Tag: cable

Thanks to Netflix, ‘YOU,’ a Show From 2018, Is 2019’s First Hit

In 2018, YOU was one of the most slept on—and most fun—shows of the year. It premiered in September, on a regular degular cable channel, Lifetime, and the season one finale aired a staggering nine weeks later in mid-November, a release and rollout straight out of 2011. One short week into 2019, though, anyone who wasn’t privy before would be forgiven to think YOU is a brand-new Netflix original that dropped over the holidays somewhere in between Bird Box and Bandersnatch. If a series airs anywhere outside of the Big Five (HBO, AMC, FX, Showtime and, um, NBC?) does it even truly exist until Netflix? Apparently not.

A series taking on a new and ultimately more fulfilling life after hitting home video is hardly a new concept. Newer shows drifting unnoticed at large until they hit a common denominator streaming service is how most of them gain legs in this post-apocalyptic TV dystopia we’re living in, and as for classic shows that a new generation is warming to, well, did you hear Netflix almost lost Friends?!

Still, it’s curious to watch a majority of my timeline react to YOU not as if they’re just discovering it, but like it didn’t exist until now, with the common descriptor being “that new Netflix show” (not unlike Black Mirror’s Channel 4 to Netflix path before it.) Granted, some of the confusion probably stems from the fact that You is a Netflix show now. A second season was initially renewed by Lifetime before being dropped and then picked up by Netflix, where it was already an original internationally to begin with. This is a good thing, mostly. For one, the show’s pulpy and propulsive narrative is built for binging, (this coming from a guy who sticks to a two-three episode per sitting restraint—anything more just becomes narrative soup and impossible to distinguish episodically in my opinion but that’s my idiosyncrasy to bear). Amidst the trappings of an airport potboiler, YOU cleverly weaponizes expectations, casting proto-internet boyfriend Dan Humphrey as Joe, a toxic lecherous creep who preys on a cast of narcissists so loathsome no one is really “good.” The show’s whole aesthetic is being self-awarely over-the-top and soapy, but it’s that self-awareness that also makes room for sharp dialog and moments so in on the joke that they’re hilarious to laugh both with and at (Joe’s tweets as a rich bro he’s kidnapped, for one). The commentary on contemporary social media and the way it has informed our personas is actually incisive; Peach Salinger is the MVP of course but everything about, say, Beck’s influencer friend Anikka, is remarkably dead-on. We all know a few Becks who curate a more fulfilled life on IG, as well as entitled, monied douches who harp about bullshit like artisanal soda. What’s more, in some fleeting moments, it’s actually deceptively sweet. On the surface, the turns Beck and Joe’s relationship take in episodes seven through nine would actually provide the spine for a very solid rom-com if those turns weren’t, you know, borne out of deception, manipulation and murder. Part of the genius of the show is the way it doesn’t shortchange building these two into an actual relationship (or at least, explaining how and why Beck could be so blinded) in service of all the murder, frame-jobs and ridiculous book cages.

Review: FX’s ‘Snowfall’ Dramatizes an Origin Story for Crack Cocaine

Where would golden-age TV be without drugs? Illicit substances have served shows almost like characters, each with its own circumstances and even personality: heroin in “The Wire,” meth in “Breaking Bad,” marijuana in “Weeds,” bootleg hooch in “Boardwalk Empire.” “Snowfall,” which begins Wednesday on FX, aims to write an origin story for crack cocaine, which spread virally in the 1980s, and to invest viewers in the lives that it changed or ended. Over the first six episodes, though, it doesn’t yet get around to the first goal, and it manages the second only now and then.

Created by John Singleton, along with Eric Amadio and Dave Andron, “Snowfall” sets up a sprawling story. (That’s what drug dramas do; they sprawl.) The first and most compelling part kicks off in June 1983, the camera swooping down on a palm-tree-lined street in South Central Los Angeles, the turf of Mr. Singleton’s 1991 movie, “Boyz N the Hood.” 04SNOWFALL-master768We meet Franklin Saint (Damson Idris), a level-headed kid fresh out of a fancy suburban school he attended on scholarship. At school, there was no place for him — he felt like “a mascot” — so he’s working at a convenience store and doing small-time dealing. When chance connects him with Avi Drexler (Alon Moni Aboutboul), an Israeli coke kingpin with gleaming gold-rimmed shades and a necklace, gun and phone to match, Franklin gets a dangerous opportunity to apply his ambition.

10 TV Moments That Totally Changed Everything in 2012

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Now that the second decade of the Golden Age of television is solidly underway, everything’s different, right? It’s like ever since Tony Soprano started seeing a shrink, we don’t have to. What can a therapist tell us that a showrunner can’t? Clear eyes, full heart, can’t lose — except when we do lose, because power destroys us (see: Breaking Bad), terrorism threatens us (Homeland), the cycle of poverty can’t be broken (The Wire), and we are ultimately alone (Mad Men).

These days, we grapple with humanity when we watch television, so most of us feel less guilty about neglecting books in order to do it. There are distinctions within the medium, of course, and Here Comes Honey Boo Boo helps us make them. Now maybe sometimes, after a season comes to close and a few months have passed, you think, “Wait, what the hell happened on that show again? How come the world is such a mess? Am I making poor life choices?” But then you can always watch Louie. These shows are important (depending on your definition of the word). We need them (so we think). And here are the 10 moments of the year that changed everything (or at least something).

Nia Long, Lorenz Tate Reunite

ImageFor those “Love Jones” fans pining for a sequel, the next best thing has happened. The film’s stars Nia Long and Lorenz Tate will be reuniting for the second season of the Showtime series “House of Lies,” joining the show’s headliner Don Cheadle. The two will not be playing a couple, however. Long has been cast as “a fellow consultant and former classmate of Marty’s [played by Cheadle] who proves to be a formidable foe.” Tate will play the role of his younger brother, described as an activist and “less ambitious” than Cheadle’s high-powered character. Both actors have been signed on for recurring roles in the acclaimed comedy series, according to reports.

Read it at The Urban Daily.

Oprah’s India Special Under Fire

Oprah may be the “Queen of Media,” but she’s still susceptible to the backlash that sometimes comes with the title. She recently documented her trip to India this past January for an upcoming two-part OWN special,“Journey Through India.” Considering this trip to be “her greatest life experience,” Oprah visited a wide array of sites, festivals, parties, regions, and individuals, including a well-off family in Mumbai. During a dinner with the family, Oprah asked her hosts whether “some people eat with their hands still.” In another segment, Oprah is seen visiting a family of five living in cramped quarters. Herein lies the contention that has sparked criticism from many. India Real Time, a highly read and influential newspaper in the country, published a negative Op-Ed about the special that read,”The smell of incense (tick), the sari fitting (tick), the aspirations of slum dwellers (tick), and the glitz of Bollywood (tick). Let’s not forget arranged marriages and the fact that Indians, even rich ones, “still” eat with their hands (tick, tick). India as Westerners imagine it, one stereotype at a time.”  READ MORE