The Get Down
Friday, Aug. 12 (Netflix)
Series Debut: It's the last Prestige TV Debut of the summer, and viewers and critics alike are probably going to go easier on Baz Luhrmann's The Get Down than they did on that other high-profile '70s NYC musical history tour, HBO's Vinyl. It's nearly as messy as that Martin Scorsese/Mick Jagger rock 'n' roll blowout, but The Get Down, which chronicles the origins of hip-hop in the Bronx, uses that chaos to better effect—it just takes a few episodes to, well, get down to it. Like Vinyl, The Get Down kicks off with an overstuffed 90-minute episode that tries to introduce everything but accomplishes little. Unlike Vinyl, it gets better and, occasionally even stunning, from there. Unfortunately, Part 1 is only six episodes; the final seven of Part 2 won't drop until 2017. Did no one explain to Luhrmann how Netflix works?
Saturday, Aug. 13 (Lifetime)
Movie: Billed as a new "Lifetime Original Telefilm" even though it was actually a 2014 theatrical release—but that was in Canada, so who cares? Perfect Sisters stars Abigail Breslin and Georgie Henley as the daughters of a violent, alcoholic mother (Mira Sorvino). Fed up with her abuse, asshole boyfriends and drunken insistence that she used be an award-winning actress in Woody Allen films, the sisters plot to knock out Mom with sleeping pills and drown her in the bathtub; spoiler (since it's based on a true story): they succeed. Enough with the downer dramas, Mira—let's make Romy and Michele 2 happen, already.
Odd Mom Out
New Season: I know nothing of the book Momzillas, nor author Jill Kargman, who stars as a wackier version of herself in the Momzillas-for-TV adaptation Odd Mom Out, which has all-too-quietly entered its second season (where's the promotion, Bravo?). Kargman is charmingly manic; she and her costars (including a consistently scene-stealing Abby Elliott) save OMO from becoming what could have been a flat send-up of Manhattan-mommy culture and over-privileged urbanites. It didn't even have to be this sharp and funny: Odd Mom Out, mercifully, isn't another bullshit Bravo reality show (it's the cable net's second scripted series, after the surprisingly good Girlfriends' Guide to Divorce). Anything that takes programming time away from The Real Housewives of Who the Hell Cares? is alright by me.
Tuesday, Aug. 16 (AXS TV)
Movie: Who to trust with bringing the conspiracy theory that Elvis Presley didn't actually die on Aug. 16, 1977, to the screen? Mark Cuban's deep-cable music channel and the producers of Sharknado, duh. Set two months before his "death," Elvis Lives! finds The King (played by B-movie vet Jonathan Nation) fat, druggy and paranoid for his life—but not for the obvious health reasons: He believes a crime syndicate is out to get him because of his FBI testimony against them, contrasting with the historical 1970s reality that the feds just thought Elvis was a caped loon requesting a badge. Here, he got that FBI badge and faked his own death to become an undercover agent ... yeeeaaah. Cool concept, but zero threat to the ultimate Elvis-never-died movie, Bruce Campbell's 2002 cult classic Bubba Ho-Tep.
2016 Summer Olympics
Through Aug. 21 (NBC)
Sports: Has anyone noticed that, due to NBC's coverage of the Republican National Convention, the Democratic National Convention and now the 2016 Summer Olympics, Aquarius hasn't aired a new episode in almost a month? And the remaining six episodes of Season 2—which has been an improvement on Season 1 so far, despite lousy ratings—haven't even been scheduled. Is NBC planning on burning them off on Saturday nights before the fall TV season arrives? Or shipping Aquarius off to a cable cousin like Syfy or USA? Or, worse, NBC.com? When are we going to learn how the '60s ended? Or if David Duchovny finally caught Charles Manson? With or without an assist from Special Agent Elvis Presley? So many questions; so little interest in the Summer Olympics.
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