History's Sons of Liberty rips the powdered wigs off America’s founding fathers. In a good way. The three-night series follows the seeds of the American Revolution from around 1765 to the dawn of the formal military conflict. It's infotainment in a sense, dramatizing the lives of the revolutionaries in ways that can feel a bit soapish. They’re also true to the way it really happened. Through a fast-moving combination of live action and CGI, Sons of Liberty shows how the point of no return became America’s starting point.
Spouting politically incorrect comments between puffs on his cigar, Portland, Ore., police detective Everett Backstrom is a rude, crude, self-destructive package of bad habits. He's a mess. The wildly uneven series that bears his name also is a mess, a murky mixed bag of dreary and delightful moments. Fox's Backstrom is based on the series of novels by Swedish author and criminologist Leif G.W. Persson. More than a little something got lost in the translation. All of the actors, led by Office alum Rainn Wilson, deliver when the writing catches fire, showing us compelling visions of what Backstrom could be. Like the title character, though, this series needs help. It needs work. And, absolutely, it needs time.
Time travel and the end of humanity are the subjects of the Syfy Channel’s knockoff of the 1995 Terry Gilliam film 12 Monkeys, and you may need a chronometer to figure out what time period it is. If you’re really smart, though, you’ll get an alarm clock. Most of the performances are pretty laughable and it's bad Syfy didn’t invest more in a better script and direction. The channel is great at mock films like Sharknado but often takes its sci-fi-loving audience for granted with some of its serious content. In this case, Syfy had the 1995 film as a playbook. They may not have been able to cast Willis or Pitt, but the series could have been better instead of being pretty much a waste of time.
Had they drawn it as one of those adult-themed, lonely-loser, late-night cartoon series, FXX’s Man Seeking Woman might have been as easy to swipe away as a run-of-the-mill dating profile. Instead, it is a live-action comedy that often moves and thinks like a cartoon, to great effect, in a hallucinatory world of socializing where a blind date who seems like a troll is, in fact, a gross little troll, and where a trio of alien sex robots show up to your apartment on the night your neat new girlfriend sleeps over.
My Husband’s Not Gay, the latest despicable piece of so-called reality TV coming to carny freak-show channel TLC, is wrong in so many ways. It’s difficult to say whether it’s more offensive or dangerous. The show follows four Utah Mormon men who are apparently repressing their sexual orientation in order to conform to the requirements of their faith community. Either the couples onscreen are kidding themselves, the producers are knowingly exploiting false or naive narratives, or together they’ve decided to ignore all scientific evidence and endorse a plan to “pray the gay away.” Really, in 2015?
Hindsight, VH1’s foray into the scripted programming game, is a departure from the network’s more traditional offerings — in a good way. The network that built its brand on celebrating pop culture by the decades has produced a solid original series that takes a nostalgic walk back into the ’90s. Hindsight’s pilot produced a plot full of promising loose-ends, and a premise that would unearth the memories of ’90s past. Some little nitpicky things shouldn’t detract from the fact that VH1 is doing something different in terms of its scripted offerings, while staying true to its flair for nostalgia.