Monday, March 28, 2022

TV Picks - Week of March 28

What's the best type of programming to air on the Sunday following the Oscars? How about another industry awards show just one week later in Vegas? Everybody dance!

It's time for the 64th Annual Grammy Awards this Sunday night on CBS. This ceremony that celebrates the best in music has learned a valuable lesson over time that almost every other awards show seems to have missed. It's not about the host or the awards, it's all about the performers.

These Grammys were originally scheduled for January 31st in Los Angeles, but COVID got involved and the musical powers that be wisely moved it back a few months.

This is a great example of why I respect the team that puts on the Grammys. They are adaptable. They are flexible. They are not afraid to switch things up to keep their product relevant.

It wasn't that long ago that the Grammys were like every other awards show. Lots of famous people dressed up sitting in a crowded auditorium. Recognizable industry faces reading the nominee list and handing out gold statues (gramophones). A three-hour ceremony that seemed endless and failed to capture the spirit of music. The obligatory photo of the big winner holding multiple Grammys.

Then the producers got smart. They realized why people show up at musical events: to hear the music! The number of awards was limited, and they stuck to the main categories. The host's monologue was cut and replaced by a musical mash-up of current and classic performers. Now that's what I call a musical awards show!

With a light film slate, the Oscars made the mistake of focusing on the three funny ladies who were hosting. It should always be about the movie stars! That's why people tune in for the mindless red-carpet shows. Let's see who's there and how good (or bad) they look on Oscar night.

The Grammys made that shift. It doesn't matter who the host is (sorry, Trevor) because this Sunday night is all about the music and the artists. Other genres can learn from The Grammy Awards, starting with:

Minimal Host Impact - Trevor Noah is back, but he is there to move things along. A few jokes here and there but keep the music playing. Trevor loves music, and it shows. A good deejay makes it about the music, not the guy spinning the records (or whatever the modern equivalent of that is these days).

Limited Amount of Awards - No one really cares who wins. We just want to see the big stars perform. The Grammys controversially cut quite a few live award presentations from the broadcast years ago. No one cares now. Let the music play!

Unique Pairings - No one does a better job of matching up a classic act with a current sensation. Satisfy both fan bases and create some exclusive Grammy performances. The Grammys are the only place you'll see these combos... until they end up touring together.

Live Performances - Music is always better live. The energy is palpable. The crowd is engaged, and so are we sitting at home. These aren't Oscar musical numbers. These are hit songs with some sort of stage twist and plenty of hype to go with it.

Multiple Genres - When you ask someone what type of music they like, the standard response is "I like all kinds of music." Well, the Grammys is tailor made for them. If you're a fan of one particular genre, this exposes you to different types of music you may not be familiar with. If you don't like it, just wait until the next ad because they're smart enough to switch it up. Variety is the spice of life... and the Grammys.

Party Atmosphere -The Grammys are an A-List party. This year's show is in Las Vegas for a reason. Everyone is there to enjoy themselves. It's like a good concert - just watch the performances and marvel at the talent on display.

The Grammys create special moments that will only happen during this broadcast. Not only do the biggest names in music show up, but they're thrilled to take the stage. Celebs want to be part of the action and dancing at their seats. Song of the Year doesn't matter — music for everyone to enjoy does.

It's a perfect combination for must-see TV.


Here's what else is worth watching this week...


Moon Knight (Disney+)
Wednesday, March 30th

Steven Grant is having one heck of an identity crisis in this latest entrant to the Marvel universe. The mild-mannered gift shop employee has an identity disorder — and wait until he finds out who he's sharing a body with.

Oscar Isaac stars as this lesser-known Batman type, and Ethan Hawke is up to no good encouraging everyone to embracing the chaos. Moon Knight is a safe bet to keep Disney's solid record with its Marvel TV shows on track. 

Julia (HBO Max)
Thursday, March 31st

Julia Child was a joy to watch on television. There have been countless biopics exploring the life of the lady who brought cooking into the mainstream on public television. But this time, HBO Max is trying it as a comedy.

This sitcom is based on actual events from the legendary host's life in the 1960's. The stacked cast is led by Sarah Lancashire (Happy Valley) as Julia and David Hyde Pierce (Frasier) as her husband, Paul. Expect lots of dry wit and plenty of food porn. 

(International Hits)

Slow Horses (Apple TV+) – Gary Oldman heads up lowly Slough House filled with MI-5 agents at the end of their careers. Kristin Scott Thomas heads up the "real agents" and enlists help from the downtrodden pros to solve crimes. British spies and quality actors are always a must watch. Friday. 

(Shows That I Hope To Get To!)

The Girl From Plainville (Hulu) – A female teen was convicted of involuntary manslaughter for texting her troubled teen boyfriend to kill himself. Tuesday.

Moonshot (HBO Max) – A romantic comedy featuring a guy sneaking on to a space shuttle to Mars in pursuit of a girl. Premieres Thursday.

How We Roll (CBS) – A sitcom based on the life of a professional bowler. Yup. Thursday at 9:30pm.

The Outlaws (Amazon) – Stephen Merchant, Christopher Walken and other minor lawbreakers perform community service and find trouble along the way in this comedy. Premieres Friday.

(Really Good Shows You May Have Missed)

This Week's Pick: Abbott Elementary (ABC) – A current sitcom finally makes this list. Quinta Brunson's charming comedy feels like Parks & Recreation in an elementary school. On my daughter Emily's recommendation, I just binged the first nine episodes and can't wait for more. 

Previous Picks:
Damages (Hulu)
Luther (HBO Max)
Downton Abbey (Netflix)
Justified (Hulu)
The Good Wife (Paramount+)
Freaks & Geeks (Hulu)
Patriot (Amazon Prime Video)
Battlestar Galactica (Peacock)
The Split (Amazon Prime Video)
Bordertown (Netflix)
Halt and Catch Fire (AMC+)


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

Get vaccinated. Get a booster. Stay healthy and safe!

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