Awful Must-See TV

I am happy to report that since the last time I wrote about my TV habits, I’ve discovered three new shows to watch, all awful.

Most compellingly awful is Billions. It is excruciating. It stars Damian Lewis and Paul Giamatti as adversaries obsessed with bringing each other down. The former is a hedge-fund billionaire and the latter is a District Attorney. The great thing is that they both speak in weird, unnaturally husky whispers, with long pauses between each phrase. The result is so comical that one has to assume it’s deliberate.

On the other hand, the writing is so stunningly terrible that maybe nobody notices how ridiculous the acting is. It’s like a room full of writers tried to think of the worst dialogue they could come up with, in a battle of wits or lack thereof. There are a lot of stupid literary references to make the viewer feel educated, and plenty of over-the-top sexual analogies that all break down to “taking it up the ass.”

Damian Lewis is as physically repellent as a used condom, with his red hair in a greasy pompadour and and his tight little mouth always curved in a nasty smirk. He wears skinny t-shirts and expresses his masculinity by liking Metallica. Really, I can’t say enough about this show. If you don’t watch it, you’re missing out on some great TV.

Another new favorite is Shades of Blue, a cop drama starring J Lo as a seasoned NYPD detective who is raising a teenage daughter. What could be better? J Lo’s commander and mentor is the corrupt Ray Liotta, more queeny than ever as Lt. Wozniak, who is struggling with the demon of bisexuality. Sold? Need more persuasion?

Okay, so J Lo wears a ton of make up, except when she’s in the shower, miserably trying to cleanse her tortured soul while caressing her wet hair. Her acting is achingly bad, as always, but her charisma remains intact. The writing is rich in stupid cop cliches, and everybody always runs directly into danger, despite all logic or common sense.

Finally, there is Bosch. Detective Hieronymus ‘Harry’ Bosch is an L.A. police detective who does things His Way. Played by a Titus Welliver, who was great in Deadwood, Bosch has a black sidekick and a teenage daughter who looks around 25. Bosch lives in an architectural masterpiece up in the hills, where he stares out at the sky a lot. He’s a morose sad-sack who gets the job done, while exasperating his lesbian chief. The most amazing thing about  Bosch is that he continually cocks his head to one side, even while walking out of the shot. The head-cocking is just nuts. Did the actor have a stroke or is this his idea of a quirk? That’s the mystery that keeps you coming back.

Now, who can recommend another show in this league??

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10 Responses to Awful Must-See TV

  1. Penny says:

    Setting aside the terrible tragedies that the show is based on, ‘Forensic Files’ is utterly hilarious. The narrator (I think it’s Peter Thomas who is half Welsh, so that explains a lot). He says things like ‘window peeper’, which makes me hoot (in England we say ‘peeping Tom’ or just ‘fucking pervert’), and generally adds an air of congeniality and light heartedness to what otherwise would be a mood hoover of a show to watch. It’s fantastic in it’s awfulness.

  2. Mary Liz says:

    Sorry to hear that Ray Liotta and Damian Lewis have sold out…actors have to make a living like the rest of us. I’ve liked Ray Liotta since the ’80s, Goodfellas and that sweet movie set in Pittsburgh, he was kind to his mentally disabled brother. And Damian Lewis was wonderful in Wolf Hall.
    Hope all’s well, Sister Wolf!

  3. Heidi says:

    I nominate the Cinemax original “Banshee.” The first couple of seasons are free on Amazon, but if you want to watch the rest, you have to pay. Here’s the official description:

    A recently paroled master thief assumes the identity of Sheriff Lucas Hood in Banshee, Pa., where his former lover and partner in crime relocated years ago and reinvented herself as Carrie Hopewell, the wife of the town’s prosecutor. As Lucas attempts to reunite with Carrie and keep his past a secret, he resumes his life of crime, even as he’s hunted by the shadowy gangsters he betrayed years earlier, including a mob boss who seeks revenge against Lucas and Carrie for the jewel heist that landed Lucas in prison.

    But it neglects to mention the former Amish guy who’s now the town’s corrupt businessman/baddie and the Fabulously bitter Gaysian Hairdresser/Hacker sidekick.

  4. A friend says:

    A few things: Madison Lintz, Bosch’s daughter, is 17, and therefore too young for Sister Wolf to cudgel; she should be more careful. And “morose sad sack”. As opposed to a cheerful sad sack? And the house, though glassy, is hardly an architectural masterpiece. (Not unlike Jessica Rabbit, it is just shot that way.) How does he afford it on a cop’s salary? With the proceeds from the movie rights to a case he worked. As to Mr. Welliver’s head cock? Can’t explain it.

