And now, we notice we’re two days closer to our inevitable…..anyway:
With Game of Thrones out indefinitely before its final season airs, and Westworld congruently waiting until 2018 to return, what will the discerning cable viewer demand? Apparently comedies galore, as a slew of returning shows are hilarious – even Larry David is back with new Curb Your Enthusiasm as he attempts to save the American people from themselves, at least in his own little way.
Here’s a whole slew of shows, returning and nouveau, for you to chew on:
Star Trek: Discovery (9/24, CBS, 8:30)
Yes, I know, I’m cheating a bit because this is premiering at the end of the month on CBS, the parent channel of….CBS All Access, a paid access on demand app that will house the newest iteration of Gene Roddenberry’s space epic, Star Trek: Discovery. There’s an insanely great deal riding on this – the future of the franchise, the new CBS app, the idea that we’ll just be paying individually for shows or at least channels in the near future. The funny thing is that this will do bananas business at first, given there are still plenty of Trekkies out there, and enough curious people that will tune in and shell out hard-earned cash for something that will likely be streaming on…alternative channels by week’s end. I, for one, refuse to pay extra for a channel I get in my basic cable, but this is a preview of the show so I’d rather digress. The content shown so far looks brilliant, at least visually, and the casting of Sonequa Martin-Green (You’re the Worst, The Walking Dead) as the lead, a lieutenant working alongside not one, but two captains, is equally brilliant. She’s deserved a leading role for a good while now, and hopefully this can showcase her talents. Her co-leads, in the separate captain’s chairs, are Michelle Yeoh (Tomorrow Never Dies, Sunshine) and Jason Isaacs (Harry Potter, The Patriot), adding definitive pedigree as Shakespearean actors William Shatner and Patrick Stewart did before them. Doug Jones pops in and does his makeup-alien thing, but has the most lines I’ve seen him employ before. High hopes here, but a long fall if all goes wrong.
Curb Your Enthusiasm (10/1, HBO)
It doesn’t seem like it, but Curb has been off the air for an incredibly long six years. Six years without the sardonic stylings of Larry David? How did we manage? Anyway, it all comes crashing down October 1st, as the best show about nothing after Seinfeld left the airwaves rolls its way back into our hearts.
The Deuce (9/10, HBO)
I’m not sure what HBO thought here, given how flat Vinyl fell on its face, but here’s another period drama set around New York City, but instead of drug and booze fueled record companies, we have something that applies itself more to a seedy underworld: the rise of the porn industry in America. Plus you have James Franco pulling his best Tom Hardy, in a double-duty role as twin brothers Vincent and Frankie Martino, a pair that gets involved as fronts for the Mob. I personally know the guy who’s playing Matthew Ianniello, the Genovese crime boss who influenced the porn industry in New York. His name’s Garry Pastore, and I want him to be better than he was in the film we worked on together, and the potential is there. Beyond them, I’m excited to see what Maggie Gyllenhaal is up to, it’s been too long since we had a sizable role for her to exhibit her skills.
Mr. Robot (10/11, USA)
If you’ve been a long-time reader of Interjections, then you may have read my extensive look at Why Mr. Robot is a better Gotham than Gotham. I’m going to be following that up in early October with a look back at season two, which went wildly in varying directions none of us fans expected. While it mired a bit in its own conceit, stars Rami Malek and Christian Slater still put in career performances as son and father mentor ghost. While we don’t know exactly what new direction the show will go in season three, hopefully it will pick up speed a bit, as most of the major players are back together, hoping to form an elite squad in order to take down the government. Also, Bobby Cannavale is joining the cast, and we all know how he does in third seasons (Boardwalk Empire…) If you haven’t gotten into this slick hacker thriller, do yourself a favor and catch season one now, before it’s too late.
Shameless (11/5, Showtime)
Even though it’s reaching it’s eighth season this November, strangely enough Shameless is still an underrated gem. William H. Macy continually gets Emmy nominations, while Emmy Rossum never gets the due she so justly deserves. The Gallagher clan will likely never get better, but it sure is beautiful to watch them try and escape their inevitable doom and gloom. If this is the last hurrah for the family, I’m sure it will go out spectacularly.
