Television: Offbeat fare on the small screen

Emmy, Lizzy, Lily, Buddy and ‘Turkey.’

IDF RESERVISTS watch television in a Kiryat Gat community center as they wait for orders. (photo credit: MARC ISRAEL SELLEM/THE JERUSALEM POST)
IDF RESERVISTS watch television in a Kiryat Gat community center as they wait for orders.
 at 4 p.m. in Los Angeles, which means they will be aired live here on September 19 at 2 a.m., if you are one of the faithful who rise early to catch the red carpet and all that goes with it. Jimmy Kimmel will be hosting, and you can expect a lot of political humor.
However, unlike the Golden Globes, the show does not serve its nominees liquor, so it won’t be as unpredictable as that event.
Masters of Sex is returning for its fourth season on September 17 on HOT VOD and HOT Plus starting at 10 p.m. and on YES Oh at 11 p.m. The third season veered back and forth between boundary-breaking sexual revolution and research and soapy melodrama, the same line that the well-acted series has walked since its beginning.
Dr. William Masters (Michael Sheen), the chilly, self-absorbed but visionary sex researcher at the center, has always ignored others’ feelings and done whatever he thinks will further his career. At the end of the third season, he finds himself at his lowest ebb ever, abandoned by his lover and collaborator, Virginia Johnson (Lizzy Caplan), who finally chooses Dan Logan (Josh Charles, whose most famous role was as Will Gardner on The Good Wife), a relatively normal fragrance researcher.
Bill found himself betrayed by the young, pretty research subject, Nora (Emily Kinney), who, working with a crazed pastor, has framed Bill to make it look as if he was paying her for prostitution.
The previous seasons are available on HOT and YES VOD, so you can catch up if you need to.
The fourth season picks up the pieces, plus looks into the more sexually liberated future that the Masters-Johnson research helped create, much as the later seasons of Mad Men focused on the changing morality of the late 1960s and early ‘70s.
Lily Tomlin has been one of the best comic actresses since she became famous on Laugh-In in the early 1970s. But she is also an Oscar-nominated dramatic performer (for her role in Robert Altman’s Nashville). She uses all facets of her acting talent in the Netflix series Frankie and Grace with Jane Fonda, in which the two actresses play women whose husbands leave them, announcing they are gay and want to marry each other.
In the indie movie Grandma, which will be shown on September 13 at 10 p.m. on YES 3, she also veers back and forth between comedy and tragedy as she portrays Elle, a revered but broke poet who tries to help her granddaughter, Sage (Julia Garner), find the money for an abortion.
Tomlin has never cared about being likable, and her character here, while entertaining, is so blunt and ornery it sometimes strains credulity: Who would ask a woman like this for help? Still, the movie has wonderful cast – it also features Marcia Gay Harden, Judy Greer and Sam Elliott (The Big Lebowski, Veep) – and is offbeat and well done.
Another offbeat choice is the series Impastor, which will premiere on HOT Plus on Sunday nights at 10 p.m. starting September 11. It is also available on HOT VOD.
It stars Michael Rosenbaum as Buddy, a down-on-his-luck guy fleeing a loan shark, who steals another man’s identity and shows up in a small town, pretending to be a gay pastor.
It’s a funny premise but not a terribly subtle one, as most of the jokes revolve around a straight man trying to convince everyone he is gay. The show, which was produced by TV Land, has already been renewed for a second season.
Jim Henson’s Turkey Hollow is a family-friendly TV movie that will be shown on YES 5 at September 10 at 5 p.m. Although Henson, who created the puppets used on Sesame Street and The Muppet Show, passed away more than 25 years ago, his children and colleagues have continued making the cute, quirky puppets.
In this movie, a family goes to spend Thanksgiving in the remote woodland home of an aunt, and then meet some weird but ultimately friendly creatures in the forest. While there is nothing ground-breaking here, it’s pleasant enough, and younger kids will enjoy it.