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Jerrod Carmichael’s had a big year. Since his Emmy-winning comedy special, Rothaniel, dropped in April 2022, he’s gained widespread attention with major gigs like hosting Saturday Night Live and the Golden Globes. The latter allowed him to publicly criticize one of the entertainment industry’s largest institutions (the Hollywood Foreign Press Association), a move that during a different time may have made him a pariah in the business. But Carmichael seems to be doing just fine, and continues to be celebrated for the authenticity of his comedy — HBO just announced a comedy documentary project starring Carmichael has been ordered to series.
Communities often form in the aftermath of a tragedy, from neighbors standing outside a burning house to survivors founding an advocacy group, and in 21st-century television, these ad hoc societies are often tinged with terror: Think of the cult on Yellowjackets, the smoke monster that chases the Lost islanders, or the troupe of artists that learns to kill on Station Eleven. Considering the anxiety that’s pervaded this century — and the catastrophes that have stacked up like leaves on the ground — this fraught tone might almost feel necessary. And that’s why Dear Edward is such a heartrending surprise. Though it begins in grief, it refuses to stay there.
Anyone eager for a sophisticated dramatization of the Gwen Shamblin story should wait until HBO Max releases its upcoming series with Sarah Paulson. However, those craving a tawdrier take on the life, death, and weight-obsessed ministry of the accused cult leader can fire up their screens now. Lifetime’s new movie Gwen Shamblin: Starving For Salvation may not be tasteful or even very artful, but it lays out the facts with gossipy zeal, like someone screen-grabbing the juiciest bits of a tabloid story and texting them to a group chat. And to be clear: That’s fine. Sometimes, lurid escapism can be just as satisfying as tony drama, and Shamblin’s story is compelling enough for both.
Not Dead Yet has been pitched as Gina Rodriguez’s return to network television, but as star vehicles go, it’s as feeble as its protagonist. Rodriguez toyed with viewers’s expectations in Jane the Virgin, bringing new layers to a character rooted in familiar genre tropes. But her latest character, Nell Serano, an obituary writer who begins seeing the ghosts of her subjects, is stuck, unable to shake her malaise about life not going her way. While Nell does show small signs of momentum in later episodes, it feels as if co-creators David Windsor and Casey Johnson don’t know what to do with her — as if they, like Nell, are fumbling around, waiting for someone to point them in the right direction.
When the Black vocal group The 5th Dimension released their 1969 anthem “Aquarius/Let the Sunshine In,” they sought to capture their community’s skepticism about the government. Taken from the counter-cultural musical Hair, the song’s lyrics are a call to action: regain control of your environment, let the sun shine in, and you will have “no more falsehoods and derisions.” Three years later, when Shirley Chisholm became the first Black woman to run for president of the United States, she echoed those sentiments in her announcement speech, calling for a need to “reshape our society and regain control of our destiny.” Music captured the feelings of a community, and the community responded with an organized social movement. The New PBS documentary Fight The Power: How Hip Hop Changed The World argues that this call and response helped hip hop become a tool for Black Liberation, but as it seeks to prove that thesis, it skims over the inherent challenge of advocating for radical political reform while trying to appeal to a mainstream audience.
It’s been 13 years since King of the Hill aired its final episode, but now the show will find new life with a reboot at Hulu after Fox dropped the project last year. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the revival has been in the works since 2017, when creators Mike Judge and Greg Daniels reunited with the original cast at Sketchfest in San Francisco to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the series premiere. But as certain recent animated reboots have proven, not every beloved cartoon needs a modern update.
Freeform thriller The Watchful Eye may look like a spiritual successor to Cruel Summer, the anthology that became an instant hit when it debuted in 2021, but viewers would be wise to resist comparing the two. While Cruel Summer’s first season examined grooming and the villainization of women by 1990s media culture, The Watchful Eye layers a Hitchcockian premise with the “eat the rich” sentiment that has taken hold of contemporary pop culture. The result is a young adult drama that’s both compulsively watchable and socially aware, a rare combination in the genre.