Decnuary Roundup, '19
As is becoming the norm for me, the end of December is a mess. So, here's December and January, for your viewing pleasure. Also your displeasure, if you try to watch the "Don't"s.
Watch This Shit:
So, there's this closeted witch academic who starts reading a book and, while she's accidentally sucking up the words into her body Dark Willow-style, a bunch of other random witches start freaking the fuck out about it. She also happens to be a direct descendant of the first witch murdered in Salem.
Not to mention the impotent vampires, possible ghosts, and GIANT-ASS DREAM SPIDERS. Watch this one, y'all. Spooky British fun.
Michaela Coel (I'm obsesseddddd with her) is a major depressive (#samesies) who survived a suicide attempt. Her adoptive mother is a white lawyer who only seems to prosecute black Africans. John Goodman is their co-worker.
This one's properly dramatic and gritty as fuck. War crimes galore and the people responsible (or are they?) being taken to task.
Kingsman meets The Americans. It's the '80s and a bunch of criminal kids get recruited to fuck folks up. It's also not-so-low-key about how the government is a giant sack of shit that cripples the world without remorse. These kids are essentially the consequences of said crippling.
Also, when "eat my shit" makes its way into a script, I simply can't be mad at it.
So, Callie and Marianna are all growed-up and moving in with each other, as well as a whole mess of other strangers, in LA. Those folks serve as the surrogate Foster family. Callie gets stoned and, unsurprisingly, bangs one of them real quick. (He's bi. It's cute.) But the real drama is at their new 9-to-5's, where Callie can't be a liberal and Marianna can't be a girl.
Anyway, in this one, he's a coked up disgraced journalist making ends meat as a paparazzo. A young woman just found out she was adopted and travels to LA to find her birth grandfather. Her adoptive mother can't stop her, but what she can do is put the journalist who tried (and failed) to expose grandpa on her trail. And that's when shit gets real interesting 'cause... grandpa's a freak.
A docuseries centering around the life of a single mother with DID. She is 9+ people in one and it's pretty fucking fascinating. She didn't enjoy United States of Tara as much as I did, but if you did and you're a documentary fan, you'll definitely be into Jane.
Scary space shit, y'all! A badass blonde woman is being hunted by the cameraman from Insidious, on board a spaceship that happens to be drifting and, ya'know, running into flying space trees and shit in 2093. She sends out a warning, "not a distress call," to abandon the ship, not to board it, and definitely not to bring it back to Earth, before she cuts her own throat open to avoid being killed by the guy. So, he's definitely a monster. (Right?)
That's just the intro of episode one, but it seems to be the end of the story. The rest of the episode deals with how said badass and the crew got onto the ship initially. Personally, I much prefer staying on Earth in my entertainment, but this is hitting the right horror chords for me. Sandra Bullock having depressing conversations with George Clooney this is not. It's Syfy's most promising actual sci-fi series since Helix, so hopefully it won't turn into some nonsensical bee shit.
The second "others" series in as many months, behind Champaign ILL (more on that below). But this one is laugh-out-loud fatherfucking hilarious. Toilet paper butthole balls and all.
Anyway, the formerly successful older brother and sister of a Bieber clone deal with his sudden fame while being big ol' losers.
Yes, gurl, if you'll recall: I'm in my 30's. And I sure did watch all of these reboots' originals in real time. So, OF COURSE I have to compare them to each other. I even watched Janeane's SYTYCD season, but that's neither here nor there, except to say that I didn't really take her seriously as an actress until she had a threesome on You're the Worst. (Although that probably says way more about me than her.) But, honestly, she makes a really great Liz! She even has the obnoxiously long pause before she says "...Max" down pat.
The biggest difference between this series and the original is that Roswell High it is not. Max is a cop and Liz is a scientist. There's also the "Wall" of it all. Immigration, selfish Republican assholes, I.C.E. running a muck; it's all playing a big part in the dramz, which also includes the good ol' "I swear that's not blood from your really recent gunshot wound, it's just ketchup all over the non-wound I definitely didn't just heal with my alien powers." Michael's still got terrible hair. But, oh, speaking of: he and Alex are super gay with each other! It's hella cute. Except for his Alex's PTSD (he's less the computer nerd and more the ex-military daddy's boy). There's same old suspicious-ass Kyle too. And Maria? She's reading palms at a bar, obvs.
I must say... I really fucking liked it. Dare I say more than the original? And absolutely more than the Charmed reboot. Give this one a nice, fair shot, y'all.
Otis' mom (Gillian Andersonnnnnn) is a sex therapist, so naturally, Otis is a Cosmo Girl in training. By which I obviously mean: he's counseling his sexually active classmates in a bid to not be the biggest loser on the block.
A 6-part exposéon the unconvicted serial sexual predator. If you haven't watched this already, better get out from under your rock and do so. Also, QUIT PLAYING HIS GODDAMN MUSIC. Esthero said that shit back in '04. #muterkelly
I'm not super into tug-at-the-heart-strings TV, I'm more of a Hoarders guy. But this shit is so friggin' cute. The host is the tiniest, most cute and squishy tidier who has ever tidied. She helps messy bitches get their shit together. AND MY SHIRTS ARE SMALL RECTANGLES NOW! It's nuts.
Y'all, the fuck did I just watch?! This one is utter insanity. It's chock-full of stereotypes and terrible accents, but your inner-rebellious kid/pyromaniac/angry-as-fuck-teenager will be so glad you watched. I'll just leave it at that.
