James Corden probably sleeps at CBS Studios, Rob Lowe is a "Mental Samurai," and Jennifer Carpenter was definitely on Dexter.
Bad TV is a career-killing disease that turns celebrity death rattles into song.
In 2019, the sickness will spread gangrenous reality TV and perpetuate the vicious myth that all small towns are full of human interest stories. The lineup of new shows coming to prime-time is one long fever dream featuring Rob Lowe's puns, sub-par government espionage, and Frankenstein's monster solving murders.
We all deserve apologies for these 7 upcoming shows:
1.The World's Best (CBS, February 3)
Mark Darnell at CBS says he's "coming for" NBC's crown with a talent competition to rival America's Got Talent. With James Corden somehow hosting this in addition to The Late Late Show, the hodgepodge panel of judges includes RuPaul, Faith Hill, and Drew Barrymore. Soon there will be a reality TV show pitting all the talent competition shows against each other, a Most Dangerous Game of network bigwigs in which Darnell hunts Simon Cowell.
2. The Enemy Within (NBC, February 25)
Ain't it Cool News
Remember how Jennifer Carpenter used to be on Dexter? Apparently, now she's starring as "former CIA agent Erica Wolfe, the most notorious traitor in modern history and most hated woman in America." Yes, her new character is let out of federal supermax prison to "help the FBI stop some of the most dangerous acts of espionage threatening the United States today," but mostly, Jennifer Carpenter once played a detective on Dexter.
3. Mental Samurai (Fox, February 26)
Who better to host a reality show professing to "push every aspect of human intelligence and mental agility" than Rob Lowe? Contestants will tackle an obstacle course that somehow "tests their knowledge, memory, numbers, and sequencing," as well as the precision and speed of their answers. Rob Lowe is their leader, because he and Ken Jennings are probably a lot alike.
4. The Village (NBC, March 12)
NBC continues its role as America's middle school guidance counselor with another show about people from disparate backgrounds sharing "hopeful, heartwarming, and challenging stories...that prove family is everything, even if it's the one you make with the people around you." This show's set in a "unique" apartment building in Brooklyn, where the compelling takeaway is that people as diverse as a single mother, a veteran, and a young immigrant can all get along.
5. Abby's (NBC, March 28)
The best bar in this probably quaint small town is Abby's (Natalie Morales) backyard, "the perfect gathering place for locals to find camaraderie and sanctuary." We want the best for Morales (BoJack Horseman, Parks and Recreation), so the trailer makes us sad.
6. In the Dark (CW, April 4)
Instead of the CW network developing storylines that slowly mature with its primarily teenage audience, they're combining coming-of-age elements with Law & Order: Criminal Intent and hoping it works itself out. In the Dark stars a "flawed and irreverent woman who just happens to be blind and is the only 'witness' to the murder of her drug-dealing friend, Tyson. When the police dismiss her story, she sets out with her dog, Pretzel, to find the killer while also managing her colorful dating life and the job she hates at Breaking Blind—the guide-dog school owned by her overprotective parents." The final incongruity: it's executive produced by Ben Stiller and Michael Showalter, so it's a funny but serious crime drama that's also about living with your parents.
7. Frankenstein (CBS, Unannounced)
TV Watch US
It's Mary Shelley's Frankenstein set in modern day San Francisco. Just kidding, it's Frankenstein retold as a detective story. Still worse, it's an abomination of both. Detective Frankenstein "is mysteriously brought back to life after being killed in the line of duty. But as he resumes his old life and he and his wife realize he isn't the same person he used to be, they zero in on the strange man behind his resurrection – Dr. Victor Frankenstein." It gets worse; it's not even unique. In 2015, Fox developed the short-lived drama The Frankenstein Code on the same premise. Jason Tracey and Rob Doherty of Elementary are the inventors of this nightmare.
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Happy birthday to the world's biggest genre
On this day in 1973, Clive Campbell, the Jamaican-American "selector" known as DJ Kool Herc, hosted a "back to school jam" at 1520 Sedgewick Avenue in the Boogie Down Bronx of New York City.
