Sunday, June 21, 2015

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Sorry . . . it gets better. (Again, sorry.)

You don't want to hear that.

I know.

But I fervently pray (and when I'm optimistic, I really do believe) that it is a true statement.

Growth and age and change is hard. But it can get better over time with (increased) maturity and (wider) perspective and  . . . patience.

Of course, none of that helps right now. And right now is the source of the pain and the confusion and the doubt. Right now is when things are bleak and hopeless. Right now demands to be handled.

And I feel powerless . . .

And it kills me . . .

And I am sorry.

But I believe. I truly see. I KNOW what is there.

Deep down--find that confidence within. Use it as a barrier against the shortcomings of life. I would stand in front of all of that . . . but that won't help.

Tuesday, June 02, 2015

Dean's Summer (Cable & Streaming) TV Preview

The host of this lovely blog has kindly agreed once again to broadcast my thoughts on the upcoming Cable TV schedule. There is a murderer’s row of returning shows (my top four shows of 2014 are all on the summer schedule) and quite a few new contenders that I’m sure won’t be disappointing in the slightest. So without further ado, here is what you can watch in the land of cable and Internet this summer season:

Halt and Catch Fire AMC (returned May 31st)
I watch this show because my wife loves Lee Pace. Do you love Lee Pace? If so you should watch this show. Did you like Mad Men? Then you should watch this show because Mad Men is over and you want a moody period piece about creative people. Were you kind of over Don Draper’s crap by the end of Mad Men? Then you will already be sick of Lee Pace’s crap on this show.

Well, I tried to watch HaCF last year, even though I've only been a fan of Lee Pace once (Pushing Daisies). But I do feel a sort of allegiance with his eyebrows, for reasons that should probably be self-evident. ANYWAY . . . I quickly quit watching in Season 1. But critics say that S2 is a reboot and much improved. Consider my DVR set . . . but I'm hovering over the delete button at the first sign of weakness. 

Sense8 Netflix (streamieres? June 5th)
Are you looking for the Wachowskis to disappoint you once again? Well look no further than Sense8. On the plus side it stars Naveen Andrews so you can also be disappointed in how Lost ended while watching this one (That finale was great, I don’t care what the haters say.)

You had me at LOST, Dean. No . . . wait. That's not the point. I am veeery leery of anything Wachowski-related after being burned in the past. So, let's talk about words. Since we are heavily featuring online content here, I pondered how to term the initial appearance of a show in online media. I initially took my cues from MSM terminology, such as "debut". But I couldn't find a suitable portmanteau looked good. Stream + debut was either streambut [definitely OUT] or debtream . . . or something. It was dumb. So then I happily settled on the melding of streaming and premiere for the fabulous construction of streamiere! I think I should get some sort of web-based Pulitzer for this.

What were we talking about?

Orange is the New Black Netflix (restreams? June 12th)
Are you not watching this show already? You should watch this show, especially because this season is without Jason Biggs, so it promises to be the best yet

Similarly, I combined returns with streams in the case of a returning show with multiple seasons to give the world the ever-useful term of restreams. Seriously, is anyone paying attention to what I'm coming up with here? This is GOLD!.

The Last Ship TNT (returns June 21st)
Do you have Firefly related actor withdrawal with Castle on hiatus? You can instead watch The Last Ship with Adam Baldwin. Everyone has died of a virus except the people on this, the last ship. (There’s also a ship full of Russians so the title is inaccurate, though maybe not as inaccurate as the title of The Last Man on Earth.)

Well, the less said about The Last Man on Earth, the better for me. I hated Phil (Tandy) Miller with a passion and dropped watching that show like a hot rock. Speaking of distasteful things . . . Adam Baldwin everybody. Tragically, he owns two of my favorite characters: Jayne from Firefly and Casey from Chuck. But he's a gross individual in real life. I can only assume that The Last Ship is actually about ethics in gaming journalism.