P.S. It makes a great companion series to Deadly Class (while outshining it), so if you enjoyed that, make sure you give Wayne his fair shot.
An 11-year-old trans girl and her family struggle with her gender identity, and all in three episodes. I guess they needed to pack as much in as possible, but it seems like every topic they hit on barely gets explored. The writing feels very thin, if I'm being entirely honest.
An incredibly successful rapper dies unexpectedly, leaving his untalented entourage to fend for themselves for the first time... ever.
Adam Pally and Sam Richardson are genuinely hilarious (not to mention Jay Pharoah, who we can all hope will appear in flashbacks), so I have faith things will get funnier, but as of now, this one just feels like Schitt's Creek for dudebros.
This one's just regular ol' stand-up, no matter how Netflix tries to spin it so they have an excuse to put out another stand-up series. There are forty-gotdamn-seven of them, so there's bound to be something you like. (Nicole Byerrrrr!)
A journalist interviews Ted Bundy, who says he was framed. Much of the first episode is Bundy deflecting, and the documentarian reflecting on the timeline of the crimes Bundy won't admit to committing, hence the "Meh" status of this series.
Nina Dobrev and her terrible haircut have a half-sister who steals the show.
Sex and the Mumbai. The voiceovers are unbelievably distracting and, honestly, the only reason this isn't in the "Watch" list.
Attention all Magic nerds! Houdini's grand-nephew is banking on his family name the best way he can: a reality show about other people attempting to figure out Harry's tricks.
If there's one thing Netflix seems to consistently get right, it's true crime. But it falls a little short here. The story is presented as one of false confessions, but more time is spent on sensationalizing the gruesome murders of two women than the mistakes the criminal justice system made along the way.
Vampirism as a cure-all and/or an apocalyptic disease, both through a governmental lens. Also a surrogate father drama? It's kinda like Believe, except the little girl's not the one with the superpowers. It's definitely dramatic enough, but the slow-burn they're using to tell the adapted tale of a trilogy of books probably won't pay off.
Attention stoners with anxiety and/or children of all ages! This one's Clarence, if he was a hot dog.
The Goldbergs' 90s spin-off. Barry's now ex-girlfriend is a failed musician, so she's teaching music at the local high school with all of her old teachers.
I think it's lacking a bit. It's got the same call-backs to the character's real-life counterparts, but without the home movies of the Goldbergs, it's missing some magic. "Set in the '90s" is a good setting, not a good plot, so it feels a bit less authentic than its parent series.
Why Adult Swim waited for December to premiere this one, I'll never know. It's perfect for October. It's basically Channel Zero if it was 11 minutes and claymation.
I don't know what the hell this one's about, y'all. A woman, who could kick your whole family's ass, gets out of prison to find the inheritance her father left her wasted on her hometown's only (and shittiest) bar. Her brother (who hates shirts, not that I'm complaining) is the leader of some kind of... sea gang? And one of its members just got his eyeballs ripped out by maybe a mermaid. Oh, and the, like, queen of mermaids or some shit just came back home too. All of this adds up to drama, I'm assuming, but it's not really all that intriguing until the very end of the first episode. I've learned not to trust the fuckers who save the good shit for the tail-end of all the filler.
I have never, and likely will never, smell what that dude's cooking, but if the machismo bullshit of American Ninja Warrior gets on your nerves as much as it does mine, this one's definitely a better alternative (if not a full-on [but easier to stomach] rip-off).
Don't Watch This Shit:
Jimmy Carr laughs (my god, that laugh) at comedians discussing things.
If you liked Lindsay's previous reality show, skip this nonsense. It's Instagram hoes "working" in Greece.
AND JESUS FUCKING CHRIST THE BLURRY FILTER ON LINDSAY'S FACE. The goddamn green screen glow around her in front of the fake Mykonos background is just embarrassing.
Y'all, even the judging panel is d-list. Quit it.
It's stand-up comedy, except mostly in pre-recorded skits rather than on stage. Which amounts to one person telling jokes while other people sit, stand, or swing calmly around him. (Even the swinging isn't funny.)
Why MTV decided the original series needed a make-over, I have no idea. They were releasing new episodes of True Life until June of 2017, but now they're focusing on such interesting topics as idiots trying to be a Kardashian. Skip it, obviously.
If you followed the Fyre Festival debacle like I did, you know that a whole mess of Instagram "influencers" told rich kids to spend thousands of dollars to live on a remote island in the Bahamas, Lord of the Flies-style, for a weekend. This documentary tells that tale, from beginning to end, with a heavy emphasis on those affected.
Hulu was thirsty to 1-up Netflix, so they released their own (unannounced) Fyre documentary after Netflix announced theirs, with a heavy emphasis on the douchebag in charge sucking his own dick. And they paid him for it. So, even though I've definitely been preferring Hulu over Netflix these days, fuck them. Fuck them hard in the dumb ass. Just stick with Netflix here.
The good news is that one of the people gravely affected by the disaster, who shelled out a life savings to pay her workers, has raised over $200,000 since the doc's release. And said douchebag creator is currently in federal prison.
The life and times of the iconic Gilda Radner.
"Sandy's _still_ speaking! Are you listening?"
Oh, your heart will hurt. But this film is so important. Absolute must watch.