Armed with a booming sound system and reggae beats, Herc– a shortened nickname for "Hercules"– commanded insatiable audiences across the South Bronx with his unique looping technique called the "Merry-Go Round." "[I knew that] they were waiting for this particular break," Herc later said, "and I got a couple of records that got the same break up in it. I wonder how it would be if I put them all together."
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Who would you screw, marry, and kill? Twitter can't decide.
Context is everything.
In some photos of Ted Bundy, he seems like a prospective boyfriend many would say yes to on a dating app. In Netflix's latest docuseries, he's shown as a maniacal predator who sated his bloodlust by murdering, raping, and dismembering over 30 women. But he's still so cute! Or so say an alarming number of Twitter users.
Netflix took to Twitter this week to clarify that they didn't mean to create a wave of Ted Bundy fangirls when they released Conversations with a Killer: The Ted Bundy Tapes and begged them to please, for the love of god, stop. The streaming service posted to their official account, "I've seen a lot of talk about Ted Bundy's alleged hotness and would like to gently remind everyone that there are literally THOUSANDS of hot men on the service — almost all of whom are not convicted serial murderers."
I've seen a lot of talk about Ted Bundy’s alleged hotness and would like to gently remind everyone that there are l… https://t.co/RJGYVMZX17— Netflix (@Netflix)1548699481.0
Namely, after viewing the docuseries—and probably the tone deaf trailer for the Zac Efron drama based on Bundy, Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile—an unseemly amount of Twitter users have no reservations about lowering already depleted expectations by mourning Bundy as "such a waste of a baby daddy." Many such "Bundy stans" sum up their appreciation of the executed serial killer with the phrase, "Kill me daddy."
Is it wrong for me to think that Ted Bundy was sexy af? Please kill me daddy. https://t.co/Vo0bOzpq1M— always tired (@always tired)1483992861.0
While Twitter's outrage at the idea of stanning a serial killer may currently outpace the number of genuine posts, Bundy still has his strident defenders. Between the murderer's charisma and manipulative charm, both of which are unflinchingly demonstrated in The Ted Bundy Tapes, along with Zac Efron portraying him with Hollywood appeal, the lives Bundy ended become a non-issue since he was "hot af."
And because the distinction between fantasy and reality is meaningless, seeing Bundy on screen doesn't just romanticize the killer as a cliche "bad boy"; he's practically a super villain. A faction of Marvel's Venom fans feels offended at unfair comparisons between Bundy and their favorite fictional character—because obviously Venom is way cooler.
Mfs were horny for venom is it really a surprise that they're horny for Ted Bundy?— 🐎Mason🤠 (@🐎Mason🤠)1548632369.0
as a venom fucker i don't associate with ted bundy stans venom would eat ted in a second— Arturø 🏳️🌈🇲🇽 nsfr (@Arturø 🏳️🌈🇲🇽 nsfr)1548637290.0
Even if Bundy isn't your favorite comic book villain, he's still a great prime time antagonist. One user blindly equated the killer with American Horror Story's token criminal character, Tate Langdon: "People act 'disgusted' with Ted bundy but say nothing when ppl stan characters like Tate Langdon lmao it's all the same basic ass white hoes who think tattoo chokers, black nail polish, and ouija boards are a personality type lmao."
One lost soul even posted this reply to Netflix's message: "I mean technically he's not convicted so..." Judging by Bundy's three life sentences and execution 30 years ago in Florida's electric chair, this commenter doesn't read titles of documentaries.
@etnow @netflix I mean technically he’s not convicted so...— d🍒 (@d🍒)1548708276.0
And yet, even with Netflix urging viewers to look to the "THOUSANDS of hot men on the service" other than Bundy, who's the second most popular heartthrob on their site? It's Penn Badgley's character Joe, the friendly neighborhood stalker from You. Like Netflix, Badgley recently expressed alarm at the number of people romanticizing an individual who's clearly criminally disturbed. He reposted the tweet, "The amount of people romanticizing [Joe] in You scares me," and commented, "Ditto."
Anyway, fuck, marry, kill: Venom, Joe, and Ted Bundy?
Meg Hanson is a Brooklyn-based writer, teacher and jaywalker. Find Meg at her website and on Twitter @megsoyung.
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