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Jon Hein's TV Picks — Week of June 8, 2020

Family Time, Medieval Pegs and Belfast Undercover.
  • Love Life, Crossing Swords and Marcella. (HBO Max/Hulu/Netflix)
    Love Life, Crossing Swords and Marcella. (HBO Max/Hulu/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.

    People watch TV for many different reasons — to stay updated on the news, watch sports (pre-COVID), and get in touch with what's going on in the world. CNN, FOX NEWS, MSNBC… you know the networks.

    Then there's me. My sole purpose in watching television is to escape the world we're living in. And it's not just now. I've felt this way since my mother planted me in front of a screen the moment I could sit up straight. I'm not a TV news guy — never have been. I read The New York Times and check online to stay current, but unless my wife is watching, news does not appear on my television screen.

    This past week has been all about the unrest in our nation. You couldn't avoid it, and rightfully so. When it comes to this kind of TV, I don't feel qualified to tell you what you should be watching or where to tune in. There are much more knowledgeable resources for that.

    However, if you need a break from the protests, politics and coronavirus, you've come to the right place.

    It's all about premieres and finales this week. And I've left out the broadcast networks because, well, network programming in mid-June speaks for itself.

    Love Life (HBO MAX)
    Thursday June 11 (Season 1 finale)

    Seems like Anna Kendrick just got started. Actually, she did. HBO Max premiered only two weeks ago, and new episodes of Love Life had been scheduled to drop weekly, but last week the platform decided to accelerate their release to capture the momentum of this familiar but likable series. Smart move, HBO Max.

    Darby continues to make her way through many men searching for "the right guy" in pre-COVID Manhattan. I'm a big Scoot McNairy fan, and it was great to see him in the early episodes. The career stuff, the roommates, the angst — we've seen it all before on a quest for love. But Anna makes it work, and although my daughters are probably the target audience, it's nice to see someone looking for love in the city with no fear of social distancing.

    F Is For Family (NETFLIX)
    Friday June 14 (Season 4 premiere)

    This animated sitcom for adults set in the suburbs of the 70's returns for its fourth season. Bill Burr continues to man his La-Z-Boy chair as the irascible family man and war veteran. Add Jonathan Banks as his estranged father (do voices get better than this?) as this very funny show attempts to fill Netflix's BoJack Horseman void. If you're looking for PC comedy, you're not going to find it here. Watch the trailer.

    Crossing Swords (HULU)
    Friday June 14 (premiere)

    Medieval times needed some Robot Chicken. Patrick the peasant dreams of becoming a knight, but there's plenty of violence and an evil queen standing in the way of his heart of gold.

    Like Robot Chicken, this new show is all stop-motion animation. And the cute-looking characters have plenty of evil lurking below their sweet smiles and limited movement.

    You'll recognize the voices of the peg people, and the violence gets pretty graphic during plenty of skirmishes. If you've been looking for a quirky new land to explore since Westeros shut down, this might be the show for you. Watch the trailer.

    Marcella (NETFLIX)
    Sunday June 14 (Season 3 premiere)

    I'm seriously considering Britbox - and shows like this are the reason why. Whether it's Prime Suspect or Bodyguard, it seems I can never get enough UK sleuthing.

    One of my favorite British female detectives, who happens to black out from time to time, has returned. The third season starts with Marcella working undercover in Belfast with a new identity and crime family to infiltrate.

    Marcella carries on the spirit of Luther as other familiar faces pop up during this 8 episode run shot in Northern Ireland. Anna Friel has dug deep during her first two seasons, and don't expect her to let up at all in her return.

    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.

    TOPICS: Love Life, HBO Max, Crossing Swords, F Is for Family, Marcella, Robot Chicken