Culture

Your Virtual Fall TV Preview: Tuesdays

If you want to know what’s new on primetime TV this fall, stop right here.

This is the time of year when all the broadcast networks (ABC, CBS, NBC, FOX, and the CW) put out those cheap, cheesy “preview” specials. They often put them on at odd times, and mostly focus on what seems to be the worst of what they have to offer. Consider this as an improved version of that.

The following are previews of the new shows that will be airing on Tuesday nights, along with a little background information and some speculation on how long they might last.

At 8 pm, ABC is offering the drama, No Ordinary Family, in which a typical family discovers that they have superpowers. Imagine a live-action version of The Incredibles, or a more serious TV version of Disney’s Sky High.

Viewers have proven that superhero movies do a lot better than TV shows tied around the same concept. Plus, this is up against one of the highest rated shows (NCIS) and one of the most critically praised (Glee).

FOX begins the 9 pm hour with Raising Hope. It’s a sitcom about a single guy trying to raise his newfound baby daughter with the help of his wacky family. If you liked Malcolm in the Middle or Sons of Tuscon, then you will probably feel the same way about this.

The network has been looking for a successful live-action comedy for quite a while now, but whether the show stays or goes will come down to just how funny it actually is. Don’t be surprised if it is moved to Sunday nights after American Idol starts up again in January.

Immediately following that is Running Wilde. Felicity’s Keri Russell stars as an environmentalist who is wooed by her former friend, (Arrested Development’s Will Arnett) an “absurdly rich” businessman.

Pitting a romantic comedy against Dancing with the Stars and Life Unexpected seems like a bad idea. It could find itself easily moved to another night, or canceled.

ABC will put Detroit 1-8-7 on at 10 pm. In this gritty drama, a (fictional) documentary team follows homicide police as they work the streets and solve crimes.

Since Detroit 1-8-7 is up against critically praised The Good Wife and Parenthood, and ABC has a penchant for quickly canceling underperforming shows, I don’t think this show will last long.

Coming soon, a look at Wednesday nights.

Cover down, pray through: Bob Dylan's underrated, misunderstood "gospel years" are meticulously examined in this welcome new installment of his Bootleg series.

"How long can I listen to the lies of prejudice?
How long can I stay drunk on fear out in the wilderness?"
-- Bob Dylan, "When He Returns," 1979

Bob Dylan's career has been full of unpredictable left turns that have left fans confused, enthralled, enraged – sometimes all at once. At the 1965 Newport Folk Festival – accompanied by a pickup band featuring Mike Bloomfield and Al Kooper – he performed his first electric set, upsetting his folk base. His 1970 album Self Portrait is full of jazzy crooning and head-scratching covers. In 1978, his self-directed, four-hour film Renaldo and Clara was released, combining concert footage with surreal, often tedious dramatic scenes. Dylan seemed to thrive on testing the patience of his fans.

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TV

Inane Political Discourse, or, Alan Partridge's Parody Politics

Publicity photo of Steve Coogan courtesy of Sky Consumer Comms

That the political class now finds itself relegated to accidental Alan Partridge territory along the with rest of the twits and twats that comprise English popular culture is meaningful, to say the least.

"I evolve, I don't…revolve."
-- Alan Partridge

Alan Partridge began as a gleeful media parody in the early '90s but thanks to Brexit he has evolved into a political one. In print and online, the hopelessly awkward radio DJ from Norwich, England, is used as an emblem for incompetent leadership and code word for inane political discourse.

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The show is called Crazy Ex-Girlfriend largely because it spends time dismantling the structure that finds it easier to write women off as "crazy" than to offer them help or understanding.

In the latest episode of Crazy Ex-Girlfriend, the CW networks' highly acclaimed musical drama, the shows protagonist, Rebecca Bunch (Rachel Bloom), is at an all time low. Within the course of five episodes she has been left at the altar, cruelly lashed out at her friends, abandoned a promising new relationship, walked out of her job, had her murky mental health history exposed, slept with her ex boyfriend's ill father, and been forced to retreat to her notoriously prickly mother's (Tovah Feldshuh) uncaring guardianship. It's to the show's credit that none of this feels remotely ridiculous or emotionally manipulative.

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Winner of the 2017 Ameripolitan Music Award for Best Rockabilly Female stakes her claim with her band on accomplished new set.

Lara Hope & The Ark-Tones

Love You To Life

Label: Self-released
Release Date: 2017-08-11
Amazon
iTunes

Lara Hope and her band of roots rockin' country and rockabilly rabble rousers in the Ark-Tones have been the not so best kept secret of the Hudson Valley, New York music scene for awhile now.

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To be a migrant worker in America is to relearn the basic skills of living. Imagine doing that in your 60s and 70s, when you thought you'd be retired.


Nomadland: Surviving America in the Twenty-First Century

Publisher: W. W. Norton
Author: Jessica Bruder
Publication date: 2017-09
Amazon

There's been much hand-wringing over the state of the American economy in recent years. After the 2008 financial crisis upended middle-class families, we now live with regular media reports of recovery and growth -- as well as rising inequality and decreased social mobility. We ponder what kind of future we're creating for our children, while generally failing to consider who has already fallen between the gaps.

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