Posted Saturday 2/16/19 at 3:58AM EST
One Day at a Time defies TV's downcast dramedy trend
"On Netflix, TV is in an edgy moment," says Lili Loofbourow. "BoJack Horseman has taken the cartoon to dark and painfully honest places. Sex Education makes the awkward obscenity of teen life deeply, uncomfortably explicit. Big Mouth is so overt about the pitfalls of puberty that it’s not clear whether it’s safe for actual teenagers to watch. Russian Doll thematizes existential self-hatred, although it does suggest there may be light at the end of the tunnel if you die often enough first. Life is atomized and hard—hard in ways that we can’t comprehend and aren’t equipped for, and that no conceptual structure can quite contain. If there’s a genre for our time, it’s the dramedy. If there’s a word for it, it’s LOLsob. Against this backdrop of angsty irresolution comes a third season of One Day at a Time, an almost unbelievably traditional sitcom that has stoutly resisted the downcast trend. Gloria Calderón Kellett and Mike Royce’s show is the antithesis of edgy reinvention. It’s the sobLOL of television...It insists (and this might be a light philosophical intervention) that life is hard, but laugh-out-loud joy is essential to being able to deal. It supplies resolutions that aren’t quite ambitious enough to be answers, but it makes up for their shortcomings with fun. Rita Moreno, playing the grandmother Lydia, is a party unto herself and really sells the healing properties of a good time."
Oscars forgot it was the gold standard for awards shows with its commercial break fiasco
"Let’s face it," says Steve Pond. "The Oscars are not the Golden Globes, which makes it clear it only cares about stars by not having any below-the-line categories; or the Critics’ Choice Awards, an organization of writers so desperate for TV exposure and TV money that they present the writing awards off the air; or BAFTA, which delays its broadcast by two hours so it can edit down or edit out some of its categories; or the Emmys, which has two whole separate shows for most of its 100-plus categories; or the Grammys, which long ago rebranded itself as a music performance show with all but a handful of the biggest awards handed out in a different venue before the show even begins. No, this is the freakin’ Academy Awards, the show that wants to be respected as the gold standard for all awards shows, the undisputed Lord o’ Kudos. And if you want to be afforded that kind of respect, it helps to give that respect to everyone who gets one of your precious trophies...The Oscars want to be held to a higher standard; in fact, they demand it. Friday’s decision (reversing its commercial break plan) was when they realized that they are." ALSO: Why the Oscars should ditch ABC for Netflix.
Two men arrested in the Jussie Smollett assault case have been released due to "new evidence"
Source: BuzzFeed News
“Due to new evidence as a result of today’s interrogations, the individuals questioned by police in the Empire case have now been released without charging and detectives have additional investigative work to complete,” Chicago Police tweeted Friday night. The two men, reportedly Nigerian brothers who worked as extras on Empire, had been elevated from "persons of interest" to "potential suspects" earlier Friday.
CBS cut off President Trump's emergency declaration speech for The Price is Right
The network's coverage of the border wall emergency declaration ended 21 minutes before its conclusion on Friday.
Eastbound & Down turns 10: Danny McBride's HBO comedy was the perfect show at the peek of the Great Recession
Source: TV Guide
"Eastbound & Down, the obnoxiously funny HBO comedy about washed-up baseball player Kenny Powers, debuted on Feb. 15, 2009," says Liam Matthews. "And while it's not quite as widely beloved or influential as other 2009 debuts like Parks and Recreation, Community or Modern Family, it's the one that best captures the bleak energy of that weird year — and now feels more timely than ever, for better and worse."
After five years, John Oliver's Last Week Tonight has eclipsed The Daily Show as chief comedy news influencer
Oliver's HBO show has influenced everything from Seth Meyers' Late Night "A Closer Look" segments to Hasan Minhaj's Patriot Act. "The same goes for the longer explanatory segments on Daily Show alum Samantha Bee’s weekly half-hour TBS series Full Frontal," says Alissa Wilkinson. "And for the pieces that sometimes appeared on Larry Wilmore’s terrific (but now canceled) The Nightly Show. While Last Week Tonight frequently takes a longer, more international angle and pays more attention to stories from around the globe than its primarily America-focused cohort, its structure — jokes, a deep-dive into a story supported with facts and evidence and reporting, and an argument to be made, sometimes with a personal plea — is the same. The key component in all these approaches is that the viewers aren’t just watching the host riff on the news; they’re being presented with additional information, often in far more depth and detail than they’d get from a news article, that helps draw connections between the story or phenomenon and the culture around it. They’re not just watching people deliver monologues or weak parodies or easy potshots at the headlines, à la the current incarnation of Saturday Night Live."