True Detective HBO (returns June 21st)
Will my wife extend our HBO subscription just to watch Taylor Kitsch? Can I tell the difference between Colin Ferrell and Colin Firth without the help of IMDB? Will Vince Vaughn successfully transition from slack comedies to tense melodrama? Will the presence of Rachel McAdams cause my wife to try and force me to watch the Notebook again? Only the true detective knows for sure.

Ballers HBO (premieres June 21st)
Do you like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson? Do you trust HBO to put out quality entertainment?

Hasn't Dwayne politely requested that everyone refrain from using his "The Rock" sobriquet? Shouldn't we honor his request? And is this a dig at HBO? Sure, The Leftovers didn't exactly win over critics, but did you watch that The Casual Vacancy miniseries?

Humans AMC (premieres June 28th)
Do you sometimes get William Hurt and John Hurt confused? Oh, good, me too. I was very excited that the War Doctor had his own show, but that’s the wrong Hurt. This show stars William Hurt and he either is a robot or has a robot.  He is not the War Doctor just to be clear.

I'm growing to dislike single-word shows. (And no, I don't want you exhaustively researching all the time that I have contradicted that statement.) Right now I'm thinking about Alphas and Heroes and  . . . are those the only two I'm thinking of? Well, you get the point.

Scream MTV (premieres June 30th)
Remember when Scream came out in theaters and you were 14 and your friends mom bought you a ticket to see it and then you were worried you’d be scared, but it was actually pretty funny and a fairly good movie? Well now it’s a TV show on MTV so everything that was good about the movie will be made into a cheap, pale imitation and your childhood dies a little more every day. Eat at Arby’s.

It is clear, now more than ever, that we are not the same age. Curse you for reminding me of that and requesting that I eat at Arby's--which was a thing I used to do when I was younger.

Key and Peele Comedy Central (returns July 8th)
Remember how Keegan Michael Key and Jordan Peele were on Fargo? That was an interesting casting choice right? They are both very funny and you won’t regret putting this in your vision holes, that’s for sure.

But now I can only think about how strong Fargo was and when it will come back with an entirely new cast about something else. Do you realize, by the way, that we can thank the abominable American Horror Story franchise for this hot trend of anthologizing TV with rotating casts. That original show--and its subsequent cousins--was a gross mess. But from those ashes came an interesting idea.

Why? With Hannibal Buress Comedy Central (premieres July 8th)
Remember when we didn’t have to feel sad when we thought about Bill Cosby? Well you can thank Hannibal Buress for that. So think about what he’s capable of doing to YOU if you don’t watch. You should probably watch just in case.

 I don't usually watch anything on Comedy Central--except an occasional Daily Show or something. So I probably won't be doing what you advise here. But I do still have many questions regarding the content, format, and goals of this show. (You're really NOT doing a good job of describing these shows, btw.) Is it a news show? An expose type show? Dateline for cable TV? TMZ for the semi-literate? 

Rectify Sundance (premieres July 9th)
Daniel Holden has pled guilty to a crime he may not have committed and is now is banished from Georgia. How will his family react to his exile? Will Daniel ever adjust to life off of death row? Tune in to see these questions answered at a glacial pace if they are ever actually answered at all.

Rectify sounds like Justified--which is a show you implored me to watch several times. Daniel is a name my hometown newspaper mistaken called me in a write up about my parent's 50th wedding anniversary. Holden is only important if you are referencing The Catcher in the Rye. Add all of those elements together and I don't see a strong formula for me wanting to watch this show--even though it is set in the state of my youth. And speaking of a crime drama moving at a glacial pace, did anyone watch Secrets & Lies? That show stunk, huh? I mean, I guess it continued to stink as I quit watching after . . . um . . . three episodes? Juliette Lewis' creppy/obsessed cop was the last straw for me.

