Things I don't recommend you watch but are premiering this week nevertheless: Nashville starts its fifth season on Thursday, and the Walking Dead spinoff, Fear the Walking Dead premieres its third season on Sunday. I'm always confused how these shows are still running but things like The Americans have trouble getting an audience. But then I think about how there are a lot of things we don't understand and nothing is at it seems. Ultimately, I'm all for enjoying bad TV, so go ahead and unabashedly binge on Nashville or Fear the Walking Dead if honky tonk or zombies are your things. But if you want to try something new, something risky, something you might
hate love, test out these shows premiering this week.
Is it wrong for me to hope this is the new Ugly Betty? Vanessa Williams leads Daytime Divas, a VH1 comedy premiering on June 5 (yes, they produce things that aren't reality TV), and it's giving me all sorts of flashbacks to Wilhelmina Slater. The show is based on Star Jones' novel Satan Sisters and is a direct send-up of The View (so maybe I take back that part about VH1 not being all reality TV). Entertainment Weekly's early press on Daytime Divas suggests it has "too much drama," which tells me they must have missed the reign of I Love New York. EW also says the show "lacks nuance," but my bet is they're misunderstanding the goals of camp. Do you like Ugly Betty, Vanessa Williams, or The View? Then tune into the Daytime Divas premiere next Monday and decide for yourself if VH1's finally giving "too much" drama.
Viceland loves sending nice white American journalists into other countries to meet acid victims and murderers. The pretty young things ultimately sob, saying how rough life is in the Middle East or Brazil or [InsertWhereverViceGoesHere], and how it's so sad these countries aren't more modern like America. Woof. They do this so often that Documentary Now! devoted an entire episode to this apparent motif.
One of Viceland's more popular shows, States of Undress, doesn't avoid this douchebag misstep, sending model/journalist (a new combo, thanks Viceland) Hailey Gates all over the world to explore "global fashion and issues the industry often ignores, showing us what the world wears, and why." She surfs with Muslim women! She goes to gun holster fashion shows! It's often cringeworthy voyeurism, but the programming also isn't half-bad. Gates is compassionate to her subjects and excels at interviewing people from across the political spectrum. States of Undress grows on you. It's nice to drink coffee to in the morning. Its second season premieres on Viceland on Tuesday, June 6.
Another upcoming Viceland series to check out? American Boyband looks cute. It follows musician Kevin Abstract as he tours behind his overlooked 2016 album, American Boyfriend: A Suburban Love Story. When I heard Viceland was producing this, I freaked out, because I love Kevin Abstract and thought no one else did. Then I felt gross for thinking that no one else had heard of a thing I thought was cool. But making viewers feel cool and also filling them with self-loathing seems to be Vice's thing. So, adventure through Viceland's programming with caution. American Boyband is out June 8.
Netflix keeps its viewership data secret, so we have no idea how many people really watched Bloodline before it was preemptively cancelled, or how many people tuned into Netflix's new Bill Nye series
that I kinda liked and everyone came for me because apparently we don't like Bill Nye anymore and he's not allowed to sit with us. Since it's all hush hush, we don't know if Flaked's second season has fewer episodes because the first season was meh or because Will Arnett thought a shorter season would be "kind of, actually, just about right."
If you're a fan of Will Arnett, and more than just his work on Arrested Development (because Flaked is very, very different), then you could enjoy this one. If you find privileged straight men who live in Venice Beach and complain about sobriety to be a buzzkill, then maybe take a pass. But Arnett is a TV veteran, and, like Vanessa Williams in Daytime Divas, there's something to be gained from committing to his work. Also, Venice Beach is dreamy, so if nothing else, smoke a bowl and let it be beach porn for an episode or two.
I've already covered the things you should avoid (Nashville and Fear the Walking Dead), and the things you should try out at least once (Flaked, Daytime Divas, States of Undress). But if none of those suggestions tickle your interest, then here are some other premieres this week: Bajillion Dollar Propertie$, the poster child of "over-the-top" streaming service Seeso (only $3.99 per month), premieres its third season on Thursday. Amazon's Grateful Dead doc, Long Strange Trip drops on Friday. (It was also recently reviewed by our Ned Lannamann.) Or do you want something that will dominate the news for a bit? Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly premieres this Sunday on NBC. Grab some popcorn and get on Twitter for that one.
—Bajillion Dollar Propertie$ (Seeso, Thurs, 6/1)
—Nashville (CMT, Thurs, 6/1)
—Long Strange Trip (Amazon, Fri, 6/2))
—Flaked (Netflix, Fri, 6/2)
—Fear the Walking Dead (AMC, Sun, 6/4)
—Sunday Night with Megyn Kelly (NBC, Sun, 6/4)
—Daytime Divas (VH1, Mon, 6/5)
—States of Undress (Viceland, Tue, 6/6)