What’s Good? (Best of Winter TV 2017… & Iron Fist)

I haven’t done one of these in a while.

I guess it’s hard to make lists of what’s good in the world of entertainment when the real world is going to hell in a hand-basket… a hand-basket made of shit.

Once again, Legion, you’ve summed up my feelings precisely.

I know we can’t read tone and inflection on the internet. And sometimes the actual meaning of what we want to say is lost in its misinterpretation. So I’m gonna need for all of you reading this to picture the next sentence with ALL the sarcasm. (ALL OF IT!!!)

“The United States is in a really good place right now.”

“Is that supposed to be some kind of a joke?” “Hey. Hey. Hey. He didn’t mean it like that.”

So instead of spending all day in fear, I have chosen to escape to the land of nod. You know what I mean. While we wait for the next embarrassment, the next offense or the next outrage, I’ll be looking for the next distraction until the revolution starts. (which will not be on TV by the way).

Personally I blame the internet for all of this, but that’s a story for another time.

“Does that mean we WON’T be needing the goat?”

The goat stays.

What follows is a list of TV shows that are freaking unbelievably good and entertaining and well-written and sexy and escapist and brilliant and words fail me. And while it is true that I have talked about most of these in the past… THEY’RE STILL AMAZING.

I think Winter is my favorite TV season.

Let me explain…

“Get on with it, Melvin.”

The Americans is back and better than ever. That show has been consistently good from day one and will go down as one of the best in history.  Bates Motel is having their best season as well. Vera Farmiga has actually turned it up a notch (give the woman an Emmy already). Girls on HBO, just a couple of weeks ago, aired the best episode in its entire series run. A brilliant stand-alone story, that featured Matthew Rhys from The Americans by coincidence, which was just a conversation between a young writer and her creepy literary idol. (Rarely do I watch a show and then watch it again right after. I’ve already watched the episode three times. I wish it were a movie). The Superheroes on the CW are kicking ass on a weekly basis (even DC Legends has gotten better now that it’s embraced its fundamental silliness and monumental nerdy-ness).

Jane the Virgin lost its virginity but did not lose its creativity or its charm. And there are lots of new bisexual characters on my favorite shows. (That list is coming soon… it’s mostly women this time. Not my fault. There’s a shortage of bi men and an abundance of bi women recently. I’m not complaining. Well, I’m kind of complaining. I’m both complaining and not complaining. It’s confusing… that’s a joke). Star Wars Rebels has been amaze-balls this season. Running almost parallel with the events of Rogue One and setting up A New Hope (I almost want to spoil it but I can’t). BEN!!! (I couldn’t help it). Black SailsHomeland the list goes on.

But I’m not talking about any of those shows here today.

“Am I wrong or did he not just talk about them?” “Here comes the part we’ve been waiting for, sire.” “Well don’t just stand there. Keep cranking that monkey.”

What follows is a list of ten absolutely fantastic (relatively new) TV shows (with one notable exception…One of these shows is actually complete and utter garbage. But we’ll get to that one later… okay it’s Iron Fist… I can’t keep a secret).

So ask me the question already…

Go ahead.

Ask me.

Not THAT question, you idiot.

WHAT’S GOOD?

I’m glad you asked.

The Expanse (SyFy)

Developed by Mark Fergus & Hawk Ostby

Based on The Expanse series of novels by James S. A. Corey

Starring Thomas JaneSteven StraitCas AnvarDominique TipperWes ChathamPaulo CostanzoFlorence FaivreShawn DoyleShohreh Aghdashloo & Frankie Adams

“It’s been too long since we’ve had a really kick-ass space opera.”  – George R.R. Martin

We’re in season two now, so if you don’t know The Expanse, you’re a little late to the party but there’s still time for you to catch up. There are three main factions in the 23rd century: Earth (Earthers, Inners, Tumang), all the power, all the resources, United Nations controlled, corrupt bureaucrats and corporations;

“Is that a gun in my pocket or am I just happy to see you?” “It better be a gun.”

Mars Colony (Martians, Inners, Pomang), lacking in resources but making up for it in military might, they put all their effort into building a strong military because they were tired of being Earth’s red-headed step-child;

“Unte kowlting gut, to pochuye ke?”

and The Belt (Belters, Outer Planets, Beltalowda), the workers, born in space, mining asteroids and the moons of Jupiter for water and other resources, no resources of their own, no military, but without them Mars would have no way to get water. Without them Earth corporations would have no leverage over Mars.

Kewe to pensa ere The Expanse, beratna?

There’s a war coming between Earth and Mars. I don’t know for sure because I haven’t read the books but it’s like winter in Game of Thrones; that shit is right around the corner. And yes I just compared it to Game of Thrones. The Expanse is THAT good. Great performances, great story, great direction, fantastic special effects. The Expanse is quite possibly the best thing on TV right now with a language all its own.

