Gear America, which will be hosted by two people I don’t know, and William Fichtner, who is one of those “hey it’s that guy” actors who is in everything.

Danny Boyle and the rest of the team from Slumdog Millionaire are working on Trust, a drama for FX about the 1973 kidnapping of John Paul Getty III.

Somehow The Lowe Files, where Rob Lowe and his two sons investigate unsolved mysteries, isn’t an early April Fool’s joke.

Netflix is testing out a button that skips a TV show’s intro, presumably so you can binge watch easier. I want that button for Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt. That intro is a terrible earworm.

Casting: Colin Farrell will play Oliver North in Yorgos Lanthimos’ Amazon drama about the Iran-Contra affair. Susan Sarandon has booked a “sizable role” on Ray Donovan. Penelope Cruz will play Donatella Versace in the third season of American Crime Story. Jeff Daniels will play the head of NYC’s counter terrorism unit in Hulu’s 9/11 drama The Looming Towerwhile Peter Sarsgaard will play a CIA analyst. Chris Messina will play the detective in HBO’s Sharp Objects. Timothy Spall has been cast as the lead in an episode of Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams, Amazon’s anthology show of his short stories. Would watch.

Pilot Casting: Jessica Paré and Jim Caviezel will star in CBS’s Navy SEAL pilot. Thankfully she will play a CIA analyst, and not a wife of one of the characters. Rachel Griffiths will play a nurse in NBC’s medical drama that sounds like ER crossed with 24, as it follows a disaster in real time. Alyssa Milano will a recurring role on The CW’s beauty pageant drama Insatiable.

Renewals: Unsurprisingly FX has renewed Legion for another seasonCBS has renewed The Good Fight for a second seasonShut Eye will be back for a second season on Hulu. 12 Monkeys has been renewed for a fourth season, and the third season will drop over three days in May.

If you want to know the status of all of your various shows, here’s a handy list.


What To Watch

What I've Been Watching: I’ve been enjoying Crashing, which is a nice (and also “nice,” Pete Holmes is just so cheerful) addition to the ranks of shows about working comedians. I am also enjoying Girls, but not Marnie, obviously, because she’s THE WORST. And also Riverdale and Legion. I am hoarding episodes of The Americans to watch in a few weeks. I hate watching that show one episode at a time. I've also watching the pilot for Hotel Beau Séjour, a Belgian drama on Netflix that got comparisons to The Returned.

Here’s Vulture’s spring TV preview. It’s a lot. I hope you’re all caught up.

Amazon released a new crop of pilots this week, including Amy Sherman-Palladino’s The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, which critics seem to like.

Returning TV: If you rolled your eyes a lot at Iron Fist, perhaps Into the Badlands, is a better option. It returned last week. Hap and Leonard and Greenleaf both returned last week for second seasons. Review, a super weird show that is probably going to get a following long after it ends, is also back. Empire returns tonight, and a show that is the complete opposite in almost every way, except for a flair for the dramatic, Call the Midwife returns to PBS on Sunday April 2nd. iZombie, one of my favorite shows, yup, I said it, returns to The CW on the fourth. I am excited. Also on the 4th are those Prison Break episodes nobody asked for (right?!) Another return I am very excited about is Archer, which switches over to FXX on the 5th, and also to the 1940s, which makes sense (?) on the show.

New TV: FOX premieres Shots Fired tonight, a show that Indiewire calls "messy but ambitious." Hulu’s Harlots arrives next Wednesday. The trailers were all terrible, but I will tune in for the costumes. The Discovery, a spooky looking film starring Rooney Mara, Jason Segel and Robert Redford arrives on the 31st. 13 Reasons Why arrives on Netflix next Friday. I like a good teen show, and this was filmed at my actual high school, so of course I am watching this one. Fortunately the reviews seem pretty positive. 5 Came Back, Netflix’s doc about famous directors and their experiences during WWII, arrives next Friday. Dimension 404, which looks like Hulu’s answer to Black Mirror, arrives on April 4th. Also on the 4th is Louis C.K. 2017, his newest special for Netflix.

If none of these things appeal, maybe the news that Dave Chapelle has two stand-up specials arriving on Netflix this week will work for you.

Or you could watch 20 fan favorite episodes of MST3K on YouTube right now. There’s also a full trailer for the new version, and it looks pretty great, actually.


Odds and Ends

Bob from Bob’s Burgers loves both a good pun, and an overly complicated burger. ( And saying "Oh my god.") Watch this video to see a couple of them made for real. Here’s another one that recreates Jake’s perfect sandwich from Adventure Time.

Mad Men news! Of course Heinz is using one of Don Draper’s rejected ad campaign ideas for real. At least the ad agency is sharing credit with Sterling Cooper Draper Pryce.

Trailers: There’s finally a teaser, and a premiere date – May12th – for Master of None. Can’t wait. I also can’t wait for American Gods, which finally has a full trailer. As a Bond fan, I am totally going to watch Hulu’s doc Becoming Bond, about reluctant James Bond George Lazenby. Midnight, Texas shares an author with True Blood, and both feature vampires, but it’s on NBC, so you could probably watch it with your mom.

Vox must be feeling very brave, to attempt a ranking of every episode of Buffy. I pretty much agree with the top 50, and I definitely agree on which episode is the worst.

An ode to the many hats owned by Mandy Moore’s character on This Is Us. She has quite a beret wardrobe.

Speaking of vintage fashions, Tom and Lorenzo are still recapping both the episodes and the costumes on Feud.

I think ending on a list of a bunch of stars who appeared in an episode of Murder, She Wrote before they were well know is an excellent way to wrap this up. Oh Bryan Cranston, was there a show in the ‘80s that you weren’t on?


My schedule lately is pushing this into an every other week sort of thing, which I think I am going to stick with until Game of Thrones comes back in the Summer. Until next time, thanks for reading!

-Alana Cloutier

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