Tag Archives: Starz

Spring 2013 Review: Da Vinci’s Demons

4 Sep

His demons

An initial dislciaimer: Da Vinci’s Demons is a ridiculous show.  For me, as a former history major, to be able to divorce absolutely everything I know about history and enjoy the show requires me to change my mindset going in.  Not quite realizing how uninterested in history Da Vinci’s Demons was, I actually paused the show, sat and thought for ten minutes, ,and rearranged my expectations.  It’s not to say I expected a historically based show to actually be entirely accurate, but most of the Showtime/Starz historical shows of the past few years (The Tutors, The Borgias, The white Queen) attempt to be by and large historically accurat-ish at least in the very broad strokes if not so much in the minutia.  That’s what I thought Da Vinci’s Demons would be like, It’s not.

Da Vinci’s Demons is much more similar to the much farther removed from history/ historical fantasy stylings of Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter.  Fidelity to historical actuality is extremely limited; some of the characters are based on historical equivalents, but that’s really about it.  It’s not that this is and of itself a bad thing in anyway as much as I had to quell all my historical impulses before I could watch further.  Even the language is ridiculous.  Sure, most historical fiction likely has everybody speaking in ways that are not similar in anyway from how they spoke in the original time period, but at least there’s some attempt to sound like what we think people from that time sounded like.  Da Vinci’s Demons made no such concessions – people throw around words and phrases that sound right out of modern day. Realizing what I was dealing with, I began watching again and did my best to give it back a clean slate.

Tom Riley, who plays Leonardo Da Vinci, owes his performance to, in order, Robert Downey Jr. as Tony Stark, Robert Downey Jr. as Sherlock Holmes, and Robert Downey Jr. as himself.  He portrays the combination of confident swagger, bald-faced arrogance, and brilliant genius that Downey brings to any of these roles.  It’s one step away from the House anti-hero model that Hugh Laurie made so popular during his eight seasons portraying Gregory House, a flawed but brilliant antihero that rubbed many of his fellow characters the wrong way but ultimately had good deep down at heart.  The Downey/Da Vinci model is equally arrogant but generally more well-liked, has fewer blatant flaws, and seems to do pretty well with the ladies.  Leonardo da Vinci, after all, is the original renaissance man; he excels in painting, math, fighting, wit, and so much more.

So, Leonardo, when we meet him, is an up and coming young artist of limited repute, much promise, and big dreams.  He’s brash and thinks three steps ahead of just about everyone else.  He’s great with the women, as mentioned above, but is particularly obsessed with Lorenzo de Mecidi‘s (the leader of Florence for those not remembering their high school history) mistress, Lucrezia.  He hangs out with other creative folk who try to live below the radar, and they seem like the most interesting people in an otherwise hyper-serious city. It certainly seems like they’re having a ton of fun in the scenes where da Vinci and his buddies get wasted together.  His big opportunities come when he pitches the leaders of Florence on a flying bird he’s designed for some big festival, and when he manages to meet with the mysterious Lorenzo and pitches him on a role as military engineer whereby da Vinci can get paid to try out some of his contraptions which could modernize Florence’s military.

In the meantime, we find out Leonardo’s mom, of whom he knows little, was a Turk who was somehow associated with some secretive masonic-like order who relentlessly pursue something called the Book of Leaves, which has all the secrets to future progress. This Turk, who Leonardo saves from a couple of mercenary toughs, tasks Leonardo with digging further into his own past, and looking for the Book of Leaves himself.

Da Vinci is doing all this at a time where Italian city states with sinister leadership are all conspiring against one another with hyper secret meetings and cabals.  Within the first couple of minutes of the show, a leader of Milan is assassinated, and a character that I think is the pope is about to sexually abuse a teen, before the pope’s minions kill the boy after he accidentally finds out too much about their plans. The big twist, at the end of the episode, (FIRST EPISODE SPOILER ALERT) is that Lucretia, the object of Leonardo’s affection, who he sleeps with at the end of the episode, is actually a spy for some other Italian city state, and informs on him to those who would do him harm.  The people she informs him on know the Turk well and the Book of Leaves, and clearly this conspiracy will be a major plot point going forward.