But while The Expanse might be the best thing on TV right now, it is not my favorite thing on TV right now. My favorite thing is…

The Magicians (SyFy)

Created by Sera Gamble & John McNamara

Based on The Magicians by Lev Grossman

Starring Jason RalphStella MaeveOlivia Taylor DudleyHale Appleman, Arjun Gupta, Summer BishilRick Worthy & Jade Tailor

“Did you bring me little cakes?” – Umber (Horned Golden Ram God of Fillory)

The Magicians is like if Harry Potter and Buffy the Vampire Slayer had a baby and that baby grew up to be as hot as Emma Watson is right now. Oh my god, I love this show so much. Seriously.

Queen Margo and King Eliot

The Magicians is also in its second season and if you’re not watching it… I don’t know, I question your judgement. This show is sensational. And I know I’ve said this a bunch of times but I’m just going to keep right on saying it. I love everything about this show. I love the cast. I love the writing. I love the world. I love the story. And I love that it is the most bi-friendly TV show since True Blood (and you know how I love to see healthy bisexual representation on my TV).

“Is he talking about bisexuality again?” “We get it. You like guys and girls. We’re over it.”

This show has it all. Magic. Mystery. Adventure. Comedy. Time travel. Six-fingered bad guys singing show tunes. Large magical creatures wearing diapers. Hot teachers. Hot librarians. Hot students. Hot teachers and hot librarians hooking up with hot students. Little cakes. Did I mention the little cakes?

The Royal Family

Just watch the show.

Next… more magic.

Emerald City (NBC)

Directed by Tarsem Singh

Based on the Oz book series by L. Frank Baum

Starring Adria ArjonaOliver Jackson-CohenAna UlaruMido HamadaGerran Howell, Jordan Loughran, Joely Richardson & Vincent D’Onofrio

“Toto, I don’t think we’re in Kansas anymore.” – Dorothy Gale

Okay Emerald City just ended its first season and I see a lot of people putting it down but I, for one, enjoyed it. You know me. I’m all in for a good re-imagining of the classics. And with Emerald City, Tarsem Singh created my favorite version of the Land of Oz. A steam punk meets Song of Ice and Fire meets Cirque du Soleil, Land of Oz with giants and warring factions and flying monkey drones and outlawed magic and witches… and guns. And witches with guns. I really liked this show.

‘I am the Wizard of Oz.” “I thought you were the Kingpin.” “Can’t a man be both?”

In fact, I loved it. And I sincerely hope it comes back for another season and I hope Tarsem directs every episode again. Because it’s so gorgeous that I wanted to watch each one again… and I probably will. If I ever find the time. There’s so much good TV.

Next… I don’t even know what to call this one. It’s not a superhero show.

Legion (FX)

Created by Noah Hawley

Based on Legion by Chris Claremont & Bill Sienkiewicz

Starring Dan StevensRachel KellerAubrey PlazaBill IrwinJeremie HarrisAmber MidthunderKatie Aselton & Jean Smart

“What is your name?”  – Jesus (from the bible)

“My name is Legion. For we are many.”  – Legion (also from the bible)

Okay. Okay. I watched the first episode of Legion, the new comic book based show from the creator of Fargo, and I was like, wow that was pretty bland. Then after the second episode I felt like I knew more what they were trying to get at and felt it was worth my time. After episode three I was seriously hooked. I loved the characters. I loved the sixties fashion. The tongue-in-cheek attitude. It’s amazingly original and fun and I was completely wrong about it. Well anyway, we’re six episodes in and it’s the best thing I’ve ever seen in my fucking life… IN MY LIFE!!! It is frightening how good this show is. Frightening. (I think I’m gonna cry… seriously)

“So tell me are we inside your mind or outside your mind right now?” “I don’t know.” “Well that’s kind of scary don’t you think?” “Scary is not the word for it.”

Legion is about a powerful mutant. The back-story is that he’s Professor X’s kid (they may or may not keep this for the show but it doesn’t matter) and he’s got reality warping powers. Basically he’s the most powerful mutant on the planet (possibly in the universe) with awesome god-like powers. Now, that would be boring for a story because basically he can do anything he wants at any time but… you see… he’s not entirely sane in his mind. Also he’s not entirely alone in there either. So most of the comic book takes place in his mind. His main bad guy is inside him. And if you’re thinking, well how the hell are they going to bring that to TV and make it enjoyable. They did it. They fucking did it. And I think I’m going to cry. It’s so good.

“What’s for dinner? Is it chaos again? Are we having utter chaos again?”

