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New Shows: April 26 - May 2, 2014

Happy Cinco de Mayo
THIS WEEK: Jim Gaffigan — John Oliver — Ann Richards — Playing House — Music Awards — the Improv

The New Shows color code: red means don’t bother; blue means maybe; green means good; magenta means great.

Starving in Suburbia (Lifetime)
True Life Presents: The Benjamins (MTV)

Jim Gaffigan: Obsessed (Comedy Central)
I am a big fan of this comedian and this hour did not disappoint. His routine is simple, yet hilarious and he manages to get through it without a swear word in sight. In this routine, he did a bit on being a bartender that nailed it. The first routine in a long time that I would recommend to anyone.

Last Week Tonight with John Oliver (HBO)
After honing his craft on The Daily Show, Oliver takes his brand of humor to a similar format. Because it is HBO, the language is blue and the envelope is pushed. But, I howled with laughter and can’t wait for more. Simply brilliant half hour of television.

Florida Untamed (National Geographic Wild)
Radio Disney Music Awards (Disney Channel)

All About Ann: Governor Richards of the Lone Star State (HBO)
I’m a huge admirer of Ann Richards and I have an enormous amount of respect for what this woman did for the political landscape. I was looking forward to this documentary and learning more about her. Unfortunately, the filmmakers shied away from any controversy or anything negative at all. It was finally, more a love letter than a true exploration of this fascinating woman. I enjoyed it, but was disappointed in the lack of content.

Rebel Road (Discovery)

Playing House (USA)
I couldn’t have gone into this with lower expectations. A high powered executive gives up her job to move in with her BFF, recently separated and eight months pregnant. I liked it, a lot. The chemistry between the two women is wonderful and the supporting characters are more than just stock sitcom tropes we have seen a thousand times. The second episode was even better than the first as the exposition was over and new people were introduced. This is a show that could grow into something really wonderful, especially if the writers keep incorporating all the other people surrounding these women.

Who Wore It Better? (E!)

iHeartRadio Music Awards (NBC)
If your part of the world is anything like mine, iHeartRadio has taken over the airwaves. Nearly every station is now part of this behemoth organization. It was only a matter of time before TPTB staged an awards show. It was exactly what you would expect from a group that is primarily radio. There was a great deal of music, much of it great. This is not a show to watch, however. I listened to it while I did chores around the house.

The highlight was Pharell winning the Innovator Award. He sang a mash-up of his songs that was incredibly infectious. If you haven’t downloaded “Happy” yet, stop reading this, do so immediately, then come back.

The Improv: 50 Years Behind the Brick Wall (Comedy Central)
Narrated by Adam Sandler, this is a really fun (and funny) look at the history of the Improv. Comics who are now household names talk about how they got started, their process, and what performing at the club means to them. If you like comedy, you will like this.

24: Live Another Day kicks off Monday, May 5 at 8:00 on Fox.
Louie returns Monday, May 5 at 10:00 on FX.

May Sweeps means that we are beginning to see the end of this television season. Shows that will wrap up this week include:

Sunday, May 4:
Resurrection at 9:00 on ABC

Monday, May 5:
2 Broke Girls at 8:00 on CBS
The Tomorrow People at 9:00 on The CW
Bates Motel at 10:00 on A&E

Tuesday, May 6:
New Girl at 9:00 on Fox

Wednesday, May 7:
CSI at 10:00 on CBS

Thursday, May 8:
Two and Half Men at 9:00 on CBS
Surviving Jack at 9:30 on Fox

Friday, May 9:
Unforgettable at 8:00 on CBS
Hawaii Five-0 at 9:00 on CBS
Blue Bloods at 10:00 on CBS

I have bemoaned, in this column and elsewhere, about the absurd amount of reality shows now on television. Every week, this one included, I list them but don’t watch them. Everything you need to know about the sheer number is evidenced in the excerpt below from an article in this week’s TV Guide about the Emmy’s:

This year, [the academy has created] two slots for noncompetitive reality series: One for “structured” shows (such as Antiques Roadshow) and one for “unstructured” (like Duck Dynasty). The decision to split them came after the academy received 92 submissions last year.

You read that correctly.  92 submissions.  Doesn't that just say it all?

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.

1 comment:

  1. Loved John Oliver's show. Just wish it was on more often, say, every night after The Daily Show in the slot Colbert will be giving up next year? Wishful thinking.


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