Cinema Insomnia (Roku’s Zom-Bee TV) “Your host” Mr. Lobo has presented late-night horror-cheese showcase Cinema Insomnia for 13 years through a smattering of regional cable outlets and, probably, subliminal mind control. Last year, Zom-Bee TV (available through streaming service Roku) picked up Cinema Insomnia, exposing the campy creature-feature to a slightly wider audience that needs to know: “They’re not bad movies … just misunderstood.” The suave-ish Mr. Lobo tees up classics like The Horror of Party Beach and The Brain That Wouldn’t Die with the snarky intros and interstitials you’d expect, but what sets Cinema Insomnia apart is its mind-bending, cocktail-kitsch menagerie of vintage commercials and film trailers, as well as the occasional recipe (Santo vs. the Vampire Women’s detailed snack instructional for chips & salsa: a bag of chips, a bowl and a bottle of salsa). [Episodes also available at CinemaInsomnia.com]
Transparent (Amazon Prime) The 10-episode Transparent has been—rightfully so—talked-up as a vehicle for TV vet Jeffrey Tambor’s out-of-the-park performance as retired professor Mort, who’s finally let it be known to his family that he’s transgender and has always indentified as Maura (good call not going with Morticia). But Transparent’s killer ensemble (which includes Judith Light, Rob Huebel, Gaby Hoffman, Jay Duplass, Carrie Brownstein and many more familiar faces) is the show, like a less-whiney Parenthood shot through an LGBT prism. Gather the family ‘round after Thanksgiving dinner … well, maybe not all of them.
Hand of God (Amazon Prime) Only a single pilot episode (which was up-voted to a full series for 2015 by Amazon Prime viewers—welcome to the future) is available at the moment, but it’s a promising hour: Ron Perlman (late of Sons of Anarchy) stars as a hard-living, morally-grey judge who suffers a mental break and suddenly believes God (who talks to him through his comatose son) wants him to become a vigilante for a higher law. Along for the ride are Dana Delaney (as his skeptical wife) and Garret Dillahunt (as a sketchy, Jesus-y criminal the judge enlists to help dispense his “righteous” justice). And yet he’s still more sympathetic than Sons of Anarchy’s Clay Morrow.
The Wrong Mans (Hulu) Grammatically-off but otherwise very British, the six-episode The Wrong Mans follows a pair of everyday, none-too-bright city workers (Matthew Baynton and James Corden, both of Brit comedy Gavin & Stacey, the latter being next year’s Late Late Show replacement for Craig Ferguson) who inadvertently become embroiled in an intricate, dangerous conspiracy that escalates by the minute—it’s 24 and Homeland meets The Office and Parks & Recreation, with the dramatic and comedic sides played-up equally. Not to sound like That Guy, but Americans can rarely pull this mix off (though The Wrong Mans was partially inspired by the Coen Brothers’ Burn After Reading).
Bojack Horseman (Netflix) Lame sitcom The Millers was a complete waste of Will Arnett—thankfully, CBS has canceled it so he can concentrate on a second season of Bojack Horseman. The first dropped in August, 12 animated episodes about irrelevant TV star Bojack Horseman (a man-horse voiced by Arnett) who was never able to follow-up his craptastic (but still better than The Millers) hit ‘90s comedy, Horsin’ Around. Now, he spends his days and nights boozing, whoring, lapping up what little recognition he still receives and attempting to write a comeback biography, with little help from his freeloading mansion roommate Todd (Breaking Bad’s Aaron Paul). Like Californication remade for Adult Swim, Bojack Horseman is a sick-and-wrong slap at Hollywood, but with the random sweet, poignant aside … which inevitably turns sicker and wrong-er.
Longmire (Netflix) The first two seasons that originally aired on A&E (Assclowns & Evildoers) are available now; Season 3 will follow eventually; Netflix has rescued Longmire from A&E’s recent cancellation by agreeing to produce a fourth. So catch up, already.
Broad City: Season 1
The hilarious New York City misadventures of broke 20-somethings Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson, with assists from Amy Poehler, Hannibal Buress, Janeane Garofalo and more. Come for the female empowerment, stay for the pussy jokes. (Paramount)
Dawn of the Planet of the Apes
A decade after mankind’s collapse (as you may recall from Rise of the Planet of the Apes), apes and humans are on at war to determine who will rule the planet. To be continued in Breakfast of the Planet of the Apes. (Fox)
Friended to Death
After the worst day of his life, a depressed dude (Ryan Hansen) fakes his own death on Facebook to see if anybody will “like” it; a fake funeral and ham-handed commentary on social media ensue. (Gravitas Ventures)
A gambler who likes to live on the edge (CSI’s George Eads) makes his most dangerous bet ever, involving sex, mobsters, murder and a five-minute appearance by a morbidly-obese crime boss (Steven Seagal). (Lionsgate)
Jingle All the Way 2
Divorcee dad Larry (conveniently, Larry the Cable Guy) wants to get his 8-year-old daughter the hottest gift of the season—but her new stepdad is out to foil his plans! Will Larry … make it happen? Catchphrase psych! (Fox)
More New DVD/VOD Releases (Dec. 2)
The Congress, The Dark Place, The Hundred-Foot Journey, The Idiot, Justified: Season 5, Kite, Rhymes With Banana, The Simpsons: Season 17, Sliders: The Complete Series, Speak No Evil, The Strain: Season 1, Three’s Company: The Complete Series
Bill Frost writes about television for Salt Lake City Weekly, talks about it on the TV Tan Podcast (Tuesdays on iTunes and Stitcher), and tweets about it at @Bill_Frost.