Legion is really good and done very well. Noah Hawley has done an excellent job. Fargo is one of the coolest shows on TV and Legion is right up there with it. But it still kind of frightens me because it could go so wrong so fast. I really hope it stays grounded.

And I also like seeing heroes coping with mental disorders in my fiction (almost as much as I like seeing bisexual heroes) It’s refreshing and it’s identifiable.

Oh shit.

To the list!!!

Top Ten Fictional Heroes with Mental Disorders:

10. StormX-Men – Severe Claustrophobia

9. Martin RiggsLethal Weapon – Suicidal, Manic Depressive

8. Tony Stark/Iron Man – Extreme Narcissist (comics), PTSD (movies)

7. Carrie MathesonHomeland – Manic Depressive – Borderline

6. Jason BourneThe Bourne Identity – Amnesic, Dissociate

5. Bruce Banner/The Incredible Hulk –  Multiple Identity Disorder, (Split Personality)

4. David Haller/Legion – Schizophrenic, (see also Demonic Possession)

“That’s me. Everybody dance.”

3. Bruce Wayne/Batman – Obsessive, Compulsive, Social Phobic

2. Sherlock Holmes – Obsessive, Compulsive, Narcissistic, Sociopath

1. James Bond – Dissociate, Extreme Sociopath (Bordering on Psycho)

It was a quickly thrown together list with very likely mislabeled or misdiagnosed disorders but it was fun to compile.

But anyway. I love Legion on FX. I love the casting. I love the story. I love that it’s funny and absurd and romantic. I love that they respect the source material, making it the most original and creative television show in history. Legion is almost too good. Nope. It is literally too good. Because shows that are this good do not last for long (And just thinking about it going away makes me want to cry).

Next… Aliens

Colony (USA)

Created by Carlton Cuse

Starring Josh HollowaySarah Wayne CalliesPeter JacobsonAmanda RighettiTory KittlesAlex Neustaedter & Isabella Crovetti-Cramp

“I’m sorry if I still have a little crush on Sawyer and Carl’s mom.”  – Mel 

Colony is finishing up its second season and it was better than the first. Colony is the story of Earth after alien invasion. Humans are separated into colonies by force and into two factions; Collaborators and Resistance, by necessity.

“Sawyer?” “Yeah, Carl’s mom?” “Do you think Mel will be able to imagine us as anything other than those two characters?” “With our clothes on or off?” “Good point.”

The two lead actors are both very hot, which adds to my enjoyment of the show (sue me. I’d like to have sex with both of these people Is that so wrong? Should I keep that to myself?). Josh Holloway and Sarah Wayne Callies play Will and Katie Bowman. One works for the authority and the other runs with the resistance. But it’s not like they’re on opposite sides. They are on each other’s side. It makes for a great story. And the writing is what I like best. Colony has a good premise. And a good mystery. And Carlton Cuse doesn’t slowly drip out the answers like he’s done in the past. We start learning about the aliens early on. But there is still a lot more to learn.

“Just as long as nobody moves and nobody mentions Prison Break we’ll be fine.”

The stories are gritty and cool and suspenseful. And the action and the political drama make Colony one of the best shows on TV right now. And season two cranks up the suspense and brings the rest of the family into the story. So they’re turning into a family of bad-asses and I love that shit.

Let’s move over to Netflix

Love (Netflix)

Created by Judd Apatow, Lesley Arfin & Paul Rust

Starring Gillian Jacobs, Paul Rust & Claudia O’Doherty

“I once had sex w/ a guy whose dick was so small I thought it was a clitoris.” – Bertie Bauer

Love is the story of two broken people trying to make a relationship work. It is quirky and funny and absurd (but in a yeah that could totally happen sort of way). It stars Gillian Jacobs and Paul Rust, one of the shows creators, who is not the best actor but embodies the character to a Woody Allen type level. But Gillian is the stand out here for me. She plays this fragile warrior sex addict to perfection and I just want to scoop her up and plop her on my couch. Him, not so much.

“Him not so much? What does that even mean?” “Well at least he doesn’t want to plop you on his couch. Plop me? Is that a euphemism? Is that a sex act?”

I find him more annoying than likable but it’s not a deal-breaker because it’s a very well-written show. And he is a three-dimensional character. I just sometimes wish he had cast another actor to play his part. But look at me, I’m finding fault in something I love. Blowing a little problem out of proportion. Like some kind of self-sabotage. Ignore me.

Do people still smoke? Is that like still a thing? I don’t get out much.

Love is very funny with a lot of great minor characters. The two main characters both work in entertainment, her in radio, him in TV. And the show spends a lot of time on their separate lives. On their work and on their friends. So when they come together, it’s almost like two separate shows connecting through them. It’s a brilliant structure.