The Spoils Before Dying IFC (premieres July 8th)
Did you read or watch Eric Jonrosh’s acclaimed series “The Spoils of Babylon”? Well this sequel will surely be full of the usual epic drama associated with the work of the great Mr. Jonrosh.

Absolutely no comment whatsoever.

Masters of Sex Showtime (returns July 12th)
Will William Masters ever publish his seminal study on human sexuality? According to the synopsis for this season he sure will! Will that study be overshadowed by the Kinsey study? According to history it sure will! Will he and Johnson ever have a normal relationship? No, no they will not.

huh huh . . . you said seminal . . .

The Jim Gaffigan Show TV Land  (returns July 15th)
Hot pockets? Hot pockets. I will watch anything Jim Gaffigan does. Plus you can watch the first episode online right now, at so you don’t have to commit to anything right away.

You know . . . I'm not getting enough credit for the work I'm doing here: formatting Dean's text, inserting line breaks, adding hyperlinks. Just so you can sit back and let his words soak right in, as easily as heating up a Hot Pocket.

Married FX (returns July 16th)
Does watching a comedy about an increasingly loveless marriage sound like your cup of tea? Paul Reiser was the best part of this show that otherwise completely underwhelmed me (even the great Judy Greer couldn’t elevate it). This sounds like damning with faint praise, but Reiser was great; he’s definitely still got it.

Being a long-standing fan of Mad About You (and owning two of his relationship books), I see where you're coming from wrt Paul Reiser. And yet . . . Diner was very hard to watch.

I do like Judy Greer, though. 

And, while I'm still here . . . I want to apologize for that seminal joke up there. That was juvenile.

SEX&DRUGS&ROCK&ROLL FX (premieres July 16th)
Do you like Dennis Leary? If you do you should watch this comedy created by and starring Dennis Leary. If you don’t like Dennis Leary well, you should probably pass.

I would watch this if it involved Chuck Klosterman.

Bojack Horseman Netflix (restreams July 17th)
Will Will Arnett ever have a successful show post-Arrested Development? Well lookie here: It’s a Will Arnett show that has been renewed and critically praised! Are you not entertained?

That double "will" at the start of your "review" bothered me. But then it made me think of this. So I left it alone. Also . . . Bojack Horseman is just too odd for my taste. But this is being offered up to the Internet at large, so who am I to say. Go nuts digital people. Just remember who sent you there.

Rick and Morty Adult Swim (returns July 26th)
This is the funniest cartoon on TV right now. If you’re not watching it, you hate good old fashioned anarchic fun.  You don’t hate that do you?

Finn and Jake have some things they would like to discuss with you, Dean. . . . 

Review Comedy Central (returns July 30th)
Last year Forrest reviewed almost every life experience that you could think of and it broke him. What more could he possibly be put through this year? I don’t know, but I’m excited to find out.

Wet Hot American Summer: First Day of Camp Netflix (streamieres July 31st)
Did you see the film Wet Hot American Summer? Did you think it was kind of oversold by your friends once you got around to watching it? Me too! It was pretty underwhelming right? Anyway, now it’s a TV show.

Is Bradley Cooper involved? If not, then I am uninterested.

You’re the Worst FXX (returns July ??)
Do you want to watch my number one show of 2014? If so find FXX on your cable guide (it’s the channel that is currently showing The Simpsons.) and watch it.

In one of the rare instances in which I have taken your TV advice, I have recorded season 1 reruns of this show. But I haven't watched them yet . . . so maybe I'm still not convinced?

Playing House USA (returns August 4th)
This was a charming low key comedy last season that I was sure had been cancelled. So I’m pretty excited it was renewed. Lennon Parham and Jessica St. Clair are both very funny and they bring in a lot of other great comedians as well, so try it out?

And that brings us to Fall, where a whole new batch of shows will be awaiting us and the cycle of TV is born anew.

Thanks, as always, Dean for your thoughts. I am sure at least some of these shows will be worth the time. If anyone out there gives some of these shows a try, drop a comment letting us know what you think!