SOUND OFF: What are you watching?

In a normal year, August would be a pretty bleak time for broadcast television. Sure, streaming services have stepped up but for some reason broadcasters still cling to the past. They still think…. well they must think that we all need to go out and harvest the grain in August or something. Or that we all take the train to the Catskills for a month. I don’t know what the malfunction is. I do know that the late summer has always been a fairly dry time for television. In the past, networks would burn off unsold pilots or air movies. Today, they run reality programming.

Of course this year is a little different

A lot of programming intended for the summer was finished shooting before March, and that means it’s available. But, I’ve noticed that some shows are getting innovative. They’re shooting from home, or from multiple homes. They’re using greenscreens and a lot of distancing. Even in the summer of 2020, the show must go on.

What I’m watching

This doesn’t seem like the right summer for deep, dark, dystopian stuff. I’ve been sampling Brave New World, for example, but its view on life is pretty depressing. I don’t need any more of that. You probably don’t either.  I’m looking for things that are a little less intense.

Instead, I’m spending a bit more time with a few more brainless shows. I’ve been searching for things I’ve missed that are more fun to watch and take me away from the reality of life. Here are three such shows.

Nightcap (Hulu)

This isn’t a new show. It aired on Pop TV, which used to be known as the TV Guide Channel. That’s the same channel that originally aired Schitt’s Creek, but back in 2015 no one really thought of it as a content source. Not only that, but at that time it was standard-definition only on DIRECTV so many of us may have just glossed over it.

Nightcap follows the production staff of an imaginary late night show, but never shows its host or the actual show. If this sounds a little like 30 Rock, you’re not too far off base. It’s darker, though. Much darker. Twenty episodes were produced and it’s a blast to watch.

Floor is Lava (Netflix)

If you haven’t watched this yet, jump on it. It may be the absolute perfect show for our time. Maybe you remember playing this game as a kid, much to the chagrin of your parents. The idea is simple: get from place to place but you can’t touch the floor. In the case of the game show, the floor is made of some sort of warm goo and the challenges are a little more intense than the average living room.

If you’re not sold on the show, it’s only because I’m not selling it well enough. It’s a lot of fun because the people take it incredibly seriously which is hilarious. They’re competing for a shared $10,000 before taxes and a lava lamp, and the effort expended is much higher than you’d think.

Muppets Now (Disney+)

Yes, I’m watching something on Disney+. Disney hasn’t quite known what to do with the Muppets. It’s because they’re not really a kids property and never have been. Oh sure there’s the association with Sesame Street but the Muppets were created as seriously adult comedy disguised as family-friendly entertainment. Aside from one movie (The Muppets) Disney has flubbed every opportunity to bring them back… until now. This show is just as insidious as The Muppet Show and just as full of double meanings. Give it a shot.

What are you watching?

Leave some comments below and let me know what you’re watching this month. We’ll make it through this slow period in TV, I promise. And we do, you’ll want to do some home theater upgrades. You can get everything you need when you shop at Solid Signal.

About the Author

Stuart Sweet
Stuart Sweet is the editor-in-chief of The Solid Signal Blog and a "master plumber" at Signal Group, LLC. He is the author of over 8,000 articles and longform tutorials including many posted here. Reach him by clicking on "Contact the Editor" at the bottom of this page.