Series Debut: The animated “Animals” comes from the Duplass brothers, the guys who brought you HBO’s “Togetherness” and many a far-less-watchable indie-flick, and this sharply-drawn cartoon hints that maybe the bros have been wasting their time on humans. “Animals” follows the daily lives of dogs, cats, rats, mice, horses, birds and bugs in New York City, arguably the worst residence on earth for wildlife. The tropes are NYC comedy-typical (relationships, racial tensions, jealousies, being swallowed by snakes, etc.), but “Animals”’ deep bench of voice talents and clever critter-specific writing makes even 30 seconds of a rat with a podcast (voiced by Marc Maron) more entertaining than the 79 minutes of the Duplass’ “The Overnight.” But, you probably won’t want to live with a pet ever again.
“Manson’s Lost Girls”
Saturday, Feb. 6 (Lifetime)
Movie: Everything’s coming up Manson! Not only will NBC’s “Aquarius,” wherein David Duchovny hunts 1960s cult-leader-in-the-making Charles Manson, return this year, now there’s a Lifetime movie about the original hipster. More accurately, as per the title, “Manson’s Lost Girls” is about Linda Kasabian (MacKenzie Mauzy), Susan Atkins (Eden Brolin) and Leslie Van Houten (Greer Grammer), teen girls lured into Manson’s SoCal Spahn Ranch commune by free love, drugs and, just where The Man said it would lead, the occasional murder spree. This movie’s Manson (Jeff Ward) is at least more menacing than “Aquarius”’ hippie bore, but the already-unnecessary “Manson’s Lost Girls” didn’t even license the better tunes of the time.
“Super Bowl 50”
Sunday, Feb. 7 (CBS)
Sportsball Event: I’ve been calling for dropping the pretentious Roman numerals from the Super Bowl ever since this column launched in the late ’70s in the back of “The Koupon Klipper,” and it’s finally happened. And now I suppose the NFL will be looking for some free ink on their little football match this year? The Carolina Panthers and the Denver Broncos will have to scramble for publicity on their own, and the less said about the halftime show (Coldplay), the better. Wait, what? The Roman numerals will be back in 2017?
“Full Frontal With Samantha Bee”
Monday, Feb. 8 (TBS)
Series Debut: The late-night talk “sausage fest,” as former “Daily Show” correspondent Samantha Bee calls it, has settled into a predictable groove: Jimmy Fallon does celebrity playtime, Stephen Colbert remains too smart for ‘Merica, Jimmy Kimmel snags the A-listers, James Corden does celebrity playtime on MDMA, and Carson Daly is … still on, right? Meanwhile, Trevor Noah and Larry Wilmore are trying like hell to return their Comedy Central block to greatness, and my two personal favorites, Seth Meyers and Conan O’Brien, still manage to surprise occasionally. So what does Conan’s new nightly lead-in, “Full Frontal With Samantha Bee,” bring to the fray? CV
Bill Frost writes about television for Salt Lake City Weekly, talks about it on the TV Tan Podcast, and tweets about it at @Bill_Frost.