TV on Tap: Fox Sticks With “The Last Man on Earth,” Mamie Gummer Spies On “Manhattan” And “Louie” Kicks Off Fifth Season

News

John Oliver’s interview with Edward Snowden has already inspired a NSFW site to educate the easily-bored on the issue of data piracy. I continue to be amazed at how Oliver has managed to channel the internet’s tendency to troll as a means of influencing public policy.

Why are there so many TV remakes being made? Vulture blames it on the large number of scripted shows, as networks hope a familiar name will grab your interest in a way that those promos for Dig or Allegiance didn’t. Of course, plenty of reboots and sequel series have flopped (see Knight Rider, Melrose Place and Charlie’s Angels) so it’s not guaranteed a beloved series will get its past fans to tune in.

Ratings have settled down since it’s premiere, but they’re still good enough for Fox to order a second season of The Last Man on Earth. I’m still deciding how I feel about Last Man, what do you think? Would love to hear in the comments.

Will Forte shirtless in "Last Man on Earth"

A new Media Matters analysis takes a look at how TV news has paid attention to transgender stories. Unsurprisingly, MSNBC takes the lead in various ways for discussing transgender news stories. On a disappointing note, MSNBC was the only cable news channel that didn’t devote most of their coverage to Bruce Jenner, who has not come out as trans, making most of that coverage gossip and speculation.

The Americans’ Annet Mahendru will have a recurring role on The Following. Does that mean Nina might not be participating in the Cold War for much longer?

Producers in France and Italy are looking to turn spaghetti western Django and horror classic Suspiria into TV series. Suspiria has lingered on my “to watch someday” list but the description — which calls the series “a new Sherlock Holmes” doesn’t really sound like what I know about Suspiria. Still the important thing is:

Mamie Gummer is joining the second season of Manhattan as a Soviet spy. Somehow this show found a way to get better.

Chef Eddie Huang, whose memoir is the basis of Fresh Off the Boat, took to Twitter to complain about the series saying that he “doesn’t recognize” his own life and complaining that it doesn’t capture the pain of his childhood. His tweets include a reference to Chris Rock, which leaves me wondering if Huang watched what Everybody Hates Chris became. I get why he’s frustrated, but I don’t think he could make the show he wants to make on a broadcast network… or most cable channels.

There’s an effort to get Lego to make a Golden Girls play set. It’s gotten enough supporters for Lego to actually consider it, so now its just a matter of keeping your fingers crossed that Lego executives decide to go through with it.

"The Golden Girls" lego set

I’m still several months behind on Coronation Street but when I do catch up there will be a storyline where a gay couple has a run-in with a homophobic bed & breakfast owner.

There’s a legend in TV criticism of the “Rule of 4.” It says that TV seasons that begin in years ending in a 4 are especially influential, bringing new shows that change the course of TV. The 2004-2005 season saw Lost, Desperate Housewives and Grey’s Anatomy debut. The 1994-1995 season brought Friends and ER. In 1984 The Cosby Show debuted and 1964 was the year Peyton Place started its run, as well as comedies with fantasy elements like Bewitched, The Addams Family and Gilligan’s Island. (The 1974-1975 season seems to be an exception to this rule.) It’s seen as a year when the alignment shifts, not just in terms of what kind of programming works but a year when a network’s bad fortune turns around. So does the 2014-2015 season live up to the “rule”? The season’s breakout shows Empire, How to Get Away with Murder, Fresh Off the Boat and Jane the Virgin could change the way TV looks for the next several years, especially since the seasons that follow the “rule of 4” is full of copycat shows.  (Remember all those Lost clones? The Friends clones of the 90s?) Meanwhile, the breakout status of The Flash and Jane might mean that The CW finally found its audience.

Listings

The Ellen DeGeneres Show (syndicated) Check local listings
The Divine Miss M, Bette Midler is visiting Ellen to discuss her long career and maybe that bit of surprise news about her former performing colleague.

Days of Our Lives (NBC) Check local listings
While Sonny goes through Will’s tablet, Will tries to manage what John knows about Paul.

The Big Bang Theory (CBS) 8:00 PM ET
Sheldon and Amy’s relationship come to a “major crossroads” when they build a blanket fort together. Huh. Wasn’t there a Community episode like that? Meanwhile, Wolowitz meets his half-brother (Victorious’ Matt Bennett) and Penny agrees to go on Wil Wheaton’s podcast.

 Wil Wheaton, Johnny Galecki and Kaley Cucko in "The Big Bang Theory"

Backstrom (Fox) 9:00 PM ET
Backstrom gets a chance to say terrible things about sex therapy when a sex surrogate is murdered.

The Comedians (FX) 10:00 PM ET
FX’s newest show is a generation gap comedy where a comedy legend (Billy Crystal) struggles to work with an annoying up-and-comer (Josh Gad) on a sketch comedy show. They hate each other but the president of FX (played here by Denis O’Hare) insists that they work together if they want a show.

Billy Crystal and Josh Gad in "The Comedians"

Lip Sync Battle (Spike) 10:00 PM ET
It’s Anne Hathaway versus Emily Blunt. We already know Hathaway is busting out a wrecking ball for her performance. What can Blunt bring to compete?

Dig (USA) 10:00 PM ET
Peter and Golan’s murder investigation gets to the point of making an arrest. Since we’re only midway through the series, I expect complications.

Ori Pfeffer and Dove Meir in "Dig"

Louie (FX) 10:30 PM ET
FX’s critically-beloved comedy returns tonight. Past episodes have left people debating Louie’s sexuality, sexual assault and whether we can buy David Lynch as the guy in charge of picking David Letterman’s replacement. It should be fun to see what this season brings.

The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon (NBC) 11:35 PM ET
Madonna is on to discuss her Rebel Heart.

What will you be watching tonight? Please share in the comments!

 

Tomorrow’s Preview

Days of Our lives (NBC) Check local listings
“John is stunned when he realizes the truth.” I guess that tells us what kind of job Will does trying to manipulate him.

Daredevil (Netflix) streaming
Can Netflix and Charlie Cox make us forget Ben Affleck?

Lyle Masaki is a fan of obscure superheroes, video games, adorkable guys and that show you loved that got cancelled way too soon.
@LyleMasaki