Hein’s TV Picks: Love on the American Spectrum Doesn’t Disappoint
Jon Hein knows television. In the late 1990s, he coined the phrase “Jump the Shark” when he founded the site of the same name. Since then, he’s written about television everywhere from The New York Times to TV Guide. In his column for Primetimer, he shares his thoughts on what’s new and good on TV and the shows on his radar for the week ahead.
love on the spectrum is back this Wednesday, but where have those Aussie accents gone? by Netflix Love on the US Spectrum is an adaptation of the Australian series about autistic adults looking for love.
I’m not a fan of dating shows. Most are completely contrived with beautiful people who want to be TV stars. They are not looking for a real relationship. They seek to become famous.
the original love on the spectrum is a rare exception. All the bottom guys and gals are looking for that special someone, and the authenticity of their feelings and respect for their families is palpable. It’s a wonderful show that really makes you feel for everyone involved.
Much of the charm comes from the filming locations, but even more from their accents. Accents pack a lot of punch. Hulu’s normal people benefited enormously from these Irish languages. Archie and Edith Bunker wouldn’t have been themselves without their assignments on All in the family. If you have a British accent, I automatically assume you’re ten times smarter than me (although the Cockney makes me think you’re in Mary Poppins).
Naturally, the programming heads at Netflix thought “why not do an Americanized version of our hit series?” Many people liked Atypical which is an autistic coming of age story (see below). There are a lot of autistic people dating in the US, so let’s just adapt the show to America!
But adapting an international hit isn’t as easy as it looks. For every Office or Veepthere is one Coupling or Us & Them. Be careful what you import.
The good news here is that the producers didn’t play with a winning formula. The stories are sweet, the cast is charming, and the tugs at your heart are always in check with a sharp sense of humor. Even the Aussie voice behind the camera remains the same, retaining a good taste of the first series’ vocal comfort. If it is not broke, do not fix it.
love on the spectrum puts “reality” in a reality show. These singles and celibates actually care more about each other than the cameras following them. It is something worth celebrating.
Here’s what’s worth watching this week…
My next guest needs no introduction (NETFLIX)
Friday May 20
It seems like eons have passed since David Letterman said goodbye to his long, late-night talk show. Many thought Dave would pull a Carson and never be seen again. Many have been wrong.
The bearded wonder returns for a fourth season of his Netflix talk show Completely Under Control. This season’s guests include Will Smith (recorded before the slap), Cardi B, Kevin Durant, Billie Eilish, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Ryan Reynolds. In other words, people Dave really wants to talk to. Watch the extract
George Carlin’s American Dream (HBO)
Friday, May 20, 8 p.m.
Judd Apatow has helmed many projects that made us laugh, and most recently took on the role of comedy curator. After profiling Garry Shandling’s Zen Diaries just a few years ago, Judd set his sights on George Carlin.
The legendary comedian was so much more than those seven swear words. This two-part documentary examines his life, career, and his overwhelming influence on those who are now considered legends in the stand-up world. Watch the trailer
The Ipcress folder (AMC+) – A Cold War spy thriller set in 1960s London and Berlin based on the book. Thusday.
THIS WEEK’S STIHTGT!
(Shows I hope to reach!)
angelyne (Peacock) – Emmy Rossum thinks she’s famous in LA but no one knows who she is. Thusday.
The G World with Adam Conover (Netflix) – The host who ruins everything is looking closely at the effects of our government. Thusday.
night sky (Amazon) – JK Simmons and Sissy Spacek are a retired couple who have a passage to another planet in their backyard. Friday.
From time to time (AppleTV+) – Five college friends reunite 20 years after the death of the sixth member of their crew. Friday.
THE GREATEST HITS
(Very good shows that you may have missed)
This week’s pick: Atypical (Netflix) – This charming comedy revolves around an autistic child navigating his family and high school while trying to get out of the house on his own. Keir Gilchrist and Brigette Lundy-Paine are fantastic as kids, and parents Jennifer Jason Leigh and Michael Rapaport play their roles perfectly. It’s a funny and poignant look at what it takes to grow in today’s world and all the peer pressure and support (or lack thereof) that comes with it.
magic town (Peacock)
For all mankind (AppleTV+)
Abbott Elementary School (ABC)
Luther (HBO Max)
Downton Abbey (Netflix)
The good wife (Primary+)
Freaks & Geeks (Hulu)
Patriot (Amazon Prime Video)
Battlestar Galactica (Peacock)
The split (Amazon Prime Video)
border town (Netflix)
Stop and catch fire (AMC+)
If you like or hate my picks, I would like to hear from you.
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Jon Hein is the creator of “Jump the Shark” and author of three books. follow him @jonhein on Twitter.