We are family3/18/2015
Friday, March 20 (Netflix)
American television treasure Kyle Chandler (you know him from “Friday Night Lights”; to me, he’ll always be Gary Hobson of “Early Edition” — Wiki it) returns to the screen of your choosing in Netflix’s “Bloodline,” a juicy new family drama-soap that proves what you’ve always suspected: Floridians be crazy. “Bloodline” centers on seemingly straight-arrow Florida Keys family the Rayburns (which, in addition to Chandler, includes Sam Shepard, Sissy Spacek, Chloe Sevigny and Linda Cardellini), whose lives are upended when their outcast eldest son (Ben Mendelsohn) suddenly returns and threatens to expose Dark Family Secrets. Bloodline could have been a disjointed mashup of “Revenge” and “Parenthood,” but the show’s creators/writers — the team behind “Damages” — know how to do seething tension right, and the cast delivers. It’s time to start taking that “Netflix Kills Networks” buzz very seriously.
Friday, March 20 (Fox)
Six seasons and I still don’t know the difference between Sectionals and Regionals.
Speaking of shows that should have quit while they were ahead: Why is Fox promoting this season of “The Following” as being less violent and twisted? Besides Kevin Bacon as a not-quite-as-craggy-faced placeholder for Jack Bauer, that’s all this series has going for it! Would NBC advertise “Hannibal” as “Now with 75-percent less people-eating”? (Trick question: NBC wouldn’t advertise “Hannibal” at all, they’d just move to the summer and hope it goes away.) The fact that Bacon’s nemesis, Joe Carroll (James Purefoy), is back behind bars isn’t the problem — it’s called “The Following,” after all, not That Darn Cult Leader. But after a strong season-premiere episode, the series has fallen back into its pattern of making Bacon’s FBI cohorts look even less effective than the “Reno 911!” squad at catching cult murderers. Now I just dream of a joint “Glee”/“Following” series finale wherein the entirety of McKinley High is killed off by the Carroll Club.
Wednesday, March 25 (VH1)
Series Debut: Whenever I daydream of leaving the glamorous life of journalism for the glamorous-er life of public relations, there’s always a sobering press release to set me right, a chilling reminder that there but for the grace of Flying Spaghetti Monster go I. The latest comes from VH1 — “Hot GRITS” is yet another redneck-reality show that a PR hack was forced to summarize: “This down-home series explores the lives of loud and proud GRITS (‘Girls Raised in the South’) from the town of Valdosta, Georgia. Dynamic duo Emily and Hailey are the poster girls for southern belles: They love luxurious cars, glamorous shopping sprees and have dreams of living the high life in the big city. Jenna, Ratchet, Sarah and Bear are typical country girls: They wear camouflage, carry shotguns and serve up southern sass for dinner.” I can feel my soul slipping down the drain just reading this … Wait, PR hacks make how much? So long, suckers! 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.