UnREAL Starts with a Bang
Season 2 of Lifetime’s UnREAL, about the manipulative backstage drama of a Bachelor-style reality-dating program, premiered on Monday — and the surprise hit of last summer is sharp as ever. The premiere established the new season of Everlasting, which for the first time has a black “suitor”: NFL quarterback Darius Beck (B.J. Britt), who’s agreed to appear on the show to help rehabilitate his image after he was caught calling a reporter a “bitch” on camera (well, kinda; he said, “Bitch, please,” which totally doesn’t count, right?). With an early shot of Rachel having sex in a Vegas hotel room with a black man, while declaring, “It was me! The first black suitor! We’re gonna make history!” I predict this is the season that launches a thousand thinkpieces, and rightfully so.
The Americans Ends with an Existential Moan
Critics have been calling The Americans the best show on TV for a couple years now, but Season 4 may have been the series’ best yet. On Wednesday, the season ended on an appropriate note of existential dread, as the Jennings family contemplates taking their children back a “home” they’ve never seen: Russia. And the episode left us on a mighty big cliffhanger, unsure as to whether the family’s FBI agent neighbor Stan knows who they really are.
Maya & Tina
I’ve been a little meh on Maya & Marty so far — I had high hopes for NBC’s new live sketch program, but I’ve been disappointed by lamely written sketches and a format that relies too much on star power and not enough on laughs. But I did like one segment from Tuesday’s episode, where Tina Fey and Maya Rudolph sang a medley perched on very high stools. It was loose and charming (and in key!) and pointed to the kind of low key, club-ish atmosphere the show can evoke at its best.
Another Round of Casual
I’m also a little cool on Casual, the Hulu original series about a divorcee who moves in with her brother along with her teenage daughter. It has its moments, but it’s neither funny enough to truly be called a comedy nor weighty enough to satisfy as a serious drama. But star Michaela Watkins is so good that it’s worth checking out the second season, available as of Tuesday. The actress who plays her daughter, Tara Lynne Barr, is also excellent.
Bernie may be hogging the spotlight right now, but Hillary had her finest moment yet of her campaign when she gave a triumphant speech on Tuesday as the presumptive Democratic nominee — the first woman nominated for president by a major party. Our khaleesi breathed fire all over Trump, declaring, “Make America Great Again is code for let’s take America backwards. Back to a time when opportunity and dignity we reserved for some not all. Promising his supporters an economy he cannot re-create…He wants to win by stoking fear and rubbing salt in wounds. And reminding us daily just how great he is.”