For this show to work, the plot should be riveting and keep me at the edge of my seat.  This conspiracies and secrets are something I should really get behind and want to learn more about, and Riley should be incredibly charismatic as Da Vinci. I think Riley holds up his end of the bargain better; I still think the Da Vinci character is a little much with his always being so dashing and reckless and always having a witty line at every possible juncture but I think Riley does more or less as good job of carrying it as he can.  I feel like Da Vinci’s less bold friends seem to feel when watching da Vinci getting into a scuffle at the bar; I want to say, come on Leonardo, do you have to make a scene at every possible moment?  Can’t we just have a chill Friday night out? The story, I had a hard time getting into.  There’s an ancient order that maybe da Vinci is a part of by birth and that’s cool but I certainly didn’t feel invested at all when I finished the episode. It’s possible that later episodes would wrap me up in it better and pull me in, but setting up an intriguing plotline is something that first episodes of dramas generally do well, so I’m less than impressed that I’m not swept up right away.  Historical city states and their squabbles I also normally find fascinating which made it all the more noteworthy that it didn’t take here; part of buying da Vinci as ahistorical possibly made me less interested in vagaries of Italian politics in the show.

Will I watch it again?  No, probably not.  Once I was able to get over my historical biases it was not bad, but I’m just not intrigued enough by the intricacies of the court in Florence and the secret orders within the Italian states that I want to watch more at this time.  I could imagine getting into it, but unless someone I trust bowls me over with how good it is I doubt it’s going to happen.

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Summer 2013 Review: The White Queen

14 Aug

She's white, and a Queen

Here’s the best thing about The White Queen.  In an incredibly bizarre coincidence, the first episode was written by a writer named Emma Frost, the pseudonym of Marvel character White Queen.  Now the not as good.

The first episode of The White Queen, in short.  The series takes place during The War of the Roses, beginning when Edward IV has just been crowned king. A recently widowed woman whose family is on the Lancaster side of the conflict meets the Yorkist king.  In about five minutes, they fall in love, and he loves her so much in these five minutes that he proposes marriage.  She can’t tell her parents, who are wary of her even seeing the king.  He’s on the wrong side, and even though Romeo and Juliet wasn’t invented yet, opposing loyalties are powerful and all that.  She accepts, because, fuck, he’s the king, and he’s handsome to boot, and they get secretly married.  The show then basically spends the last thirty minutes going back and forth between whether the secret marriage was just a ploy by the king to have sex with her or was a legitimate marriage, and it turns out it was legitimate, although the King’s cousin and closest adviser and the king’s mom are both opposed to the marriage, which presumably will lead to trouble later on.

As previously mentioned, The White Queen is a piece of historical fiction about the marriage of Elizabeth Woodville, a commoner, and King Edward IV during The War of the Roses. While the White Queen is historical, and Game of Thrones is fantasy, Game of Thrones, like most fantasy, is set during quasi-medieval times, and in particular based some of its conceptual framework on the War of the Roses  White Queen may not actively be attempting to imitate Game of Thrones, but  some of the ideas and characters and themes seem similar enough to look kind of like the original, but a version that came out all twisted and broken.

Examples of similarities include a young king who halts a potential kingdom-making royal marriage to marry a commoner he’s smitten with, dueling royal familie, with people switching sides depending on which way the wind is blowing, a strong maternal female character who is the brains behind her family’s oafish male counterparts, and even some magic.   I won’t get on the show too much for not looking as good as Game of Thrones because of the probably production budget differences, but it doesn’t.

The White Queen is like Game of Thrones without all the parts that make Game of Thrones good.  That’s probably too harsh for the sake of being snappy and concise but it’s not off point.  The biggest single condemnation I can make of the show is that feels hollow. Everything that happens feels like empty exposition with nothing behind it and I struggled to find a reason to care or invest myself.  Obviously it’s hard to create a ton of characterization in the first episode of a series, but I don’t feel like I know the characters at all.   The characters felt like written descriptions rather than actual characters.  Not only do I feel like I know nothing about the new queen and king, but they didn’t sell me at all on their unlikely love that is supposed to get this story going.   She’s supposed to be such a mind-mindbogglingly charismatic commoner that the king would swear off a smart foreign marriage for her, and I don’t get that here. The episode felt largely artless; even outside of the characters there was no sense of direction, writing, or aesthetic that gave me reason to want to step back into this world for another episode.

