Hot, hot heat7/29/2015
Series Debut: You either loved 2001 cult flick “Wet Hot American Summer” or hated it — or liked the first half and meh-ed the second; opinions vary wildly. The new eight-episode Netflix “prequel,” subtitled “First Day of Camp,” reassembles the original cast (Paul Rudd, Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce, Christopher Meloni, Michael Ian Black, Elizabeth Banks, Amy Poehler and Bradley Cooper), adds some up-for-silliness extras (Jon Hamm, John Slattery, Lake Bell, Chris Pine, Jason Schwartzman, Kristen Wiig and Josh Charles), and rips into ’80s summer-camp movies anew (so there was “Meatballs” and… what?). Sure, everyone’s now even more too-old for these roles — that’s part of the joke. Or the entire joke. Either way: Ant-Man in short-shorts!
Friday, July 31 (Cinemax)
Season Premiere: Before “Banshee” put Cinemax on the map as a viable home for non-soft-porn original programming, international military actioner “Strike Back” was blowing up everything in sight like a “Team America: World Police” sequel without all the puppets and plot. Now, after two years off, the series returns for its fifth and final season with a singular mission: Kill Hitler! (Actually, that’s “Danger 5” — which you should absolutely be watching on Netflix.) As for black-ops badasses Scott (Sullivan Stapleton) and Stonebridge (Phillip Winchester), it’s apparently time to “Strike Back” against North Korea, the last place on earth where they haven’t yet wiped out 60 percent of the population, “Call of Grand Theft Duty”-style. So long, “Strike Back.” From now on, we’ll have to get our ultra-violence from, well, “Banshee.”
“Bachelor in Paradise”
Sunday, Aug. 2 (ABC)
Season Premiere: I get the purpose of “The Bachelor” and “The Bachelorette” — but “Bachelor in Paradise”? Losers from previous seasons of both shows go to Mexico and exchange STDs? While avoiding elimination and “looking for love”? ABC canceled the similar-but-less-exotic “Bachelor Pad” after three seasons, and it’s likely they’ll do the same to “Bachelor in Paradise” eventually, so I’ve prepared pitches for the following concepts should any “Bachelor/Bachelorette” producers be in a buying mood: “Bachelor Jail,” “Bachelor in Space,” “Bachelor in Escrow,” “Bachelor S&M Dungeon,” “Bachelorette Raft,” “Bachelor Preppers,” “Bachelor in a Doomsday Cult,” “Bachelorette Ghost Hunters,” “Bachelor in a Tiny House,” “Bachelorettes Locked Up Abroad,” “Bachelors Finding Bigfoot” and “Let’s Hunt Chris Harrison Like Human Prey.” Have your people call my people.
“Mr. Robinson,” “The Carmichael Show”
Wednesday, Aug. 5 (NBC)
Series Debuts: With only two half-hour sitcoms on its upcoming fall schedule, it’s all-too-apparent that NBC has given up on comedy — but they have some factory seconds to blow out, first. “Mr. Robinson” (starring Craig Robinson) and “The Carmichael Show” (starring Jerrod Carmichael — no time was wasted in titling the shows, obviously) are both summer fillers designed to disappear after their six-week runs and make way for NBC’s all-drama-almost-all-the-time slate; after that, you’ll never see ’em again. That is too bad. 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.