This week is all about the music. Jagged premieres Thursday at 8:00 PM on HBO, the 2021 Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony debuts Saturday at 8:00 PM on HBO, and the week wraps up with the American Music Awards on ABC. A documentary, a hall of fame celebration, and an awards show — Dick Clark is smiling somewhere.
Getting music right on TV sounds so simple to do. Since the days of Ed Sullivan and American Bandstand, musical acts have promoted their records on the small screen. We've come a long way from lip syncing and prerecorded backing tracks (although certain SNL acts might disagree).
MTV discovered a magical formula in the 80's. We didn't need to see the bands play on TV. We wanted more storytelling, great visuals, and anything but what we would see at a concert. It worked — and music changed forever.
MTV added an interesting wrinkle towards the end of its video heyday — Unplugged. Real performances from real musicians on a small set. The purists could watch their favorite acts live and cut through the eye candy.
The world got tired of wanting their MTV and videos took a back seat to live performances with incredible stage shows. The tricks of the TV trade were applied at arenas everywhere, and videos were regulated to the internet and our phones.
Behind the Music and Classic Albums were part of the next phase. A "where are they now?" for your favorite band and a dissection each track from timeless albums. The audience was shrinking and these programs were hard to find, but they were there.
These days, it's all about the documentaries. Jagged traces the career of 90's sensation Alanis Morrissette. Alanis already has a Broadway musical based on her multi-platinum debut album Jagged Little Pill. This doc features an in-depth interview with the Canadian singer, but she's distanced herself from the project, calling it "salacious" (which honestly only makes me want to watch more).
The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame ceremony hasn't been quite as exciting over the past decade. Many legendary acts are already in (25 years since your first album is the requirement), and recent inductees haven’t felt like hall of fame caliber. That changed this year. Stars ranging from Taylor Swift to Paul McCartney showed up for the Foo Fighters, Carole King, and other music legends. Cleveland truly rocked and this ceremony is worth the view.
Last (and least) is the American Music Awards. Dick Clark created this show to rival the Grammys, and for a while it outperformed the long-time music awards staple. The AMAs always valued performances and celebrity attendees over the awards themselves. The Grammys ultimately caught on, but you can still watch your favorite act pick up some hardware and look good for the cameras.
In a couple of weeks, Peter Jackson's Beatles project will set a new standard for music on television. In the meantime, enjoy these three appetizers.
THIS WEEK’S SPTIMNBAFOBYMB!
(Shows Premiering That I Might Not Be A Fan Of But You Might Be!)
Tiger King 2 (NETFLIX) – It's back, but I get that Caddyshack 2 kind of feeling. Hope I'm wrong. Wednesday.
The Sex Lives of College Girls (HBO MAX) – If you're a Mindy Kaling fan, her new comedy about randomly assigned college roommates is for you. Thursday.
Cowboy Bebop (NETFLIX) – It took an extra year but bounty hunters are finally ready to hit the solar system. Friday.
The Great (HULU) – Gillian Anderson shows up in season 2 of the historical comedy. Friday
King Richard (HBO MAX) – Watch Will Smith play Venus and Serena's dad from your couch. Friday.
THIS WEEK'S PICKS
Midseason football and a magical epic…
Hard Knocks In Season - The Indianapolis Colts (HBO)
Wednesday, November 15th 10:00 PM ET
My favorite NFL training camp show takes a bold leap into the regular season. Hard Knocks has always combined the beauty of NFL Films camerawork with a behind the scenes peek at the tension of putting together a NFL roster.
The Colts are not having a great season, which should add to the drama of having this film crew around. An unvaccinated quarterback, one of the best running backs in football, and Liev Schreiber's voice is a perfect combination for football fans everywhere.
The Wheel Of Time (AMAZON)
Friday, November 19th
Since Game of Thrones ended things in King's Landing, a search for the next epic has been going on. Amazon takes a shot with this adaptation of a best-selling fantasy book series which sold more copies than George R.R. Martin ever did.
The actions of three childhood friends will determine the fate of civilization. The dragon reborn could be anyone in this gender-bending breaking of the world. Amazon has already greenlit season two, so they clearly believe in this project. There's too much source material, so it will be interesting to see how it translates to the small screen.
If you love or hate my picks, I'd love to hear from you.
Get vaccinated. Get a booster. Stay healthy and safe!
Jon Hein is the creator of "Jump the Shark" and author of three books. Follow him @jonhein on Twitter.