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.
Hope you're recovering well from your socially distanced July 4th celebration. Now, as always, is a great time to enjoy some air conditioning and catch up on your favorite TV shows.
There's a light slate of new stuff this week, so I wanted to follow up on shows that I've recommended in previous columns and discuss how they're holding up.
Bordertown (NETFLIX) – I'm hooked on this Finnish crime drama. I watch every night after my wife falls asleep. For some reason, they renamed it Sorjonen after the quirky lead detective in the current third season, but don't let that distract you. This is CSI in its early years on steroids. I'm in deep on the Finland/Russian border.
I'll Be Gone In The Dark (HBO) – Really enjoyed the first episode of Michelle McNamara’s hunt for the Golden State Killer. Hate that HBO is making us wait week to week. It's always a good sign for a docuseries when you know how things turn out and don't even care. It’s amazing where a little late night obsession will take you.
Hamilton (DISNEY+) – Never sprung for the pricey tickets on Broadway, so I watched with my youngest daughter Emily who knows it back and forth. I went in cynical but emerged impressed. Angelica Schuyler and King George III steal the show. I honestly didn’t love a few of the tunes, but I do respect the talent on display.
Search Party (HBO MAX) – Alia Shawkat’s obsession for the disappearing Chantal Witherbottom is excellent for binging. It's dark, intended for a younger hipper audience and hasn’t been around for 3 years, but it still works for me. Maybe I should go to Brooklyn to watch it.
Yellowstone (PARAMOUNT) – Find the Paramount Network and get yourself to the largest contiguous cattle ranch in the United States. Kevin Costner is not to be trifled with as he does whatever it takes to uphold the Dutton family legacy.
Dirty John (USA) – Only two episodes left, but the Betty Broderick saga feels dragged out. The performances are very good, but this San Diego shooting should have been a two-hour documentary at most.
THIS WEEK'S PICKS
What Would You Do? (ABC)
Tuesday July 7 10pm (12th Season Premiere)
Five years ago, I was very close to co-hosting an episode of this ABC mainstay. Really.
I had worked out a deal to do a themed WWYD? episode filled with situations happening to characters on existing ABC shows and classic sitcoms. I came up with a ton of different scenarios, but we never got the green light. What would Cam and Mitch do? We’ll never know.
John Quinones has managed without me, and this season's premiere includes a scenario with a man wearing a Confederate flag on his jacket and a Black customer politely asks him to remove it. Timely, indeed.
The successful premise has always been straightforward, and putting yourself in these situations is an exercise worth engaging in.
Little Voice (APPLE TV+)
Friday July 10th (Premiere)
Get ready to find your voice and learn how to use it with some help from Sara Bareilles and JJ Abrams.
Bess King is a talented wannabe performer struggling to make her dreams come true while dealing with the perils of everyday life. She has the talent armed with lots of Sara Bareilles originals, but does she have the patience and persistence to get through her day?
Apple TV+ takes another shot with some big name creators in this cute tale that feels very Disney.
The Twelve (NETFLIX)
Friday July 10th (Premiere)
I've got a thing for foreign trials. First it was The Trial which came from Italy. Now there's this Belgian drama that was a big hit overseas.
When you're watching a show that originated outside of the U.S.A., stick with the native audio and use subtitles. English overdubbing takes away from the power of any drama. I use captioning all of the time, so this wasn't too much of a stretch for me. Once I started, I couldn’t go back.
This 10-part courtroom drama revolves around a woman accused of murdering her daughter and best friend. Dark stuff.
What sets this series apart is focusing on the members of the jury and how the weight of the case affects their personal lives. The juror baggage sways the courtroom in unexpected ways.
If there's quality TV that I'm missing, please let me know.
Wear a mask. Stay healthy and safe.
Jon Hein is the creator of "Jump the Shark" and author of three books. Follow him @jonhein on Twitter.
TOPICS: Little Voice, Bordertown, Dirty John, I'll Be Gone in the Dark, Search Party, The Twelve, What Would You Do?, Yellowstone, Hamilton