For many people, the weekends are designated as lazy, indulgent time. What better way to fill that time than with (questionably) good TV? Weekend Watch is the place for my recommendations of perfect shows to fill the leisurely void between Friday and Monday. The choice of snacks, however, is up to you.
In case you haven’t noticed, the Next Top Model virus continues to spread around the world, and frankly, I couldn’t be happier. Because sometimes as the virus spreads, it spawns something that’s actually kind of refreshing. Case in point: Africa’s Next Top Model.
My feelings on the current state of America’s incarnation are not so positive, but as the original and longest-running installment of the franchise, it has kind of run its course. It’s all over-media’ed and over-hyped, and everything is high-tech GIFs and Bryan Boy and that chubby guy in a blonde wig (who the f-ck? I am too old for this). By contrast, Africa’s NTM is seriously subdued, and I am totally loving it right now. It was recommended to me by a fellow fan of ANTM‘s early days as a more “old style” Top Model, and my fellow fanatic was not lying. I mean, we’re not talking way back here — the judging room is still fancy and there are the requisite dozen-plus contestants – but the spirit of the show hearkens back to a time when the franchise’s quick-cut-flashing-lights interstitials didn’t give me seizures. Refreshingly, this show is quieter, more evenly paced, and less frenetic than its cousins. There’s no exaggerated drama between contestants, no embarrassing Tyra skits, no deja vu replays after each commercial break, and no interminable teasing before the makeovers. The challenges and photo shoots are believable and professional, and are neither life-threatening nor sensationalized. And most importantly (to me, anyway), there is no social media garbage, because who gives a f-ck what a shirtless teen in Montana thinks about Cody’s facial expressions? Continue Reading →
You know that saying, “No good deed goes unpunished”? Well, I wonder what kind of unholy hell has been unleashed on the dude (or dudette) who invented GIFs. Those magical, dancing pictures so perfectly capture the world around us, and act as a little window into pop culture’s most memorable moments (and also make up 90% of the content on Tumblr), so how could we live without? Take TV, for example – what would the modern sitcom be without its many GIF-y iterations? How would we remember that awesome facial expression a character made, or so easily relive a falling-down scene? And how else would we compile a list of Jessica Day’s best moments on New Girl?
Sometimes you put a lot of hope into an idea and the whole thing goes sour. You read the press release about a forthcoming show on Deadline, and you think, “Hey, that sounds great.” You wait around to find out the release date, and you mark it on your Google Calendar. You tune in to the pilot and… your heart sinks. The show is just not what you expected. And sometimes, more than just not being your cup of tea, the show actually does a disservice to an institution or community of people you really care about.
Such was my reaction to Church Rescue, which was titled Divine Intervention Required when I first wrote about it to optimistically. (You can read that original post to see what my hopes and dreams were for this production.) The reality show follows three men – Rev Kev, Gladamere, and Doc – who’ve dubbed themselves the Church Hoppers, as they go from one southern US church to another with the goal of revamping and revitalizing congregations. The three Hoppers occasionally manage to fine-tune the spiritual atmosphere of the church (even if that just means giving the minister some much-needed armchair therapy), but most of their work falls under the banner of business strategy and interior decorating. Continue Reading →
Every year, dozens of new shows grace the TV schedule, their pilots all shiny and exciting, filled with the promise of many satisfying seasons to come. But (Spoiler Alert!) not all those pilots good. In fact, a very small minority of the shows launched every year are good, which makes it all the more comforting to look forward to the returning characters and story lines you know you can trust. To help you out, I’ve compiled a brief list of the best shows to return this spring. And in case you’re not already into these fabulous shows and the fabulous women whose stories they tell, I’ve included a little primer on the plots and characters you need to know. So read on, and get pumped!
The Birthday Boys first came onto my radar with the launch of their self-titled show on IFC. After watching an episode, I commented that it had taken a place as only the second sketch comedy show to ever appease my crotchety sensibilities (the first being Tim and Eric Awesome Show Great Job!). The LA comedy troupe won my heart almost immediately because they embody that perfect balance between smart and goofy. They’re UCB alums who wear wigs and fake moustaches, and from whom no concept is safe from “skewering”. When their forces combined with the great Bob Odenkirk, they made one hell of a TV show, and the end result was pretty damn predictable: I have developed a massive crush on The Birthday Boys.
Okay, so it’s not like I have posters of Dave, Mike, Tim, et al lining my bedroom walls, and it’s not like I’m scribbling “Mrs. Hannah Kowalik” all over my notebooks. But I’m still pretty moony. It’s still the kind of thing where I’ve watched the first season of their show through twice, and where I literally GIGGLED with GLEE when the show’s account followed me back on Twitter. GIGGLING. Who am I?! Continue Reading →
‘Cause you’re getting it, whether you’re ready or not. The Esquire Network show that sparked a million and one tiresome debates about the benefits and drawbacks of extremely competitive youth league sports returns tomorrow night at 9:00 pm EST. In the time since the show launched, TV critics wrote horrified reviews, child welfare advocates roared about indignities and abuse, Texans rose up in defense of something kind of indefensible, sports pundits called foul on this niche of an otherwise respectable sport, and two of the coaches from the show have been suspended. It’s been a busy few weeks for the San Antonio league, and it may be interesting to check in and see how much of that real-life controversy plays out on screen.
