Time’s still moving forward, which means great TV shows are still being made. The problem is, knowing which shows will be great can take some serious second-sight. Since we don’t have that and have to limit ourselves to personal preference and gut feelings, which we still feel pretty confident in. Here are the shows we’re excited for this season.
Nazi Treasure Hunters
During their reign of terror, the Nazis bought, borrowed, and (mostly) stole art and treasure from virtually everyone they victimized. There’s been an ongoing effort to reclaim at least some of what was taken, but Nazi Treasure Hunters is taking less of a traditional treasure hunt and more of a cold case approach to its quest. Essentially, Robert Edsel, James Holland, and Conor Woodman will pick specific works or thefts and attempt to trace them through history or ownership the way you might track a criminal across state lines. Ultimately, the goal is to return these pieces to the families of the original owners, which is exactly how it should be.
Busted! I Know Who You Are
Japanese and Korean TV and game shows have been somewhat of a phenomenon on the internet. We’re constantly seeing clips, gifs, and screengrabs of the completely bonkers stuff that happens on those shows. Now, America gets its own installment of that kind of show, with authenticity to boot. Yoo Jae-suk brings his wildly popular, very specific kind of entertainment to Netflix, in a detective comedy type variety show. That’s about as well as we can nail down a description, since anyone who’s seen anything similar to what we’re talking about knows you need to speak Korean to accurately convey what these shows are.
The Jazz Ambassadors
There’s a certain hypocrisy to sending racially diverse musical supergroups around the world to showcase your country’s talent while you still consider those people second-class citizens. And that’s not us breaking out some kind of revolutionary race relations theory. It’s the whole point of The Jazz Ambassadors. In the mid 1950s, the US sent guys like Louis Armstrong, Dizzy Gillespie, and Duke Ellington around the world as cultural ambassadors, despite those men not being fully accepted as cultural ambassadors in their own cities. Naturally, such a discrepancy is going to hit the Civil Rights movement fairly hard.
It’s the on-screen talent more than anything else that attracts us to this show. Benedict Cumberbatch plays the lead, Patrick Melrose, and we could watch Cumberbatch chew the scenery for hours. His time on Sherlock is constantly entertaining, though it doesn’t really give him the chance to mess around with really complicated backstories or depressing reality. In Patrick Melrose, he’s going to have to portray privilege, abuse, affluence, neglect, and slow-burning anger all at once. It’s a challenge, but we think he’s up for it.
We’ve followed the development of HBO’s upcoming Fahrenheit 451 series about as closely as the tight-lipped production would allow. There were two trailers and we’ve read the original work, which is about as much official news or related info as we’ve been able to find. There’s an obvious danger here, similar to what happened to The Hobbit, in that they may be trying to stretch a great, fairly short work into a mediocre, much larger series. But Bradbury’s stuff has always had a larger feel to it, so we think there’s enough to explore in the series that Fahrenheit 451 could easily become one of the best series HBO has ever put out. Plus, it seems like Michael Shannon’s going to do a lot of yelling, which is always a solid choice for a movie or TV show.
The Great American Read
There are a lot of cliches we could use to talk about reading, but let’s try and avoid those while we say, read a book. We don’t mean that in that confrontational way pseudo-intellectuals yell it at you when you don’t know the exact demographic breakdown of the British forces during the Crimean War. We mean it in as a reminder that everyone has books they like, and if you constantly say you don’t like to read, you just haven’t found your genre or authors yet. The Great American Read aims to reemphasize the importance of reading in your everyday life, as well as the culture around you. The show is also looking to make reading more of a group activity, so if it’s participation you’ve been missing, take full advantage of The Great American Read.
Picnic at Hanging Rock
Disappearances are always good fodder for a story, especially after a hundred years or so. Though, to be fair, we’re not sure if Picnic at Hanging Rock is based on a true story or not. If it is, it should be a great true crime thriller with Natalie Dormer at the head. If it isn’t, it should be an inventive reimagining of a classic thriller with Natalie Dormer at the head. Either way, it’ll be riveting TV for everyone with an Amazon Prime subscription and the ability to understand Australian accents.
Land ownership is fraught with conflict. People are always trying to weasel their way onto your land or attempting to hijack a few acres for themselves. The Duttons aren’t immune to the pressures, having to deal with Native American incursions, seedy land developers, and the early national park movement. It’s a bit more stationary of a western, with more modern dramatic sensibilities than the traditional run and gun of the genre. We’re still looking forward to it though, as carving out your place in America, or securing it if you’ve already done the carving, is a story worth telling.