March 2020

Posted in American TV (General), American TV Shows, Americans watching British TV, Behind-The-Scenes, BiogTV, British Shows on American TV, hiatus, Internet TV, Reality TV, Reviews, Touring TV, TV Acting, TV advertising, TV channels, TV Criticism, TV Culture, TV Dreams, TV History, Uncategorized, Watching TV on April 2, 2020 by Tom Steward

New Blog 9.1

I’m escaping quarantine by watching lovers separated by walls, animals in cages, people trapped on a cruise liner, and the after-effects of a deadly global virus.

Maybe U-Verse should re-consider using the word “cowering” when talking about the characters in Day of The Dead given the current state of things.

McMillions raises the question of how weather ever makes the news.

The quarantine edition of Last Week Tonight with John Oliver was effectively a crossover episode with Black Mirror.

Avenue 5 confirms that Armando Iannucci only makes accidentally prophetic television.

If I’ve learned anything new about Trump from his televised Coronavirus press conferences, it’s that he says “contagion” like Kevin James’ Doug in The King of Queens.

Curb Your Enthusiasm may be the handiest guide to social distancing in the whole of media.

With an ABC sitcom, Disney cartoon and Bravo reality show on the way, this is Indian-Americans’ TV year. Let’s hope networks don’t pull it away from them as fast as they did with Mexicans and South-East Asians.

Homeland is trying to break 24’s record of Presidential turnover before it ends.

Netflix doesn’t need to add a button to remind you that you’re alone.

My Samsung TV is recommending movies for me to watch while I’m working at home. Either it knows I’m a critic or thinks we’re a nation of liars.

Inside No. 9 just El Camino’d Psychoville. If you don’t get those references now, you will after months of quarantine.

New Blog 9.2

Isn’t now a good time to reboot those CNN election coverage holograms? I don’t think I can take another home news report on an iphone.

We’re all now basically the BBC News interviewee whose children burst into the office during broadcast.

Whomever was responsible for closed captioning of Top Chef Allstars LA did well to add a question mark to Padma Lakshmi’s opening assertion that Los Angeles was “one of the best food cities in the world?”

Vanderpump Rules needs to omit the skits and cartoons. Anyone watching already knows the show is cheap, nasty and artless and doesn’t mind a bit.

Breaking News: The Walking Dead reboots as Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous.

With its stolen memoir and culinary school plots, the finale of Fresh Off The Boat was an apology letter to its estranged subject.

If you want to know what TV is going to look like for the next few months, check out a 90-Day Fiance Tell-All.

There’s been a staggering number of new series about people facing global crises in the past few months. It seems that Coronavirus was in our art before it found its way into our lungs.

HBO missed a golden opportunity to re-launch its 1970s science-fiction remake as Westworld in The City.

There’s never a good time to do an entire episode about penicillin, but if there was Outlander nailed it.

Korean animators must be working 24/7 to get those Disney Channel and Nick Jr. Coronavirus PSAS out.

One wonders if Game of Thrones could have salvaged its reputation by crossing over into the Westworld universe before it ended.

New Blog 9.3

Picard is like a version of Star Trek where your parents and schoolteachers make out in front of you.

G literally prayed for a Netflix show like Tiger King to come along. Be careful what you wish for.

Jeff Goldblum’s commercials for Apartments.com are bringing out the lighter side of illegal data mining.

I’m starting to think I should have paid more attention to those episodes of The Sopranos where Uncle Junior was under House Arrest.

TV networks are giving away more content for free than a theatre major with an iphone.

I’m sure the female guests on Talking Dead feel safer now that they don’t have to share a room with Chris Hardwick.

The Real Housewives of New Jersey filled a time capsule entirely with items that future archeologists would need to know their 2019 activities in order to understand.

I generally prefer that documentary directors be fly-on-the-wall observers but I wouldn’t have been averse to Eric Goode or Rebecca Chaiklin opening the cages at any point during the filming of Tiger King.

The person who accidentally broadcast a MyPillow.com infomercial during a televised White House Coronavirus briefing must be in serious trouble.

Love is Blind is proof of what dating shows can achieve when they don’t have to remind viewers of the concept every twenty seconds.

