Monday, January 4, 2021

TV Picks - Week of January 4

Happy 2021! 2020 was an all-around disaster capped off by a masked Ryan Seacrest standing in an empty Times Square. No more looking's time to look forward to 2021.

This is going to be a challenging year for television. Thanks to last year's events (I know, don't look back!), production schedules were a complete mess. But just like our planet, TV marches on with new offerings and some hope for the future.

Everyone gets inspired at the start of a new year. How do you think all those gyms and weight loss plans stay in business? It is a new beginning that we should all make the best of. 

I believe there's going to be some breakthrough TV happening this year. Creators have had months to come up with unique ways of getting through their COVID days. One good thing that can come from a lockdown is creative solutions to everyday problems. There will be the reality dating shows and profiles of humans out of control, but I'm anticipating some out-of-the-box thinking showing up on our small screens. Have faith.

With that, here are my inaugural TV picks of the new year...!

Cobra Kai (NETFLIX)
Season 3 available now

Cobra Kai is my guilty pleasure. It would be so easy to get this wrong, but the producers really nail the balance of nostalgia in a contemporary tale. The first season was fantastic - lots of throwbacks peppered in with young Miguel following in the great Daniel Larusso's footsteps behind the training of rival sensei Johnny Lawrence.

The second season is not as good, but still does a good job of harkening back to the original films and letting you enjoy the ride. Johnny and Daniel-san experienced their highs and lows as karate became a bad word in the home of the All-Valley Tournament.

My expectations were lowered for season three, but the prized all grown up pupils of Mr. Miyagi and John Kreese deliver in a big way. When the show sticks to Johnny and Daniel, it's a lot of fun. When it diverts to other storylines, it slips into cliched plots worthy of a fast forward.

I will not spoil who returns to The Karate Kid universe this season, but if you're a fan of the franchise, you will be more than satisfied. Now I have to go wax my floor and paint my fence.

History of Swear Words (NETFLIX)
Monday, January 4th 

Nicolas Cage hosts a six-part series centered around the origin of our favorite curse words. Welcome to 2021!

The series is loud, profane and somewhat insightful. It's also straight out of the Drunk History playbook. Comedians you'd expect to see along with etymology experts you've never seen give a thorough examination of the words you're not supposed to say or you'll get in trouble.

Cage is the perfect host for this sort of thing. Always curious and never holding back, he explains why a simple expletive was created in the first place, and illustrates clever uses of each word. 

Mr. Mayor (NBC) Series Premiere
Wednesday, January 6th 8pm

The backstory on the latest Tina Fey comedy offering provides me with some faith. The original premise was to bring back 30 Rock's Jack Donaghy as the mayor of New York City, but contract negotiations with Mr. Baldwin fell through. 

The show shifted to L.A. and was recast, and Tina should have retitled it The Likeables. Beloved Ted Danson, Holly Hunter and Bobby Moynihan lead the way. Ted plays a wealthy businessman who runs for mayor to win the respect of his teenage daughter and awkwardness ensues.

Ted has been stellar on network TV, most recently shining as Michael on The Good Place. Here's hoping that traditional sitcom hokeyness gets avoided and who knows, maybe the Beeper King can make a cross country trip.

Friday, January 8th 

Alex Trebek says goodbye as host of the best game show on television. It will be bittersweet watching Alex give the answers (not the questions) to contestants for the final time. 

This signifies the end of the lucrative Trebek/Sajak host combo, but Jeopardy! and Wheel of Fortune will live on for many years. It's the peanut butter and jelly of dinnertime TV. 

First "guest host" Ken Jennings will settle in to the role over time. No one knows this show like Ken, and any celebrity host would be a disaster. Jeopardy! is all about the game itself as the late mustached Canadian would tell you. 

Prepare for a tearjerking Final Jepoardy!.

Tiger (HBO) Part 1
Sunday, January 10th 9pm

HBO profiles the rise, fall, and comeback of one of the most pivotal figures in modern-day sports in this two-party documentary. Tiger Woods was the can't-miss kid. His father and some god-given golfing ability ensured that. But does anyone really know what Tiger is all about?

We saw the championships and the demise of one of the greatest golfers who ever walked the fairways. This Alex Gibney produced doc digs in to the early years of Tiger Woods and focuses on how he became "Tiger". 

Tiger's dad was everything to him and seeing their relationship play out as his achievements stack up is a curious study. His destiny was clear early on as a child golf prodigy appearing on Mike Douglas and other talk shows. But unlike many child stars, Tiger got better as he got older and lived up to all the early hype. 

Fellow golfers, his caddy and the women in Tiger's life paint a detailed picture integrated with lots of never seen before footage. Last year, Michael Jordan had The Last Dance - this year, it's Tiger's turn.


If you love or hate my picks, I'd love to hear from you.

Wear a mask. Stay healthy and safe.

1 comment:

  1. Great picks. I'm going to watch tiger tonight. Is Better Call Saul on your radar? Michael McKean would be an incredible Howard or Wrap up guest. I am a big fan thanks for being the Authority on all shark jumping.