When I finished the episode, I just didn’t care, not about the forbidden love, not enough to root for the king, or the White Queen, or the queen’s practical, possibly magic mother, or, well, anything.  It’s not compelling, and in a post Game of Thrones world, it’s hard for me to not watch this fantasy show without making the comparison, which as mentioned above does not suit The White Queen well. I’m not sure whether the mere existence Yorks and Lancaster is supposed to make us feel the charge of how forbidden this love. Maybe in England, you can just say Yorks and Lancasters and you automatically get the sense of instant rivalry that North and South in the Civil War would bring in America.  I understand historically that Yorks vs. Lancasters was a big deal, but I would like the show to convince me of that through storytelling rather than mention it a couple of times and have it assumed so due to historical context. There’s a real cheap attempt in the last two minutes to keep prolonged interest in the show when the new queen sees a possibly magical vision of her own blood, but other than that I’m not sure what I have to look forward to.

Will I watch it again?  Nope.  Honestly, the best I can say about The White Queen is that it reignited my interest in the War of the Roses. I know I’m a history nerd, but it’s probably not a great sign if I enjoy the reading about the real life characters on Wikipedia more than I do watching the show.

End of Season Review: Boss, Season 1

29 Aug

Boss, the Kelsey Grammer Starz show about a corrupt long-time Chicago mayor with an incurable brain disease (not a spoiler, you learn this in the first five minutes of the show – this article is low on plot specifics and thus spoiler free for all but the most sensitive of readers) not willing to give up his perch of power without a fight, is a surprisingly interesting and enjoyable way to spend eight episodes as long as  you’re willing to temporarily put aside some of your beliefs about, I don’t know, reality and the like (that sounds like a negative; but it’s not intended that way; Boss would hardly be the first quality show demanding this).  Boss, sometimes cleverly and sometimes not so cleverly takes little bits and pieces from a number of the best TV dramas of the past decade or so, and repurposes them for its own uses.

Kelsey Grammer plays longtime Chicago mayor Tom Kane, who has kept himself in power through a combination of canny manipulation, well-timed brutality, and giving all the right people just enough to be satisfied.  In addition, his threats carry more weight because he’s been there so long, and he seems unbeatable, and well, if you can’t beat him, you might as well join him.  As we join him, a year away from his own reelection efforts, at the same time when he discovers his neurological condition, or perhaps because of it, his opponents smell weakness, and see a real opportunity to end the Tom Kane era.  They’re willing to pull out every stop to do so.  A test of Kane’s strength is represented by the upcoming Democratic primary election, where he chooses to throw his support behind young renegade Democratic gubernatorial candidate Ben Zajac against long-time governor McCall Cullen.  Meanwhile Kane is alternately helped and hindered by his two primary advisers, Ezra and Kitty, as well as by his wife Meredith, who married Tom as a measure of political convenience; she was the previous mayor’s daughter.

Boss takes from 24 the sense that there are moles all around constantly reporting on and sabotaging your every ploy, and occasionally overcomplicated, though exciting if you don’t think too much, and confusing plotlines.  From Game of Thrones Boss takes the idea that there are a few real players manipulating others for their own ends, while some, who think they are players, are merely pawns.  Everyone’s got their weakness, it’s just a matter of playing into it.  There are also got plenty of completely unnecessary boobs.  From The Sopranos, Boss gets Kane’s pure physical brutality, reminiscent of Tony, and his struggle to control an organization and hierarchy below him that is not always satisfied with his leadership, for different reasons.  Echoing Breaking Bad, Tom Kane has Walter White’s sense of survival at all costs, with his back up against the wall, and his willingness to use everybody around him, family and friends, however he needs to, in service of his own goals.  Boss has adopted Deadwood’s sense of language, in monologues in particular, as well as more careful manipulations (credit to Vulture for turning me on to the Deadwood comparison with a headline for article I didn’t want to read because I hadn’t seen the show yet).  Oh, and from Damages, Boss features a random hitman/shady dude who convinces a lot of people under threat of physical pain to do things, even though we have no idea who the guy is aside from these scenes or who he exactly works for.

I seriously hope real world Chicago politics, as potentially corrupt as they may be, don’t actually mirror Boss politics, because as far as Boss goes, the phrase skeletons in the closet needs to be altered to something like skeletons in the parking garage (a big garage, like four, five stories).  Also, although I’m fairly sure the skeletons in the traditional phrase are metaphorical, in Boss, at least some amount of time, they’re real.  Everybody’s cheating on everybody, nobody is honest or up front, and everybody has a plan to get what’s best for them, some of the plans better than others.

