Summer TV Roundup, Week 7


The days are long and hot, and the TV options are hit-and-miss. Must be summer. In these weekly posts I look at the pilot and second episode of new scripted series this summer. Don't see a new show listed below? Check previous weeks.

Wednesday Nights:
Blood Drive, Wednesdays at 10 p.m. on SyFy (Premiered June 14)
About: This Grindhouse-style series is beyond edgy. The second episode featured uncomfortable sex scenes, lots of violence and, oh, the plot centered around a diner for cannibals. This truly is the road trip from hell, for those taking it and viewers alike. Last week I said this show was gross and unwatchable. If possible, episode two was more unsettling and even weirder. I'm not sure what they were going for here (though there's probably a subset of hard core edgy horror movies fans that love this). It's not for me, and it's probably not for most people. This is easily the worst new show I've seen in 2017.
Pilot Grade: F
Second Episode: F-

Thursday Nights:
The Mist, Thursdays at 10 p.m. on Spike (Premiered June 22)
About: The pilot for this series aired on Thursday, but Spike made the next two available online. I only watched one of those (episode two) and that was more than enough for me. "The Mist" is a novella from Stephen King that I've read and enjoyed. In 2007, it was adapted by Frank Darabont into a feature film that I also thought was quite enjoyable. Now, it's been adapted into a weekly series. I was excited by the prospect, but concerned when I saw the trailer. That concern turned into disappointment when I watched the pilot and second episode of this dreadful series. Were it not for "Blood Drive," this might be the worst new series I've seen this summer. It's odd, poorly constructed, and bears little resemblance to the story I enjoyed. And, after two episodes, I still can't even tell what's happening. And, remember, I saw the movie and read the book. That's a problem.
Pilot Grade: D-
Second Episode: D

Sunday Nights:
My Mother And Other Strangers, Sundays at 8 p.m. on PBS (Premiered June 18)
About: This series is set during World War II on a little island in Ireland. It tells the story of its people through the eyes of a narrator in the future who, while a young boy during this time, is fondly remembering the time and his mother's role in it. The first two episodes were fine, but weren't overly compelling. If you're a fan of historical dramas, and looking to fill a Sunday night void, this might be for you.
Pilot Grade: C
Second Episode: C

Prime Suspect: Tennison, Sundays at 10 p.m. on PBS (Premiered June 25)
About:
Fans of crime dramas know all too well about "Prime Suspect," the long running British series featuring the tenacious Helen Mirren as Jane Tennison. It was a series so popular it inspired an American re-make/rip-off and now a prequel, set in 1973. In England, the series is called "Prime Suspect 1973." Here, it's been re-titled "Prime Suspect: Tennison" for some reason. It premiered on Sunday on PBS with Stefanie Martini now in the role of Tennison. I wanted to like it, but the first episode felt boring and I didn't really latch on to any of the characters. It's more than possible that the original series was about the star power of Mirren, and this won't be able to match that. The first episode was OK, but hardly compelling. We'll see if it develops more in episode two.
Pilot Grade: C

Streaming Series:
GLOW, now streaming on Netflix (Premiered June 23)
About: Netflix has become adept at providing the right salve to sooth the void of summer. Last year it was the surprisingly excellent "Stranger Things." This year, your new obsession might be a 1980s-set comedy about women wrestling. I know, it sounds like a stretch. But "GLOW" is charming and delightful in its own way. Alison Brie is great in the lead role, and I like Marc Maron in the supporting role and Betty Gilpin in an interesting role as well. The first two episodes were an easy watch and helped create an interesting, different, and compelling world. All 10 episodes are now available for streaming, and at around 30 minutes it's an easy binge watch.
Pilot Grade: B+
Second Episode: B+

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