“I’m not Woody Allen. I’m not even Jewish. I’m Catholic. And this… this is not Annie Hall.”

And I’m sorry I insulted it before. It’s always only been about them. I mean I like Catastrophe too. Catastrophe is a great relationship show on Amazon. But the characters aren’t as likable. Don’t get me wrong, I think Catastrophe is very funny. And it’s not like I like Amazon more than Netflix. And it’s not like me and Netflix were exclusive or anything. But look at me, talking about another show and another network in my review. I really suck at this.

“This oughta shut you up.” “You said that into my mouth.”

Let me explain. You see, I’m sort of TV addicted and it’s hard for me to commit to just one show or just one network. But I think I’m ready. Can we start over?

Travelers (Netflix)

Created by Brad Wright

Starring Eric McCormackMacKenzie Porter, Nesta Cooper, Jared Abrahamson, Reilly Dolman & Patrick Gilmore

“I distracted myself from the fear and terrorism by thinking about things like how the universe began and whether time travel is possible.”  – Malala Yousafzai

Here’s a show I just discovered on Netflix and was completely blown away. Travelers is a time travel drama like Continuum meets Quantum Leap meets 12 Monkeys. It is some of the tightest time travel writing around. This show is extremely well-written and intelligent and deals with Time Travel paradox in a smart and original way.

Protocol 4 – Don’t Reproduce

But, by far, the best thing about Travelers is the characters. Each of the “travelers” from the future assume the identity and take over the body of a person from our time who is about to die. Seconds before they die. So, first they have to save their own life and then they become that person. And from that moment on they have to pretend to be that person who should actually be dead, all the while knowing only what they learned about them from social media and computer databases in the future. Not the most accurate.

Protocol 1 – The Mission Comes First

The travelers have a precise list of protocols that govern their actions. This is another fantastic part of the show. Like mini prime directives (from Star Trek) that control their behavior so that they don’t do too much damage to the time-line. But if you know time-travel shows then you know that’s laughable.

Protocol 3 – Don’t Take a Life. Don’t Save a Life.

Travelers is an action and adventure show that’s good just from that perspective but it’s the drama in assuming and continuing the life of some one who would have died, that makes Travelers truly outstanding. This is some brilliant writing. With good performances. And a great cast.

Protocol 5 – In The Absence of Direction, Maintain Your Host’s Life

Travelers is fantastic and it has been renewed for a second season… THANK THE DIRECTOR. (that’s a Travelers joke. It’s very funny. Just watch the show)

Next… from Brazil…

3% (Netflix)

Created by Pedro Aguilera

Starring Bianca ComparatoJoão Miguel, Michel Gomes & Rodolfo Valente

“People who would go to an art house cinema and watch a (foreign) movie and read subtitles… it’s a small percentage.” – Steven Zaillian

The 3% is a science fiction drama from Brazil. Watch it with the subtitles people. I know that means you have to actually pay attention and you can’t look away for a few seconds to check your phones but it’s worth it for the original performances and not just the English dub. But if you need to watch it dubbed then watch it dubbed. I’ll just sit in quiet judgement. It really doesn’t matter. The story is awesome either way.

Michel Gomes as Fernando Carvalho

3% is an intriguing story about an overpopulated city in the future and a “process” they use to decide who gets to live in a Utopia just offshore. Only 3% get selected, young people, and they only get one chance to make it through the trials… the process.

Bianca Comparato as Michele Santana

Of course there are other things going on. There are machinations behind the scenes and politics and a rebellion against the process. And then of course there is a love story. And a story of survival. And redemption. And… the show is awesome. I kid you not.

3% has Tough Guys with pipes

But the main story follows several “candidates” as they go through the trials. It’s like The 100 meets The Hunger Games meets Logan’s Run. It’s very good. There are eight fantastically suspenseful episodes of the first season. But I honestly don’t know if it’s as good dubbed as it is with subtitles. I watched it with the subtitles on because I’m all like sophisticated and shit. But you can always switch back and forth, if you’re easily distracted. (I’m just kidding. I kept forgetting that there were subtitles. And I would look down to check my phone. And then realize that I didn’t actually understand what they were saying when I wasn’t looking. It was awful… the internet has destroyed us).

3% has Heartbreaking Romance

3% is a really cool Brazilian Netflix series that has been confirmed for a second season.

