tv diary '19- winter and spring

by klday | created - 03 Jan 2019 | updated - 5 months ago | Public

what's all on the teevee an' whatnot

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1. The Orville (2017– )

TV-14 | 44 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

An exploratory ship from Earth faces intergalactic challenges 400 years in the future.

Stars: Seth MacFarlane, Adrianne Palicki, Penny Johnson Jerald, Scott Grimes

Votes: 53,111

We will continue with season 2. The premiere has exactly one gut-busting hilarious joke, but smartly weaves it into the plot of the episode; that's about par for the course-- no, more accurate to say that that's about as good as it gets for this show. The Orville really needs its sense of humor; without that, it's just a pale imitation of Star Trek. The Trek franchise, love it or hate it, comes with a wealth of worldbuilding and lore that the Orville nakedly aspires to, but is hard pressed to match. Meanwhile it can only gesture toward the imagination and cerebrality of the best of Star Trek.

2. Mystery Science Theater 3000: The Return (2017– )

TV-14 | 90 min | Comedy, Drama, Horror

Set in the not-too-distant future, a Gizmonic Institute employee is lured to the dark side of the moon by third-generation mad scientist Kinga Forrester and her flunky, Max. He is sat in ... See full summary »

Stars: Felicia Day, Patton Oswalt, Jonah Ray, Baron Vaughn

Votes: 2,943

I have survived... The Gauntlet. Hoping to see Jonah and the bots again soon. In the mean time, there's always MST3K Classic.

3. Unedited Footage of a Bear (2014 TV Short)

TV-14 | 10 min | Short, Horror, Thriller

An unedited shot of a bear (albeit with commercial interruption).

Directors: Ben O'Brien, Alan Resnick | Stars: Kerry Donelli, Jacqueline Donelli, Jackson Manning, Jamie Norcross

Votes: 991

A nature documentary interrupted by an extended commercial for a new product that can help you get back to being a mom... if you can avoid spiraling into madness.

4. Black Dynamite (2011–2015)

TV-MA | 22 min | Animation, Action, Adventure

The Black Dynamite animated series further chronicles the exploits of the central character, Black Dynamite and his crew. Action comedy-spoof that follows ex-C.I.A. Agent and full-time ... See full summary »

Stars: Michael Jai White, Byron Minns, Kym Whitley, Tommy Davidson

Votes: 3,681

Not loving it.There is too much of that Family Guy-style comedy of reference here; you got your episode riffing off "Diff'rent Strokes", you got Black Dynamite and the gang fighting Fred Rogers, Elvis and the Muppets. Occasionally it hits you out of nowhere with a great gag; my favorite is Joe Jackson confiding that Michael was fathered by an alien, which finally provided him with talented offspring AND saved him two minutes of hard work. There is too a lot of gratuitous content, homophobia, racist banter and caricatures of all stripes.

I guess I don't remember the movie a whole lot all these years later, but Black Dynamite wasn't a pimp in the movie, was he? It makes the character a bit harder to take. (also, somehow Bullhorn and Cream Corn are still alive) The show does smartly undercut his machismo from time to time, but as a paragon of black masculinity he remains a fairly static character.

5. The Shivering Truth (2018– )

TV-MA | 11 min | Animation, Fantasy, Horror

The Shivering Truth is a miniature propulsive omnibus clusterbomb of painfully riotous daymares all dripping with the orange goo of dream logic. A series of loosely linked emotional ... See full summary »

Stars: Vernon Chatman, Janeane Garofalo, Zadie, Trey Parker

Votes: 707

The latest unsettingly oddity from the madmen who brought us Wonder Showzen (yay!) and Xavier: Renegade Angel (can I go now?).

6. Trust (2018– )

TV-MA | 60 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

Rome, 1973. John Paul Getty III, the heir and younger member of an oil tycoons' saga, is kidnapped by the Italian mafia in order to get a ransom.

