TV power rankings: Sex, magic and The Circle

Here are the 5 most notable TV shows of the week. As always, this is not just a list of the shows I want to talk about, but it’s also not not that.

I have never watched and I will never watch Curb Your Enthusiasm. I cannot stress enough the degree to which I just don’t want to! I’m told it’s great and I am delighted for Larry David and all his fans that the new season, which premiered this past Sunday, is apparently just as sharp and funny as ever. Vintage Curb, I’m told. Congratulations to all of you, but I am never going to watch your favorite show and it’s not going on my list.

Anyways. Avenue 5 also premiered on HBO on Sunday, but Armando Iannucci’s Hugh Laurie comedy is not great. I will be sure to let you know if that changes.

In other news, I can confirm that Cheer is a ride. I cannot tell you whether Monica is a monster or a hero, but I can tell you I would die for Jerry, want nothing but happiness for LaDarius and Lexi and generally highly recommend it. The Killer Inside, a Netflix sports doc of a very different vibe, is fine — my take on the Aaron Hernandez limited series is that it’s most interesting if you know nothing about him or the case. The series doesn’t really have anything to say one way or the other about why he did what he did (which is perhaps wise), it’s mostly just an information dump, so if you’re looking for conclusions, you won’t find anything definitive here. Which, again, is probably for the best.

Finally, Little America premiered on Apple TV+, an anthology series about the lives of immigrants that is already winning over hearts and minds, but I have yet to watch as I still don’t have Apple TV+.

THE BACHELOR

Episode 3, ABC

5

Does The Bachelor need to be two hours? Yes, because capitalism and advertising. But content-wise, no, and episode 3 really felt the full two hours long, particularly because so much of the episode’s action was highly unnecessary drama and women wasting their time with Peter offering opinions on a fellow contestant’s character while also telling Peter he had to decide for himself. And the way our new feud-ers went at each other wasn’t even all that interesting.

It was so long and boring, in fact, that you’re liable to forget Pete’s date with lovely and sweet national treasure Victoria P.

THE MAGICIANS

Do Something Crazy (season 5 premiere), Syfy

4

The Magicians is a show best binged so while this is definitely a PSA that the show is back, it’s not necessarily a recommendation to go watch it right now. It is, however, a recommendation to marathon the first four seasons if you are into messy, unhinged fantasy (not unlike The Witcher, but more Narnia, less Westeros) with a lot of heart and some shades of Gossip Girl. It’s also worth mentioning it shares a showrunner with YOU. (Sera Gamble has a co-creator credit for The Magicians and “co-developed” credit for YOU, both were adapted from book series, her fingerprints are all over both.)

For those who are already on The Magicians crazy train, but perhaps feeling a little meh after season 4, the premiere is promising, suggesting a clear direction for the new season, post-Quentin, and re-pairing Margo and Eliot, a scene-sharing duo I have missed dearly.

THE CIRCLE

Netflix

3

I have only watched the first episode of this absolutely bananas Netflix show that turns influencing into a reality competition but I am all the way in. It takes the social game of Big Brother and asks, what if it played out on social media and also they could catfish each other??

The conceit: Eight would-be influencers compete for $100,000. Each one lives in an apartment by themselves for as long as they last in the game and plays with a profile (their own or a “character” of their creation) on a social network called, you guessed it, The Circle. They can send messages — in Circle Chat or DM — and generally try to, uh, make friends and influence people.

I am obsessed with Joey and Seaburn. I hate Alana; I don’t love Antonio; I love to hate how Alana says Ahn-tohn-neo. I am sad about Karyn not being herself. The single greatest part of the show thus far are the Circlers (?) speaking their text messages out loud (and the deeply unnatural way it means their conversations are patched together). “Hi with lots of i’s.” SEND MESSAGE.

SEX EDUCATION

Season 2, Netflix

2

Aww, Sex Education. A lovely show whose second season does not quite match the highs of season 1, but whose cast brings an abundance of charm nonetheless. Eric (Ncuti Gatwa) has become the hands-down highlight, along with Gillian Anderson but Sex Education rightly keeps the focus on the ensemble of teens. It’s sweet and fun, even without its initial spark.

One thing I didn’t really cover in my review is just what a pretty show Sex Education is. The colors, the clothing, the landscape, the architecture. It’s such a pleasure to watch, and such a light, bright treat when so many shows embrace grayscale as a way to signal seriousness and quality.

EVERYTHING'S GONNA BE OKAY

Seven-Spotted Ladybug (series premiere), Freeform

1

If you’re familiar with Josh Thomas’ work (Please Like Me), you likely either love him or you find him entirely too much. I am very much in the former camp so I am thrilled he’s back on TV and consider Everything’s Gonna Be Okay to be an absolute delight. (The show airs on Freeform on Thursdays, but Hulu had the first three episodes available to stream on Friday.)

Plot-wise, Everything’s Gonna Be Okay follows twenty-something Nicholas (Thomas) and his two half-sisters Matilda (Kayla Cromer) and Genevieve (Maeve Press), as they grieve and grow up when Nicholas receives custody of the girls after their shared father dies. It’s one part family drama, one part high school coming-of-age series, and all parts Josh Thomas.

To the extent it’s almost distracting — Everything’s Gonna Be Okay echoes Please Like Me from the rhythm of its jokes down to the adorable dog, too-perfect love interest and twinkling piano riff that underscores its most emotional moments. Even Cromer and Press, who are admittedly given the room to make their characters their own, are working with witty lines that could just as easily have been given to Nicholas.

That said, my enjoyment far outweighs such complaints. It’s funny, crucially, but what’s really lovely about Thomas’ style is how honest and warm and silly it is, even when handling bleak, heavy realities. Anyways, I love his work and I’m so glad he has a new show.

Previously on the FS TV power rankings: Yes, The Bachelor is overranked

For more, check out the Television category at FanSided.com

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