TV Diary

a) "I'm Dying Up Here"
It's pretty unfortunate that "'I'm Dying Up Here,' executive produced by Jim Carrey" promo is everywhere at the exact moment that Jim Carrey is going on trial for the death of his girlfriend. The show is promising, though, it looks and feels like a lot of other period piece shows and films about the '70s, but the L.A. comedy scene is a different enough setting that hasn't been done time and time again already. I feel like this is an especially good vehicle for Ari Graynor, but I wish Sarah Hay's role wasn't so small, considering that in her first acting role two years ago she carried the miniseries "Flesh & Bone" really impressively. The second episode wasn't as strong as the first, though, I hope they can keep up some momentum.

b) "The Jim Jeffries Show"
Now that weekly shows in the style of "The Daily Show" are a hot commodity, Comedy Central is trying to stuff one into their schedule. Jim Jeffries even got a dry run with a segment on "The Daily Show" itself. I've generally been kinda take it or leave it about Jeffries in the past and wasn't sure this format was a good fit for him, but he kinda made it his own in the first episode, I could see this working even if he's not hitting the ground running like people with experience in the format like John Oliver and Samantha Bee.

c) "Daytime Divas"
I like a good TV show about backstage politics in television production. But VH1's new show, loosely based on a Star Jones memoir and revolving around a "The View" type show called "The Lunch," feels a little forced in its wacky personality clashes and soapy plots, I don't know if they really have a handle on how to make a show like this funny, which shouldn't be that hard, honestly.

d) "Still Star-Crossed"
This show has the very rich premise of basically starting at the end of Romeo & Juliet and sticking around to see what happens between the Montagues and Capulets after they died. But I dunno, it feels like ABC and Shondaland just stuck the idea into the same meat grinder all their other shows come out of and made it as generic as possible.

e) "World Of Dance"
I'm not big on reality competitions, or dance, but I kind of like the format and the enthusiasm of this show, it feels like they're really out to celebrate the diversity of dancing throughout different cultures and find different kinds of people to showcase. Not something I'd watch regularly either way, though.

f) "Beat Shazam"
I feel like with all the stuff Jamie Foxx has going on, he should have something better to do with his time than host a game show. But he is a good host for a show about identifying songs, he's clearly having fun with it. I think I'm just too much of a music person to not be bored by it, though, I get almost every question right faster than the contestants do. I'd like to go on the show and win a lot of money, but I don't care much for watching it.

g) "Dark Angel"
I'm amused that this British miniseries that PBS featured on "Masterpiece Theater" has the same title as the cheesy James Cameron cyberpunk show on FOX that introduced Jessica Alba to the world. I like that it's about Britain's first female serial, though, she had dozens of suspected victims so I kinda feel like they missed a good opportunity for it to be an ongoing series.

h) "The Keepers"
I never finished "Making A Murderer" and have a pretty limited appetite for these 'true crime' documentary series that are getting to be a big deal now. But this one is a pretty intriguing story hat takes place in 1960s Baltimore. I love that after this nun and teacher was murdered, some of the girls she taught still get together over 40 years later to research and try to solve the mystery.

i) "Downward Dog"
I like to see networks try playful high concept sitcoms, but I was wary of this talking dog show, especially after ABC's other recent experiment, "Imaginary Mary," was a total misfire. But this show is really very sweet and clever and well done. Allison Tohlman was very charming on the first season of "Fargo" and Lucas Neff was very charming on "Raising Hope" (and now looks completely different in an entertaining woke hippie way), and this is not the project I would've chosen for them but it really works and they have good onscreen chemistry.

j) "Flaked"
Netflix has 3 different series that star Will Arnett, and that they've renewed all of them, which I've been fond of pointing out after Netflix cancelled more ambitious shows like "The Get Down." To be fair, people do like "Bojack Horseman" and "Arrested Development," but I've never heard of anyone defending "Flaked" and I hope I never do. The fact that it went from 8 episodes in the first season to 6 in the second season even feels like an admission that there's just not much of a show here.

k) "Angie Tribeca"
TBS airing 3 seasons of this show in the space of 18 months is a bit much, but it's fun, I'm glad to have it back again. I worried initially that it was a little too much of a Zucker Bros. homage, but it feels at this point like the show has its own joke pacing and its own reference points.

l) "Stitchers"
My favorite little summer sci-fi series on Freeform is back. But season 3 picked up on the kind of serious note that season 2 ended on, I kinda hope it gets back to a looser, more playful tone.

m) "Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt"
There's a "30 Rock"-sized hole in my life and having a new season of "Kimmy Schmidt" come right on the heels of "Great News" has really helped fill it. I thought I had started to get a little blase about this show in the second season, but I watched like half this season in one morning and laughed out loud so many times. I've especially enjoyed the Josh Charles arc.

n) "The Leftovers"
I liked "The Leftovers" a lot in the first season and just felt like they started doing way too much, in terms of introducing strange unexplained plot points, in the second season. The third season mostly ramped that up but I enjoyed a little more, perhaps because I knew this was the end and they couldn't lead me down too much of a blind alley this late in the game. And I kind of like how in the end it really centered on Kevin and Nora, it wasn't perfect but it was a better finale than I expected.

o) "People Just Do Nothing"
This British series just came to Netflix in the U.S., and it's some kind of Spinal Tap mockumentary about garage and drum'n'bass pirate radio DJs. And maybe I'm just a little too far removed from the culture being satirized to get all of the jokes, but the characters kind of just seem like the kind of boneheads that I assume those people are in real life so I dunno, it's just not that funny to me. You could tell me it's a straight up documentary and I might believe you.

p) "Silicon Valley"
I liked the episode where Dinesh became CEO and fucked everything up, I kinda wish they did more things like that to kind of mix up the dynamics of the group to comic effect, honestly they could've milked that scenario for a lot longer. I wouldn't say this show can't be good without TJ Miller but I definitely think they'll have their work cut out for them. In this age of Juicero and weekly Uber controversies, this show will probably never run out of things to satirize.

q) "Twin Peaks"
I'm the kind of person who thinks Eraserhead is David Lynch's crowning achievement and "Twin Peaks" was just an intermittently entertaining little experiment, and in general I cast a lot of suspicion towards all of these revivals of old cult TV shows. Still, we're talking about a major filmmaker, who hadn't made a feature film in over a decade and who I'd assumed may never make another film, coming back to direct 18 hours of television. And the memorably odd, imaginative things I've seen in the first 3 episodes are at least a lot more worth the effort than, say, that new season of "The X-Files," and I particularly liked the odd little chapter about the girl bringing the guy coffee in the first episode. But some of the visual effects kind of cross the line from inventive and handmade to just kind of cheap and shitty-looking, and I really just don't care enough about "Twin Peaks" mythology to try and figure out what the hell is going on.
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