As the first hints of spring begin to appear, at least in this part of the world, the new shows continue to premiere. For whatever reason, there are a vast number of new programs airing in April. Here is the first batch and, surprisingly, there are quite a few I enjoyed. For clarity, I have listed them in the order they originally aired. As a reminder, red means stop, blue (yellow being too difficult to read in my world) means proceed with caution, green means go.
The Gossip Game (VH1)
A reality show about women who write about the hip hop scene. Within the first five minutes, one “journalist” had set up radio personalities from competing New York radio stations at a lunch that, you guessed it, devolved into these women just being rude and nasty to each other. Who watches this stuff?
Kristen Schall: Live at the Fillmore (Comedy Central)
One thing I like about Schall is that her humor is not dependent on base sex jokes and cursing. While I don’t think all of her jokes work, certainly I laughed out loud more than once watching this. Don’t drop everything to see this, but it is worth a watch if you are looking for something entertaining and fun.
Forever Young (TV Land)
Five people over seventy and five people under thirty are thrown together in a house as a “social experiment.” The seniors go into it thinking the kids are all spoiled brats; the juniors think their elders are just getting in the way of their having fun. They are then paired up and set on a scavenger hunt using each other’s technology. Watching the seniors trying to master a GPS and the juniors a typewriter (“Where’s the enter button?”) was laugh out loud funny, but that was nothing compared to the beer pong. I was roaring watching an 83 year old woman chugging a beer. Please, God, let me be like that when I am 83. Things turned serious at the end when one of the young women came out to the group, admitting that she has not be able to tell her mom. The seniors all rallied around her and supported her to the point that I got tears in my eyes. I really enjoyed this show, but it may not be for everyone.
How to Live With Your Parents For the Rest of Your Life (ABC)
Even ABC isn’t sure about this one as it moved its premiere from January to April. It’s a premise that’s been done. Hippy parents and a neurotic daughter who is forced to move back home. The actors were all very good, but the dialogue was dire and the story was frantic. It didn’t make me laugh once, but it didn’t make me cringe either. I’m done, but it is a harmless sitcom if that is what you are after.
Pot Cops (Discovery)
Back in February, I reviewed Discovery’s Weed Country. This is basically the same show, a group of police officers fighting the losing battle against the marijuana growers in Northern California. It got sort of interesting when the police officers started talking about how the Mexican cartels have changed what used to be just individual farmers, but not enough for me to watch another episode.
To be taken seriously, many cable shows now seem to feel the need to ramp up the sex, violence and language. This show, about a woman who joins forces with a crime boss, takes all three to such an extreme that it borders on the comical. I have been known to swear like a sailor when provoked, but when every other word is the f-bomb, one begins to suspect lazy writing. Give it a miss.
Spies of Warsaw (BBC America)
I love a good BBC drama and this one is wonderful. David Tennant plays a French spy in pre-war Poland and, as always, knocks it out of the park. The story itself is a bit predictable and the dialogue can be a bit stilted, but the acting is so good it makes up for everything else. I highly recommend giving this one a chance. I was hooked about fifteen minutes in.
America’s Worst Tattoos (TLC)
Getting a tattoo has been on my bucket list for a long time, but after watching this show, maybe not. People who have bad tattoos (and I mean really bad) go into this particular parlor and have them redrawn. Kind of oddly fascinating, but not enough to keep watching.
Following hot on the heels of Cult, The Following and Bates Motel, we get another show based in horror. The difference is that this one is significantly better than the other three. The story is creepy (I may just become a vegetarian), the writing is good and the direction was excellent. What truly elevates this show, however, is the acting. While it may take me a couple of episodes to see my beloved Jaye (Caroline Dhavernas) in a serious role, Mads Mikkelsen is perfect as Lecter and Laurence Fishburne is his normally brilliant self. Hugh Dancy as Will, however, is a revelation. Just this side of crazy, he plays a troubled soul with so much empathy that you can’t help but be moved by him. You simply must give this show a chance.
The people behind the magazine go out into the world to expose the “human condition.” What they manage to find is the most horrifying examples of this condition. One piece was on the children warriors of the Philippines, the next was on the children suicide bombers recruited by the Taliban. Tough to watch and heartbreaking. Although it is HBO, the first episode is streamed on the magazine’s webpage. I wish they were streaming them all.
A movie in which werewolves are going to take over the world. If you want a great laugh, go onto YouTube and watch the trailer. The wolves are CGI at its worst. The trailer was all I needed to see to tell you that this one is for the dogs…
Gabriel Iglesias: Aloha Fluffy (Comedy Central)
Iglesisas is another comic I like because his comedy is based on his life. He did a stint on his son that had me laughing until I cried and a bit on Indians robbing a bank that I watched three times because the punch line was one of the best I’ve ever heard. If you’re looking to spend an hour or so with a funny guy, give this one a shot.
50 Children: The Rescue Mission of Mr. and Mrs. Kraus (HBO)
A documentary about a Jewish couple who braved 1939 Vienna to rescue children from the Holocaust. I was only able to watch pieces of this, but it looks incredible and the reviews have been overwhelmingly positive. I will definitely watch this when it comes out on DVD.