Friday, January 04, 2013

Spring 2013 Cable TV Preview

You may be surprised to see me providing long-form TV previews in a month other than August or September, but I have two retorts for that.

1. I didn't write this. My friend and colleague Dean--@Hapless23 on Twitter--wrote it--as he has done in previous years. So, if you have beef--take it up with him. And
2. The TV landscape is different now that when I started writing Fall TV Preview posts back in 2004. Now instead of one big monolithic season, there are, as Dean recognizes here and as Entertainment Weekly also recognizes in its current issue, a second or even a third season after the big launch in September.

But enough from me. Go for it Dean.

Credit: Entertainment Weekly
Welcome to another round of TV previews, where I try to cajole you to watch my favorite shows (on cable; broadcast television is, as always, David’s domain), and wherein we hope that some new shows make good. (All times Eastern, because it’s God’s time.) Also I added quotes. Maybe they’re from the show. Maybe they’re vaguely related somehow. Maybe I don’t know enough about the show so I put in a line at random. So without further ado, here are shows you could watch for each day of the week:


Game of Thrones, HBO TBD

Winter is coming.

Did you enjoy Lord of the Rings? Well this is not that kind of fantasy. This is HBO fantasy. You know that character you like? He died while you were reading this. There was probably a naked woman there too. This show contains ADULT THEMES. Oh, and the books are great. You should totally read the books.

Sample plot summary: Jon finds himself in a perilous situation. Tyrion says something that gets him in trouble. Joffrey kills a baby.

Girls, HBO 9:00

I don’t want to freak you out, but I think I might be the voice of my generation.

This show got tons of critical praise, and then there was a great big backlash against it. I think a lot of the backlash was misplaced and unfair. This is a really good show that nicely subverted my expectations quite a few times. It won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but you should give it a whirl.

Sample plot summary: Hannah must find a job. Marnie is annoying again. Adam does something unexpected.

Venture Brothers, Cartoon Network TBD

Go Team Venture!

This show is nominally about the two teenage sons of a former boy adventurer, turned super scientist. What this show is really about is disappointment and failure. It’s also really, really funny.

Sample plot summary: Dean and Hank go on a double date. The Monarch must choose between killing Doctor Venture or saving his relationship with Doctor Girlfriend.


Adventure Time, Cartoon Network 7:30

Making pancakes, making bacon pancakes…

Set in the magical land of Ooo (which may or may not be Earth after a terrible event destroyed life as we know it), Finn, the only known human, and his magical dog Jake go on adventures and maybe learn something about what it means to grow up and also it’s hilarious.

Sample plot summary: Finn must retrieve a Frisbee from a tree. Jake makes pancakes.

Continuum, Syfy 8:00

"Not exactly," said the Medical Man. "There are balloons."

Do you like Syfy original series? Interested in time travel? If so you’ll probably be giving this a shot, right? Do you hate that Syfy spells its name like this now? I do too.

Sample plot summary: What do you want from me? I can’t travel through time to watch this show to give you a synopsis.

Being Human, Syfy 9:00

I quite fancy Hufflepuff, actually. I've always thought, in Hufflepuff they always spend the day making stuff with safety scissors and glitter. [I'll admit (to my chagrin) that I don't know where this quote is from. But it seems like I should know. I'm fairly certain that is isn't from Being Human, based on what you say below. --ed.]

A ghost, a vampire, and a werewolf all live together in a house. AKA: easiest show to green-light ever.

Sample plot summary: Ok, this was a bad idea to do this bit. I haven’t seen this show, so maybe the werewolf and the ghost date and then the vampire gets all sulky about it? That sounds like something that could happen.


Justified, FX 10:00

But you see, ten days ago you shot a man in Miami. Put it like this: you were in the first grade; bit a kid every week? They'd start to think of you as a biter.

This is by far the show I’m most excited to have back. The dialogue is witty. The characters are complex. The acting is fantastic. Give this show a try and then come back and thank me later. [I'll never watch and you can't make me . . . I guess? --ed.]