The events of Boss are utterly outlandish and frightening (actually less frightening for being so utterly outlandish) and stir up a lot of the much asked, but still always valid question of how far is too far for the end to ever justify the means.  Even more than that is the question of the just as old, power corrupts, absolute power corrupts absolutely.  Characters are constantly choosing actions which put them in power while stomping over others, believing some combination of the idea that their being in power will help others and the idea that they simply need to be in power.

It’s not a perfect show by any means.  The pacing in episodes is not always the best, there’s sometimes a little too much Rubicon-like shady old white men in rooms planning things, and it hits some of the questions it asks a little too on the nose.

Still, flaws aside, I’m absolutely glad I watched the show.  After watching The Good Wife recently. I found it, though not a bad show, a show that was thoroughly uninterested, especially compared to the top shows I’m used to watching, and the distinction really struck me more than I expected.  Interesting’s such a mundane word, but shows that don’t follow the set obvious path over the course of a sesson, either by subtle tweaking, by treading on new ground entirely, or just by applying a new focus or a new lens are unfortunately uncommon. Potentially interesting shows often do fail, either very quickly, when they run out of ideas after the premise, like Terra Nova, or like Lost, remain, well, interesting, but become terrible for other reasons.  Being interesting is certainly not sufficient for a quality show.  However, I think it’s not a bad first hurdle to pass.  While Boss takes pieces from all these other places, it does make the synthesis all its own.  It’s not quite canonical but it’s not a show I feel like I’ve seen a hundred times before, and I enjoyed it.

Spring 2012 Preview and Predictions: Cable (besides HBO)

6 Jan

(In order to meld the spirit of futile sports predictions with the high stakes world of the who-will-be-cancelled-first fall (now spring!) television season, I’ve set up a very simple system of predictions for how long new shows will last.  Each day, I’ll (I’m aware I switched between we and I) lay out a network’s new shows scheduled to debut in the fall (reality shows not included – I’m already going to fail miserably on scripted shows, I don’t need to tackle a whole other animal) with my prediction of which of three categories it will fall into.

These categories are:

1.  Renewal – show gets renewed

2.  13+ – the show gets thirteen or more episodes, but not renewed

3.  12- – the show is cancelled before 13

Spring note:  It’s a lot harder to analyze midseason shows as there’s no collective marketing campaigns going on at one time, as many of the shows start dates are spread (or are even unannounced for some)  Still, we’ll take partially educated guesses.  Also, they’re a lot less likely to get partial pick ups, so maybe that trade off will make it easier)

All other cable networks here.  USA and TNT are holding their new shows until the summer, so we’ve got entrants from BBC America, FX, Showtime, Starz and MTV.

BBC America

The Fades

The Fades has already aired in Britain but will be making its American debut this spring.  From a writer of Skins, The Fades is a supernatural show which revolves around the central concept that spirits of dead people who couldn’t get into heaven are all around us, known here as the titular Fades.  The main character Paul is a teenager who has apocalyptic dreams and the ability to see these Fades, an ability shared only by a select few, known as Angelics.  The Fades are bitter, and have slowly made progress in their attempt to have an impact in the real world, leading to a possible battle with the Angelics which Paul will be in the middle of.

Verdict:  Renewal – I shouldn’t really even have this category for imported shows – British shows generally air short runs anyway per season, six in this case, and it’s already aired months ago.  That said, there’s no official word, but as it’s been popular and well-reviewed across the pond this is just the smart money.

FX

Unsupervised – 1/19

Unsupervised is an animated series co-created by David Hornsby, best known as recurring character Rickety Cricket on FX hit It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia.  He also created and starred in the quickly cancelled How To Be A Gentlemen last fall on CBS.  Hornsby and Justin Long voice the main two characters, 15-year old best friends.  Kristen Bell, Romany Malco, Fred Armison, and Kaitlin Olson also have roles.

Verdict:  12- David Hornsby did not impress me with How To Be A Gentlemen, though FX has had a lot more success with quality comedies than CBS.  FX has a pretty good record overall, and there’s a clearly illustrious voice cast.  I’m really not sure why I’m skeptical, and hopefully it will be good, but it looks bad to me from the poster and I’m semi-arbitrarily voting against.