SMILF (11/5, Showtime)
Frankie Shaw was perhaps my favorite part of the USA show Mr. Robot. Her drug-addled Shayla grounded the who in a bit of romantic reality, but her tragic collateral damage loss was gutting moreso than anything else on the show. Shaw’s performance was the big reason that show worked, and given she wrote and directed the short film this show is based on, I’m more than ready to see what she has in store for us in the series version. I’m glad she’s also performing in it, because it just gives viewers a chance to take in her caustic humor again. If you need an idea of what this is about, imagine a common citizen version of Better Things.
White Famous (10/15, Showtime)
Jamie Foxx is producing (and will often guest) in this semi-autobiographical look at actor (Jay Pharoah) who is rising the ranks of Hollywood, but is starting to be seen as more of a sellout in his hometown community. It reminds of a television version of the great Chris Rock film Top Five, and with the comedic prowess of both Pharoah and Foxx behind it, this should be an instant classic.
The Walking Dead (10/22, AMC)
This show has long oversold its premise, and by giving us slower burns than a magma flow, it’s alienated a lot of fans. Somehow there’s still enough people watching though, and stunt events like the ridiculous episode arc surrounding Negan destroying Glenn’s face will likely keep it going a few more years. For now, we’re watching uber-survivors Rick, Daryl, Michonne, Carol and Maggie attempt to wage war against Negan and his crew. I haven’t been interested in about five years, but if you are still, there’s probably something worthwhilel to watch. Just let me know if Carol makes it. That psychopath is the best.
Halt and Catch Fire (airing now, AMC)
Last week the final season of this underrated show, tracing the development of the birth of the internet, and I’m sure a lot of us will catch up in years to come. It’s just a shame that we weren’t there as it happened, much like those that regret getting in on the ground floor of the internet.
Legion (February 2018, FX)
If you didn’t catch this trippy, visionary mutant story starring Dan Stevens and Aubrey Plaza, then you have a few months to catch up. Stevens stars as the titular mutant Legion, who is apparently even more powerful than Professor X and his perfect student Jean Grey. I haven’t finished the season myself, so I don’t know how much other X-Men characters play into his story, but in the comics, it appears that he’s even related somehow to the professor. We’ll see if that plays into any part of the second season, but I’m just glad it was a success. I give that claim to it due to the unnerving performance of Aubrey Plaza, who is having quite a year with Ingrid Goes West and The Little Hours as well in theatres.
Better Things (9/14, FX)
Pamela Adlon has been having a ball playing up her semi-autobiographical alter-ego, and it’s clearly not as exhausting as she lets it seem in the show. Since we’re not going to get any Louie for the foreseeable future, we’ll have to settle for this female counterpart of his, but what’s wrong with that? We needed a darker family comedy on the airwaves, and this perfectly compliments FX’s slate of gaudy dramas.
American Horror Story: Cult (9/5, FX)
Speaking of those over-budgeted dramas, Ryan Murphy returned this past week with the latest iteration of American Horror Story. Murphy promised this segment to elaborate on the strange events of this past November, when uber-billionaire hack Donald Trump somehow bested villainous politician Hillary Clinton in the American presidential election. While that will merely color the season, we’ll likely see the effects of the strange cult-like surrounding that politicians end up surrounding themselves with. I’ve heard tell that clowns figure largely in the plot, and Twisty may return, but if I don’t get any Juggalos, I’m not voting this term.
Trust (January 2018, FX)
There’s a Ridley Scott film coming out this December, All the Money in the World, that showcases the kidnapping of John Paul Getty III, the heir to the Getty oil fortune, off the streets of Rome by the Italian crime family “Ndrangheta”. This upcoming limited series will tell the same story, but probably expand upon the details. Luckily, this will come out after the film, and if the Academy starts to honor the film, that could boost the Getty awareness, or limit people’s expectations. Either way, Getty fever hits screens this winter!
You’re the Worst (9/6, FXX)
I’ve been slacking on my television viewing. My favorite show on air came back this Wednesday for its fourth season, and I’m stuck halfway through the third. Spoilers ensued from commercials, and it appears that Jimmy (Chris Geere) dumped Gretchen (Aya Cash) at the eve of last season. Since the show was beginning to spin its wheels, it appears that each season in fact does have a theme. Season 1 was getting together, 2 was admitting that you do love each other and dealing with depression, 3 was living together and domestic life, and 4 is what breakups are like. Suffice it to say, this remains my favorite show on television, and I can’t wait to catch up and see what the world has in store for our favorite British author and music producer. Plus Jimmy has a beard!