And then there’s…

Iron Fist (Netflix)

Iron Fist Poster Not Found. #IronFisted

Created by Scott Buck

Based on Iron Fist by Roy Thomas & Gil Kane

Starring Finn JonesJessica HenwickTom PelphreyJessica StroupRamón RodríguezSacha DhawanRosario Dawson & David Wenham

“His fist glows, he’s got a beard, he has enemies. Boom. Now let’s do the team-up thing.”  – Marvel Television

I know. I know. Let’s slam on the brakes for a second. Iron Fist is horrible. It is awful. It’s like instead of a script they had an eleven year-old kid flailing his arms and making kung-fu noises. “And then Iron Fist goes BAM. And then the bad guy is like POW. But Iron Fist’s got him in a headlock and WOOSH and then a kick and then a punch… got it? Okay? ACTION!!!” and yes the kid was also the director.

He actually farts and was trying to play it off by beating one of her students and that makes more sense than what happens on the screen in Marvel’s Netflix’s Iron Fist.

No honestly, it’s the worse show. But look at it this way. The Defenders can only be better. There’s no way it could be any worse. Iron Fist is total garbage. Netflix had painted themselves into a corner. Daredevil was amazing. And then Jessica Jones was even better than that. So then season two of Daredevil was only pretty good and we’re like maybe they leveled off but then… Luke Cage was fucking great too. It was too much good. And they had already committed to release The Defenders. So all they had to do was put out an Iron Fist series. And you get to a point where there is just too much good. And all that’s left on the creative pile is crap. The Defenders or Iron Fist or both was going to have to be crap. It’s the nature of the universe. It’s just basic physics.

Sometimes they have to sacrifice acting for fighting ability and sometimes they have to sacrifice fighting ability for acting chops. It’s rare when they sacrifice both for naturally curly hair.

So what Iron Fist did was it took one for the team. It used up all the negative space. It sucked up all the crap. And it lowered expectations for the team-up. Iron Fist is as relatively bad as all three of the other Marvel Netflix origin seasons are good… combined. It’s that bad. It’s so bad that The Defenders is going to be Earth-shattering by comparison. You can’t get worse than Iron Fist without losing subscribers. You also can’t make something that cheesy looking and not realize it. The sets are laughable. I thought I was watching old Star Trek reruns. They show the kid being beaten by monks in what’s supposed to be a monastery in a mystical city but they look like they’re in a re-purposed janitor’s closet. It’s bad.

Why does Iron Fist have an erection? Does anyone know? And why is he on a Star Trek planet?

It’s impressively bad. The dialogue is practically offensive. It’s so awful. They used to sneak out of the monastery to have donkey meat? Where is this donkey meat cart located? Or are they killing someone else’s donkey, eating a very small part of it and leaving the rest to rot? Unless he’s talking about sucking a donkey’s dick, it makes absolutely no sense. I can’t start talking about the show critically because I’m just going to get angry.

“No questions… yes, you have a question?”

But I’m still recommending that everyone watch Iron Fist. You’ll want to turn it off after episode three but don’t. And no it doesn’t get any better. It actually gets worse. There’s no humor. There’s no romance. And the so-called bad guys are totally right. Danny Rand is an awful person. As one guy puts it. He’s the worse Iron Fist ever. But… Oh my god. There’s a scene where Iron Fist is being chased through a crowd and to blend in he picks up a mask and puts it on his face. DOESN’T CHANGE HIS CLOTHES or his jacket or anything. He isn’t facing the guy chasing him… like as if that would matter anyway. But then he loses the guy because he doesn’t see him wearing that dumb mask. There is no way they couldn’t tell what they were making was garbage. There’s no way they couldn’t tell. It had to be made shitty on purpose.

“Yes we did just fly to China on a private jet and kidnap someone and take them back to America with us on that same private jet… why do you ask? Is that hard to do?”

So now I’m convinced that Iron Fist was made bad on purpose. And I want to thank the makers. They took a bullet for the team. Pour out a little for the dead on arrival Iron Fist. I mean it is monumentally awful. Truly, truly awful. But it can only serve to make The Defenders look incredible by comparison.

And lastly one pilot from Amazon…

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel (Amazon Pilot)

Created by Amy Sherman-Palladino

Starring Rachel Brosnahan, Tony Shalhoub, Marin Hinkle & Alex Borstein

“Women are smart and funny. Get over it.”  – Eric Cartman

The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is about a 1950’s housewife who decides to become one of the first female stand-up comics. It is a fantastic period drama about comedy from the creator of Gilmore Girls. And it has that quick-witted Gilmore Girls style to the writing and the dialogue. But the best part is the marvelous Rachel Brosnahan in the title role.

“Who makes a toast at her own wedding? I do.”

Mrs. Maisel is the story of the most amazingly funny and smart and cute and remarkable woman. It is hard (really hard) not to fall in love with her. The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel is like Mad Men meets 30 Rock meets I don’t know Buffy? It’s the story of a pioneering female comedian in the late fifties. Maybe she’s Phyllis Diller. Maybe she’s Carol Burnett. Maybe she’s amazing.

