Tuesday, January 07, 2014

Dean’s 2014 Cable Preview Extravaganza

Credit: camgnc.com
[Editor's note: Dean volunteered to write a bit about the new slate of cable TV shows cranking back up again this winter season. So I agreed, of course, because I love TV and I love guest bloggers.]

Welcome to my semiannual (occasionally triannual!) cable preview: Winter/Spring edition. It’s cold outside so stay in and watch some cable, there’s something on all the time, so you don’t need to leave your couch. As always, this list of shows is not comprehensive (sorry SyFy, fix the letters in your name and maybe I’ll be back).


True Detective (9:00 HBO) Premieres Jan 12 This season is Matthew McConaughey and Woody Harrelson looking for a serial killer in Louisiana. Evidently it’s going the American Horror Story route and featuring a different cast and story every season.  I hope more networks add anthology style series to their lineups. It lets writers tell self-contained stories without worrying about leaving room for next year’s plot, and provides closure in case the series fails to find an audience (RIP Terriers).  Why didn’t you watch Terriers? Terriers was great. I hate you all.
The Walking Dead (9:00 AMC) Returns Feb 9 Oh look, it’s the most popular show on cable! I don’t watch this show, so I can’t give you any insight about it. I think the Governor died? I’m not sure who the Governor is, but I think he was bad. Are they still at a prison? Terriers had a character who was going to prison. No zombies though. If it had zombies would you have watched it? Can we go back in time and add zombie to Terriers? No. The series was perfect as is. Shawn Ryan is a genius. You don’t deserve Shawn Ryan.

Girls (10:00 HBO) Returns Jan 12 It’s the most talked about show nobody watches! Seriously, the audience for this show is miniscule, but HBO doesn’t care. None of the characters are likable except Ray and Shoshanna (Get back together Ray and Soshanna!) Fortunately none of the characters are supposed to be likable. Unlike in Terriers. So schlubby and wonderful. [Ed. note: umm, Dean? Is the heat working at your house? Are you okay? I'm beginning to worry about you and this fixation on this show.] 


I’m throwing in a plug for Sleepy Hollow even though it’s David’s turf, because oh man is it some fun. The chemistry between the leads is astounding and the plots are outrageous fun. Watch it! (9:00 FOX)

Adventure Time (Cartoon Network 7:30) Returns January 13th A cartoon about growing up and also adventures. It’s a funny, surprisingly emotional show. Some episodes involve dealing with a loved one with dementia, while others are just about slaying ridiculous monsters for fun. You never know what you’re going to get with this show, and that’s amazing. [Normally, I disagree with . . . maybe 40 percent of what Dean says about TV. And Adventure Time was no different . . . until I started watching it. I don't know much at all about Terriers, but I can definitely agree that Adventure Time is equal parts amazing and bizarre.]

Regular Show (Cartoon Network) Returns January 13th A cartoon about a slacker raccoon and blue jay working at a park. Unlike Adventure Time it’s pretty clear what you’re going to get with this show: Mordecai and Rigby are going to screw something up, a supernatural antagonist will be released, Mordecai and Rigby defeat the antagonist, and then they must clean up the mess. It’s like Mozart’s Variations on “Ah vous dirai-je, Maman” or Monet’s Haystacks. [Hey look, man. Don't try to impress us with high-falutin' references to hoity-toity stuff. Especially not in conjunction with this weirdo show.]

Archer  (10:00 FX) Returns Jan 13 H. Jon Benjamin, Judy Greer, Amber Nash, Chris Parnell, Aisha Tyler, Jessica Walter, George Coe, and Adam Reed. I shouldn’t even need to provide a synopsis and I won’t. I’m still mad at you about the Terriers thing. [Seriously . . . ?]

Chozen (10:30 FX) Premieres Jan 13 Chozen is a white gay rapper who is the greatest rapper in the world. I’m not sure about this, but it comes on after Archer and it’s animated by the same company that animates Archer, so I’ll give it a chance. Hopefully Chozen will be the greatest fake musician since Dethklok.

Rick and Morty (10:30 Adult Swim) Returns Jan 6 This show is essentially Back to the Future if Doc was a drunk and also a lot crazier and was also Marty's uncle. If you like Community Dan Harmon is one of the minds behind it. The other creator is Justin Roiland who has done all sorts of stuff I love: (Specifically providing the voice of the Earl of Lemongrab and portraying Christopher Cross on Yacht Rock.) As with all Adult Swim shows: Caveat Emptor.


Justified: (10:00 FX) Returns Jan 7 There are “better” shows out there, but I look forward to no show more every year than Justified. The dialogue is laconic yet sharp, the rhythms are measured and deliberate but never dull and occasionally (well, more than occasionally…often) explosive. Raylan Givens shoots a lot (seriously, a lot) of people.

Cougar Town (10:00 TBS) Returns Jan 7 Did you like Scrubs before it lost the thread in the later seasons? Then you’ll like this which has nothing to do with cougars whatsoever.