Stars: Harris Dickinson, Donald Sutherland, Hilary Swank, Luca Marinelli

Votes: 5,307

slowly going through this. It's pretty good, though. This is far better than the Ridley Scott joint that came out just before the show. Sure, in 10 episodes they have more space to develop the cast and setting, but "Trust" makes a stronger impression in less time than "All the Money in the World". Look at the character of Fletcher Chase, the Getty family fixer. In the movie he's the lead, essentially, a stock Mahky Mahk action hero who in the climax, essentially shames his employer to death, or something. It's a boring nothing character that does little but take screentime away from Michelle Williams. In 'Trust' Chase is a wily operator who invites his foes to underestimate him with his cowboy get-up and brash manners. After the Getty boy disappears he flies into Rome in a bolo tie and ten gallon hat and he hangs an American flag off the balcony of his fancy hotel room. He is our occasional fourth-wall-breaking narrator as well, providing bits of expositional and geopolitical context in little asides to the audience. I never though I would be so happy to see Brendan Fraser on the screen.

7. The Good Place (2016– )

TV-PG | 22 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

Four people and their otherworldly frienemy struggle in the afterlife to define what it means to be good.

Stars: Kristen Bell, William Jackson Harper, Jameela Jamil, D'Arcy Carden

Votes: 80,224

Season 3 sort of starts shakily as it struggles to bring the gang back together, but that's the risk you take with this sort of gung ho plotting, and it recovers very well. Consistently hilarious and affecting.

8. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend (2015–2019)

TV-14 | 42 min | Comedy, Musical

A young woman abandons a choice job at a law firm and her life in New York in an attempt to find happiness in the unlikely locale of West Covina, California.

Stars: Rachel Bloom, Donna Lynne Champlin, Vincent Rodriguez III, Pete Gardner

Votes: 14,923

9. Friday Night Lights (2006–2011)

TV-14 | 44 min | Drama, Sport

A drama that follows the lives of the Dillon Panthers, one of the nation's best high school football teams, and their head coach Eric Taylor.

Stars: Kyle Chandler, Connie Britton, Zach Gilford, Aimee Teegarden

Votes: 52,727

season 1 on demand. really great show, great ensemble cast. I love these characters (even the Garritys).

Rough start to season 2.

10. Corporate (2018– )

TV-14 | 30 min | Comedy

A dark, edgy look at life as a Junior-Executive-in-Training at your average, soulless multi-national corporation.

Stars: Anne Dudek, Matt Ingebretson, Jake Weisman, Adam Lustick

Votes: 1,985

Watching season 1, and shall continue into season 2. A comedy for our dystopian times. Frequently hilarious, but very frank about the toll this insane world takes on our minds and bodies.

11. Deadly Class (2018–2019)

TV-MA | 60 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

A coming-of-age story set against the backdrop of late 1980s counterculture, which follows a disillusioned teen recruited into a storied high school for assassins.

Stars: Benedict Wong, Benjamin Wadsworth, Lana Condor, María Gabriela de Faría

Votes: 9,040

It's a fun show. sort of a punk rock Harry Potter, set at a secret boarding school for assassins.

12. The Walking Dead (2010– )

TV-MA | 44 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller

Sheriff Deputy Rick Grimes wakes up from a coma to learn the world is in ruins, and must lead a group of survivors to stay alive.

Stars: Andrew Lincoln, Norman Reedus, Melissa McBride, Danai Gurira

Votes: 813,367

I'm sticking with it. Walking Dead is now on its fourth showrunner, the talented Angela Kang, and with all the years of baggage the show has accumulated, not to mention a number of cast departures, she certainly has her work cut out for her. The result feels like a whole new show, and largely for the better, though the seams of patching it all together still show. The new castmembers are actually pretty great. I don't know if I ever especially liked a Dan Fogler character before. And the Whisperers are good villains. Hopefully Kang can make the old principals just as compelling.

13. The Passage (2019)

TV-14 | 60 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

When a botched U.S. government experiment turns a group of death row inmates into highly infectious vampires, an orphan girl might be the only person able to stop the ensuing crisis.

