Too Much TV: Your TV Talking Points For Saturday, June 8th, 2024

Here's everything you need to know about the world of television for Saturday, June 8th, 2024:

It is not your imagination. This newsletter should have went out Friday evening. But I have a son with a bad cold and let's just say that made for a complicated day. But I was mostly done with this and wanted to make sure I sent out something.

When someone asks me why a specific show isn't available for streaming, the answer is almost always music licensing rights. And while most people think "contemporary hit record or popular oldie" when they think of music that is difficult to clear, the truth is that music rights affect shows in all sorts of unexpected ways.

For instance, a number of popular 1960s and 1970 Warner Brothers TV shows haven't been cleared for streaming because the studios tried to save money by using existing library music. But now that music isn't available to be cleared and the expense of replacing the entire score makes the process financially impossible for most shows. 

This is the same problem that is holding up Proctor & Gamble from releasing a lot of its classic daytime soap episode onto a few FAST channels. As you may know, many daytime soaps are shot quickly and apparently the music used is typically added on the fly and only licensed for a single use. Even worse for our purposes, apparently some daytime dramas mix the audio in a way that puts the music and the actors on the same audio track. Making it almost impossible to swap out the music. Assuming that any streaming service was looking to take on such an expensive request.

It's almost always about the music licensing rights.

Fatima Bhutto has a great piece in Zeteo about Bollywood and the way that industry's biggest stars have become little more than cheerleaders for Prime Minister Narendra Modi:

When one thinks of Bollywood, plenty springs to mind: hours of colorful drama, a propensity for musical numbers in the rain, and heroines twirling in the tightest clothing possible. You watch a Bollywood film for its exuberance and whimsy, not for its narrative clarity. Though there might have been a time, most notably in the 1970s, when the films captured the struggles of poor, working-class, and rural Indians those times are long gone. There are no moral lessons to be learned from Bollywood blockbusters today, no protagonists fighting the good fight against hierarchy or injustice. Contemporary heroes are the servants of unbridled capitalism, rich yuppies, or else the foot soldiers of a Hindu supremacist ideology, Hindutva, doing battle against Muslims.

It’s not that every director in Bollywood has mysteriously vanished only to be replaced with right-wing filmmakers; it’s that Bollywood has always reflected the mood of India, and the mood of India over the past decade has been dark. No one expects courage or defiance from Bollywood, on or off screen because, as a fraternity, India’s film industry has long been famous for its spinelessness.

This is a really fascinating piece and I suspect it provides a point of view that most people outside Bollywood haven't heard before.

If you're looking for something to watch this weekend, here are a few suggestions. As always a mix of the more familiar as well as the obscure:

Hit Man (Netflix)
The streamer picked up this film for around $20 million and they certainly got a deal on it. Glen Powell plays Gary, a mild-mannered philosophy professor in New Orleans who starts pretending to be hit man, mostly to amuse himself. Everything is just breezy fun until he meets Madison (Adria Arjona), a housewife who has need of his services. The film is a twisted tangle of hidden motives and complicated plans, all wrapped in a script that feels like an updated classic crime film from the 1940s. Powell and Arjona sizzle in every scene they are in and this is easily one of the best films I've seen this year. 

Timeout With Tobias (ESPN+)
Non-Food Network cooking shows tend to be wildly unpredictable. I turned into AXS TV's Sounds Delicious With Carnie Wilson expecting to see some culinary treats. Instead, Wilson bounced erratically across the set like a horny female Jerry Lewis.

The best show in the genre I've seen in awhile is hosted by Tobias Dorzon, who played for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and the Tennessee Titans. He attended culinary school during the off-season and opened his first food truck in 2014. If you are familiar with him at all, it's for his memorable appearances on the Food Network's Tournament Of Champions, where he very publicly struggled to compete while working through crippling anxiety.

