Sunday, September 26, 2021

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On The Tube

Summer rewind


“Another Period” (Comedy Central) After a meh first episode, Natasha Leggero and Riki Lindhome’s “Downton Abbey”/“Kardashians” parody became bolder and funnier (and dirtier) every week. It’s “Wet Hot 1902 Summer.”TrueTV AnotherPeriod

“Halt and Catch Fire” (AMC) Just ended and most likely canceled, ’80s tech drama “Halt and Catch Fire” really did catch fire in Season 2 by focusing on its women (Kerry Bishe and Mackenzie Davis, killing it). Maybe just skip the first season.

“UnReal” (Lifetime) And another female-led powerhouse: “UnReal”’s behind-the-sordid-scenes drama about a “Bachelor”-esque “reality” show was brutal, discomfiting and, for all we know, completely accurate. Shiri Appleby and Constance Zimmer FTW.

“Wayward Pines” (Fox) It was obvious that M. Night Shyamalan’s “Wayward Pines” meant “limited series” business when it killed off two big-name cast members (no spoilers!) early on. A taut, weird sci-fi conspiracy yarn.

“Maron” (IFC) No hype, just Marc Maron being “Maron” in “Curb Your Enthusiasm: The Next Generation.”

Prep Iowa

“Dark Matter” (Syfy) The setup of really, really, really ridiculously good-looking amnesiac fugitives in space didn’t seem sustainable, but “Dark Matter” rolled out the back-stories (and ass-kicking action) more intelligently than expected.

“Killjoys” (Syfy) Ditto on the looks and action here, though “Killjoys” was a bit more complex (read: confusing) and even more low-budget than “Dark Matter” (which seems impossible). Still, Hannah John-Kamen is the sci-fi heroine to top this summer.

“True Detective” (HBO) Quit your whining and just watch all eight episodes in a row.

“The Brink” (HBO) It was sold as a Jack Black comedy, but “The Brink” (a modern-day “Dr. Strangelove” via “Homeland”) belongs to Tim Robbins as the tenacious secretary of state, and Maribeth Monroe as his impossibly loyal assistant.

“Mr. Robot” (USA) Rami Malek’s mumbling, monologuing hoodie-rat hacker isn’t a logical TV hero — which makes “Mr. Robot”’s “Fight Club”-meets-“The Matrix”-meets-“Dilbert” existence encouraging (especially on a network like USA). Another binge-watch candidate.

“Humans” (AMC) The biggest surprise from this British import about synthetic “humans” living/serving amongst us? Joe (Tom Goodman-Hill) waited four whole episodes before bedding his nanny-bot (Gemma Chan). “Humans” was creepy, but with a heart — rare combo.

“Extant” (CBS) Halle Berry’s alien-takeover thriller is still insane — but at least it’s evolved into decent sci-fi, and new Season 2 co-star Jeffrey Dean Morgan handily replaced what’s-his-name. Bonus: David Morrissey acting even harder than he did on “The Walking Dead”!

“The Spoils Before Dying” (IFC) Eric Jonrosh’s (Will Ferrell) lost crime-noir masterpiece somehow made jazz tolerable. That’s an accomplishment.

“Rectify” (Sundance) So rich, so moving, so … slow. Ray McKinnon’s southern-gothic character study isn’t for everyone, but the performances (not limited to main stars Aden Young and Abigail Spencer) are undeniable. CV


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.

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