Stars: Mark-Paul Gosselaar, Saniyya Sidney, Jamie McShane, Caroline Chikezie

Votes: 9,286

Already Fox wants to bring back The Strain? If only this were as good as that (note: The Strain was not very good).

the s.o. likes it enough, so I guess this is my one allotted hate-watch of the season. But it elicts rolled eyes rather than laughs.

So, it's a vampire thing. Zack Morris IS Brad Wolgast, ex-soldier extraordinaire, who now works in the private sector by offering convicts on death row a stay of execution if they volunteer as test subjects for a drug that turns them into telepathic bloodsuckers. The show establishes him as the good guy by surrounding him with people who are even worse; you know he's the hero because he draws a line when his partner punches a little girl in the face. Also, it's a Lost-type thing, with each character taking turns with the formative flashbacks. Top notch, cutting-edge stuff, huh? Innovative storytelling at its finest.

14. Austin City Limits (1975– )

60 min | Documentary, Music

Established singer-songwriters and acclaimed newcomers perform country, blues, rock, folk, bluegrass, and related styles of music from Studio 6A of public television station KLRU (formerly KLRN) at the University of Texas at Austin.

Stars: Willie Nelson, Lyle Lovett, John Prine, Patty Griffin

Votes: 214

"Iggy Pop", "Cyndi Lauper". Strong performances. Iggy, electrifying as ever, plays the hits with Josh Homme and the Arctic Monkeys. Lauper offers a set of country music covers and countryfied versions of her signature songs. Excellent show from Robert Plant and the Spectacular Space Shifters, with new songs and fresh arrangements of some Led Zeppelin standards. Also watched shows' by Dan Auerbach, Shinyribs, the Pretenders. But the Tom Waits concert from 1979, that is just an incredible, once in a lifetime performance.

15. Brooklyn Nine-Nine (2013– )

TV-14 | 22 min | Comedy, Crime

Jake Peralta, an immature, but talented N.Y.P.D. detective in Brooklyn's 99th Precinct, comes into immediate conflict with his new commanding officer, the serious and stern Captain Ray Holt.

Stars: Andy Samberg, Stephanie Beatriz, Terry Crews, Melissa Fumero

Votes: 173,673

Back from the dead and better than ever.

16. Black Mirror: Bandersnatch (2018 TV Movie)

TV-MA | 90 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi

A young programmer starts to question reality when he adapts a mad writer's fantasy novel into a video game.

Director: David Slade | Stars: Fionn Whitehead, Craig Parkinson, Alice Lowe, Asim Chaudhry

Votes: 101,572

Like the best episodes of Black Mirror, this interactive movie from Booker and co. has a bunch of fascinating ideas. Perhaps too many ideas, even, which pull it in too many different directions. I plan on seeing it again, but I'm not sure that another viewing will make me more than lukewarm.

17. GLOW (2017– )

TV-MA | 35 min | Comedy, Drama, Sport

A look at the personal and professional lives of a group of women who perform for a wrestling organization in Los Angeles during the 1980s.

Stars: Alison Brie, Marc Maron, Betty Gilpin, Britt Baron

Votes: 35,724

18. Black Books (2000–2004)

TV-PG | 25 min | Comedy

Bernard Black runs a book shop, though his customer service skills leave something to be desired. He hires Manny as an employee. Fran runs the shop next door. Between the three of them many adventures ensue.

Stars: Dylan Moran, Bill Bailey, Tamsin Greig, Paul Beech

Votes: 51,075

finished season 3. goes off on a good note, with Manny meeting a nice girl who shares his hangdog charm and Bernard revealing a tragic past which is ultimately undercut in one of the show's very best jokes.

19. Spaced (1999–2001)

TV-14 | 25 min | Action, Comedy

Friends Tim and Daisy, 20-something North Londoners with uncertain futures, must pretend to be a couple to live in the only apartment they can afford.

