The Fall Line-Up
Members of the chattering class will spend October curled in fetal position, their only human contact coming in the form of a Guatemalan pizza deliveryman, growing fat and sloppy as they binge-watch this enigmatic drama. KC Nights features an ensemble cast that includes seven Oscar winners, two rappers/business moguls, and at least one retired Pope. The show displays all the hallmarks of the great American novel, only it is more literary and novelistic. Is there a character outside of Shakespeare’s stronger works as rich with torment as Detective Lincoln Gibb, about whom we know less with each passing episode? The whole series hurtles toward a climactic finale that you will not understand. Note that KC Nights airs on neither broadcast television nor cable, but rather an Internet streaming service that is thoroughly incompatible with the rest of your home entertainment system.
Critics are agog over this urban crime drama, which resembles not a traditional TV program so much as a masterpiece from the golden age of film, if only Valentino had talked onscreen and frequently employed the N-word. The series airs on an obscure cable network that was originally devoted to skeet shooting and now, for some reason, focuses on Street Vikings plus a portfolio of comparable, yet somehow unwatchable, shows. As it will cost $92 per month to add the channel to your cable bundle, wait a year and catch Street Vikings via download or DVD. In order to avoid spoilers, be sure not to go on the Internet during that period. Also, be advised to steer clear of the DVD commentary, in which you learn that all of the show’s fearsome street toughs are portrayed by effete British stage actors with Etonian accents and appetites for Pinter.
America’s Next Judge
You can give your mind a respite from the cerebral glories of modern television by visiting a ballet or art museum, or simply by digesting some old-fashioned network filth. America’s Next Judge finds six of the world’s top-grossing pop stars living together in a tacky mansion and competing in a series of increasingly inane games. All are vying for the dream job that will prove their ticket out of a tedious life touring stadiums before adoring fans: judging amateur singers on a televised talent competition. Who will get to sit in the chair of judgment alongside Lil Wayne and the Honorable David Souter? Consider yourself a paparazzo with his job on the line and America’s Next Judge Pippa Middleton’s compost bin. This reality show is garbage at which you cannot stop staring.
Virtuosic show runner Adam Kirshenbaum swore off television after his last series got burned off in a time slot traditionally reserved for producers involved in cuckolding the network brass. But after slumming it in film—winning three Palm d’Or awards—he has returned to this more sophisticated medium, bringing rapid repartee and rampant nudity to 16th century Portugal. Kirshenbaum’s contract shields The Kingdom from any meddling by Hollywood suits, stipulating that no executive is permitted to watch an episode until two years after its air date. See the show that the CIA is currently smuggling into Syria, reasoning that once the entire populace is obsessing over plot twists, they will have no energy left for fighting. Remember that The Kingdom is viewable only via a video game console—to watch, befriend somebody with a teenage son.
This Can Happen to You, Too!
This cult comedy details the behind-the-scenes goings-on at Wealthy Mike, a fictional ’80s sitcom about a petite 9-year-old who is swept away from a life of shameful poverty when he is adopted by a fun-loving millionaire. The title refers to the idiotic catchphrase from the show-within-the-show, which is supposedly ghost-scripted by Donald Regan. This Can Happen to You, Too! features frequent cameos from Hollywood celebrities, gamely lampooning their images in the most degrading possible fashion. Hobbled by dismal ratings, the series was abruptly canceled midway through its first episode, only to be reinstated after its heartbroken fans protested by self-immolating inside the juice bars frequented by network honchos, and also by launching a campaign on Twitter. In its revived form, the full program airs strictly on the coasts, while only Wealthy Mike, the ghastly show-within-the-show, runs for the ignorami said to reside in flyover states.