BoJack Horseman (9/8, Netflix)
If caustic relationships in real life aren’t enough for you, tune back into everyone’s favorite irreverent cartoon, BoJack Horseman! Last we saw our hero, he was driving off into the sunset, abandoning his friends in the aftermath of the overdose death of his TV daughter Sarah Lynn. Left behind and not handling it well is Diane (Alison Brie), who must suffer under husband Mr. Peanut Butter’s newest scheme, becoming governor of California. Antics ensue with him, Princess Caroline and Todd, but the true heart of the show must be returning soon, or Diane will wilter into nothingness, just like he has. Will anyone ever find happiness? Only in Hollywoo, maybe.
Big Mouth (9/29, Netflix)
Nick Kroll is developing this animated comedic look at his high school years alongside friend and sometime colleague Andrew Goldberg (Family Guy). Kroll will voice himself and Oh Hello! partner John Mulaney will voice Goldberg’s alter ego. Given how ostentatious that play was, I expect hilarious things from this.
Alias Grace (11/3, Netflix)
Margaret Atwood is suddenly big business, as the recent Hulu adaptation of The Handmaid’s Tale was not only remarkably well done, but insanely well-timed in light of the Trump administration. Frenzied fear is the name of the game recently, and this period adaptation looks to continue the trend. The miniseries will tell a ficitionalized version of a historical character, Grace Marks, who nortiously was imprisoned for 28 years as an accomplice in the murder of her wealthy employer Thomas Kinnear and his mistress Nancy Montgomery in the 1840s. If it isn’t metaphorical for our age, it should at least play along our celebrity criminal love.
The Punisher (November, Netflix)
After the success of the five other Marvel series on Netflix, and the intense premiere of The Punisher on the second season of Daredevil, it was a no-brainer to greenlight a series based around Jon Bernthal, who looks to be the best iteration of the dour Frank Castle. I haven’t seen it personally, but I guarantee one of the darkest showcases provided to us by Marvel yet, just as it should be.
Stranger Things (10/27, Netflix)
Perhaps the biggest hit of the past television season, simultaneously reviving Winona Ryder’s career alongside raising up David Harbour’s as well as the cast full of children – particularly Millie Bobby Brown, Gaten Matarazzo, Finn Wolfhard and Caleb McLaughlin. That whole group will have to figure out what’s wrong with Noah Schnapp’s Will, who spent season 1 in the Upside Down but may have come back with something even more sinister. They’ll also have to solve what ended up happening to Brown’s Seven towards the end, but there’s no doubt she’ll return.
The Crown (12/8, Netflix)
Meanwhile, grounded in reality, Netflix has been taking prestigious British drama to new levels by playing out a biographical look at the rise of Queen Elizabeth II. Claire Foy won numerous awards for her portrayal as the once and current monarch, alongside former Doctor Who Matt Smith as Prince Philip. This year we’ll take a look at their visit from US President John F Kennedy (Michael C. Hall) and his wife Jackie (Jodi Balfour). I’m sure the show will continue the gorgeous look inside royal life, and we’ll all be lauding Foy’s performance once again.
She’s Gotta Have It (11/23, Netflix)
Spike Lee is cashing in after all these years! Well, more dipping his pen back into the same well, and adapting one of his most popular films for the small screen. Not much has been said about it, though I believe it’s a straight adaptation rather than a continuation. I have to say, I’d rather see an update of Do The Right Thing and find out what Mookie is up to. Oh well, Netflix had the money.
Godless (11/22, Netflix)
The Western we didn’t know we needed – Godless – will star Jeff Daniels as the bandit Frank Griffin, who brings his gang around the desolate landscape in search of his former partner Roy Goode (Jack O’Connell, ’71). Their search brings them to the strange town of LaBelle, which is comprised completely of women. Michelle Dockery, Merritt Weaver, Thomas Brodie-Sangster and Scoot McNairy also star in this six-episode limited series, so there’s pedigree oozing out the wazoo. I can’t wait, and this will whet our teeth for the Coen Bros’ upcoming Ballad of Buster Scruggs.