“Yes my phone has a cord connecting it to the base. That’s how you know it’s the fifties and not the eighties or the nineties. Why do you ask? And where the hell is my microwave oven?”

She’s awesome. I love funny women and the show makes you fall in love with her almost immediately as she deals with the 50’s era and then accidentally discovers that she has a talent for making people laugh. It’s just a pilot right now but please check it out. It’s the best they have this season on Amazon. I watched them all. There’s not a lot of good there. And I hope The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel doesn’t get buried in that pile because it’s great even when compared to established shows. It’s just a thousand times better than the other pilots this season.

“Dear Diary. I can do so much better than this schmo. Love Midge. PS. I have half a mind to tell the driver to take me to Mel’s house. But it’s the fifties and he’s a negro.”

And I really really really want to see more of her… of it… I mean the show… of the show… okay I’m in love with the character. Bring her back. I have a thing for funny smart women (Fictional, Non-fictional). I always have. It’s a sickness. I find smart and funny women sexy as all hell.

Watch The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel on Amazon Prime Pilot Season… please.

So that’s what’s good.

Find these shows. Watch these shows. Love these shows as much as I do. And then you’ll be all caught up and ready for the return of Doctor Who, Game of Thrones and Dark Matter. Just to name a few.

“Om Mani Padme… um… um… I want to say Om again but that can’t be right.”

Man. When I was a kid there was like a handful of superhero shows and a few more space adventures and a couple of sword & sorcery shows, but they were mostly all crap.

You kids have it so much better than we did.

We had to watch crappy science fiction on TV all the time.

AND YOU NEVER THANKED US!!!

– Mel

What’s Good? (TV 2016 Edition)

Been kind of out of it these past few days. I had a significant religious experience over the holiday weekend that I won’t bore you nice people with… much.

the-exorcist

“The power of Christ compels you to talk about Buddhism!” (You know it, Padre)

I have been in what can only be described as a completely stunned state (of the incredibly pleasant variety) for a while, and I totally forgot to post to my blog in between forgetting to breathe. (Am I breathing now? How about now?)

The Good Place

“Well this is incredibly pleasant. Not spectacular but amazingly pleasant. Are you sure this is a religious experience?”

However I promise to remedy that in the next few days starting with a long overdue:

What’s Good? TV 2016 Edition… where I cover my top ten favorite new shows, and list the ones I tried but gave up on. Some other stuff.

And anyway, Buddha says hi.

people-of-earth

“Are you Buddha?” “No. Are you?” “Noooo.” “Then what the hell is he talking about?”

 

MY TOP TEN FAVORITE NEW SHOWS (of the past few months)

So many good and clever new shows this year. And as always my favorite stuff is in the Science Fiction section. All but one of my Top Ten New Shows is sci-fi and the other is pretty damn fantastic.

Let’s start with that one.

Atlanta (FX)

Atlanta FX

Created by Donald Glover

Okay, this show reminds me of another of my favorite comedies, Portlandia. Portlandia is amazing. Portlandia is a sketch comedy about the city of Portland with recurring characters played by the two leads; Carrie Brownstein (one of my favorite people) and the amazing Fred Armisen. The way Portlandia sends up the unique characteristics of Portland, Oregon, Atlanta does the same for that city in Georgia, except without the sketches, just the recurring characters. Three friends; A rapper on the verge of minor stardom, His partner in crime (literally), And his cousin who desperately wants to manage his career (played by the almost annoyingly multi-talented writer, producer, actor and musician Donald Glover [aka Childish Gambino])

atlanta-is-amazing

“Hold up. Is he trying to say he met Buddha? The ACTUAL Buddha? On Christmas?” “I think so.” “This boy’s talkin’ crazy.” “Mm hm.”

Atlanta is outstanding. Gritty and real. Poignant and touching. Hysterically funny and irreverent. Funky as all hell. Stupidly political to the point of genius. As subversive as early South Park. As well-written as the first few seasons of Modern Family. As entertaining as a German Shepherd discovering a love for snow for the first time in his dog life. And yes I couldn’t think of a show to compare it to for sheer entertainment value because there has never been a show like Atlanta. Its ten episodes are like ten choice cuts off the début album of the best new artist of the year. It’s just beautiful.

ATLANTA --  Pictured: (l-r) Brian Tyree Henry as Alfred Miles, Keith Standfield as Darius, Donald Glover as Earnest Marks. CR: Matthias Clamer/FX

ATLANTA — Pictured: (l-r) Brian Tyree Henry as Alfred Miles, Keith Standfield as Darius, Donald Glover as Earnest Marks. CR: Matthias Clamer/FX

Atlanta is like nothing I’ve ever seen before.

