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.
The nation is in the midst of reopening (and hopefully wearing masks), but there’s still a ton to watch while you’re cooling off indoors. I focus on new programs in this column, but Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and countless other resources are at your fingertips not only for new shows, but to also catch up on some classics.
I fondly remember the TV DVD box sets that occupied the shelves of my bedroom and basement. When I moved to Manhattan a few years ago, I sold my DVD collection for pennies on the dollar. All of those discs rendered worthless by streaming services — not the wisest investment on my part. But the availability of almost any series at any time these days — that is truly priceless.
I’ve been making my way through Bordertown on Netflix which I wrote about last month. It's an excellent crime series that needs to be viewed with subtitles to hear the Fins and Russians speak in their native languages. Deb and I have also been enjoying Quiz and Dirty John although both have involved waiting impatiently for the next episodes. You get spoiled bingeing on those streaming services.
Someone affiliated with BritBox reached out last week, so I might be delving into way too much TV from across the pond shortly. If you have any BBC/ITV suggestions, I’m all ears.
THIS WEEK'S PICKS
For network TV fans, the season 2 finale of Songland airs Monday night. My oldest daughter Rachel and her roommate enjoy it — that's my review. For me, this week is all about premieres including one of TV's most underrated shows returning for its third season.
Love, Victor (HULU)
Wednesday June 17 (Series Premiere)
This follow up to Love, Simon, the first gay teen romance film released by a major studio, was developed for Disney+ but moved to Hulu for sex talk and its depiction of alcohol. Victor is a new kid in town dealing with the challenges of moving as he struggles with his sexual orientation. The working class Latino reaches out to former high school legend Simon via social media to help him navigate his new digs.
Love, Victor maintains the charm of the film and has already been renewed for a second season. If they focus on the story and lay off the sappy stuff, this promising start can blossom into something special.
Bully. Coward. Victim. The Story of Roy Cohn (HBO)
Thursday June 18 9pm (Premiere)
The story of lawyer Roy Cohn has been told many times in many ways (including a few takes from HBO) but never gets old. Pay close attention to this documentary as it profiles one of the most hated men who ever walked the planet. Prepare to be repelled and fascinated by the infamous power broker and all of the lives he influenced. Watch the trailer.
Perry Mason (HBO)
Sunday June 21 9pm (Series Premiere)
You know the name. You know the theme song. But this is a reboot I did not see coming.
I'm a sucker for any good 1930's L.A. sleuth, and HBO gives this one the full Boardwalk Empire treatment. The cast features Matthew Rhys of The Americans, Tatiana Maslany of Orphan Black, and John Lithgow of too many good shows to list here. The pace is slow and the scenes are darkly lit, but any hard case that needs to be cracked is always fun to explore.
I wonder if they'll keep the theme song. They have to, right? Watch the trailer.
Sunday June 21 9pm (Season 3 Premiere)
If this series was on HBO, Yellowstone would have won multiple Emmys by now. The Dutton family saga continues with Kevin Costner in his element sporting that Stetson hat in Big Sky Country.
The third season welcomes Sawyer from Lost as Roarke Morris who is not intimidated at all by the largest landowners in the valley. He poses a threat to John Dutton, and we know that John Dutton doesn't take kindly to any threats.
"Montana doesn't want you." Oh but we want Montana, and those gorgeous landscapes and family squabbles. Find the Paramount Network and don’t miss this one.
I hope you enjoy these weekly recommendations. If there's quality TV that I'm missing, don't hesitate to let me know..
Stay healthy and safe.
Jon Hein is the creator of "Jump the Shark" and author of three books. Follow him @jonhein on Twitter.