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What's on the ol' boob tube RIGHT NOW.... or close to now

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Re: What's on the ol' boob tube RIGHT NOW.... or close to no

Postby W » March 16th, 2017, 1:47 pm

I'm big into the reality competition shows: seen every episode of the Amazing Race, just got into Big Brother US/Canada a couple years ago, I'll occasionally watch a season of the Gordon Ramsey ones. I just watched Hunted, which was pretty fun, but fairly confusing at points. Survivor is literally my favorite TV show ever and this season is a fan's wet dream (well, about 60-75% of the contestants are). I've told people Survivor is pretty much the smartest and dumbest mainstream TV show you can watch.

I haven't seen the British Baking Show, but I've heard it's excellent. Since it's on Netflix I may have to try it out. I also hear a couple Asian reality shows are great: Terrace House on Netflix (though not a competition show) is supposed to be a Japanese Real World I understand and The Genius it supposed to be an ultra smart competition show (but I guess you have to know where to find non-Korean subtitles).
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Re: What's on the ol' boob tube RIGHT NOW.... or close to no

Postby Buscemi » March 18th, 2017, 1:19 am

So I finished Season 1 (which is actually Series 5, due to a bizarre order where PBS decided to air the first BBC One series, followed by the last BBC Two series and the second BBC One series, these are the seasons available on Netflix). I was actually really pulling for the teenager to win but by the end, you more or less have it figured out who will win, especially when you fully understand how Paul and Mary judge (that's another thing I like about the show, it does not discount the judges' opinion and depend on a rigged vote like so many American competition shows do, the judges' opinions are absolute).

I was also reading about the two American versions that have been done (one with Paul as a judge, the current one with Mary as a judge). I've read mixed word and I'm not a fan of the choices of hosts (were Jeff Foxworthy and Nia Vardalos the best choices the network heads could think of?) but maybe there is some quality to be found in these versions. But then again, most American remakes of UK-based shows turn out terribly (I still remember challenging someone to name a good remake of a UK series after Neil Patrick Harris's Ant and Dec remake bombed, The Office was the only answer she could come up with and that got significantly changed after the first season).

Edit: watched Season 2 (actually Series 4). It's surprisingly a bit more grim and there are times when you want to give some of the contestants a hug as they are so hard on themselves (though the filming during a colder part of the year could have contributed to that). It's also interesting for having 13 contestants and the potential of more than one episode featuring a double elimination. I really wish PBS and BBC would make an agreement to release Series 1-3 just so the references to earlier series make sense (even though they apparently not up to quality like the series that PBS has distributed domestically).
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Re: What's on the ol' boob tube RIGHT NOW.... or close to no

Postby numbersix » March 18th, 2017, 7:41 am

If you like Bake Off you should check out Masterchef, both the professional and amateur versions - like Bake-Off it's not harsh or judgemental, although it's not as quirky without Mel and Sue's presenting style, but the food looks amazing.

The new presenters for Bake Off have been announced. One of them is Noel Fielding of The Mighty Boosch. The show's going to get a little surreal...
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Re: What's on the ol' boob tube RIGHT NOW.... or close to no

Postby Buscemi » March 18th, 2017, 6:13 pm

My mom watches the American Masterchef all the time. The Americans really love to test Gordon's patience (I'm sure the UK host is a lot mellower).

And recently, I found out the creator of Master Chef was the guy who directed Quadrophenia.

Also, here's hoping for an Old Gregg-themed challenge in the new Bake-Off (Bailey's in a shoe pastry?).
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Re: What's on the ol' boob tube RIGHT NOW.... or close to no

Postby numbersix » March 19th, 2017, 7:43 am

Gordon Ramsay presents US Masterchef? Yeah, I wouldn't want to watch that - the UK judges and presenters are very supportive, giving the show a gentle, pleasant experience. Ramsay is probably too harsh.
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Re: What's on the ol' boob tube RIGHT NOW.... or close to no

Postby Buscemi » March 19th, 2017, 1:15 pm

Well, he judges the show (him and Fox have a long-term deal). I don't recall if there is a presenter for the US version (though there is a narrator).

Edit: finished Season 2/Series 4. This one was a bit more difficult to watch mainly as you are wondering if Ruby will be able to stay in one place during each episode. You find yourself wondering if you are watching a competition or the decline of one's sanity at times. Luckily, it does seem like she was able to find peace after the competition ended.