Stars: Jessica Hynes, Simon Pegg, Julia Deakin, Nick Frost

Votes: 47,652

20. Blackadder II (1986)

TV-PG | 176 min | Comedy

In the Tudor court of Elizabeth I, Lord Edmund Blackadder strives to win Her Majesty's favour while attempting to avoid a grisly fate should he offend her.

Stars: Rowan Atkinson, Tony Robinson, Tim McInnerny, Miranda Richardson

Votes: 40,472

21. Mystery Science Theater 3000 (1988–1999)

TV-14 | 92 min | Comedy, Sci-Fi

In the not-too-distant future Joel Robinson is held captive by Dr. Forrester and TV's Frank, forced to watch B-Grade movies on the Satellite of Love with the help of his robot friends: Cambot, Gypsy, Tom Servo and Crow T. Robot.

Stars: Joel Hodgson, Michael J. Nelson, Trace Beaulieu, Kevin Murphy

Votes: 22,292

22. The Greatest Event in Television History (2012– )

TV-14 | 11 min | Comedy

Adam Scott is determined to make the greatest event in television history by remaking the opening sequences of TV shows.

Stars: Amanda Anka, Jeff Probst, Jon Schroeder, Adam Scott

Votes: 619

“Bosom Buddies”

23. The Simpsons (1989– )

TV-PG | 22 min | Animation, Comedy

The satiric adventures of a working-class family in the misfit city of Springfield.

Stars: Dan Castellaneta, Nancy Cartwright, Harry Shearer, Julie Kavner

Votes: 345,089

Rewatching classic episodes. “Bart Sells His Soul” is a new favorite. “How can someone with glasses that thick be so stupid?”

24. Nightflyers (2018)

TV-14 | 60 min | Horror, Sci-Fi

A crew of scientists embark on a mission aboard a ship called the Nightflyer to investigate a mysterious alien signal, but soon begin to question if there is already something on-board the Nightflyer with them.

Stars: Eoin Macken, David Ajala, Jodie Turner-Smith, Angus Sampson

Votes: 10,335

George RR Martin says that he wrote his story Nightflyers when he was told that scifi and horror weren't compatible, and he took that as a challenge. But he didn't challenge himself to combine the two in an ongoing tv series; that's harder to do. This is a show that is far too stingy with its mysteries. Time and again characters promise answers later for questions they could answer now. Fresh horrors arise, and whatever dilemma the characters were last puzzling over is forgotten as the crew deals with the new threat. So how did a space probe sent out into the void magically appear back on the ship? Nevermind. Why doesn't the captain ever come out of his room? Oh, I guess his agoraphobia is cured. What's up with the weird bee lady? Whoops, she's gone. What's causing these infectious spores? Ok, guess it didn't matter.

25. Korgoth of Barbaria (2006 TV Short)

TV-MA | 22 min | Animation, Short, Action

Unsold TV pilot and a dark, violent and gory sword and sorcery spoof set in a postapocalyptic new dark age about a Conan-like barbarian warrior hired to steal a golden goblin from a dangerous wizard who lives in a tower in the sky.

Directors: Aaron Springer, Genndy Tartakovsky | Stars: Diedrich Bader, Corey Burton, John DiMaggio, Tom Kenny

Votes: 2,873

Gleefully violent, over the top and vulgar pilot from Aaron Springer and Gennedy Tarkovsky, sadly rejected by Adult Swim.

26. Superjail! (2007–2014)

TV-MA | 10 min | Animation, Comedy, Crime

In a surreal world, a large maximum security prison, which houses thousands of dangerous inmates is run by an eccentric warden and his equally odd staff.

