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Jon Hein’s TV Picks — Week of October 11, 2021

Succession, Dopesick, The Sinner, and You.
  • Photos: HBO, Hulu, USA, and Netflix.
    Photos: HBO, Hulu, USA, and Netflix.

    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.

    HBO has been in search of a “Sunday at 9” hit since that dragon attack on King's Landing. The third season of Succession premieres this Sunday in that vaunted time slot, and the detestable Roys are primed to grab that mantle.

    I've got a personal connection with this Emmy winning drama. Back in pre-COVID days, scenes from Succession were shot in the downtown offices of the sports network that I appear on. I was privy to those beautiful conference room views long before any Roy took a seat at the table.

    But it's been a long time since we've seen this eccentric family get together. Forget social distancing, when any drama is off the screen for an extended period time, it can hurt the momentum. Absence sometimes makes the heart grow fonder, but when watching TV, it's on to the next streamable program.

    The first two seasons of Succession are worth watching, but it's a bit of a roller coaster ride. The acting is top notch across the board. The writing has its moments packed with plot twists that few see coming. The problem, or strength depending upon your taste, is likability.

    Succession reminds me of Shameless, but it's at the other end of the class system. The Showtime comedy had fantastic actors, brilliant writing, and absolutely no one to like. It made the show hard to watch, but I always appreciated the talent that was on display.

    There is no one to root for on Succession. Not even cousin Greg. Every character is flawed. Deeply flawed. You want to sympathize with Kendall getting screwed over by his dad, but the son is such a jerk that it feels like he deserves it. It's the same case for all the Roy children, but that's just how they were brought up.

    Rich broadcast moguls are an easy target. Everyone enjoys poking fun at the wealthy, but the lives that the one percent lead are too intriguing to ignore. A brief glimpse in to their day to day almost excuses their abhorrent behavior. Almost.

    The Roys are actually like most families, minus the extreme wealth. Is there any family that doesn't have some type of conflict? Logan and crew amp it up a few notches, but at the core are the kids vying for daddy's empire/attention, a stepmother with her own concerns, the in-laws/cousins who want their fair share, and the staff who puts up with it for a nice payday. Plenty of conflict to go around.

    The saving grace of Succession is the dark humor that accompanies the heavy drama. I wouldn't call this show a comedy, but it is a very funny program. The laughs help as helicopters take them to the yacht en route to the private island. These business tycoons act like spoiled kids if anyone tries to take away the toys of a titan.

    This season, there's plenty of corporate sabotage and family squabbling. Things pick up right where they left off as Kendall declared he's ready to take on his mighty father, and Shiv, Roman and Connor need to choose sides as they deal with their own troubling issues.

    Expect plenty of private plane trips, big laughs, screaming fights and unimaginable eccentricities. Succession will be entertaining, but if you're looking for someone to cheer for, you're in the wrong place.

    THIS WEEK’S SPTINAFOBYMB!
    (Shows Premiering That I'm Not A Fan Of But You Might Be!)

    Chucky (SYFY/USA) – The evil doll from Child's Play gets his own series. Tuesday at 10pm.

    The Movies That Made Us(NETFLIX) – An informative guide to how your favorite horror films were made. Tuesday.

    Just Beyond (DISNEY+) – R.L. Stine graphic novel adaptation Twilight Zone style. Wednesday.

    Clash Of The Cover Bands (E!) – Meagan Trainor hosts the battle of the bands that no one was looking for. Wednesday.

    Guilty Party (PARAMOUNT+) – Kate Beckinsale comedically crusades for a wrongfully convicted young mother. Thursday.

    I Know What You Did Last Summer (AMAZON) – Now it's a series. Friday.

    The Velvet Underground (APPLE TV+) – Documentary featuring the surviving members of the band. Friday.

    THIS WEEK'S PICKS
    The opioid crisis, even more sinning, and no ordinary Joe...

    Dopesick (HULU)
    Wednesday, October 13th

    The opioid crisis has been profiled many times, but never before with a big cast led by Michael Keaton. This Barry Levinson directed eight-part series attempts to address every drug-related angle - big pharma, the government, and of course, a struggling mining town.

    Michael Keaton is an all-time favorite actor for me. Forget Batman. He had me howling in Mr. Mom, Night Shift and Johnny Dangerously, and he shines in dramas like Birdman and Spotlight. He's one of my bankable stars, and I'll gladly watch him tackle the pharmaceutical industry.

    The Sinner (USA)
    Wednesday, October 13th 10pm Season 4

    This under-the-radar Jessica Biel-produced drama returns for a fourth season featuring Bill Pullman as Detective Harry Ambrose. The creepy mysteries are intriguing to watch as our flawed hero attempts to decipher them. The Sinner is worthy of the "I didn't know this was on USA but it's good" distinction.

    What crazy star will Harry track this time around? Season one starred Jessica Biel unexplainably losing it at the beach. Season two featured Carrie Coon and her crazy cult. Last season was professor Matt Bomer and a college pal. The mystery awaits.... Watch trailer.

    You (NETFLIX)
    Friday, October 15th Season 3

    You is ridiculous. Joe Goldberg's love story from season one proved that. Beck, Peach, Candace... if you're looking for logic, you're in the wrong place. But there's lots of mind games, murder and literary references to enjoy.

    If you're ready to bask in the ridiculousness, the latest season of this love-chasing drama is for you. Joe literally found Love in the second season, and she's just as crazy as he is. Now Joe and Love are married and raising a kid... do I even need to go on? Expect the unexpected.

    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.

    TOPICS: Succession, Dopesick, The Sinner, You