Ellie Kemper: Why are kids so obsessed with The Office?
Source: The Daily Beast
Despite starring on Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, Kemper is still recognized for her role as Erin on The Office -- especially by young people. "A lot of times it will be twelve-year-old boys and girls who don’t recognize me from Kimmy Schmidt but do recognize me from The Office, and I’m like, 'Wait, you were in the womb when this was on, and you don’t go to a workplace, so how does this show resonate with you?'" she says. "And it occurs to me that it is sort of a schoolyard or family atmosphere, and everyone has personalities like that at their school or in their family. I wasn’t aware of how popular it was until people started recognizing me as Erin, and I’m like, 'That show ended years ago! Why now?' And it’s totally Netflix."
Bob Costas wants to have it both ways when it comes to his NFL broadcasting career and concussion concerns
Acclaimed sports journalist Robert Lipsyte once wrote of the former NBC Sports host, “No one has ever walked so gracefully the line between journalist and shill as Costas.” To put it bluntly, Costas helped make the NFL as big as it is today, despite his reservations in a recent ESPN report, says Deadspin's Dom Cosentino. "Fans of the NFL and the reporters who cover it (ahem) all have varying degrees of cognitive dissonance about the sport of football," says Cosentino. "But NBC isn’t some independent entity watching or chronicling the NFL from a passionate perch or dispassionate distance. It pays billions of dollars to provide a platform that showcases the league. It then sells ads against those broadcasts to make billions of dollars for itself. Costas’s intermittent on-air critiques of the NFL were instantly undone every time he threw it back to Al (Michaels) and Cris (Collinsworth) for the start of the second half. And it ain’t like Costas is giving back the gobs of money he made helping the NFL sling its product."
Loki finds its showrunner
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
The Disney+ Marvel series has tapped Rick and Morty writer Michael Waldron to pen the series, which is expected to star Tom Hiddleston in the title role.
Plane carrying Jennifer Aniston and Courteney Cox forced to make an emergency landing
Source: USA Today
The Friends co-stars were on a plane to Cabo to celebrate Aniston's 50th birthday when their private plane had to make a dramatic emergency landing at Southern California's Ontario International Airport on Friday.
Anthony Rapp explains Star Trek: Discovery's surprise LGBTQ storyline
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
"It shows LGBTQ relationships as complex, rich, and explored with a lot of integrity and depth," he says of this week's episode.
True Detective Season 3 is the true heir to Twin Peaks
Season 3 of the Nic Pizzolatto HBO drama "has learned lessons not only from its own direct predecessors, but from the ne plus ultra of small-town murder mystery television: Twin Peaks," says Sean T. Collins. "And it’s learned the right lessons, too."
Why Patriot and Counterpart deserve to be saved
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
The Amazon comedy-drama, which likely ends its two-season run on Sunday, and the recently canceled Starz sci-fi thriller Counterpart deserve another chance because they are so critically beloved, says Tim Goodman. "In many ways, Counterpart is a cautionary tale that Amazon should heed with Patriot," says Goodman. "Beyond ratings — which are not the driver at subscription services anyway but are, reality check, still monitored by the people in the building — critically acclaimed series are smart investments, even if they're essentially loss-leaders."
How the 1990s network true-crime TV movie trend influenced today's docuseries
Source: The Ringer
The true-crime network TV movie genre peeked in 1993 when NBC, ABC and CBS all made Amy Fisher movies, featuring big-name stars such as Alyssa Milano and Drew Barrymore playing the "Long Island Lolita." "By the turn of the ’90s, cable television had become commonplace, and Court TV, CNN, and their kin could cover titillating criminality with unprecedented persistence," says Kenny Herzog. "The collective appetite for picking the bones of unbelievable felonies and follies had made itself plain. If development executives were to stay relevant, they’d need a crime so captivating that no round-the-clock news cycle could contain it—even if some of the details were embellished or the point of view skewed. And in the spring of 1992, they found their subject" in Fisher, who shot and nearly killed the wife (Mary Jo Buttafuoco) of the much-older man (Joey Buttafuoco) she was having an affair with.