Stars: David Wain, Teddy Cohn, Christopher McCulloch, Christy Karacas

Votes: 5,963

Animator Christy Karacas is a wild talent. His cartoons seem to spring from the id of a 12-year-old boy, unceasing bloody mayhem that spirals off into increasingly bizarre and horrifying tangents. After he made the short film “Bar Fight”, where a ruckus at a watering hole takes on intergalactic proportions, he signed on at Adult Swim and created Superjail!, each episode of which culminates in an absurdly grisly prison riot. The warden of Superjail, terrifically brought to life by the voice of David Wain, takes his fashion cues and management style from Willy Wonka, and his flights of draconian whimsy regularly visit new horrors on his helpless prisoners. Superjail’s anxiety-stricken accountant Jared is oft tasked with figuring on the nuts and bolts of the Warden’s crazy schemes, then watches helplessly as it all goes awry. Burly chief guard Alice and murderous security droid Jailbot usually bring things brutally to heel. Formulaic stuff, sure, but Karacas’ scribblings really come alive in these scenes of ultra violence, vividly and fluidly rendering flayed corpses and spattering gore, mangled faces and deadly projectiles, all with an unsettling yet contagious glee.

Subsequent seasons lack the anarchic energy of season 1. Maybe its the switch from Augenblick Studios to the crisper animation of Titmouse; the change is subtle, but it looks more cartoony and a bit less like demented scribblings from a notebook now, and with that it loses a bit of its looney charm.

27. At Home with Amy Sedaris (2017– )

TV-14 | 24 min | Comedy

Amy Sedaris applies her distinctive, sincere brand of silliness to a mash-up of hospitality, variety, and talk-show formats, showcasing her diverse, necessary homemaking skills.

Stars: Amy Sedaris, Cole Escola, Ana Fabrega, Heather Lawless

Votes: 613

Finished season 1. Continuing to season 2.

28. WKRP in Cincinnati (1978–1982)

TV-PG | 30 min | Comedy

The misadventures of the staff of a struggling Top 40 rock radio station in Cincinnati, Ohio.

Stars: Gary Sandy, Gordon Jump, Loni Anderson, Howard Hesseman

Votes: 7,275

I think this show had really hooked me with "Les on a Ledge".

29. Ballmastrz 9009 (2018– )

TV-14 | 11 min | Animation, Action, Comedy

After a scandalous fall, one of the greatest players of "The Game", Gaz Digzy, must guide the worst team that ever participated to prove herself to the crazed ruler Crayzar.

Stars: Natasha Lyonne, Jessica DiCicco, Dana Snyder, Eric Bauza

Votes: 263

Such is my love for Superjail! that I’m giving Christy Karacas’s new show Ballmastrz 9009 a whirl. It’s a sci-fi anime spoof (one with a wealth of contempt for its target and audience) about a future dystopia obsessed with the titular death sport. The animation is somewhat slicker than the hand drawn look of Superjail!, but rarely reaches the same anarchic heights, and it fails to make much hay out of the rigid stylization of anime. I must confess that Superjail! was not especially witty, but the humor is a shade more sophomoric here, and that’s a shade too far. There’s more plot and dialogue than mayhem, and those aren’t Karacas’s strengths.

30. The Other Two (2019– )

30 min | Comedy

An aspiring actor and his sister Brooke, a former professional dancer, try to find their place in the world while wrestling with their feelings about their 13-year-old brother Chase's sudden rise to internet fame.

Stars: Heléne Yorke, Drew Tarver, Case Walker, Ken Marino

Votes: 1,512

Great new comedy. Heartily recommended

31. Eastbound & Down (2009–2013)

TV-MA | 28 min | Comedy, Drama, Sport

Many years after he turned his back on his hometown, a burned-out major league ballplayer returns to teach Physical Education at his old middle school.

Stars: Danny McBride, Steve Little, Katy Mixon, Elizabeth De Razzo

Votes: 48,907

32. Whiskey Cavalier (2019)

TV-14 | 60 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

An FBI agent and his new partner, a CIA operative, embark on missions to save the world, but have to put up with each other first.

Stars: Scott Foley, Lauren Cohan, Ana Ortiz, Tyler James Williams

Votes: 7,293

Pilot impressions: This was a hectic pilot, trying to cram in 90 minutes of story into 40. Too much exposition is delivered over the phone by an omniscient psychologist. Foley and Graham are good though. I don't think we'll be sticking with it.

