Author John Green provided the source material for Hulu’s Looking for Alaska, a story about a kid going to boarding school, falling in love and dealing with loss. It’s not clear who will be “lost”, but since it looks more like a mini-series than a series, I didn’t predict renewal or cancellation. It likely will be the narrator who is lost, so mini-series makes sense.
Charlie Plummer plays the main character, Miles aka Pudge, and generally speaking, he’s a wallflower to whom nothing ever happens. His father went to a boarding academy (which seems way more like a summer camp), and he wants to go too to experience SOMETHING (not for nothing, he had no friends at his regular school anyway). Plummer is okay, but the character is mostly a blank slate. I haven’t seeen Plummer before, but wide-eyed innocence is fine. In fact, the whole show feels a lot like Almost Famous, same outsider-looking-in vibe. » Read the rest
The premise for the Netflix show, Living with Yourself, is a comedy about becoming a better version of yourself through some sort of cloning procedure. Just the weirdness of the premise alone led me to predict cancellation.
The show stars Paul Rudd as generic corporate drone who hates his life. He’s in advertising, hates what he’s doing, unmotivated, depressed at work; at home, his wife wants to have a baby but he needs to go find out about his motility, and he’s not feeling it. A guy at work who transformed his life tells him about an exclusive spa. He goes all in on it, even spending the money they have set aside for getting pregnant. As he’s entering the spa, he sees Tom Brady leaving, so he’s SOLD.
This is where it starts to go weird…the spa takes a DNA sample from his mouth, gives him some gas, and he wakes up buried in the forest in a diaper. » Read the rest
I’ve mentioned before that lots of shows want to introduce a mystery so they can be the next Lost. FaceBook Watch created a show this year called Limetown, and my notes from the launch notice say “Missing neuroscience community members”. Based on that, I predicted cancellation.
So the basic premise is that a bunch of neuroscientists and their family moved to a remote compound with very little info about what it would focus on or what it was going to do. It had opening day speeches, and lots of talk about the dream. But then sometime later a 911 call comes into a neighbouring area asking for firetrucks, ambulances and police to come, send everything, and to “turn it off”, whatever “it” was. The police and everyone arrived and found a private security force refusing to let anyone in (make a note of this, it’s important later). After three days, they opened the gates. » Read the rest
When I heard there was a new show called Daybreak about a dystopian high school world, with gangs of 4Hers for example, I predicted cancellation. I didn’t notice it was Netflix, so the business model is different, but the premise was just too weird to renew. I figured it was probably some form of Divergent or Hunger Games.
Nope, the show draws from six separate sources:
The show takes place after a nuclear attack, which is generic for any number of sources;
It steals a page from Star Trek back in the Original Series, from an episode in season 1 called Miri. In it, all the grown-ups (called “grups” in the ST show) are killed by a disease. In Daybreak, they are either dead or have all turned into zombies who keep repeating the last thought they had which is annoyingly mundane (i.e., as one attacks, she keeps repeating a desire to get yoga pants at Lululemon);
Add in a little bit of Red Dawn, where the kids have to defend themselves;
Pull out the name-dropped Mad Max costumes, vehicles, and marauding gangs;
Drop a pinch of the Warriors (there is a direct homage scene where five kids are inviting them out to “play” in the streets); and,
Give it a light-hearted main character narrating directly to the camera like Ferris Bueller.
EPIX put out a decent amount of new shows this year, and one of them is Godfather of Harlem. Shows like American Gangster and Hoodlum have used some of the same real-life characters before, so it’s not unfamiliar ground for many, but there’s no telling how close it is to reality of the era. Based on the premise, I predicted cancellation.
Ignoring the historical roots for a moment, the premise is a black crime boss returns from Alcatraz to his old neighbourhood in Harlem. According to the show, he went down on a narcotics bust that the mafia families had screwed up, and yet he took the hit and didn’t snitch. So he has some goodwill on his side. But he wants his business back. While he’s been gone, the Italians have taken it over, from 110th to 160th Street. I found two scenes particularly compelling in the opening episode.