Phoebe Waller-Bridge has no interest in making another star vehicle -- that's why she wrote herself out of Killing Eve
Source: The New York Times
The Fleabag star is in demand as a writer and an actress. Yet, as New York Times profiler Amanda Hess writes, "Another secretly brilliant move: disappearing into a writing project just as her face was hitting Hollywood billboards."
Janet Mock calls out NAACP Image Awards for Pose snub
Source: Paper Magazine
"I, too, am disappointed that our own refuses to truly see us, largely I assume, b/c we are as unapologetically trans & queer as we are black," she tweeted. "Respectability politics won't save us. We good, though, writing another season centering ourselves like no series has done before."
CBS plans to "do what is necessary" to keep its NFL rights
Source: NBC Sports
CBS' and other networks' NFL deals expire in 2022, but the network is already working to make sure it keeps NFL rights beyond that. CBS Sports chairman Sean McManus said this week the network will “do what is necessary” to keep its relationship with the NFL beyond 2022.
Who are the best new travel show hosts?
Ugly Delicious' David Chang, F*ck, That’s Delicious' Action Bronson, Mysterious Islands' Kellee Edwards and United Shades Of America's W. Kamau Bell are poised to fill the void left by Anthony Bourdain.
How The Other Two's Very Special Gay Episode came about
Source: The Daily Beast
Co-creator Chris Kelly says this week's episode was included in the show's original pitch.
Shonda Rhimes details her love for Doctor Who
The Shondaland honcho found the The Doctor to be the perfect replacement for her Buffy the Vampire Slayer obsession. What is her favorite Doctor Who era? "Probably Russell Davies, because he started it all, and because of David Tennant," she says of the current series. "The introduction of David Tennant as 10 is one of the best written introductions of a character ever. And The Girl in the Fireplace, by Stephen Moffat is, to this day, one of my favorite things. There's just a lot of great episodes that evolved and came about while Davies was there."
How Sherlock subverts the "longer genius" archetype
Source: The A.V. Club
YouTube channel ScreenPrism explains how Benedict Cumberbatch's BBC character evolves to learn the benefits of empathy and compassion.
Watch the Survivor: Edge of Extinction opening credits that won't air on TV
Source: Entertainment Weekly
The CBS reality show will continue ditching the opening player credits due to time constraints, so it has released the opening credits online via Entertainment Weekly.
Fox's Proven Innocent is out of touch with the real world
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
Not only does the legal drama inspired by the Innocence Project treat the law flimsily, it also doesn't understand journalism, says Daniel Fienberg. He adds: "Nothing in Proven Innocent is helped by a main character who the show wants to treat as wildly empathetic, when the way she comes across is as so wildly empathetic that she has the ability to understand the plight of the unjustly accused and make everything about herself. She references her case with very little prompting, she irrationally makes decisions about clients based on her own case and any time she visits a prison or a courtroom, it triggers a flashback (that Rachelle Lefevre's high school equivalent looks older than Rachelle Lefevre is just an odd distraction). It's not in any way Lefevre's fault that Madeline is an egomaniacal sociopath whom the show views as a crusading hero. When Madeline says, 'I don't want to make this story about me,' the show seems to believe her. I do not." ALSO: Proven Innocent is a clunky mess with woke intentions.
The Umbrella Academy could easily be called A Series of Pointless Scenes
Source: The Hollywood Reporter
The Netflix superhero series, based on the Gerard Way comic book, "seems to be a mashup of so many other ideas and projects, notably X-Men," says Tim Goodman. "Umbrella Academy borrows something else from Marvel comic adaptations and Netflix dramas in particular — a belief that there's no urgency in the dramatic equation because there are 10 hours to tell a story," he says. "It's a false assumption, because the Peak TV era has an endless number of compelling options that are more alluring than waiting for a writers room to get its sh*t together." He adds: "It probably doesn't help that the writing is superficial and the acting suboptimal, or that the whole thing relies on an ostensible quirkiness and viewers' innate sense that they've seen echoes of this many other places. The series is annoyingly inert, in short, and derivative in the process."
