The new year is in full swing, which means that the fall television season is over and done with. Last year wasn’t exactly a goldmine of quality T.V., but there were some memorable moments. There were a couple of new gems (“Brooklyn Nine-Nine” and, uh…did I already say “Brooklyn Nine-Nine?”) as well as some great returning shows (“Parks and Recreation” and “Sons of Anarchy”). We also, with a heavy heart, had to say goodbye to arguably one of the greatest original programs of all time (looking at you “Breaking Bad”). Now we look to the new crop offering those big, bad T.V. execs are throwing our way, and to be blunt, it’s a tad thin. Not to fear though, because there are some returning favorites and one so-glad-this-got-made detective noir, which gives us boob-tube hounds plenty to sink our teeth into.
Not all of us have access to HBO on a television, but HBOGO, the streaming option, is a solid route (that is if you’re willing to pay a monthly fee, or if your parents have it and are willing to give you their user code). For those on the fence, a good way to look at it is you get access to tons of HBO shows, documentaries, movies and their latest gem, “True Detective.” Starring Matthew Mcconaughey and Woody Harrelson, this slow burn, ultra dark cop drama is the real deal. You may have seen a few crime procedurals in your day, but none like this. The bulk of the story, set in 1995, follows two Louisiana detectives as they track down a ritualistic psychopath. It also jumps between time with both cops, in present day, being questioned about possible copycat murders. The real draw of the show isn’t the beautiful cinematography, great pacing, or even the intriguing writing—it’s the killer cast cast. Most notably, the out-of-nowhere brilliant Mcconaughey, as Detective Rust Cohle, giving a no-bullshit performance that’s equal parts intricate and scary. “True Detective” is a must-watch that stays with you.
Don’t buy into the hate and forget about Nick Kroll’s other (completely overrated) comedy show. “Kroll Show” is one of the funniest skit shows since Chappelle graced us with his brand back in 2003. While the first season set up Kroll’s characters, new and old, season two picks up where he left off with some fan favorites such as pubLIZity, C-Czar and the spot-on, ridiculously funny rip on “Degrassi,” “Wheels, Ontario.” “Kroll Show” isn’t just hilarious because of it’s biting reality show based satire, the real icing is Kroll and his guest stars (friends) commitment to the material and the ability to play it perfectly straight. If you wrote this show off last year, give it another try. If you still hate it, get a sense of humor.
First off, Lena Dunham’s show isn’t perfect. But maybe that’s what makes it so essential? “Girls” (also on HBO) has been lumped in with bargain bin clichés such as “voice of a generation,” but if you asked the title character, Hannah, what she thought she would probably talk you in circles. The charm of “Girls” comes from the fact that Dunham’s writing sheds a bright light on the fact that all of her characters are totally full of shit while also being completely sincere. In the season three premiere we catch up with our characters, who are all in different states of mind. Hannah seems content, Shoshanna looks tired, Jessa’s in rehab and Marnie, no longer with Charlie, is still trying to get a grip. While the first couple seasons focused on the dreaded life after college phases, the new direction seems to be taking a more “blues of being an adult” route. That being said, it’s still not crystal clear where Dunham wants to take us, but we’re looking forward to the ride.
It looked as if FX was going to have two great animated shows, but with the alarmingly unfunny premiere of “Chozen,” the James Bond satire, “Archer,” stands alone. Season five, appropriately titled ‘Vice,’ has the members of the now disbanded ISIS spy agency trying to lead a life of crime. Led again by everyone’s favorite asshole, Sterling, the gang has to unload a bunch of cocaine if they ever hope to be a successful drug cartel. This show has always displayed a fun sense of mischief and this season does not disappoint. The revamp of the show doesn’t feel forced and still lets the characters display all of their charm (or lack-thereof) in hilarious fashion. This is, and most likely will always be, an underrated show, but hopefully this new season will draw in some fresh viewers.