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New Shows (2013): July 29 - August 4

The Zorb Ball
A RIDE-iculous Event
Like so much of the rest of the world, the networks are having a break in August and airing fewer new shows. For clarity, I have listed the new shows in the order they originally aired. I am also now listing the day and time the show aired in case it is something you would care to watch. The color code has changed again. Black means I didn’t watch it; red means don’t bother; blue means maybe; green means good; magenta means great.

First Comes Love (HBO, Monday at 9:00pm)
Nina Davenport is a documentary filmmaker who documented her decision to have a baby at the age of 42. The film follows her through the making of her decision, the birth and the first eighteen months of her son’s life. This film should have been wonderful as whether or not to have a baby alone is one of the decisions that all single woman who hit 40 make. But, Davenport is so narcissistic that, by the end, I actively disliked her. It made it difficult for me to care.

The Writers’ Room (Sundance, Monday at 10:00pm)
This is one of the best things I have seen in quite a while. Jim Rash interviews the writers of some of the best shows on television right now. In the pilot, he talked to the Breaking Bad staff. Although it is not a show I watch, it was fascinating to listen to them talk about how they come up with their stories and how they felt as the series comes to an end. If you are at all interested in writing or in television (and I assume you are since you are reading this), don’t miss this series.

The Profit (CNBC, Tuesday at 10:00pm)
Believe it or not, CNBC has gotten into the reality television game. This one, however, is a huge step up from the norm. Marcus Lemonis goes into failing companies and helps to turn them around. A very savvy businessperson, Lemonis deals well with people and is able to truly help them. Not a series I will continue with, but I got caught up in the episode I watched.

Capture (The CW, Wednesday at 9:00pm)
It wants to be The Hunger Games; it ends up being a mash-up of Hide and Seek/Laser Tag. Every reality competition cliche you can think of and boring on top of it all. Everything I believe about reality shows is proven by the small print at the end of this episode:

Portions of this program not affecting the outcome of the competition have been edited/recreated. Some game elements not affecting the actual “hunt” portions of the competition may have been played out in a manner that differs from the actual time and/or sequence of events, however, never in a manner that affected the outcome of the competition.

In other words, it is all edited nonsense.

Best Daym Takeout (Travel, Wednesday at 10:00pm)
A guy called Daym travels around the US choosing the best takeout food from various cities. He started in Chicago, which, I can tell you from experience, has some amazing food. This is fun as the host is good natured, sweet and loves meeting new people. He certainly likes his food as well and it fun to see him choosing the best of the best.

The Awesomes (Hulu, Streaming)
A riff on superhero cartoons, this is fun enough but didn’t really grab me. All ten episodes are available to stream.

TakePart Live (Pivot, Thursday at 12:00am)
From the Pivot website as I don’t get this channel: TakePart Live mines news and social feeds to find the conversations and stories that matter to Millennials. The topical show will tackle timely issues without taking itself too seriously. With hosts you’d want to hang out with and guests you’d love to share a drink with, five nights a week TPL will dig deep into stories and go beyond the headlines and hashtags to cover what you’re talking about now and what you will be talking about tomorrow — from Presidential speeches to subversive ad campaigns to the viral videos and memes clogging up your Facebook feeds.

Please Like Me (Pivot, Thursday at 8:00pm)
A very sweet Australian import about a young man coming to terms with his literally crazy mother and the fact that he is gay. I really liked the pilot. The characters are not laugh out loud funny, but they are certainly recognizable and relatable. Pivot is streaming the pilot, but not the rest. Too bad.

Our Nixon (CNN, Thursday at 9:00)
Haldeman, Ehrlichman, and Chapin were three of Nixon’s closest advisers, so close that all three of them served federal time for their role in Watergate. While they worked in the Nixon White House, they all shot Super 8 film of their experiences. This documentary uses those films, as well as excerpts from the Nixon tapes, to give us a sense of the inner workings of that administration. Sometimes funny, sometimes sad, always ironic, this is a film I recommend if you are at all interested in that period of our history.

Hatfields & McCoys: White Lightning (History, Thursday at 10:00pm)
From the website: "Hatfields & McCoys: White Lightning" follows these two famous families as they try to put aside their hateful history and come together to build a new business. Their story is less about making moonshine and more about the clashes between and within the two families that threaten success at every turn. Progress is slow and often comedic as tempers flare up, tensions run high and family competition and century-old rivalries continue on a whole new level. Can the Hatfields and McCoys get past their famous feud and find a path to a brighter future and a new history?

Obsessed With The Dress (WE, Friday at 10:00pm)
From the website: "Obsessed with the Dress" is the inside look at selecting the ultimate gown that can either make or break a pageant girl’s hopes of clinching the crown. Michele Strom, owner of the Winning Crown Boutique and former beauty queen, balances the demands of a high-maintenance clientele and in-store conflict among her highly competitive beauty queen staffers.

Hunt for the Labyrinth Killer (Lifetime, Saturday at 8:00pm)
A standard whodunnit that was, nevertheless, entertaining. Lifetime movies are all cut from the same cloth, but this one had a double twist at the end that genuinely surprised me. It also left us with the tease of a sequel, but we shall see.

Psychic Tia (A&E, Saturday at 10:00pm)
I broke my own rule and sat down to watch this as I am intrigued by psychics. I couldn’t make it through the teaser before I realized just how full of crap this woman and this show are. I turned it off.

RIDE-iculous (Travel, Sunday at 8:30pm)
A show that highlights the best rides for adrenaline junkies. As I am the biggest coward currently walking God’s green earth, I loved this because I got to watch it safely ensconced on my sofa with a cup of coffee. It did make me wish I were a bit braver as everyone on the rides looked as though they were having a blast.

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