- Ellen Page is one of the most original screen actresses, yet she seems especially deflated on The Umbrella Academy
- The whole apocalypse storyline of Umbrella Academy is just awful
- The Umbrella Academy lacks the batsh*t whimsy of the original comic
- The problem is that the show itself doesn’t seem to understand its greatest strengths
- The Umbrella Academy is actually a lot of fun, with an A Series of Unfortunate Events vibe
- The Umbrella Academy struggles to rise above the clichés
- It succeeds by leaning into absurdity and showcasing stunning performances
- How that amazing simultaneous dance sequence was pulled off
- Costume designer Christopher Hargadon dressed the cast in vintage, custom-designed suits and a lot of leather
- Umbrella Academy comic writer Gerard Way wasn't involved with the soundtrack
Doom Patrol understands what makes superhero TV shows great: wackiness
Source: Rolling Stone
The DC Universe series is "refreshingly self-aware," says Alan Sepinwall, "both in the hilarious meta narration by Alan Tudyk as the team’s archenemy Mr. Nobody ... and in its more fundamental understanding that if you make a show about these characters, you’d best come weird or not come at all. Its highs aren’t as high, but it’s more consistently satisfying." He adds that Doom Patrol seems to understand "that the best — and, not coincidentally, weirdest and funniest — of its CW counterparts, Legends of Tomorrow, figured out a few years back: There is a fundamental absurdity to these stories, and you can (and should) embrace that while still treating your characters and their emotions as real and worth caring about....Superhero weirdness for its own sake can have its limits, as we’ve seen with Legion. But so many modern comic-book adaptations default to sober and joyless that the eccentricities of Doom Patrol (and, on disappointingly rare occasions, Umbrella Academy) couldn’t feel more refreshing."
- Doom Patrol is a welcome combination of old-school effects and a barrage of baroque CGI weirdness
- It succeeds by taking everything seriously -- except superheroes themselves
- Doom Patrol may be too offbeat to stand out
- It's a vast improvement over Titans, favoring irreverence and fun over grungy edginess
- Why Doom Patrol considers itself "Misfit Justice League"
Lorena may not be a perfect documentary, but it more than justifies its existence
The Jordan Peele-produced, Joshua Rofé-directed four-hour Amazon film "isn’t a particularly well-structured documentary," says Judy Berman. "Rofé seems to have had trouble deciding whether he wanted to split up episodes thematically or move in chronological order throughout the series. As a result, Lorena sometimes repeats itself. A finale that keeps jumping around in time (from 1995 to ’90 to ’98 and so on) feels especially disjointed. The show never manages to make any novel points about the mid-’90s news media, either. And like most true-crime tales in this serialization-crazy post-Serial era, it could easily have been a two-hour movie rather than an episodic narrative of twice that length. Yet the series justifies its existence, even in an era filled reexaminations of tabloid stories from years past. By zooming out to capture what didn’t make it into the original headlines, and everything that has come to pass since the public eye turned away from the Bobbitts, Lorena manages to paint a more complete picture. There is #MeToo resonance here, though that’s hardly unique among sad stories about men and women from any period. What’s more vital is Rofé’s confident rejection of the he-said-she-said false equivalences of, say, the recent 20/20 special 'The Bobbitts: Love Hurts'—and the derisive humor such glib entertainments continue to wring out of real pain."
- Lorena weaves deftly thorough issues of racism and domestic violence
- It's an expertly crafted piece of work
- Lorena can't cut through the tabloid noise: It's too often sidetracked by the sheer spectacle of "the incident"
- It remains jarring and horrifying to see Lorena Bobbitt's trial and public humiliation play out, both in the past and reflective present
- Lorena takes aim at the blossoming 24-hour cable news cycle and Howard Stern for trivializing her abuse
- One Day at a Time defies TV's downcast dramedy trend