The New Shows color code: red means don’t bother; blue means maybe; green means good; magenta means great.
SATURDAY, JUNE 28
Outlaw Prophet: Warren Jeffs (Lifetime)
As Lifetime tries to up the standard of its movies, it is managing to bring in bigger names to direct and act. Tony Goldwyn plays Jeffs, a man who is, thankfully, still behind bars for the weirdly crazy things he did as the Prophet of his church. Goldwyn does a passable job, but the movie felt too bland and too stylized for what it was trying to achieve.
More interesting was the hour long documentary that followed the movie. Listening to interviews with people who had escaped the community was chilling and gave me a real sense of just how awful life within those walls had been, especially for the young girls.
Whitney Cummings: I Love You (Comedy Central)
The differences between men and women can be hilarious. Cummings, for me, took it too far and more than once crossed the line between funny and gross. I didn’t laugh out loud once, my gauge for whether a comic is funny. I’ve seen worse standup; I’ve seen much better.
Buying Naked (TLC)
When Sparks Fly (Hallmark)
SUNDAY, JUNE 29
He’s a Southern gentleman (just ask him; he’ll tell you). She’s a “Yankee lawyer,” born and raised on the south side of Chicago. They want to have sex; she’s got a boyfriend; he’s going through a divorce. They find themselves on opposite sides of a date-rape case against dirty cops. Sound familiar? You bet. It’s also annoying in that serious issues of sex and what constitutes consent are drowned out by soapy shenanigans.
The Leftovers (HBO)
Josie reviewed the pilot and more than a few commented on it. There have been a wide range of reactions to the show, so watch the pilot and decide for yourself.
Ian McKellan and Derek Jacobi remind us what comedy is meant to do — make us laugh. Playing a gay couple together for nearly fifty years, the two snipe and barb at each other while clearly loving the other deeply. The pilot made me laugh out loud often, although I would be hard pressed to say whether the writing or the line deliveries are better. There is joy watching these two brilliant actors do their thing.
Ancient Impossible (H2)
MONDAY, JUNE 30
112 Weddings (HBO)
Although I am a hopeless romantic, I am fiercely cynical around the institution of marriage. This documentary, put together by Doug Block who has filmed 112 weddings, is very interesting. He goes back to the couples he filmed to talk to them about their marriages. Some of the marriages have failed; some have survived. Those that have survived fall into a spectrum of couples truly happy to be together and those that are together because they feel they should be. My cynicism reaffirmed, this film should be required viewing for anyone thinking about walking down the aisle.
TUESDAY, JULY 1
Time Scanners (PBS)
Archeologists are now using laser scanners to understand how ancient buildings were built. The pilot started with the pyramids in Egypt. For a PBS show, this one felt more like something you would see on TLC or Discovery. By that, I mean too much faux excitement and obviously scripted conversations between scientists trying to pretend they haven’t rehearsed. Interesting enough, but I expect more from PBS.
Biker Background Phoenix (History)
WEDNESDAY, JULY 2
American Grilled (Travel)
Dark Temptations (Investigation Discovery)
Man Finds Food (Travel)
THURSDAY, JULY 3
Secret Societies: Fads and Fetishes (E!)
FRIDAY, JULY 4
Macy’s Fourth of July Fireworks Spectacular (NBC)
ChrisB is a freelance writer who spends more time than she ought in front of a television screen or with a book in her hand.