Better Call Saul is The Sopranos of legal dramas.

Mickey Mouse’s guide to the Internet is no Mickey Mouse operation.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

January and February 2020

Posted in American TV (General), American TV Shows, Americans watching British TV, Behind-The-Scenes, BiogTV, British Shows on American TV, Internet TV, Reality TV, Reviews, TV Acting, TV advertising, TV channels, TV History, TV News, TV Sports, Uncategorized, Unsung Heroes, Watching TV on March 2, 2020 by Tom Steward

New Blog 8.1

I seriously doubt there’s anything in No Time to Die that can compete with Graham’s laser shoe from Spyfall.

Seen through the prism of a constantly buffering HBO Go app, the final season of Silicon Valley was an unintentionally interactive viewing experience for me.

qubo specializes in cartoons from yesteryear that look like they’re being watched from another room.

Have the rights to Ted Bundy recently gone into the public domain?

The Magic Motor Inn episode of Fresh Off the Boat proves that G’s back-door spinoff-dar is military grade.

Netflix’s Cheer is not to be confused with the first screen outing of Ted Danson’s Sam Malone.

Time jump finales in HBO Original Series are now contractually binding.

The advertising for the BBC’s Seven Worlds, One Planet makes it seems like Earth is a TV show leaving a streaming service in 2020.

I don’t know if I’m more amazed that a musical act on The Bachelor once dated a contestant or that a contestant had prior knowledge of a musical act on The Bachelor.

American quality television is having its own papal war.

HBO’s McMillions recalls Ben Affleck’s comment on Argo that “even the feeblest execution” of such a compelling real-life story would still make for great entertainment.

G was expecting Shrill to be like a live-action Nature Cat, demonstrating that as parents of a toddler we are no longer able to distinguish between adult and children’s television.

New Blog 8.2

The MSNBC reporter’s racist outburst in reporting of the death of Kobe Bryant and the subsequent resurrection of Mr. Peanut in his honor suggests that TV’s priorities on grief may need re-evaluating.

The best media satire I see on network television is in Geico and Progressive Commercials.

Larry David may be Bernie Sanders’ best impersonator but, judging by this season of Curb Your Enthusiasm, he could also be Trump’s most effective speechwriter.

Avenue 5 is a worthy addition to the British science-fiction sub-genre of Shoddy Space.

When Adam Driver hosts Saturday Night Live, it feels like improvised jazz rather than a hit-and-miss sketch show.

Killer Inside: The Mind of Aaron Hernandez made me wonder why there isn’t a rolling news channel devoted to this story.

I urge you to watch reality shows with closed captioning as they put inverted commas around words that don’t exist and they come thick and “fastly.”

The Oscars 2020 really made the case for the continuing importance of commercial cinema with an opening musical number recreating an iconic moment of public television.

U-Verse On-Demand needs to accept that I am not going to rent A Simple Favor.

Season Three is the new Season Two. We need to be talking about Junior Slumps.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver is the best argument for only reporting the news when it’s not happening.

If parents are confused as to which version of The Adventures of Paddington Bear is the newest one, just remember it’s not the Canadian one with a bloated expositional theme tune that even The Simpsons couldn’t credibly parody.

New Blog 8.3

Unexpected bonus of AMC’s uncensored airing of The Godfather films Part 1 – 8am boobs.

Unexpected bonus of AMC’s uncensored airing of The Godfather films Part 2 – The Godfather Part II now gives two fucks.

Unexpected bonus of AMC’s uncensored airing of The Godfather films Part 3 – Doesn’t apply to The Godfather Part III so you have an excuse to skip it.

What is anyone on Married at First Sight talking about? They all sound like malfunctioning self-help robots.

The world television premiere of El Camino was somewhat undermined by the fact that millions of viewers had already seen the movie on television.

Haven’t we done enough damage to Pizza Hut crusts without making them their own appetizer?

Bad News Breaking – Breaking Bad Now The Sequel To Better Call Saul.

In terms of romanticizing of the Taliban, the final season of Homeland picks up where Rambo III and The Living Daylights left off.

