Fall Streaming Preview 2018: Refried Weirdness

It’s Fall Preview time but I’m not entirely sure I can get excited about much of what’s airing this September and beyond. You’ve probably already read Stuart Sweet’s take on what to expect on the network channels. In it, he cast a rather dismal outlook for the fall previews. While I usually get a kick out of disagreeing with Stuart, I’d have to say that I’m pretty much of the same mind as him on this one. The fall lineup of new series coming to the streaming service providers looks about as promising as what’s headed to the network channels, which isn’t saying much.

In his fall preview, Stuart laments that network TV seems to be out of new ideas. Such is the case with streaming providers, it seems. But more than that, there’s a different theme among the streaming services this fall. Apparently, cringe-worthy and slightly creepy are the latest fall fashions, as far as original series are concerned. All of the new streaming series I’ve reviewed have more than their fair share of oddness about them, and it seems to be by design. As a long-time David Lynch fan, I’m all for the sublime and the surreal, but I don’t think the original series slated for September rise to the level of Twin Peaks. That didn’t stop them from trying, though.

Here’s a list of the original TV series set to premiere this month on two of three streaming service providers:

Forever on Amazon Prime

Admittedly, this one looks vaguely interesting. It stars Maya Rudolph and Fred Armisen as married couple June and Oscar. The two live a comfortable yet predictable life in their community. When it comes to routine, June and Oscar are the queen and king, respectively. Things get interesting when the couple takes a ski trip, which is something completely new to them. The trailer hints that this act takes the couple out of their routines and entangles them in some very scary situations. In some ways, this could be the Ozark of suburban Riverside, California, which Stuart says is “nowhere near the beach, damnit!”

Forever is set to air September 14. Judging by its trailer, it has plenty of cringe and off-center oddness, right down to the producers’ choice of music. (Pete Drake’s haunting version of Forever.) As trailers go, it is the perfect musical montage to establish the high strangeness that this series promises. Bonus points for cutting into the song with some odd, off-putting dialogue about butterflies. Check it out for yourself:

Netflix Original Series: The Good Cop

September 21 marks the debut of The Good Cop starting Josh Groban and Tony Danza. The premise is pretty simple: Josh Groban plays the nerdy but competent police detective, while Danza plays his father, a disgraced former dirty cop who did time in prison. Needless to say, this dynamic creates more than an age gap between father and son. The alleged hilarity ensues as Danza continuously tries to insert himself into Groban’s life, much to the chagrin and dismay of Groban. It’s the Odd Couple with a father-son dynamic as an cheap, transparent overlay.

Judging by everything I’ve seen and read about this show, I’m expecting something similar to Showtime’s Shameless, i.e., a TV series that mines cheap laughs out of family dysfunction, bad behavior, and personality disorders. While I get that this shtick make shows like Cheers and Roseanne funny, I’m a little tired of it because tuning in each week makes me feel like I’m stuck in an endless cycle of suffering that never gets resolved… You know, the same feeling you’d get if you were actually in a dysfunctional family

Take a look at the trailer for Netflix’s The Good Cop and tell me this isn’t something you’ve seen before:

Netflix Original Series: Hilda

Okay, cringe-worthy and weird seems to be in this fall, and Netflix delivers on this latest fashion with Hilda. This TV series is based on the comic books series from Luke Pearson. Netflix’s animated version of Hilda tells the story of a strange, blue-haired girl who has adventures in the worlds of elves, giants, and trolls. I tried to make sense of the trailer but was lost. It’s not in English, and I’m not familiar with the original source material. All I can say is that Hilda seems like some weird animated tale. This comes as no surprise since it’s from the same streaming service that brings us Bojack Horseman. Oh, it airs September 21 if you’re interested.

If images of blue-haired girls in phantasmagorical realms is your thing, check out the Hilda trailer:

Hulu Original Series?

I don’t have Hulu, but I wasn’t going to let that stop me from telling you which new series air there in September. You know what did stop me? Hulu hasn’t released this information, at least not anywhere where I could find it. I don’t think Stuart Sweet will mind that I came up short on Hulu original series news, though. The streaming service cancelled Difficult People, which was a series he raved about. Needless to say, Hulu is in the proverbial dog house with my colleague. They still have The Handmaid’s Tale, though, for whatever that’s worth. I’m still interested to see what this streaming service provider has to offer us in the fall, though.

September 2018 Not Good for TV Watching

After I read Stuart’s Fall Preview on network TV, I thought I’d have a good laugh at his expense. Surely the streaming service providers will deliver a new and exciting TV this September, I thought. Well, it looks like I was wrong. Based on my research, the original series from the three biggest streaming services look like slim pickings at best. Who knows, though? One of these providers could totally surprise us with a hit TV series that we didn’t see coming. That’s a comforting thought, but I’d rather not set myself up for possible disappointment. I’ll just wait and see, which is what I do with most thing streaming.