Jon Hein knows TV. In the late 1990s, he coined the phrase "Jump the Shark" when he founded the site of the same name. Since then, he's written about television everywhere from The New York Times to TV Guide. In his column for Primetimer, he shares his thoughts on what's new and good on TV and the shows on his radar for the coming week.
Memorial Day has arrived. The calendar flips to June this week. Warm weather, beaches, barbecues and no masks… who isn't excited about the upcoming summer?
The final Monday in May used to be when new TV shut down and programs were held for fall premieres. Summer reruns are now a thing of the past. Just because it's nice outside doesn't mean you can't watch some quality programming.
If the weather doesn't hold up or you've ran out of sunscreen, you've come to the right place. Memorial Day weekend means TV marathons, and today is the culmination of the long weekend’s bulk TV offerings.
I don’t know who started holiday television marathons, but I speak your name. Fourth of July, Labor Day, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year's… name a holiday and you can bet there's a marathon to be watched. Easy for the programmers, and fruitful for lazy viewers. The entire binge movement may have the holiday marathon to thank for its very existence.
My personal marathon staple, The Twilight Zone, is missing from this year's on-air offerings. Sacrilege. There's no better way to pass the time than catching up on these Rod Serling black and white classics.
Of course if you’ve got Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu or Paramount+, you can create your own Twilight Zone marathon. The same is true of countless other shows on each and every streamer, but there’s something special about the on-air marathon.
Of the many that are available today, I'd like to focus on three specific ones which deserve your attention:
War Films (TCM)
Let's not forget what Memorial Day is really all about. Turner Classic Movies has been featuring military films all weekend long. Battle of the Bulge, Red Badge of Courage and Run Silent, Run Deep are just a few of the films airing today. Pay your respects… we wouldn't be watching TV if it wasn't for these folks.
Yellowstone (PARAMOUNT NETWORK)
No more excuses for missing an episode of this excellent Western drama. The Paramount Network has been airing every episode from the first three seasons throughout the long weekend. Peacock — NOT Paramount+ — also streams the series if you want to catch up at your own pace.
You read that right. Paramount+ does not stream the biggest hit on The Paramount Network because of a pre-existing streaming deal with NBCUniversal. That's why this marathon is so important for non-Peacock subscribers. It also illustrates how confusing the streaming services can be.
I've written before about this Kevin Costner led drama which chronicles the happenings on the Dutton Ranch. No spoilers here — but you don't want to mess with John Dutton. Today showcases the most current season to get us ready for Season 4, which is due out sometime later this year.
John Wick (SYFY)
I'd be remiss if I didn’t mention that all three John Wick movies are airing back to back to back today on SYFY. I'll almost forgive them for skipping The Twilight Zone marathon… almost. Find out what happens when you mess with Keanu's dog.
THIS WEEK’S SPTINAFOBYMB!
(Shows Premiering That I'm Not A Fan Of But You Might Be!)
Housebroken (FOX) – Animated pets and strays work on issues outside of therapy. Arrives Monday.
America's Got Talent (NBC) – The golden buzzer officially means that summer is here. Season 16 begins on Tuesday.
Woman In Motion (PARAMOUNT+) – Star Trek geeks rejoice — the Uhura documentary beams up Thursday!
Why Women Kill (PARAMOUNT+) – Dark comedy, new cast, same concept. Season 2 premieres Thursday.
Sweet Tooth (NETFLIX) – A half human, half deer boy looks for protection. Yup. Friday.
THIS WEEK'S PICKS
Canadian convenience and another Stephen King adaptation…
Kim's Convenience (NETFLIX)
Wednesday June 2nd Season 5 premiere
I stumbled across this funny Canadian gem after Schitt's Creek ended its run. This clever sitcom features a Korean family who own a convenience store and how they interact with customers and the world around them.
The family of four all have their individual moments, and the show hits the right notes while never taking itself too seriously. The acting is excellent as the Kims handle every imaginable stereotype in a heartwarming, poignant way. The CBC unexpectedly pulled the plug on the series after its original producers stepped aside this winter, which makes Season 5 the series’ last.
Lisey's Story (APPLE TV+)
Friday, June 4th
A small screen drama starring Julianne Moore based on a Stephen King novel? Sign me up. The Oscar winner plays the widow Lisey in this limited horror series from the man who’s provided so many different reasons to stay awake at night.
Lisey's late husband (Clive Owen) is a wealthy novelist who life was more horrifying than the stories he wrote. Lisey's sisters (Joan Allen and Jennifer Jason Leigh) need her support as she's busy grieving and dealing with plenty of trauma.
Great actors. Great writer. One scary combo.
If you love or hate my picks, I'd love to hear from you.
Get vaccinated. Stay healthy and safe. Have a great holiday.
Jon Hein is the creator of "Jump the Shark" and author of three books. Follow him @jonhein on Twitter.