 

The Good Place (NBC)

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Created by Michael Schur

The second in my list of Top New Shows is the adorably quirky The Good Place. A show that takes place in one of the heavenly realms. A setting fraught with religious pitfalls but handled with class and respect and painted with deliciously delicate non-denominational brushstrokes that border on brilliance. And so fucking funny.

THE GOOD PLACE --  "Everything Is Fine" Episode 101--  Pictured: (l-r) Jameela Jamil as Tehani, Manny Jacinto as Jianyu -- (Photo by: Justin Lubin/NBC)

THE GOOD PLACE — “Everything Is Fine” Episode 101– Pictured: (l-r) Jameela Jamil as Tehani, Manny Jacinto as Jianyu — (Photo by: Justin Lubin/NBC)

Kristen Bell’s amazingly self-centered character dies in a freakishly embarrassing accident and finds herself in heaven but… well… she’s not supposed to be there. The show is funny and sweet and sexy (like Ms. Bell herself). But at the same time deep and philosophical and… regrettably… much, much too good for TV. So watch The Good Place before the powers that be make it go away. It’s really good.

 

People of Earth (TBS)

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Created by David Jenkins

People of Earth is a great new comedy from Conan O’Brien and his team of funny people. It deals with the lives of the survivors of alien abduction. It is as brilliant and funny as you’d expect from Conan and crew. And as incredibly silly and insane. It is madcap and it is amazing. It’s just plain crazy.

PEOPLE OF EARTH

“Oh great. He’s hanging out with Buddha and being abducted by ALIENS is insane.” “I know. Right?” “Pot meet Kettle.” “Who are they?” “It’s just an expression.” “But I don’t know them.”

The cast is sensational and the stories and characters are cleverly written. Wyatt Cenac joins a support group in a small town where many abductions have happened. What they don’t know is that a small band of aliens has taken up residence in the town as part of a larger plan. Invasion? Sheer lunacy. Very funny. (oh shit I just realized what I just did TBS. Very Funny. I get it now).

 

Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency (BBC)

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Created by Max Landis  Based on Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency and The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul by Douglas Adams

Here’s a show that defies description. I could never do it justice. It’s like combining Agatha from Minority Report, The Doctor from Doctor Who and the Brotherhood of Evil Mutants into a blender and… I don’t know… putting ’em in a Blade Runner, Back to the Future, Buckaroo Banzai mashup. Dude. I love Douglas Adams (even if I haven’t read these books. sorry I just don’t read as much with no place to go on the subway)

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Hammer don’t hurt ’em. Can’t touch this.

Dirk Gently is some funny, fun and well-written shit. Full of body swapping and time travelling and “Everything is connected.” Just watch it. Okay?

 

Black Mirror (Netflix)

black-mirror

Created by Charlie Brooker

Black Mirror is a Sci-fi anthology series in the same vein as The Twilight Zone but with a decidedly modern bent. Technology hides horrors. Amazingly dark and beautiful horrors. Do me a favor please. Do not binge this show. These stories stick to your ribs. Don’t pile them one on top of the other. Hell, I still have three more to go in the new series. I’m so glad Netflix picked this up.

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If you like this post, please click like… please… PLEASE… No seriously you guys. I’m begging.

I’m looking forward to being creeped-out to the point of not being able to sleep for years to come. Don’t binge it. Let it marinate.

 

Westworld (HBO)

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Created by Jonathan Nolan & Lisa Joy  Based on Westworld by Michael Crichton

Yes I know everyone has theories. Everyone has opinions. And everyone loves Westworld. Why? Because it fucking rocks. The acting. The writing. The story. The Buddhism. Yeah that’s right I said it.

westworld-is-the-best

“Wait. Am I Buddha?” “No, hon. It’s me.”

It’s about a wild west themed resort populated by robots. If you don’t know the premise, I’m going to have to ask where you been.

“These violent delights have violent ends.”

 

The Exorcist (FOX)

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Created by Jeremy Slater  Based on The Exorcist by William Peter Blatty

This was done so well. The Exorcist TV series first season was a joy to watch. The first few episodes of the run are sensational. Great cast. Great story. Scary and cool like the original movie (the only good one). Priests versus Demons. The way it should be.

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Who you calling boy?

You know the story. Little girl gets possessed. Says the darnedest things to a young priest and an old priest while doing TV friendly things on a bed. Where have you been?

“Time to give the people what they want, Padre.”