  5. Emma says:

    I’m currently addicted to watching old episodes of Judge Judy on YouTube. My husband is appalled. He thinks it is the worst and that she is the worst, he says the show exploits the poor and is unethical and that Judge Judy is a fascist but I don’t know, I can’t get enough of Judge Judy.
    The other show is an old BBC product of Sherlock Holmes with Jeremy Brett playing Sherlock, also on You Tube. The production is wonderful. I love Jeremy Brett’s interpretation of Holmes and the producer’s dedication to the authenticity with the books.
    I just finished a huge marathon session of all of Gossip Girl which I also loved.

  6. Romeo says:

    But what’s genuinely good to watch? I nominate Catastrophe because there’s yodeling in the theme song but the new season arriving Friday may be the last season I watch since Amazon refuses to block its ads from Breightbarght.

    Bosch is awful. Titus Welliver (whose stage name is as ludicrous as that of the eponymous Bosch) is effective as a half-bright meathead but not credible as whatever it is his character is supposed to be. Unless he’s suffered some kind of brain trauma as you have already implied in which case: totally believable.

    Hey, remember that time the Russian Mafia totally destroyed our democracy?

  7. Sister Wolf says:

    Penny – We LOVE forensic files. We have even listened to it on satellite radio in the car!

    Mary Liz – Oh, I love Ray Liotta, he’s been great in so many movies! Damian Lewis needs to apologize to me personally for Billions, though.

    Heidi – Sounds great! I know an actress who was in it and even she thought it was crap.

    A friend – Well, aren’t you the irritant? 1. No one is too young for me to cudgel. 2. Don’t use the word “cudgel.” 3. Not all sad sacks are morose. 4. He earned the money for his house on stilts in the Hollywood Hills from a TV mini-series based on his case involving a serial killer. I was being a little snarky about “masterpiece.” I wouldn’t know an architectural masterpiece from a hole in the ground. 5. Get back to me when you find out about the head cock. Then we’ll talk.

    Emma – Judge Judy?? Get your husband to see Judge Jeanine on Fox if he wants to see a real fascist. I never watched Gossip Girl but isn’t it where Blake Lively comes from?

    Romeo – Patriot is great but too dark for you right now. The Americans too. Did you get a phone yet??? Thinking about you, xoxo

  8. Bevitron says:

    Very interesting, all this TV stuff. I’m way too depressed at present to be able to concentrate much on storylines horrible or good, but I’ll take everybody’s word for the sublime awfulness of everything.

    I do remember loving the Jeremy Brett version of the Sherlocks, and especially the wonderful opening theme. Haven’t thought about that in ages. Speaking of Blake Lively, a long long time ago I was in a play with her daddy Ernie, whose last name wasn’t Lively back then. I just remember that once during rehearsals he told me it was fine to park in a certain place and I did and my car got towed.

    When I’m feeling more despondent than usual, all I can tolerate watching, weirdly enough, is violent history-based stuff like Band of Brothers on Amazon video. (Damian Lewis was great in that, by the way.) If I tried watching one of those women hanging judges’ shows, I know I’d go out on a murder spree or something.

    I really enjoyed watching Happy Valley, especially the parts where the psycho-fucker-killer went shithouse rat crazy, which was pretty much all the time. That show made me want to go around in all black with a fluorescent green vest.

  9. Dj says:

    Bad TV? Try not to watch. But, started ?The Young Pope on HBO, couldn’t get a handle on anything the first two episodes…Jude law is the first American pope, young and handsome. But, quirky as hell. Diane Keaton is a grizzled nun who took care of him when he was dumped at her orphanage. Lots of old, grisly cardinals, one that is impossible to understand as he guides the cigarette smoking pope. I gave it another try and fell in love! It’s not what you would think…Really unusual and strangely wonderful. Jude better win best actor Emmy and GG. Love Black Mirror, futuristic twilight zone. A fun, evil show? Animal kingdom with Ellen Barkin. Watch the Aussie movie first. Ellen is mother to a pack of grifter sons who all love mama. I’m easily entertained sister, Billions has seized my attention. My favorite character? Damian’s wife who lets every one know she doesn’t give a fuck. Now where’s the remote…..

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