33. Home Movies (1999–2004)

TV-PG | 30 min | Animation, Comedy, Drama

Brendon Small, an ambitious eight-year-old filmmaker, shoots movies in his basement with his two best friends, while coming to terms with adolescence, life, and relationships.

Stars: Brendon Small, H. Jon Benjamin, Melissa Bardin Galsky, Ron Lynch

Votes: 8,973

Rewatching. A great, underrated comedy. The "squigglevision" animation of the first season struck me as fairly primitive on prior viewings, but that's not a limitation, I think now. The flash animation of alter seasons is a bit cleaner and slicker, without the hand-drawn look of squigglevision, but no one's going to mistake it for Disney animation. It's the cast that really makes "Home Movies" shine. H. Jon Benjamin is a real treasure, not just as brash soccer coach McGurk but also as mumbly kid character-actor Jason and spazzy Walter (or is it Perry?). But there's a deep bench of talent here, bringing their characters to life with sharp yet naturalistic improvised dialog.

34. Joe Pera Talks with You (2018– )

TV-PG | Comedy

Joe, beloved choir teacher, discusses topics of interest. First up, iron!

Stars: Joe Pera, Jo Firestone, Conner O'Malley, Sophia Battinus

Votes: 726

Pretty basic adult swim stuff, less juvenile maybe but typically confounding. Joe Pera is midwest teacher with the mannerisms of a much older man. While recording a geology lecture in his living room he is interrupted by an obnoxious family of four at his doorstep. It seems that a realtor planted a for sale sign on his lawn by accident, and though Pera suspects that this is a prank being played on him by local teens he just doesn't have the nerve to send them away.

35. Full Frontal with Samantha Bee (2016– )

TV-MA | 21 min | Comedy, News, Talk-Show

Comedian Samantha Bee gives her own wry commentary to the contemporary issues of the day.

Stars: Samantha Bee, Allana Harkin, Ashley Nicole Black, Mike Rubens

Votes: 5,477

Watched an episode. It's a pretty good heir to the Daily Show's legacy, but I prefer John Oliver's program. I will, however, probably continue to watch neither on a regular basis as I am sick of helplessly watching the world burn.

36. Documentary Now! (2015– )

23 min | Comedy

Documentary Now parodies the current obsession with documentaries. Season one features six different stories and stylistic approaches paying tribute to the doc format.

Stars: Helen Mirren, Fred Armisen, Bill Hader, Deb Hiett

Votes: 4,687

37. Miracle Workers (2019– )

TV-14 | 30 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy

A comedy set in the offices of Heaven Inc. When God plans to destroy the Earth, two low-level angels must convince their boss to save humanity. They bet him they can pull off their most impossible miracle yet: help two humans fall in love.

Stars: Daniel Radcliffe, Geraldine Viswanathan, Karan Soni, Jon Bass

Votes: 5,267

very much in the vein of Simon Rich's FX series "Man Seeking Woman".

38. A.P. Bio (2018– )

TV-13 | 21 min | Comedy

A former philosophy professor who takes a job teaching AP biology, uses his students to get back at the people in his life who have wronged him.

Stars: Glenn Howerton, Nick Peine, Jacob Houston, Jean Villepique

Votes: 7,997

Season 2 already feels like a better show. It is more formally experimental, the ensemble is put to better use, and Jack, though still a thorny, spiteful guy, has thankfully grown out of his petty vendetta against Miles.

sadly cancelled.

39. I Am the Night (2019)

TV-MA | 60 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

In early 1960s, a teenage girl looking for her real father and a disgraced journalist seeking closure find themselves drawn into a web of secrets revolving around L.A.'s most infamous cold case, the Black Dahlia murder.

Stars: Chris Pine, India Eisley, Jefferson Mays, Leland Orser

Votes: 5,756


40. The Little Drummer Girl (2018)

55 min | Drama, Thriller

A Palestinian assassin is targeting prominent Israelis. An English actress is recruited by the Israelis to infiltrate the assassin's terrorist cell. This will require all of her acting talents and put her at considerable risk.

