“Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll” is still dumb fun; “Killjoys” returns.
Thursday, June 30 (FX)
Season Premiere: The debut of Denis Leary’s “Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll” last summer presaged two rock-centric dramas, HBO’s just-cancelled “Vinyl” and Showtime’s currently-meh “Roadies” — and his occasionally haphazard, always swaggering comedy still nails inter-band relationships better than either.
As Season 2 opens, Johnny Rock (Leary) and his Assassins bandmates react to the death of a fellow musician — 2016 is the year for it — as only rock narcissists would: We each gotta establish solo-career immortality! As terrible/hilarious as that idea sounds, “SDRR” doubles-down with actor Campbell Scott (as himself) buying bassist Rehab’s (John Ales) Irish Potato Famine rock opera from Season 1 and remaking it as a “Hamilton”-esque Broadway musical. “Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll” is still gloriously ridiculous — rip off the knob and turn it up.
Thursday, June 30 (ABC)
Series Debut: In 2015, a study circulated stating that the average person stops seeking out and listening to new music at the age of 33, settling into a one-ear-in-the-grave groove of just sticking with the tunes of their formative years. This is why all “classic rock” radio stations play the same 20 songs every day, as opposed to the same 10 songs spun into the ground hour after hour on younger-skewing “pop hits!” stations, broken up by regular 12-minute ad breaks on both. So, if you’re dead inside enough for commercial radio, “Greatest Hits” is probably for you: O.G.s (Original Geezers) and newer artists come together to perform the chart-toppers of yesteryear. Sound harmless? Tonight’s premiere episode features the union of REO Speedwagon and Pitbull.
Friday, July 1 (Syfy)
Season Premiere: Neither “Killjoys,” nor its Friday-night companion, “Dark Matter,” were ratings blowouts in their debut seasons last summer, both hovering at around 1 million viewers a week — but at least they got Syfy back into space (and, as observed in publications geek-thinkier than this one, projected a more realistically race- and gender-diverse future than most sci-fi series). “Killjoys,” about a trio of interplanetary bounty hunters (Hannah John-Kamen, Aaron Ashmore and Luke Macfarlane) working a quadrant seething with societal-class tensions, was the more fun series, balancing action, humor and clear stakes, and letting John-Kamen’s Dutch just be a badass heroine with none of the genre’s usual Strong Female Lead hype. A Season 1 Hulu binge here is a must, more so than with …
Friday, July 1 (Syfy)
Season Premiere: Syfy seemingly thought “Dark Matter” would be last year’s insta-hit, promoting it heavily and leaving “Killjoys” to bat cleanup. But a really, really, really ridiculously good-looking cast didn’t make up for a muddled storyline (six people wake up on an adrift spaceship with no memories, but specific mercenary skills and bad attitudes) and a dreary, claustrophobic setting. Even though Season 2 opens with the gang entering an intergalactic prison in their undies — well-played, Syfy — the Sexy Six will see more of the outside world this time around before unleashing some vengeful ass-kickery onto the Corporate Warlords (which I’m trademarking as a band name as you read). Season 1 is on Netflix, but you might as well just jump in now. CV
Bill Frost writes about television for Salt Lake City Weekly, talks about it on TV Tan Podcast (iTunes, Stitcher, Google Play and BillFrost.tv), and tweets about it at @Bill_Frost.