As you by now well know, it’s the end of the month, and that means it’s time to see what’s on the ol’ tubestein for next month. And it’s jam-packed with mostly garbage, so we’re going to do this in two parts.
Banshee (Cinemax) Season 4 – One of my favorite guilty pleasures kicks off a fourth season after a long layoff and an epic cliffhanger. What utterly ridiculous and implausible scenarios fraught with danger and ultra-violence await Sheriff Hood and the gang this season? You may have to find a friend who actually gets Cinemax to find out. Stars Anthony Starr, Ivana Milicevic, Ulrich Thomsen, and Frankie Faison.
The Ranch (Netflix) New – Netflix is churning out an astonishing number of original programs these days, some good (Narcos), some awful (Real Rob, Fuller House). I have a strong feeling this one will join the latter category. Starring one of the worst casts I’ve ever seen in a paper-thin sitcom set-up about a city slicker who returns home to Colorado to run the family ranch. Ugh. Stars Ashton Kutcher, Sam Elliott (Wait, what? Why!?!?), and Danny Masterson. Double Ugh.
Wynonna Earp (Syfy) – I swear to god when I saw this title and the network, my first guess was “alternate universe where Wyatt Earp is a woman and instead of bandits and cowboys, she fights zombies.” I was way off. Turns out it’s about Wyatt Earp’s great granddaughter and she fights demons. Goddammit, Hollywood… Stars Melanie Scrofano and Tim Rozon.
Call the Midwife (PBS) Season 5 – I’m under 60 years old, so I’m legally not allowed to watch or talk about this show. Sorry about that. But if you’re over 60, from what I understand, you’re contractually obligated to love this drama about the lives of a group of midwives in the ‘50s and ‘60s. With Downton Abbey gone, this is the flagship PBS Brit import. Stars Vanessa Redgrave, Jenny Agutter, and Helen George.
The Odd Couple (CBS) Season 2 – I haven’t seen this medium-well-received CBS update of the classic Neil Simon play/movie/TV series, and honestly I probably never will. At this point if you read this column you know the odds of me flipping to a network sitcom are about as high as this show making it to a third season. It does have a pretty decent cast, though. I don’t know, how bored are you? Stars Matthew Perry and Thomas Lennon.
Catastrophe (Amazon) Season 2 – This streamer was one of the biggest surprises of last year, and Season 2 can’t come soon enough. Delaney and Horgan have chemistry coming out their ears in this show which takes an overly conventional plot and makes it work its a*s off. He’s an American, she’s Irish, and they got “in the family way” on a business trip to London. Hilarity and awkwardness ensue. Stars Rob Delaney and Sharon Horgan.
Outlander (Starz) Season 2 – There’s not enough money in the world to make me watch this show, certainly not what the paper pays. So I can’t tell you if this show is as awful or cringe-inducing as every trailer I’ve seen and every breathless plot update my 60-something office mate gives me on a weekly basis. What I can tell you is it’s back for Season 2 and if you’re a middle-aged white hetero female, my guess is your Sunday nights are booked for the next three months. Stars Caitriona Balfe, Sam Heughan, and Tobias Menzies.
Dice (Showtime) New – Yes, please. A thousand times yes. I’m one of those people who is un-ironically a huge Andrew Dice Clay fan. I love almost everything he’s ever touched. I know what you’re thinking: “What are you, some sort of maladjusted trog?” Yes. Yes I am. He may be the most disliked stand-up comedian who ever lived, like Dane Cook to the Carlos Mencia-th power. And I can’t wait for this brand-new show that features the Diceman (as himself, natch) in some semi-autobiographical adventures. Ohhhhh! Get my cigarettes! Stars Andrew Dice Clay.
Fear the Walking Dead (AMC) Season 2 – I didn’t even make it through the first episode of this show that apparently does have something for fans of the popular zombie mega-franchise. So I can’t tell you what’s in store for Season 2, or if you should care at all. I did sort of like the concept, the only problem is if you take the zombies out of a zombie show, all you’re really left with is a sadder, slower version of Two and a Half Men. Pass. Stars Cliff Curtis, Kim Dickens, and Ruben Blades.
The Girlfriend Experience (Starz) New – I wasn’t that high on Soderbergh’s 2009 film (of the same name) on which this show is based. It was about a certain brand of call girl that specializes in giving “the girlfriend experience,” which is generally considered to be the opposite of why you go to a pro. So I can’t pretend to be stoked to see it come to the small screen. But I will note that Starz is now producing several of the best shows on TV, so who knows? Maybe this will work. Stars Riley Keough and Paul Sparks.
House of Lies (Showtime) Season 5 – This “subversive” (eye-roll) sitcom features a team of management consultants who will do anything to get the job done. The cast is top-notch, and the show certainly isn’t terrible. That said, there are just way too many actually great shows on TV for anyone to waste their time with this forgettable one. It does feature Ben Schwartz, whom I love. But that is not enough. Stars Don Cheadle, Kristen Bell, Josh Lawson, and Ben Schwartz.
The Detour (TBS) New – TBS has legitimately never created a good or interesting piece of original programming. So I’m not holding my breath or anything. But this sitcom about a family coming apart at the seams on a road trip actually looks pretty good. Co-created by the very funny married couple of former Daily Show correspondents Samantha Bee and Jason Jones, and also starring Jones, it has a premise that is just tired enough to be awoken and just odd enough to not feel overdone. I’m intrigued. Stars Jason Jones and Natalie Zea.
Hunters (Syfy) New – Syfy is churning out original programming as if they really believe Netflix has a sustainable model. I think they’re wrong, but fortunately it does mean we’re going to get a shotgun blast of new science-fiction shows every six months until they go out of business and get bought by Lifetime. This time it’s about an elite FBI unit of counter-terrorist agents. The science-fiction part is that the terrorists they’re fighting may be aliens. This one should outlast Wynonna Earp… or maybe I give you all too much credit. Stars Nathan Philips and Britne Oldford.
Game of Silence (NBC) New – How desperate is NBC for a winner? And how out of ideas are they? This show is a remake of a Turkish show which itself was a remake of the Barry Levinson film Sleepers (1996), an adaptation of Lorenzo Carcaterra’s possibly apocryphal tale of church abuse. And bear in mind the movie wasn’t that great, despite possibly the greatest cast ever assembled in a single film (Robert De Niro, Dustin Hoffman, Kevin Bacon, Brad Pitt, Jason Patric, Billy Crudup, Minnie Driver, Vitorio Gassman, Ron Eldard, Brad Renfro and Bruno Kirby). This new-ish offering from NBC does have tons of pedigree in the cast and the writing team (including CSI, Parenthood, and Friday Night Lights alums). Stars Larenz Tate, David Lyons, and Michael Raymond-James.
The Mindy Project (Hulu) Season 4 – This show is one of those things in life like flossing; everyone tells me it’s really good and not that hard to get into. But every time I try I bleed from my gums. I still can’t believe Hulu rescued this snoozer which imagines a world where it’s really hard to be a young, attractive, super-rich, and successful doctor. Being not one of those, I always tend to imagine it’s easier than it looks. Still, Kaling is a really funny actress and writer, and there is a segment of the population that seems to like this show. Plus the cast is stellar. Stars Mindy Kaling, Ike Barinholtz, Chris Messina, Beth Grant, and Adam Pally.