Stars: Daniel Litman, Florence Pugh, Michael Shannon, Alexander Skarsgård

Votes: 7,437


41. What We Do in the Shadows (2019– )

TV-MA | 30 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Horror

A look into the daily (or rather, nightly) lives of three vampires, who've lived together for over 100 years, on Staten Island.

Stars: Kayvan Novak, Matt Berry, Natasia Demetriou, Harvey Guillén

Votes: 16,950

Americanization of the terrific kiwi vampire mockumentary doesn't quite have enough of an idea of how to stand on its own. It does have a wonderful cast, including the incomparable Todd Barry and a star-making turn by Mark Proksh as terminally boring energy vampire Colin Robinson. I'm optimistic that in the next season it will have a chance to become its own thing.

42. Happy! (2017–2019)

TV-MA | 60 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

An injured hitman befriends his kidnapped daughter's imaginary friend - a perky blue flying unicorn.

Stars: Christopher Meloni, Ritchie Coster, Lili Mirojnick, Patton Oswalt

Votes: 28,703

I am enjoying season 2 more than the first. The show has fully moved past the comic and become its own demented thing. Christopher Meloni is a surprisingly gifted physical comedian, and he really sells the gory slapstick.

43. The Twilight Zone (2019– )

TV-MA | 60 min | Drama, Fantasy, Horror

An updated version of the classic anthology series featuring various tales of science fiction, mystery, and horror.

Stars: Jordan Peele, David Epstein, Paolo Maiolo, Shalyn Ferdinand

Votes: 9,001

CBS is streaming the first episode on this Jordan Peele-hosted reboot on youtube. Classic carrot-and-stick tactic: bait potential customers with a dynamite tale, and maybe they'll be suckered into shilling out money for yet another streaming service. Sorry, CBS: this carrot's a bit stale.

"The Comedian" strongly recalls an old episode of a Rod Serling horror anthology: "Night Gallery" episode "Make Me Laugh", directed by a young Steven Spielberg. Frankly, neither episode is very good, but in "Make Me Laugh" there was a good reason why the comedy routines weren't very funny: audiences weren't laughing at the comedian because he was funny, but because he made a wish to a genie that people would laugh at everything he said. In "The Comedian", a hapless standup meets a veteran comic who tells him that he can win the crowds over if he "gives away a part of himself"; thereafter, whenever he tells his clumsy jokes about someone or something in his life, people unaccountably laugh, and the object of his ridicule ceases to exist. If there is a germ of satire in this idea, you have to squint to see it.

Serling's "Twilight Zone" wasn't always great, and may at times seem a bit campy to the modern eye, but it is still a model of economic storytelling, delivering a concise story with a few twists in under 30 minutes. The new series runs a full hour and makes poor use of its padded running time. Here, we get to hear the same bad comedy routine three or more times, when anybody could tell you it was bad the first time. We get a lot of time watching the standup pick and choose who he should erase from existence: a school bully, a racist on the bus, a heckler, professional and romantic rivals. But no one other than Nanjiani gives much a of performance here, or is written with much life or consistency.

44. Abby's (2019)

30 min | Comedy

As the oddball cast of characters at Abby's will tell you, everyone needs a bar to call home.

Stars: Natalie Morales, Nelson Franklin, Jessica Chaffin, Leonard Ouzts

Votes: 1,143

funny as Natalie Morales and Neil Flynn are, not to mention executive producer Michael Schur, I am loath to sit and watch multi-camera sitcoms with laugh tracks. I find them pandering. I made an exception for the pilot, but though there were a few laughs it feels contrived and hammy. Maybe that's just the expected pilot errors. Pilots are often hammy, as they are overeager to please in hopes of getting audiences to notice. They are often contrived, as the people making the show have usually not yet found the grove, and are still trying to find out what works and what doesn't. But I can't see through to a time when this show could rectify these errors; they feel of a piece with the hammy, contrived sitcom template.

45. A Discovery of Witches (2018– )

Not Rated | 60 min | Drama, Fantasy, Romance