However, I'm not sure if I agreed with the choice of winner. Yes, Frances did have some moments in the finale but she never really had a moment that wowed the judges in the finale while Kimberley seemed to outdo her in the last two rounds. It seemed more like a compromise pick in the end as no one was really dominant.


Edit edit: started Season 3/Series 6. Though I had the end of this one spoiled by Wikipedia when I found out about the airing order in the US, I decided to watch it anyway. This one is more in tone with Series 5 and could be in a way seen as a companion to that series due to the return to filming in Berkshire. I've watched three episodes so far and I'm enjoying it despite knowing who wins.
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Re: What's on the ol' boob tube RIGHT NOW.... or close to no

Postby Buscemi » March 23rd, 2017, 3:13 am

Finished the available episodes of The Great British Bake-Off on Netflix. Series 6 had a deserving winner and was right up there with Series 5 in enjoyment. Can't wait for PBS to pick up the rest of the series.

Meanwhile, I tried to get into a couple of shows but couldn't.

Star Trek: The Animated Series - I'm not sure how this managed a following. It contains none of the excitement of the original series and the animation is typical Filmation (though it's somehow better than today's "cel animation is creepy and done on computers"). It was nice that they got much of the cast to return but it's an inessential part of the Star Trek franchise.

Fried - I don't really know what suckered me into this BBC Three show but it might be one of the worst UK shows to ever get domestic distribution. It's trying way too hard to be like an American sitcom (I bet the the pitch was, "You know 2 Broke Girls? Well, let's do that but even more offensive and devoid of the talent of a Kat Dennings.") and all of the jokes are lazy raunchiness. Also, the plot has no basis in reality. After seeing this, I now see why BBC Three had such a terrible reputation (despite having had The Mighty Boosh), leading to its shutdown.

Santa Clarita Diet - Victor Fresco's work on Andy Richter Controls the Universe and Better Off Ted gave me high hopes for his show for Netflix. It has none of the appeal of those shows. The series seems to have been built solely around the idea of "Drew Barrymore is a zombie" and is built around gross-out humor instead of the workplace satire that Fresco is so good at. The leads are miscast (Barrymore just plays Barrymore and Timothy Olyphant isn't much of a comedic actor) and the pace is very slow for a sitcom. Yet another show that wouldn't be getting the praise it's gotten if it were on another network.

American Crime - not to be confused with Ryan Murphy's more well-known American Crime Story, this is ABC and John Ridley's yearly anthology of crime stories that just hit Netflix. I watched the pilot and I have to wonder if this is the darkest series ever commissioned by ABC. Pretty much every character has some sort of skeleton in their closet. Even the most sympathetic character thus far (Timothy Hutton's character) has his own problems. It's probably not a surprise this show has have difficulty finding viewers but so far, it's better than a lot of the things you see on over-the-air television.

Edit: finished Season 1. I was not expecting it to end that way.

Edit edit: watched Season 2 and this was an even better season, drawing on a number of recent scandals involving education, athletics, and sexual assault. The star of this season is Lili Taylor's character, a struggling single mother who fights for justice (in a role similar to Regina King's in the previous season) for her son only to find herself, and everyone else involved, uncovering a powderkeg of corruption, violence, and homophobia in the Indianapolis school system. My only fault was that the season ends too abruptly (though for some reason, I thought there were 12 episodes instead of 10 so maybe it wasn't all that abrupt). Now I've got to get around to Season 3 but it only just started and is not on Netflix yet (and ABC will likely just do one run so I don't expect those eight episodes to be rerun if you missed the beginning).

Hap and Leonard - a mixed bag, really. On one hand, you have a great Michael Kenneth Williams performance and some promising episodes. On the other hand, there's a ridiculous amount of padding (the source material used was only 178 pages but Jim Mickle and company thought they could get six one-hour episodes out of it) and it doesn't focus on Leonard enough (rather, we get a romantic subplot between James Purefoy and Christina Hendricks that goes nowhere). Also, the villains were on a sliding scale between unbelievable and annoying (however, Pollyanna McIntosh's performance was enjoyably ridiculous, channeling Grace Jones and Nastassja Kinski's character in Cat People).