The commercial for the “Battle for the 2020 White House” commemorative chess set is the best piece of television to play parody chicken with.

I bet the voice actors on Superwings: Mission Teams increasingly regret having ticked the Accents and Dialects box on their online submission for the casting call.

Made my national television commercial debut and now worried about being typecast as “Man in Bermuda shorts and Hawaiian shirt that doesn’t fit him ignoring Phil Mickelson.”

Apparently, Saturday Night Live having a host and musical guest I’m equally excited to see only happens every four years.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Last Post of The Year

Posted in American TV (General), American TV Shows, Behind-The-Scenes, British Shows on American TV, Reality TV, Reviews, TV Acting, TV advertising, TV History on December 11, 2019 by Tom Steward

New Blog 7.1.jpg

UPDATE: Kurt Sutter’s departure from Mayans M.C. resulted from abusive behavior not white guilt. Potato, patata.

Counting down to the new season of 90 Day Fiance by watching new seasons of 90 Day Fiance.

Half of the movies I’ve seen at the theater this year are based on television shows. The other half I wish were television shows.

El Camino is a feature-length post-credits scene.

Molly of Denali is made by someone who really misses esoteric nineties dramedies.

My first thought upon re-watching The Running Man was that no TV network would ever give away this much content for free.

Netflix have made a holiday special starring The Captain of The Polar Express, Satan, and The Burglar from Home Alone.

The Crown should be re-named Queen Who.

Nonny in Bubble Guppies is either a really good stab at portraying an autistic child or a terrible take on a nerd.

The Mandalorian is an exercise in the art of the end-credit.

Scorsese says Marvel movies are “not cinema” in an interview promoting his latest video-on-demand content.

In the age-old tradition of Star Wars selling old wine in new bottles, The Mandalorian is Have Gun, Will Travel in Space.

New Blog 7.2

Disney + should stick one of those “outdated cultural depictions” warnings on The Phantom Menace.

Standing in the lobby of the Netflix-owned Egyptian Theater in Hollywood performing a live immersive theatre rendition of scenes from The Witcher to the audience for the cinema premiere of the show wondering what television is anymore.

You know you’ve assimilated when your reaction to a TV commercial for a Mac n’ Cheeseburger is: “I suppose it was inevitable.”

In the dark sequel to the Peloton Holiday ad for Aviation Gin, the protagonist plays an in-world Paul from Verizon.

With their Godfather and James Bond marathons, cable television has correctly identified the two major themes of Thanksgiving as immigration and colonialism.

I want to buy a crate of Romulan ale for whomever thought of using Star Trek V: The Final Frontier to extinguish IFC’s 24-hour Godfather Thanksgiving marathon.

With the accusations of racism in the seating of Franklin in A Charlie Brown Thanksgiving, viewers are finally seeing the darker side of this holiday special about a clinically depressed pre-teen boy.

I’m convinced that the “Cut for Time” sketches on Saturday Night Live are removed from the broadcast to ensure that the show’s best writing get a wider audience on the internet.

As Inside The Actors Studio moves to Ovation, Bravo severs its last links to a culture beyond Andy Cohen.

With the return of Dirty John as a true crime anthology series, will we see Eric Bana as a moldering John Meehan hosting the episodes a la Tales from The Crypt?

Those complaining about Rudolph’s acquiescence to his abusers in Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer should remember that this was a cartoon made the year The Civil Rights Bill was signed into law.

New Blog 7.3

Not content with being Reality’s answer to The Sopranos, The Real Housewives of New Jersey is now aping the story structure of the first Godfather movie.

The Irishman does nothing to challenge my long-standing belief that Martin Scorsese should no longer direct anything but documentaries.

That a half-century old period drama such as The Crown remains one of the best documents of contemporary Britain is an indictment of how little we’ve progressed as a nation in the intervening years.

There’s been a noticeable dip in the amount of subtitled dialogue in Fresh Off The Boat, which I’m desperate to believe executes a long-form story arc about assimilation not a network note.

If everyone can get excited about a four-minute sequel to E.T., then why do we need another feature-length Ghostbusters?

I’m now at a point in my life when I turn off Scorsese crime movies and put on British heritage dramas instead of the other way around.

