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Law and disorder
“The Night of” takes on the (in)justice system; “Mr. Robot” is back for the re-hack

7/6/2016

 

“The Night of”

Sunday, July 10 (HBO)

Series Debut: Novelist/screenwriter Richard Price (“Clockers,” “The Wire”) and writer/filmmaker Steve Zaillian (“A Civil Action”) spend eight episodes chronicling eight bad, bad days in the life of Nasir Khan (Riz Ahmed), TrueTV TheNightOfa New York City college student who thinks he’s lucked into the party of the year — until he wakes up next to a girl who’s been stabbed to death. Much tense and slow drama unfolds from there, with none-too-subtle callouts to an overtaxed justice system, the constant state of surveillance we live in, racial profiling and, of course, “The Wire” (Michael Kenneth Williams). More so than “True Detective,” “The Night of” is an intricately-produced downer of an art flick for crime nerds, but it still “Law & Order”s so hard that you half-expect Ice-T and Richard Belzer to cross in the background.

 

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“Running Wild With Bear Grylls”

Monday, July 11 (NBC)

Season Premiere: The biggest surprise about Season 3 of “famed adventurer” Bear Grylls’ celebrities-in-wilderness-peril-but-not-really reality show? Actual celebrities: Courteney Cox! Vanessa Hudgens! Nick Jonas! Lindsey Vonn! That’s more bona-fide stars than have been featured on 45 seasons of “Dancing With the Stars.” First up on tonight’s season premiere is Julianne Hough, a perfectly lovely dancer/singer who nonetheless deserves to be thrown off African cliffs and waterfalls, and threatened by elephants and snakes, because of the painful “acting” she’s inflicted upon the ‘Merican public. (Ever seen “Rock of Ages”? “Safe Haven”? “Grease: Live”? She’s getting off easy here.)

“Maya & Marty”

Tuesday, July 12 (NBC)

Season Finale: When “Maya & Marty” first premiered, I told you that the stars and the setup instilled “more confidence than the network’s previous variety-show attempt, ‘Best Time Ever with Neil Patrick Harris.’ ” If I strangled your toddler to death and then used the corpse to beat your grandmother into a coma while blasting some Florida Georgia Line jams from my Confederate-flag-and-TruckNutz-adorned Dodge Ram, I’d still feel more obligated to apologize for kinda-recommending “Maya & Marty.” “M&M” is just an undead collection of rejected “Saturday Night Live” sketches for Maya Rudolph and Martin Short to shamble though like “The Walking Dead” gang smeared in zombie guts, desperately trying to avoid attention.

 

“Mr. Robot”

Wednesday, July 13 (USA)

Season Premiere: So that was a hell of a first season few expected from USA and “Mr. Robot,” a show I initially dismissed as just “Fight Club” meets “The Matrix” in a “Dilbert” strip. As “Mr. Robot” progressed over last summer, it became clear that this was game-changer for not only a previously-sleepy network, but basic-cable-as-prestige-TV as a whole (and it’s also the first Christian Slater series to not be canceled on arrival, so that’s something). Elliot (Rami Malek) and hacker group fSociety finally brought down E(vil) Corp at conclusion of Season 1, but did it solve anything? Is the 99 Percent any better off? (No.) Is Elliot still nuts? (Yes.) Could Season 2 actually be darker than the first? (Going by the initial episodes, oh hell yes.) 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.

 

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