It’s understandable that many people are glued to television news lately. But at a certain point, you’ve got all the news you need, and as the fourth talking head starts arguing with the fifth talking head, it’s time to change the channel.
We may not be living in a golden age of world peace, but fortunately we are living in a golden age of television, and it pays off at times like this.
There are a number of shows that you may enjoy tuning in to now, even if you haven’t been following them since the beginning of their first season.
The one I particularly want to call your attention to is Episodes, the third season of which is airing on YES Oh on Wednesday nights at 10 p.m. and then is rebroadcast at odd times throughout the week. It is also showing on YES VOD and YES HD. I know I’ve recommended the show before, but when I was channel surfing after a news round-up of the day’s missile attacks one night, I caught an episode and ended up watching the whole thing, even though I had already seen it.
Good comedy is the best genre to watch now. If you watch a strange, creepy show like The Leftovers (the one about how a small town copes after two percent of the world’s population disappears in an instant), you may find it depressing and redundant to see people so upset. If you watch a soapy drama like Dallas, you may get frustrated over people whose biggest problem is that their latest billion-dollar deal is going south or that their super-model type wife is angry at them for cheating with another gorgeous woman.
But Episodes is just so funny, it will actually make you forget your troubles for a moment. It’s about two very smart, sophisticated British comedy writers who go to Hollywood to adapt their TV show, a hit in Britain. But Matt LeBlanc (Joey from Friends), who plays himself, buys the show to star in and changes the main character from a bookish headmaster to a horny hockey coach and renames the show Pucks! How these literary Brits are seduced by Hollywood is incredibly funny, and it’s the rare show (30 Rock is another) where the main characteristic of the protagonists is their intelligence. You can probably figure out all you need to know five minutes into the episode even if you haven’t been watching – sitcoms are designed for that.
Really good drama is always interesting, of course. Masters of Sex, the Showtime drama about Masters and Johnson, the pioneering researchers into human sexuality, is a well-written and well-acted show, every minute of which will remind you how much attitudes toward sex have changed over the past 50 years.
The second season begins on HOT 3 on July 22 at 10:15 p.m. and on HOT VOD. for free. It’s also showing, starting the same date, on YES Oh at 10:55 p.m. and on YES VOD and YES HD. Again, it’s okay to come into this show in the second season, as the recap at the beginning should catch you up on everything you need to know. Michael Sheen and Lizzy Caplan are terrific in the lead roles.
The second season of Ray Donovan just started on YES Oh on Tuesdays at 10 p.m. (you can still catch the first episode of season 2 in reruns, as well as on YES VOD and YES HD). This show, which stars Liev Schreiber in the title role and Jon Voight as his menacing father, is basically an Irish version of The Sopranos, although it’s set in the world of a Hollywood fixer rather than a Jersey mobster. It’s brilliantly done, but if you want to get into it, you might need to go online and read recaps of the first season.
A number of wonderful documentaries that had their premieres at the Jerusalem Film Festival and at Docaviv are coming up on YES Docu in late July and early August, among them Hilla Medalia’s The Go-Go Boys: The Inside Story of Cannon Films. More on that next week.