Timeout With Tobias plays to his strengths, which might be why it is so entertaining to watch. Each show features Dorzon cooking a dish one-on-one with some football player. As they talk, he coaxes the player into doing some rudimentary chopping and mixing while they play the occasional "game," such as Dorzon asking the player to identify all the ingredients they've been using in the episode. The conversation can get very serious at times, and Dorzon's background in the league allows him to talk the players in a way that connects with them. He has the credibility to understand what they're going through and you can see them relaxing as the episode goes on. It's nothing groundbreaking, but it's an entertaining twist on the genre.

Three Body (Peacock)
This Chinese-produced take on the novel "Three Body Problem" premiered in China and on the streamer Rakuten Viki before the Netflix series based on the same body debuted earlier this year. And it didn't get a lot of notice, even when Peacock picked it up and premiered it the week before Netflix's Three Body Problem.

And to be honest, the show presents a lot of challenges. It faithfully follows every event from the Liu Cixin's first novel in the trilogy. Which means the first season runs thirty episodes, which is a lot, even for a fan of the story. And while it might just be the translation, the dialogue can feel stilted and awkward.

So this isn't for everyone. But if you're a fan of Chinese television - or just want a more somber and science-heavy take on the "Three Body Problem" story - then this might be worth a look.

Under Paris (Netflix)
I am usually trying to shut my brain off a bit on weekends, so I'm always looking for a fun, brain-numbing action movie. Something that is a bit crazy, but not so unbelievable that it takes me out of the moment. Under Paris is a French-produced film that doesn't break any of the action movie tropes, but it leans into them so well that you won't care. Directed and co-written by Xavier Gens (Lupin, Gangs of London, Hit Man), the film centers on the chaos following the discovery of a giant shark that finds itself in the Seine River near Paris. Sure, sharks can't survive in fresh water and getting to Paris would require navigating a series of locks. But all of that is brushed aside in a typical action movie style. But you won't care, because this is a really fun ride.

Netflix's comedy The Upshaws has been renewed for a seventh and final season. Season six will debut in 2025.

* Netflix's fight between Mike Tyson and social media personality Jake Paul has been moved to November 15th. It was originally scheduled to take place on July 20th.

* AMC’s The Walking Dead: Daryl Dixon – The Book Of Carol makes its debut Sunday, September 29th.

* The Food Network has ordered a second season of Wild Card Kitchen.

* The second season of the influencer reality series Follow Me premieres June 13th on Crackle.

* Season eighteen of The Real Housewives Of Orange County premieres Thursday, July 11th on Bravo.


* Becoming Karl Lagerfeld Series Premiere (Hulu) 
* 51st Annual Daytime Emmy Awards (CBS)
* Fight Inc: Inside The UFC (The Roku Channel)
* Guy's All-American Road Trip Season Premiere (Food)
* Hierachy (Netflix)
* Hit Man (Netflix)
* Love After Lockup Season Finale (WE tv)
* 100 Days To Indy Season Finale (The CW)
* Perfect Match Series Premiere (Netflix)
* Power II: Ghost Season Premiere (Starz)
* Queenie Series Premiere (Hulu)
* The Barnes Bunch Season Finale (WE tv)
* Tipline Mysteries: Dial 1 For Murder (Hallmark Movies And Mysteries)
* Transformers: Earthspark (Paramount+)

* Beyond The Headlines: The Tanya Kach Story With Elizabeth Smart (Lifetime)
* Savoring Paris (Hallmark)
* The Girl Locked Upstairs: The Tanya Kach Story (Lifetime)

* Gaslit By My Husband: The Morgan Metzer Story (Lifetime)
* Mr. Birchum Season Finale (Daily Wire+)
* The Lazarus Project Season Premiere (TNT)
* The Wedding Rule (UP tv)

MONDAY, JUNE 10TH, 2024:
* Divided By Design Series Premiere (HGTV)
* Six Schizophrenic Brothers Series Premiere (Discovery)