Sundance probably would have been smart to either edit this into a three hour movie for theatrical/VOD distribution or adapt two novels a season rather than one. It certainly would have reduced the faults with the series as trying a season-long arc with a short novel just doesn't work.
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Re: What's on the ol' boob tube RIGHT NOW.... or close to no

Postby Buscemi » March 28th, 2017, 9:21 am

More TV (mainly watching during writer's block periods or when I'm too fried to write):

Awake - I became aware of this one when I saw it being called "Hannibal before Hannibal". I've watched the first five episodes and the best ones so far were the episodes written by creator Kyle Killen (who didn't handle much of the series outside of the pilot due to it being a difficult series to write), as it fully makes use of the premise of a detective living in two worlds: a world where his wife survived a car crash but his son didn't (the red reality) and a world where his son survived but his wife didn't (the green reality). Two other episodes are standard police procedurals while the fifth episode mixes the world building with a typical serial killer premise. If the show hadn't had production issues with Killen leaving (his replacements likely insisted on the Law and Order-like case of the week episodes peppered in with the arc episodes), it probably would have been a masterpiece.
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Re: What's on the ol' boob tube RIGHT NOW.... or close to no

Postby W » March 28th, 2017, 1:36 pm

I just finished Westworld Season 1 yesterday. It's a solid cast (Anthony Hopkins, Ed Harris, Jeffrey Wright, James Marsden, Thandie Newton, Evan Rachel Wood, one of the McPoyles...). It's borrows a lot from Rockstar games (specifically Red Dead Redemption since it's a Western) and Lost. They want it to become the new Game of Thrones since they're losing that pretty soon (not counting any Westeros side adventures that could come). It's hard to say if they're going to succeed on that level, but it is a pretty great show.
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Re: What's on the ol' boob tube RIGHT NOW.... or close to no

Postby Buscemi » March 29th, 2017, 1:28 am

In between my continued viewing of Awake (four episodes left), I was made aware of IFC making the pilot episode of Brockmire available one week before its premiere on YouTube (albeit with some slight editing) as well as their site and this is an example on how to do a comedy pilot. While many sitcoms nowadays just slack off on the pilot and hope viewers will stick around until things happen, this show created by Hank Azaria (who also stars) and produced by Funny or Die gets to the point right away. We learn about the character (a Vin Scully-inspired broadcaster who's a little...unfiltered), his issues, why he's hit rock bottom, and his road to getting his career back on track. And it manages to mix Azaria's experience in television with the trends of single-camera comedy and more adult humor extremely well. Azaria doesn't just play the character. He lives the character (after all, he spent 27 years perfecting it). And Amanda Peet's role as Brockmire's boss shows promise as well.

Episode 2's supposed to run with a re-airing (most likely uncut) of the pilot next Wednesday. It will be interesting if it does well on IFC as they've struggled for the most part with series.

And I finished Awake. Despite being a mostly good series, the finale didn't really work. For one, it felt like a ripoff of Twin Peaks' Season 2 finale. And two, even though it brought the creator back to write it, it felt like a mishmash of almost every possible idea to end it getting placed into the script. Plus, the happy ending felt tacked on once it was realized the show wasn't coming back.

Once Upon a Time - if this didn't have the Disney characters in it, there's no way that this disjointed show about fairy tales and a bailbondman being led into a fantasy world by her long-lost son would have become popular. It's expensive cheese not seen since the days of Charmed and really only seemed to get made to test the waters of the unneeded (except for Disney to make even more money) live-action remakes of their animated classics. It's more laughable and regrettable for the actually talented cast members than anything and it makes you wonder why this can be successful but a better ABC series like American Crime can't find an audience.

The Good Guys - watched the first four episodes of this hour-long sitcom from 2010. The low budget shows (it seems like much of the budget was spent on the two leads, the Dallas location shooting, and its use of licensed music) but it does have a certain appeal as few cop shows intentionally make the main character so completely moronic that you're bound to laugh. It's also somewhat amusing to watch this after seeing Get Out, as you can always find a few similarities between Bradley Whitford's characters. You do have to feel for Colin Hanks' character though, especially since we never really get a proper introduction of why he's forced into his situation (other than it being mentioned that he corrected the Chief of Police's grammar).

I'm not too surprised that this show didn't last. It was not a good fit for Fox and should have been produced for cable. It probably would have been even better without the network restrictions (and maybe it wouldn't have been forced to follow the "case of the week" format it does).

Edit: finished the series. It really got better as the series went on. After the first six episodes, it finds its footing and manages to get really funny. It also has some of the best acting of Whitford's career.

