Entertainmental_4_23_15by Ygal Kaufman

I watch a lot so you don’t have to—that’s really the situation in broad strokes. If you just adopt my taste in TV, this could be the beginning of a beautiful blah blah. There’s no awards ceremony or major event happening, but we are at that season transition point in the spring where a spate of good shows have finished their runs and a whole batch of strong spring and summer shows are just getting fired up. I would like to take this opportunity to give a few quick impressions of some of the TV crop. Thankfully, almost none of it is actually on a TV.

HBOwnership – The HBO slate that just started last week with Game of Thrones, Veep, and Silicon Valley all making their Sunday night returns is probably the best on TV all year. The trifecta shows off the range and stylistic versatility of the premium network and reminds us all who remains king of the hill in original programming. True Detective Season 2, coming this summer, will make it hard to justify paying for anything but HBO GO. Comcast is in trouble…

A New Challenger – Yahoo is making a legitimate go at original programming. After the unexpected quality and success of its The Bachelor parody, Burning Love, Yahoo went all in on making its own scripted TV for the Internet by picking up the cult favorite NBC-cancelled Community as well as creating its own half-hour sitcoms, Sin City Saints and Other Space. The early results have been favorable-ish. None of the three are transcendent, but Community is at least as good as it ever was, and Saints and Other Space both have their moments despite overall unevenness. Saints is particularly weak and obnoxious but still has some things to like. All of which is to say: Comcast is really in trouble.

Crackle? Is That a Thing? – The online streaming competitor of Hulu that almost nobody has ever heard of, Crackle is ramping up its offerings of original programming with a mix of TV and movies. Their most notable entries so far have been Chosen, a show with a few names that is about to start its fourth season despite nobody I know having ever heard of it, and the actually excellent Jerry Seinfeld vehicle (no pun intended) Comedians in Cars Getting Coffee. Next on the docket for them is a sequel to the David Spade semi-cult classic, Joe Dirt. OK, Comcast, maybe you’re safe on this one…

Wait, They Make Shows, Too?  Playstation’s first go at original programming has given us the FX-abandoned Powers, based on the comic book by fellow great Cleveland expat Brian Michael Bendis. The results have been mixed, with some aspects of the show succeeding greatly (Eddie Izzard, Noah Taylor, the production values) and others not so much (Sharlto Copley, the writing). But the brilliant source material shines through and bodes well for the fledgling console studio’s future programming hopes. Nevermind, Comcast is f*@#ed.

Netflix Strikes Again… and Again Speaking of nontraditional TV studios, Netflix’s most recent offerings, Bloodline and Daredevil, are both shining examples of why the networks are well on their way to extinction and Comcast will be following them soon after. Bloodline is particularly well-crafted, carried by the performances of its wonderful cast, including the great Sam Shepard and Ben Mendelsohn. Next up for the online giant, now valued at more than CBS, is the hotly anticipated Grace and Frankie, coming in May. The comedy from Marta Kauffman, creator of Friends, boasts an almost unbelievable cast featuring legends Lily Tomlin, Jane Fonda, Sam Waterston, and Martin Sheen. Plus they just announced a new 17-episode season of Arrested Development. So just go ahead and cancel everything else.