Now that Poldark has ended, spare a thought for the actor playing the local banker who has lost his annual gig telling Ross he can’t give him any more gold.

It seems the latest trend in event television is live broadcasts of musical remakes that ruin childhoods.

John Mulaney having both an adult and family-friendly comedy show featuring kids on Netflix is going to be a stern test of the platform’s algorithm.

The most recent season of The Walking Dead strikes me as the TV equivalent of a deep-franchise horror sequel whose connective tissue to the original movie dangles by a thread.

Merry Festivus and Happy Who’s Here.

July and August

Posted in Uncategorized on August 29, 2019 by Tom Steward

New Blog 6.3.jpg

Netflix’s Tales of the City is the first adaptation not based on any of the books and I don’t know what to do with that. It’s not as if you televise Bleak House and then come up with entirely new storylines.

#BH90210 takes a show whose strength was its sincerity and makes it a collection of in-jokes.

Having seen the extended Hateful Eight on Netflix and Once Upon a Time in Hollywood at the movies, I can say with certainty that Tarantino’s future lies in series television.

The tone of GLOW is what TV dramedies have been striving for since Hill Street Blues but seldom achieved.

If their commercials are to be believed, Olive Garden have created a savory Cinnabon, complete with jizz sauce.

Viewers who use the “Skip Intro” button on Netflix should immediately have their subscriptions cancelled.

I have no interest in Brodie Jenner but if you put a Rottweiler fetching a ball for a man in a bath on my TV screen, I’m going to watch it.

Bachelor in Paradise should be renamed The Chris Harrison Bodily Assault Seminar Hour.

Andy Cohen reproaching Titus Burgess for working with Eddie Murphy is a little rich for someone who makes his money off some of the most homophobic women on television.

Kumail Nanjiani’s no-show on Conan within months of retooling is a sharp reminder why the late-night talk format has remained so static since the fifties.

Marrying Millions is 90-Day Fiance minus money problems, which is to say nothing.

New Blog 6.4.jpg

Martin Scorsese is just going to have to accept that he made a miniseries.

It’s hard to imagine a world where both Star Trek and Star Wars are exclusively television properties.

Whomever is writing those DVR show descriptions for U-Verse really dislikes late 80s action movies.

I would not be surprised if The Family Chantel was revealed to be a reality reboot of 3rd Rock from the Sun.

What if El Camino was a prequel to Gran Torino and ends with Jesse hiding out in a Korean community?

In July, I performed in an immersive theatre version of Carnival Row, which doesn’t premiere until August 30. I can now say on my resume that I was in the original cast of an Amazon Prime Series.

This season of Married at First Sight answers the burning question of what happens when a man marries himself in drag.

I have no idea how Dora the Explorer holds up as a feature film as my 2-year-old son only stayed in the theater for the length of one episode.

The final seasons of Elementary and Game of Thrones were both sorely lacking Natalie Dormer.

The second One Day at a Time returns to broadcast television just in time for the second Nixon’s impeachment proceedings.

Leo the Inquisitive Truck on Amazon Prime Video looks and sounds like it was cobbled together by the PTA of a struggling school.

New Blog 6.5

With Downton Abbey and The Walking Dead heading to theaters, it seems there’s no longer such a thing as a TV movie.

Marc Maron taking to Conan to question the host’s impact on podcasting sort of undermines his point.

Someone should make Damon Herriman Charles Manson for life.

Good Morning America ballet-shaming Prince George is a waste of good Royal-bashing.

90 Day Fiance: The Other Way is basically a nature documentary about stray animals.

The Real Housewives of Orange County has reached that point in the franchise where it feels like its own spin-off.

Today’s HBO doesn’t let a show go beyond three seasons unless it is truly terrible.

The news that Transparent will end with a musical should reassure those viewers who were worried the show would go off the rails after losing Jeffrey Tambor.

Pennyworth is the latest in a long line of Batman fare to explore the origins of characters whose origins have already been explored.

It’s too much to hope that Grand Hotel will be an adaptation of the 1932 classic based on the acclaimed 1930 play. If I don’t watch it, then it will remain so in my imagination.