Rick and Morty - a better title for this show would be "Drunk Doc Brown Ripoff and Spineless Kid". Dan Harmon's post-Community masturbatory tribute to the 80's is another undeservedly popular show made for twentysomethings that prefer to waste their potential in favor of liking everything that's buzzed about online. And I find it strange that the animation community loves to hate on Family Guy but loves nearly every show influenced by it in some way (this, Archer, Bob's Burgers, BoJack Horseman, that awful show with Bill Burr and his lazy "if Carlin was an MRA" humor). And lot a lot of those shows, the animation is terrible. Stylized and ugly does not equal quality.
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Re: What's on the ol' boob tube RIGHT NOW.... or close to no

Postby Buscemi » April 5th, 2017, 11:10 am

Bringing back my 52/52/52 challenge. Last year, I only got the first two before getting tired during the third one. This year, I'm trying to keep a better pace.

So far, Round One.

Bronze: 52 episodes (17/52)
American Crime
Awake
Battle Creek
Brockmire
Fried
The Good Guys
The Great British Bake-Off
Hap and Leonard
It Takes a Killer
Jean-Claude Van Johnson
Once Upon a Time
Rick and Morty
Santa Clarita Diet
Snapped
Snapped: Killer Couples
Star Trek: The Animated Series
Two More Eggs

Recent watches:
Battle Creek - Vince Gilligan's post-Breaking Bad flop is a typical forgettable CBS series that's unsure if it wants to be a comedy about a struggling precinct or a typical CBS police procedural with elements of humor. It's hard to take Mr. Mayhem seriously as a tough detective and Josh Duhamel is typically whitebread. It especially suffers when you realize that the hour-long mismatched cops with humor series was done better as The Good Guys.

Hap and Leonard (Season 2) - watched the first three episodes after Sundance re-aired them a few days ago and it's a much improved season. There's not as much padding and it's a much darker story with higher stakes. The creative team seems to have learned from the first season's issues. Also, Hap comes off as a lot smarter this season.
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Re: What's on the ol' boob tube RIGHT NOW.... or close to no

Postby Buscemi » April 14th, 2017, 1:46 pm

I've now watched the first two episodes of the new Mystery Science Theater 3000 (strangely titled on Netflix as The Return and given a separate page from the original despite being the same series, I hope Netflix fixes this so not to confuse viewers) and it's as if the show never stopped production. It's just as good as the Joel and Mike (Joike?) run and any reservations about Jonah (who oddly sounds a lot like Kevin Murphy's portrayal of Tom) and the new cast can be quieted down. It's also interesting to note that unlike the original run, this season has cold opens. A welcome surprise as many of today's shows have made an art of the cold open.

12 more to go. I'll try to watch them all by the end of the weekend.

Edit: I was a day late but I finished the season. Wizards of the Lost Kingdom II is easily the funniest of the season and stacks up with the best of Joel and Mike. It will be interesting to see how they'll get around Jonah being eaten by Reptilicus Maximus in the last episode if there is a Season 12. If Jonah's dead for real (though they could parody fake-out endings by revealing the whole wedding was a dream), I'd suggest having Kate Micucci (who was the guest writer on the Beast of Hollow Mountain episode) as the next test subject.
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Re: What's on the ol' boob tube RIGHT NOW.... or close to no

Postby Buscemi » April 20th, 2017, 6:06 pm

Finished Season 2 of Hap and Leonard. This was much improved from the first season (as I said before) and it really keeps you engaged from start to finish.

I'm hoping Sundance renews it for Season 3 (it looks to be based on the third novel where Hap and Leonard fight the Klan). Right now, things look to be up in the air but I'd be surprised if it didn't return.
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Re: What's on the ol' boob tube RIGHT NOW.... or close to no

Postby W » April 21st, 2017, 9:35 am

I watched the first season of Black Mirror (only three episodes) yesterday. Mostly because of the "it's the new Twilight Zone" talk I hear directly after someone uttering "Black Mirror". TZ normally would pose a question or unexplained phenomenon and typically solve the mystery at the end. Black Mirror sets a world's parameters with no real explanation and tells a story mirroring our use today's technology. It also does this in ways that are dark and hard to watch, which makes sense considering the name, where TZ can have some lighthearted moments and anything grotesque back then is closer to children's programming nowadays than sci-fi/mystery/drama.

So it's not really the same except they are both anthologies that are based on social commentary. All anthology series are going to vary wildly from episode to episode in both content and quality and I'm really hoping that I haven't seen the best of the episodes yet.
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Re: What's on the ol' boob tube RIGHT NOW.... or close to no

Postby numbersix » April 21st, 2017, 10:01 am

The best Black Mirrors are Season 2 Ep 1 (with Domhnall Gleeson) and Season 3 Ep 4
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