The USA network does not generally have especially high quality programming, my rabid "Suits" fandom notwithstanding, but it really amazed me just how absolutely terrible "Political Animals" is. I actually kind of feel bad for everyone involved, and a little relieved for them that it's a mini-series and they won't have do it for more than one season. Sigourney Weaver is so bad in this that I'm starting to question whether she was ever a good actress or if I just didn't notice how bad she is when she was in good movies or something.
TNT kinda picked the wrong month to debut a show about a brilliant but insane neuroscientist. At least this one solves crimes, though, I guess. It's a pretty goofy show but it's at least nice to see Rachel Leigh Cook again, she's still the bomb.
c) "Black Dynamite"
I feel like blaxploitation parody at this point must exist in far greater volumes than actual blaxploitation; the whole thing is just kind of spent as comedy fodder. This show at least takes it to such a ridiculous extreme that they can create a bunch of jokes about anything and not just the genre it takes place in, though.
d) "Sullivan and Son"
Never much liked Steve Byrne as a standup, he has his moments but comes off as a weirdly serious guy for a comic. His TBS sitcom is, well, a TBS sitcom, although the writing on this actually produced a few surprisingly funny lines despite the hoary concept and paper-thin characters. Nice to see the "Wonder Years" dad on TV again, though.
e) "Trust Us With Your Life"
I genuinely feel like it's a testament to how far we've come as a society since the Pee-Wee Herman days that Fred Willard has a primetime show on ABC right now and it hasn't been pulled from the schedule or anything. This is a weird fusion of "Whose Line Is It Anyway?" and "This Is Your Life" where Willard sits with a celebrity going through their life story and a team of "Whose Line" improv guys like Wayne Brady and Colin Mochrie act out their stories as comedy sketches. It's a pretty tortured concept but it works about as well as the traditional form of "Whose Line," which is to say hit and miss but sometimes really funny.
f) "Empire Girls: Julissa and Adrienne"
Years of watching way too much BET left me with a great amount of affection for the cute latina from 3LW and the cute latina from 106 & Park, both of whom are apparently friends, have a reality show together on the Style network, and both now have gigantic breast implants. This is a pretty great show.
Fuse is a frustrating channel for me to watch because they do a lot of the music-centered programming I wish MTV and VH1 did more of, but they so rarely do it well. This is kind of like a "Behind The Music" career overview show that's actually about the music, but it's really just a half hour of talking heads saying uninspired and often inaccurate things about the artist. Plus it revolves around the premise of one song that 'pops' in an artists career, so the whole Lil Wayne episode builds up to "Lollipop," for Rihanna it's "Umbrella," etc.
h) "Opening Act"
Kind of a nice twist on the musical reality show since every episode follows a different aspiring musician and surprises them with a chance to open for a big act and walks them through it. Pretty low stakes and hokey, but I enjoyed it. The girl who opened for Rod Stewart in the first episode, Arielle, was just adorable, I hope she becomes a big star.
It's funny how much I enjoy this show, since it usually annoys me when "American Idol" or "The Voice" turns a song not written as a duet into a duet for the sake of a performance, since that's pretty much the whole premise of the show. This is pretty fun to watch, though, especially when it's Kelly Clarkson on one end of the duet, and all the mentors are pretty talented people who tend to come up with genuinely insightful feedback for the singers. John Legend is just hilariously mean and hard to impress, though, he'd make a great music critic.
j) "Bristol Palin: Life's A Tripp"
It's really, really funny to watch this show as if it's "Keeping Up With The Kardashians" and Sarah Palin is Kris Jenner. The show tries to make you feel sorry for Bristol for all the shit people give her, but then in the first episode when someone heckles her in a bar and insults her mom, her response to the guy is "is it because you're a homosexual?"
k) "The L.A. Complex"
A Canadian show now airing on the CW that's basically just a soap opera about pretty young people trying to make it in show business. But it's actually kind of charming just beyond its population of pretty young people, just because the whole thing is so pessimistic about showbiz and puts these idealistic kids through so much crap. Also Paul F. Tompkins has a pretty entertaining recurring role playing himself as a total asshole.
l) "Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta"
For some reason the confluence of VH1 reality shows, rappers and the skanks who love them had not previously caught my attention, but then my friend told me that Benzino is on this show and it's pretty hilarious to watch him on a show like this.
m) "Single Ladies"
Basically VH1's scripted equivalent of "Love & Hip Hop: Atlanta," with only mildly better writing and acting. Marveling at how good Stacey Dash looked for her age was the main thing I got out of watching this terrible, terrible show last year, but I tried to give the new season a shot even after she got fired. Pretty boring.
n) "Adam Richman's Best Sandwich In America"
I really need to stop torturing myself with this guy's shows, every time I see this or "Man Vs. Food" I just want to go on a tour of America's diners and sandwich joints. They did a crabcake sandwich in one episode from a place in Baltimore I've never been to, need to check that out at least.
This show has settled into a comfortable groove, but for something with such an outlandish premise I feel like they should just go for broke, holding back or settling for that comfort zone has kind of a gradual deflating effect even when it's probably just as good as it was in the beginning.
p) "Web Therapy"
I'm not a huge fan of this show, a lot of the jokes are kind of cheap laughs and the whole thing feels very driven by celebrity guest stars. And yet, I've developed an appreciation for how they manage to actually move along the plot of a surprisingly continuity-heavy show with nothing but one-on-one dialogue scenes that kind of obliquely react to all the action taking place offscreen, it's pretty unique and inventive in that regard.
My wife is still really into this show and I kinda don't get it.
The FUNNIEST MAN IN THE WORLD PULITZER PRIZE WORTHY hooplah around Louis C.K. and this show have reached a fever pitch but I've decided to just try and loosen up and enjoy what I can of the show from week to week like I started to by the end of the second season. By its nature it's an inconsistent show but I appreciate the unpredictability of it. The Melissa Leo episode and the Miami episode in particular were pretty memorable, although it's still often more interesting than it is funny.
I feel like even by Adult Swim standards this show has really doubled down on some creative absurdity this year, the twists and turns they take from point A to point B in one 12-minute episode would be iimpressive for a half hour show.
This show has been on a good run lately, the dead co-worker episode was especially great. Every time I think they're drifting into territory a little too broad or obvious they come with something left field and often kind of disgusting.
u) "Franklin & Bash"
I haven't watched the current season much since it's on at the same time as "Workaholics," but that's ok since the "Workaholics" line about "Franklin & Bash" probably made me laugh more than "F&B" ever has.
I have no idea how The Emmys can justify nominating this show for best miniseries for its SECOND SEASON but really the main thing is this show just isn't that good. I love Idris Elba and all but the show is just kind of cartoony and ludicrous as a crime drama.
w) "The Looney Tunes Show"
I was recently introducing my son to classic Warner Brothers cartoons (he goes "bunny!" when Bugs is on), when the Cartoon Network pulled a bait-and-switch and threw this new show on after a block of classic 'toons. Generally speaking, new school kids shows that are weird slick modern reboots of classic characters are really awful and distasteful to me, but there is something oddly compelling about the fact that they basically put Bugs Bunny and Daffy Duck into "Seinfeld"-like sitcom. Still pretty offensive and unnecessary, but as far as sitcoms go it actually wasn't bad.