By the time you read this post, we’ll be on the other side of the Fantasy Streaming Wars of August 30. I for one welcome our puppet/faery (delete as appropriate) overlords!

Reelz is the fake search engine page of broadcast television.

Kurt Sutter announced he’s standing aside as Mayans M.C. showrunner so a white man doesn’t dictate a story about people of color. Your move, Jenji Kohan.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

May and June 2019

Posted in Uncategorized on June 19, 2019 by Tom Steward

New Blog 5.1

The worst ending to a TV series since Seinfeld? I hate to break it to you all but that was the ending of Seinfeld.

The Bachelorette sinks to new low as their clip show shows clips from their clip show.

Robert Mueller’s televised press conference was very “There’s money in the banana stand.”

Following the exit of Lisa Vanderpump from The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills expect the next season to play out like The Death of Stalin.

90-Day Fiance has exhausted its spin-off possibilities to the point where the only format left is a reality show about Americans getting married to someone who has 90 days to live.

Texicanas is a “Previously On …” segment that never ends.

DuckTales is a reboot of something from your childhood that actually improves your nostalgia for it.

I would not be at all surprised to find out that The Real Housewives of New York were all inmates in an open asylum.

Elementary has made it impossible for me to see Sherlock Holmes as anything other than a New Yorker and Dr. Watson as anything other than a woman of color.

Having just written and produced a show that involved research of 80s cop shows, I now realize that the title sequences of police dramas in this era set an impossibly high standard for the episodes to follow.

New Blog 5.2

Jenna Elfman’s casting in Fear the Walking Dead seems to have infected the show with a late 90s feel.

HBO Original Series are like Real Housewives Reunions. You know before they start that they’re not going to end well.

Arguably you’re not part of the quality TV elite until you feature an episode that seems like a dream but turns out not to be. Welcome to the club, Barry!

It’s not often that a great show suffers for trying to do justice to its ensemble, but the finale of Veep finally managed it.

With its regular skewering of everything British and San Diegan, Last Week Tonight with John Oliver feels like local television to me.

When I saw what went into making the final season of Game of Thrones in The Last Watch, I felt like Clipton at the end of The Bridge on The River Kwai.

The trailer for Star Trek: Picard dropped and its vineyard setting made me wonder whether it was about the wine-tasting road-trip than Jean-Luc and Riker took before Will married Deanna Troi.

CBS announced it will soon start airing The Good Fight from the beginning. There are as yet no plans to do the same with other All Access shows like Star Trek and The Twilight Zone.

With Jon Stewart’s testimony securing a successful vote in Congress, we’re faced with the reality that the demographic most able to effect governmental change are retired TV stars.

Hannah was making out with so many people in one episode of The Bachelorette that I genuinely thought Jason Voorhees was going to smash through a window and machete her.

New Blog 5.3

 

 

The success of Deadwood: The Movie prompts calls for John from Cincinnati: The Explanation.

The Hills and Beverly Hills 90210 return to TV screens this Summer which coincides with the announcement that my wife is now the control experiment for all Nielsen ratings.

The Daily Show with Trevor Noah revealed that Bernie Sanders used to have his own TV show where he frequently insulted his guests. Now I know why the Bernie Bros voted for Trump.

Thus far in his career Robert De Niro has only ever been out of his depth playing Frankenstein’s Monster and Robert Mueller.

The low ratings of The 73rd Tony Awards on CBS may have something to do with the fact that its core audience also watched the 1st Tony Awards on CBS.

Dead to Me should win the Emmy for “Best TV Series … Until A Bunch of Better Stuff Comes Along.”

With its rapid season turnover, Married at First Sight will soon be responsible for more weddings than a cult.

With Poppy Montgomery’s TV career heading out to sea every six or so years and then returning to shore, her new project Reef Break is the perfect marriage of content and form.

Constance Wu took to Twitter to clarify a series of negative tweets about the renewal of Fresh Off The Boat, claiming that people had mistook her meaning by understanding exactly what she meant.

The ending of Killing Eve Season Two was the non-verbal equivalent of looking into camera and saying the title of the show.

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