The Man in the High Castle (late 2017, Amazon)
Riveting beyond my wildest dreams, I didn’t expect to get sucked in to the first two seasons of High Castle this past winter. As soon as it was done, we asked when the next season would air, and of course I’d stretched out my viewing so the least amount of down time would occur. That was March. Now we near December, and there’s surely going to be some conclusion to Juliana Crain (Alexa Davalos) and her search for her
dead missing sister, and perhaps this season will see her reunite with one of her brooding beaus, struggling artist Frank Frink (Rupert Evans) or German wunderkind Joe Blake (Luke Kleintank). The best part, of course, is seeing what happens next to Nazi superstar John Smith (Rufus Sewell). Strange saying that, but…so is the show, and that’s what makes it captivating.
Philip K. Dick’s Electric Dreams (9/17, Amazon)
After the success at Amazon of the Philip K. Dick adaptation The Man in the High Castle it was a clear no-brainer to look elsewhere in Dick’s oeuvre to find another gem with which to place in front of everyone’s eyeballs. Electric Dreams is one of his classic compliations, so naturally with the fad of anthologies hitting small screens, it lends itself to being the next choice for Amazon subscribers. Not much is known about this show, premeiring a mere week away, but I sense something in the same vein as the uber-successful Black Mirror.
Search Party (11/19, TBS)
I think after the past year, this is my pick for the best new show of the 2016 season. I’m definitely surprised, given it came from TBS, but hey – good for them for snagging a smart, engaging mystery that got everyone talking. Alia Shawkat put in some of her best work as Dory Sief, a millenial floating through life that latched on the myserious disappearance of a classmate acquaintance. Her journey towards discovering what happened brought her path across cults, psychopathic stalkers and general New York nutcases. Along the way she dragged her confused boyfriend (John Reynolds) and two best friends (John Early and Meredith Hagner) through various escalating dangerous situations. Their steps culminated with the death of Keith Powell (Ron Livingston), a stalker posing as a private invesigator that nearly ruins Dory’s life. Given we left them moments after his accidental death, I can’t wait to see how the gang gets out of this mess.
The Last O.G. (10/24, TBS)
This comedic take on a thug getting out of prison after doing a stint of 15 years plays like a fish out of water scenario. Since he’s been in prison, all sorts of advancements have been made in medicine, technology, and most importantly social cues. Since he’s the last O.G., he’ll have a rude awakening to a world that passed him by over a decade ago. Even better is that it stars Tracy Morgan, recovering finally from his injuries sustained on route 95 over three years ago…a spot oddly enough I’m writing this as I wait in traffic. Interestingly, back when he was recovering from his injuries, Morgan was developing a pilot with FX that would see him as a pot dealer turned war hero. FX, at the time, said the show would remain with the network and they’d wait happily for his return to development. Instead, Morgan and producer partner Jordan Peele replaced that story with this one, FX eventually passed and it was shopped to TBS and Comedy Central. Their loss is our gain, as either way we’re getting Morgan’s sitcom return at long last.
Marvel’s Runaways (11/21, Hulu)
Sure, there’s a glut of Marvel shows. I’ve mentioned that before. But here’s a project that’s been a long time coming – Brian K. Vaughan famously had a run on this comic, and for about a decade afterwards was rumored to be adapting it for film screens. Instead, eventually it mired in development and of course they turned instead to television after the success of shows like The Walking Dead and Legion. The story tells of a group of misfits that don’t quite realize they’re superpowered, but eventually the tale turns dark and existential. I’m sort of avoiding spoilers on what actually happens, but suffice it to say the comic was on the top of many lists, so hopefully the show does similar business.
Future Man (11/14, Hulu)
Josh Hutcherson (The Hunger Games) plays a janitor who, in his spare time, is one of the highest rated gamers out there. When someone from the future comes and tells him he’s the key to saving the world, he’s obviously game to try and figure out how. The premise alone seems to capture most people’s attention, and I like that Happy Endings’ Eliza Coupe is finding work. I could see this as being the next Wilfred or the next Battlestar Galactica. Why not both?
Tuesday: Mid-season and beyond, and one awful show await.