Sample plot summary: Raylan is under investigation for shooting a criminal. Boyd makes a conversion, but is it sincere? Art is grumpy.

Cougar Town, TBS 10:00

A blog is like a diary but you want everybody to read it, like if you get bad service at a restaurant you blog it and then you get a free meal at that restaurant but then you wonder did they just lure me back here so they could just spit in my food so then you blog that and then they take you to court.

Look, I know the name is bad. But you liked Scrubs right? This show is made by the same guy that made Scrubs. It’s just as funny, the cast has great chemistry, and you are really missing out if you’re not watching it (Which you probably aren’t, because it’s on TBS now because you weren’t watching it in the first place). Just give it a chance and you will not be disappointed, I promise you that. (Also I’m sad this bumps up against Justified, because this is my 2nd most anticipated return).

Sample plot summary: Jules and everyone else drinks wine. Travis doesn’t because he is too young.


The Americans, FX 10:00

But it was all right, everything was all right, the struggle was finished. He had won the victory over himself. He loved Big Brother.

Keri Russell and some guy I’ve never heard of are Russian spies living in America in the 1980s. Remember when that attractive redheaded woman was caught spying on the U.S. a few years ago? She was sending them back newspapers and other readily available information. Russian spy quality has really gone downhill these days.

Sample plot summary: Keri Russell gets a hold of classified information, but has second thoughts about sending it back. Her neighbor gets suspicions. (Again, this is a new show, so what do you expect from me?)


Archer, FX 10:00

That’s how you get ants.

Half the cast of Arrested Development is in this show and so is H. Jon Benjamin. Watch it. [You wouldn't believe me the amount of time that Dean devotes to praising H. Jon Benjamin at the work lunch table. Make the dude famous so Dean can relax already. --ed.]

Sample plot summary: Archer accidently ruins a big mission and Lana must find a way to fix it. Pam and Kruger get involved with Hobo fighting. [I think you mean bum fights, right?--ed.]

Legit, FX 10:30

Do you come from a land down under? Where women glow and men plunder? Can’t you hear, can’t you hear the thunder? You better run, you better take cover. [I would have gone with Safety Dance. But I'm older than you are. --ed.]

So FX is just transplanting Australian comics into America now. First that Australian who plays Wilfred with the rage issues, and now they’ve brought in this other bloke to try to take jobs that should go to God-fearing American comics.

Sample plot summary: Yes, plot summaries were a mistake. I see that now.


Portlandia, IFC 10:00

The dream of the 90s is alive in Portland.

A hit or miss sketch comedy about the city of Portland, Oregon, a magical land that the 90s never left. Even when the sketches miss (which is awesome) it’s a good hang out show. [I thought you could only watch this show if you were a hipster. --ed.]

Sample plot summary: A sketch is done about putting birds on things. The Mayor of Portland needs a favor.

Banshee, Cinemax 10:00

What we've got here is... failure to communicate. Some men you just can't reach. So you get what we had here last week, which is the way he wants it... well, he gets it. I don't like it any more than you men. 

This show is on a Friday and is on Cinemax. I just included it so now I don’t have to leave Friday blank. Sorry Cinemax, this is the amount of effort I put into your shows. I did hear Strike Back was good though.

Sample plot summary: Adult situations happen. Cinemax!


There’s never anything on Saturday. Hug your children, or if you don’t have children, live your life to the fullest in case you ever do have children and you can’t live life to the fullest anymore. [Whoa. Sounds like you might need to undergo some therapy about child-rearing. But . . . I'm not gonna judge because I've got more kids than you and I completely know where you're coming from. --ed.]


Arrested Development, Netflix


6 seasons and a movie!

Sample plot summary: Michael feels compelled to rescue his family from a problem. Tobias says something that could be misinterpreted. [And THAT'S why you always leave a note. --ed.]

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