Kroll Show (10:30 Comedy Central) Returns Jan 14
Tosh.o (10:00 Comedy Central) Returns February 18
Inside Amy Schumer (10:30 Comedy Central) Returns April 1

[So, it seems that Tuesday is not a big TV night for you, huh?]


Burning Love: (10:30 E!) Returned Jan 1 This show should not be on E!, but at least it was placed after The Soup, which is literally the only thing on E! that this show could follow. It follows a Bachelor (or Bachelorette) looking for marriage. The contestants are a veritable who’s who of young comedians and comediennes and is hilarious to boot.

Broad City (10:30 Comedy Central) Premieres Jan 22 The only thing I know about this show is that is made by Upright Citizens Brigade alums, which enough for me to promote it.

The Americans (10:00 FX) Returns Feb 26 TUSK! [Why must I wait so long?]


Spoils of Babylon: (10:00 IFC) Premieres Jan 9 It looks like Dallas but as farce. IFC somehow got all of the actors to show up for this one: Tobey Maguire (look David, it’s your precious Tobey Maguire!), Tim Robbins, Kristen Wiig, Val Kilmer, Jessica Alba, Michael Sheen (Man, Michael Sheen is great), Haley Joel Osment, Will Ferrell,  and Carey Mulligan (but just her voice, which is an unacceptable use of Ms. Mulligan. That’s like doing a live action film with Scarlett Johansen in a voice-only role. I’m looking at you Her.)

Under the Gunn: (9:00 Lifetime) Premieres Jan 16 Tim Gunn=I will probably watch. So much charisma. [Is he, perhaps trapping people under a dome?]

King of the Nerds (10:00 TBS) Returns Jan 23 I watched last season and I can’t quite figure out what side of the celebration/mockery line this show falls under. It’s got Booger from Revenge of the Nerds on it, so I’m inclined to let it slide (IMDB tells me he was on Eek! the Cat, so I am now pro King of the Nerds). [I am offended by this show and won't watch it.]


House of Cards (12:00 Netflix) Returns Feb 14 I did not get into this Netflix Original series, but for those of you who did, have fun marathoning this Valentine’s Day weekend and then sadly waiting an entire year for new episodes. Come back Orange it the New Black, come back! I’m sorry I watched all of you in one day, I’ll do better next time! (I won’t do better next time.) [Nice work applying a completely meaningless broadcast time to this show, Dean. I'll invite you back next year just for that alone.]


Space Dandy (11:30 Adult Swim) Premiered Feb 4 I will just quote from AV Commenter rubi-kun here “It's a new sci-fi comedy series from the director of Cowboy Bebop that seemingly has everyone in Japan working on it (Masaaki Yuasa, Sayo Yamamoto, KATSUHIRO…OTOMO, etc.), the producers have compared it to Futurama, and it's airing on American TV BEFORE it airs in Japan! There is not reason not to watch this weekend!” Having now watched an episode I can say that I would say it’s more of an anime Sealab2020 in space, which is not necessarily a bad thing. Also I found it somewhat misogynistic. Your mileage may vary.
Black Sails (9:00 Starz) I assume this is about pirates. Pirates are awesome. [I saw a trailer for this in the movie theater the other night. It doesn't look as awesome as you think. More like a hybrid of Xena: Warrior Princess and TNT's The Librarian franchise. And also, ninjas are better than pirates. If you had been old enough in the '80s, you'd know this.]

Orphan Black (9:00 BBC America) Returns April 19 Critics love Orphan Black. I love Tatiana Malany. I couldn’t get past the first episode because her character had a chav accent I couldn’t get around.  I should try again, since she plays about 100 other characters and I’m sure I’ll like most of them.


Winter Olympics: The best Olympics. Cable gets the niche stuff like curling. The niche stuff is better.


Legit (FXX) Returns in February: Jim Jeffries is a huge jerk trying to be less of a jerk. He is Australian so get your fill of Australian comedians here.

Ali G: Rezurection (FXX) Premieres/Returns in February Remember Ali G? I like Ali G best out of all of Sacha Baron Cohen’s personalities so I approve of updating the Ali G Show.

Gravity Falls (Disney) Returns whenever Disney feels like bringing it back: Disney aired this show at random intervals on Friday nights, a plan that seemed to work for the show somehow. So maybe turn on Disney randomly on Friday nights and this might be a new episode.

And there you have it: every show that is coming back or premiering except Terriers, because Terriers is never coming back, because you killed it. Don’t kill any of these new shows. I’m trusting you.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Argh, I forgot to finish filling out the Tuesday column and I had things to say for all three shows! 1) Tosh.o is terrible 2) Amy Schumer is filthy 3) The Kroll Show parodies a subject matter I have no love for (Bravoesque reality shows)and I think for parody to work both the creator and viewer must have at least some respect for the source material. Since I don't, this show doesn't work for me. Also: I'm old enough to have watched the classic ninja films 3 Ninjas, Beverly Hills Ninja, and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles. Also also Snake Eyes was my favorite G.I. Joe. Pirates are still better.