 

Supergirl on the CW (CW)

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Created by Greg BerlantiAli Adler & Andrew Kreisberg  Based on Characters by Jerry Siegel & Joe Shuster

Okay, I know this isn’t new but it sure feels new. I loved the first season of Supergirl but the show had to do a massive reboot in its second season because they moved the production to a new city when they moved to a new network. And everybody knows what the show lost but what it gained is immeasurable. Crossover appeal baby.

supergirl-crossover

If I had to decide between dating Felicity or Supergirl, I don’t know who I’d pick. They are both so awesomely hot. (Throw Oliver in the mix and I’m totally confused)

They added her cousin Superman as a recurring character. My girl Katie McGrath as Lena Luthor. As well as letting Melissa Benoist shine in the title role. I love the move. Yes I miss Calista but seeing Kara interact with Felicity and Barry and Oliver more than makes up for it.

Supergirl -- "Worlds Finest" -- Image: SPG118_2740 -- Pictured (L-R): Melissa Benoist as Kara/Supergirl and Grant Gustin as Barry/The Flash -- Credit: Robert Voets/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. © 2016 WBEI. All rights reserved.

Supergirl — “Worlds Finest” — Image: SPG118_2740 — Pictured (L-R): Melissa Benoist as Kara/Supergirl and Grant Gustin as Barry/The Flash — Credit: Robert Voets/Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. © 2016 WBEI. All rights reserved.

And they’re just getting started. They gave her an easy crossover button. So psyched.

 

No Tomorrow and Frequency (CW)

These are two new CW shows with promising premises and good casting.

no-tomorrow

Developed by Corinne Brinkerhoff  Based on the Brazilian series Como Aproveitar o Fim do Mundo

No Tomorrow is a romantic comedy based on a Brazilian series called How to Enjoy the End of the World. It’s about a very pretty man who thinks the world is going to end and the woman he meets who thinks he’s just too good-looking and charming to not look past that. It’s very funny and cute.

frequency

Developed by Jeremy Carver  Based on Frequency by Toby Emmerich

Frequency is a time-bending procedural based on the movie of the same name. A clever story about a police officer communicating with his daughter (also an officer) in the future. Or is that the other way around. It’s great the way they help each other solve cases in their respective eras. It’s very cool.

no-tomorrow

“Sure he claims the world is ending but at least he doesn’t say that he hung out with the Buddha in the Pure Lands on Jesus birthday. Now THAT would be a red flag. Am I right, girls?”

What can I say I’ve become a huge CW fan. I pretty much rock their entire line-up now. The superhero shows. Flash, Arrow. The relationship shows. Crazy Ex, Jane. I love it all. They’ve got a formula that really works. Hot actors and good writing. Who knew?

frequency1

“You don’t have to be from the future to know that he’s going to say that he knew.”

I knew. That’s who. I did. Good writing. Pretty people. And if there’s room left in the budget dress them all up real nice. Wardrobe is key. Surefire hit.

And those are my favorite new TV shows.

dirk-gently-episode-3-1

“Wow! He completely left off my favorite new show.” “I know. And he missed that other one.” “Right. It must be all that meditating.” “Probably wrecked his brain.”

I Tried These But Didn’t Like:

Lethal Weapon (too dumb)

Son of Zorn (too silly and dumb)

MacGuyver (too outrageously improbable)

Timeless (too timey whimey and not in a good way)

Conviction (too serious but still great casting) &

Designated Survivor (too cliché… horribly cliché, more great casting)

I didn’t stick around long enough to see if they ever got their shit together.

donald-glover

“Too busy hanging out in other realms, I guess. Huh?”

That’s it for TV

Loving The New Seasons of:

Crazy Ex-Girlfriend
Jane The Virgin
Luke Cage
Lucifer
Humans
Star Wars Rebels
Life in Pieces
Man in the High Castle
Sense 8
Mozart in the Jungle

dirk-gently-bart-curlish-fiona-dourif

“If he mentions that fucking monk one more time. I’m gonna shoot myself in the head thus killing everyone including him.” “That’s deep.” “NO. IT’S NOT.”

Not Liking The New Seasons of:

The Last Man on Earth (stopped being funny)
Legends of Tomorrow (bad writing bad acting still watching)
AHS My Roanoke Nightmare (couple of really cool things mostly crap)
The Walking Dead (enough with Negan already why doesn’t the show just marry him)

NOW I’m done with TV.

I’ve got a bunch of movie posts coming up so… I’ll be back… I promise.

Stay Tuned

– Mel

Netfilx’s Marvel’s Jessica Jones Trailer

Okay this new Jessica Jones Trailer looks good and dark and scary. I was already in love with Krysten Ritter from… everything she’s ever done. Plus Netflix has been on a roll of recent. So I’m really psyched.

David Tennant as a scary bad guy is all kinds of awesome. Though I hear there will be a bit more of a comedy element to it, it’s good to know that it’s going to be dark as well.

Really fucking dark.

And Krysten Ritter…

Jessica Jones on the Subway

I love you.

– Mel