Despite it being the slowest time of the TV year, I have had plenty of DVR catching up to do after vacation. I’m slowly plowing through those saved shows as we wrap up the summer season and while there is a little gap before the fall season begins. Because of this, my TV posts won’t be quite so timely for a few weeks but here are the first couple of shows that I managed to get through.
UnReal recently ended it 2nd season. This show came out of nowhere to be one of the critic’s favorites in 2015, which is a rarity (if not a first) for Lifetime. It was a well-written, well-acted satire of a Bachelor- type reality show that while a little crazy at times sucked in the viewer. Of course, who exactly that viewer is creates an issue for the show. For those who actually watch reality shows UnReal is going to strip off all the pleasure of watching that genre. For those who don’t watch these types of shows (me included), why would you care enough to watch a satire of one? While a critical success, that ratings weren’t high highlighting this issue. I think the answer to the first question is unclear, the answer to the latter is to reinforce that we made the right decision to skip reality shows and despite the plot, the show was great. I wasn’t sure where this would go in Season 2, however.
Unfortunately, as is the case with many shows, Season 2 fell apart. It was very uneven. The attempt to bring race into the main storyline by bringing in an African American NFL football player as their “bachelor” backfired as the show completely mismanaged the plot. The world of network TV reality shows is an all white one and while it is commendable that UnReal attempted to highlight this issue, the way that handled it was pretty much a disaster culminating in a disastrous decision to have a white cop shoot one of the black characters. The show also brought in a new “producer” character with a story line that bordered on the ridiculous and his fate at the end of the season showed that the writers/producers figured this out. One of the major character’s personality was completely changed and not for the better. Rachel’s mental illness storyline was also tiresome and mangled. I’m not even going to get into the fertility and kidnapped kid storylines which just piled on to all the issues.
The second season explored the love hate relationship between Quinn and Rachel and it was all over the place. This show depends on the brilliant acting by Constance Zimmer and Shiri Appleby in this complicated relationship that defines the show. Nothing else really matters and when these two are on screen, the show is at its best. This most critical plot was back on track by the end of the season and the finale proved to be a game changer. Despite this season being a train wreck, there was something that drew me in each week and I’m hoping that the show is able to fix the multitude of issues of Season 2 and retool for Season 3.
The decision to watch this show was an experiment as I have never read, nor intend to read the comics that the show is based on. I wanted to see if someone who is not a 20 something male or familiar with the comics could find something of interest in this show. The experiment is over. I got through the season (although I fell asleep for portions of the show most nights) and I can’t say that I understood very much of what was going on other than it was about a Preacher with an evil spawn of something inside him; a hipster and a vampire. Oh, and there were a couple of angels hunting down the being inside the preacher. I can’t really tell you if it is good or bad just that I won’t be coming back to it. I think most reviewers thought the show was pretty good and I’m glad the fans of it have something to enjoy in this genre. I do think it is probably well done and I thought the stars (Dominic Cooper plays the lead) were actually very good so if this is how you roll, you will probably like it.
In short, if you are a fan of the comics or a teenager/millennial who leans towards shows like this, go for it – you will likely not be disappointed. It has been renewed for another season. For the rest of us, there are lots of great shows out there to binge during the summer lull that will be more rewarding.
You’re the Worst premiers 8/31 on FXX. This is one of my favorite shows and is the penultimate “dramedy”. If you haven’t heard of it, check out the first couple of seasons on Netflix while DVRing this new season as it is well worth it. The lead actress, Aya Cash is extraordinary.