It’s (Mr.) Showtime!11/11/2015
Reunited “Mr. Show with Bob & David,” kicking ass with “Into the Badlands” and soaping it up with “The Royals.”
Series Debut: I’m going to assume/hope my audience is too young to remember HBO’s “Mr. Show With Bob & David.” If not, then I’m talking to a bunch of geezers who won’t be around much longer to continue to support my lavish lifestyle. Anyway, “Mr. Show” was a ’90s sketch-comedy series starring Bob Odenkirk (now of “Better Call Saul” fame) and David Cross (“Arrested Development” and “The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret” infamy) that was nothing less than the American “Monty Python,” a fearless, biting comedy whirlwind that eviscerated pop culture and influenced every show after it. “W/ Bob & David” isn’t the groundbreaking vehicle that was, but Odenkirk and Cross (as well as several returning “Mr. Show” regulars and some new faces) still deliver the goods like it’s 1995.
“Into the Badlands”
Sunday, Nov. 15 (AMC)
Series Debut: For being one of the few new series not based on a comic book, martial-arts actioner “Into the Badlands” certainly looks like one: Bullet-biking warrior Sunny (Daniel Wu) kicks ass and sheds blood across a future, gun-free America ruled by seven warlords, like “Kung-Fu” meets “Mad Max” with a Tarantino twist. This should click with “The Walking Dead” fans, but of course AMC had to shoot itself in the brain stem by sandwiching “Into the Badlands” between “TWD” and “Talking Dead,” a beyond-stupid move that will only piss off zombie connoisseurs: “I have to wait an hour to dissect this week’s episode with Chris Hardwick and three randos?!”
Sunday, Nov. 15 (E!)
Season Premiere: The first season wasn’t perfect, but at least “The Royals” broke E! out of its Vacuous Morons With Too Much Money reality-show groove with soapy modern drama and serious star power (Elizabeth Hurley was born to play the Queen of England, and newcomer Alexandra Park should be an It Actress by the time this series ends, if not sooner). Season 2 continues the “Gossip Girl In Buckingham Palace” ridiculousness, with Queen Helena (Hurley) plotting to wrest the throne from under her conspirator Cyrus (Jake Maskall), party kids Princess Eleanor (Park) and Prince Liam (William Moseley) still on the outs with the Monarchy, and the Grand Duchess (Joan Collins) still unnecessary with all of these other spinning plates in the air. As escapist trash goes, “The Royals” is as sophisticated as E! gets.
Tuesday, Nov. 17 (NBC)
Series Debut: Ah, Dick Wolf. If anyone can resurrect the primetime medical drama, it’s probably him. Sure, “The Walking Dead”’s Laurie Holden dropped out of this early on, as well as the original showrunner, but so what? “Chicago Fire” and “Chicago PD” are the highest-rated non-karaoke shows on NBC, so get ready for years of “Med” and, soon, “Chicago Animal Control,” “Chicago Building Inspection,” “Chicago Credit Union,” “Chicago Uber,” “Chicago Pizza,” “Chicago Dog” and “Chicago Sunroof.” 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.