But y’know what? I don’t think I need to see any more.Friday Night Tykes is kind of like those pictures of dead foxes that PETA circulates around Facebook — you only have to see it once to burn it indelibly onto your mind’s retina. And just like those dead fox pictures, FNT feels both masterfully manipulative and gruesomely, unbearably real. It’s another example of TV that scares me. So why is it still airing? Continue Reading →
Mmhmm, it’s that time again — time for me to shove some more web series in your face holes! Or your brain holes? Or wherever it is that information gets shoved!
For me, web series get shoved into my heart hole. ‘Cause I love them. And they make me feel complete. But anyway, here’s the latest round of web shows that have been making me feel whole and loved. Consider these the next time you’ve got an hour or two to kill:
We Got Next:This series is funny, but it’s basically about a bunch of assholes, so consider yourself warned. This show is the latest installment in the My Damn Channel comedy canon with only a pilot available thus far, but as with most of that channel’s shows, We Got Next is brash, rude, and hilarious. The show follows a group of dudes who get together for weekly pick-up basketball games, and we watch as their accidental friendships blossom into bouts of name-calling and bad advice, mutual disrespect and manipulation, misguided support and tough competition. It’s a mixed bag emotionally, but it looks like it’ll always be funny. Just don’t expect any hugging or learning.
Just Passing Through: This web series is also pretty much about a couple of assholes, but there’s a hopeful naivety in the mix that makes things palatable. If you love the Trailer Park Boys, then you will love the dudes of Just Passing Through, a pair of PEI boys looking to strike it rich by heading west to Alberta. This series attains some of the rough-around-the-edges Maritime charm of TPB, but with its own flavour unique to the Island. Judging by the comments the series has garnered on Twitter and YouTube, the show represents PEI hoser culture pretty authentically, so if that’s where you hail from, be prepared to feel homesick, b’y. Continue Reading →
It’s not often that I don’t trust my immediate gut reactions to a TV show, but I’m really glad I reserved judgment for Super Fun Night till the end of the season. ‘Cause sure, those first three episodes were kind of hard to watch — awkward, simplistic, badly accented — but it only got better over time. Now, with a full season under its belt, the show really feels like something worth watching, and worth getting attached too. Too bad they’re in so deep with Rebel’s terrible accent.
It’s also too bad that most people (armchair and professional critics alike) trusted their guts on the first couple episodes and didn’t force themselves to tune in every week like I did, just in case things got better. Attribute it to my blind love of underdog sitcoms or my fangirl admiration of Rebel Wilson, but whatever the reason, I just needed to be sure Super Fun Night was really, truly bad before I gave up on it. Like when you squish a centipede and you don’t want to look but you just HAVE to know for SURE that it’s dead. Only in this case, the centipede was not dead. In this case, when I looked under the slipper midway through the season, that little centipede was referencing teen rap careers, dealing with Cookie Prom, and finally showing us its charming origins story. That stupid little centipede was changing my mind — and winning my heart. Continue Reading →
When House of Cards was making its social media rounds for season 1, there was a lot of discussion about political dramas on TV. This got me wondering about Canadian politics on the tube — not the drama (’cause I know we don’t have enough of that in our country’s makeup to scrape together our own West Wing), but comedy. I posited that we Canadians needed to stop worrying about being fascinating enough for drama, and instead embrace our banal side for comedy. I pitched a few ideas to the universe, mostly along the lines of “boring environments breed outrageous behaviour” in a Workaholics/Office/Corner Gas vein, all of which I would totally be jazzed to watch.
When a helpful commenter on that post gave me the heads up that the CBC was indeed attempting a political comedy, of course I had to check it out and see if they had taken my advice. Turns out, the show is good and funny, but not at all along the goofy, disaffected, or humdrum lines I’d been pitching. The show is called The Best Laid Plans, and just recently aired its sixth episode finale for the season (if you’re in Canada, you can watch the entire series here). Based on a novel by the same name by Terry Fallis, the show follows speech writer Daniel Addison (Jonas Chernick) in his quest to discover how he fits into the world of Canadian politics. The show is smart, heartfelt, and touches on some very real issues with contemporary politics on both a local and a national level. The humour is based on the foibles of some truly likable characters, as well as a healthy dose of satire at the country’s expense. After all, Canada has a rich history of making fun of itself — why break with tradition now? Continue Reading →
This is a strange, Benedict Cumberbatch-obsessed world we live in, and no one knows that better than UK citizen Tyler Michell. The Instagram-happy teen got bombarded with an overwhelming number of comments on his Instagram posts within the past few days because of his conspicuous appearance and a happy coincidence of international pop culture.
To read about what happened when the Chinese obsession with Brit drama met a Cumberbatch lookalike on Instagram, head over to Qodda Magazine.