“Life Sentence” (9 p.m. Eastern Wednesdays, CW) is notable for being a rare CW show not based on comic books or the supernatural, and unfortunately it’s also notable for being really bad. You’d think there’d be something special about it if the network is willing to push aside its DC superheroes for a whole hour, but the premiere episode plays like one of those unaired pilots you’d come across on YouTube and then say “Ah, so that’s why it wasn’t picked up.”
“Lady Bird,” now available from Redbox, didn’t totally connect with me, and since the glowing theatrical reviews and awards are long since in, that statement says more about me than writer Greta Gerwig’s directorial debut. Coming-of-age films tend to be more personal than other genres; I got peeved in the early Aughts if anyone thought my beloved “Ghost World,” “The Good Girl” or “Garden State” were less than brilliant. So if “Lady Bird” is the most personally fulfilling movie a particular viewer has ever seen, they’re not wrong.
This week, “Atlanta” (10 p.m. Eastern Thursdays, FX) began its second season of being about nothing and everything. The episode “Alligator Man” opens with two ATL youths lounging around when one mentions that they can purchase drugs at a local drive-thru restaurant if they ask for the “No. 17.” We assume they are heading there to buy said drugs, only to find they are robbing the place at gunpoint. But the employee working the window is armed, too. Bullets fly, ending with a teen girl – unseen until that point — emerging from the backseat of the youths’ car, screaming. Cue the opening titles.
“American Vandal” – an eight-episode fictional docu-mystery that dropped last fall on Netflix – explores the snicker-worthy case of someone spray-painting penises on 27 cars. And to be sure, creators Dan Perrault and Tony Yacenda intend the straight-faced talk about “dicks” and “ball hairs” and “mushroom heads” to appeal to our inner juvenile comedian.
“Crazy Ex-Girlfriend” recently marked its 100th song, so it’s a perfect excuse – I mean, reason – to rank every song. (This list goes to 89 because the show counted some reprises and songlets, and I did not – although in some cases, I combined a related songlet or reprise in an entry with a more complete song.)
“Pitch Perfect 3” is far and away the weakest film in the franchise. It feels incomplete yet somehow oddly overstuffed, with some story elements that feel extremely out of place.
All of the best traits and very few of the worst traits of hat-loving TV producer Amy Sherman-Palladino are present in the delightful “Marvelous Mrs. Maisel,” which recently hit Amazon Prime with an eight-episode first season. Along with “Gilmore Girls” and “Bunheads,” call it a career hat trick.
I used to listen to Kumail Nanjiani’s “X-Files Files” podcast, and occasionally he’d reference the time when his girlfriend was in a coma. Although it registered with me as an unusual thing to have in one’s background, I didn’t realize it was enough of a story for a full movie. A few years later, I’m lauding that movie — “The Big Sick” (now available via streaming and Redbox) — as 2017’s best comedy so far.
There are broad “Star Wars” parodies, and then there are insider-y “Star Wars” parodies, and then there’s a near-perfect mix of the two: The “Family Guy” episode “Blue Harvest,” which aired 10 years ago today. According to the DVD’s bonus features, the project came about when Lucasfilm approved all of “Family Guy’s” “Star Wars” parodies and Seth MacFarlane and company figured why not ask if they could do a whole episode?
“Grindhouse” was among my favorite films of 2007 and “Machete” was my No. 1 movie three years later. Although I am almost totally ignorant of 1970s grindhouse cinema, those films were cheap, dirty, gory, ridiculous, lowest-common-denominator fun. But could such a purposely silly genre work as a TV show, artistically or commercially? Time will tell on the second point, but after one episode, “Blood Drive” (10 p.m. Eastern Wednesdays on SyFy) seems primed to go the distance.