Showtime

House of Lies – 1/8

House of Lies is a comedy about the hilarious world of management consulting, starring Don Cheadle, Kristen Bell, and Ben Schwartz, best known as Parks and Recreation’s Jean-Ralphio.  Honestly, the first time I heard about this show, about management consultants working for clients around the world and doing whatever needs to be done to get the project finished and make money, I thought for sure it was a high intensity drama, especially since it was starring Don Cheadle, who is not exactly known for his comedic roles.  The fact that it’s a comedy floored me initially.

Verdict:  Renewal – don’t really know what to think, but Showtime, like HBO, which it desperately wants to be, likes to give shows second seasons if they do anything at all.

Starz

Spartacus: Vengeance – 1/27

This is kind of misleading.  I have no idea how to consider Starz’ continuing line up of Spartacus shows.  My normal inclination would just be to consider them different seasons of the same show, but Starz doesn’t exactly consider them that, and tragically the actor who played Spartacus died, so maybe that’s a factor.  Because Starz seems to, I’m going to treat it as a new show, though it’s clearly not.  A new actor takes on the Spartacus role and it’s filled with all the sex and violence that the Spartacus name has come to represent.

Verdict:  12- More cheating – so far each Spartacus has been treated as its own series, so it seems likely that if there’s another Spartacus, which there well may be, it will probably have a new name and thus be considered a new series.  I don’t really understand it, either.

MTV

I Just Want My Pants Back – 2/2

It’s about a twenty-something trying to figure out life, love, sex and work.  Could it possibly sound more generic?  The minor gimmick which gives the show its title is that the main character’s pants are stolen after a one-night stand and the character looks all over the city to find the pants and the girl who took them.  I’m guessing it won’t be good based on the fact that I don’t give a ton of credence to MTV original programming (I’m already too old to be the target audience, really) and most shows that sound like this are probably bad (even though the set up is so generic it could be any level of quality).

Verdict:  12- I have no idea what it takes for MTV to continue original series.  I must admit I’m mostly unfamiliar with MTV original series and don’t really have a beat on who watches them or what it would take to continue them.  This is nothing more than a guess in the dark.

Fall 2011 Review: Boss

10 Dec

Boss wastes no time in its pilot.  Its first scene is a doctor letting the titular “Boss,” Kelsey Grammer’s Tom Kane, current mayor of Chicago, know that he has a degenerative brain disease, which will slowly deteriorate his higher and then lower mental functions.  Eventually he will barely be able to function and will need full time care.  He takes the news, reminds the doctor that the report is confidential and moves on with his day.  He makes a speech on behalf of the current gorvernor, but we soon learn that even though he’s nothing but kind in person, he’s looking to unseat the governor with a young state treasurer.  He offers to put his support behind the treasurer in exchange for favors later.  A find of Indian artifacts in a graveyard throws off his big legacy project, an expansion to O’Hare and Kane engages in a variety of different hardcore old-style political maneuvering to get his airport expansion back on track.  This includes paying off the Indians with building contracts, tacking on an amendment to give him all decisions over the Indian artifacts to a necessary trash bill, and violently assaulting the alderman responsible for the contractor who discovered the Indian artifacts and talked about the discovery on TV.  The airport expansion seems like his most important legacy and he’s willing to do absolutely whatever it takes to get it done.  That of course entails telling no one about his medical condition and more than that having an associate of his associate violently threaten the doctor about not revealing any confidential information.

We see a little bit of his family as well.  His wife is seen at a school dressing down a contractor who was supposed to bring the schools up to some minimum condition.  It’s clear that she’s a veteran of playing old-school political games as well.  At home, it seems like things are strained between them but there’s obviously some respect.  We meet Kane’s daughter as well who has the strangest plot of the episode.  She is working as a medical clinic and after helping a young African-American and his uncle, tracks down the kid for some drugs which she then throws away.  Also, she appears to not be so close with her father; they talk briefly, but he doesn’t have her cell number.

There was also a gratuitous stairway sex scene between the state treasurer and Kane’s advisor that I don’t exactly understand the purpose for, but okay.

Overall, Boss used its first episode fairly wisely and ended up being a much more interesting pilot than I expected.  It helped us learn a fair amount about our main character, and enough to make some bigger guesses at character relationships while setting several plot strands into motion.  These strands seem likely to crash into one another at one point in the future.

Kane has the making of a fascinating character, struggling to do good both for himself but also for his city, while willing to cross many lines to do it.  Like Walter White in Breaking Bad, this is all complicated by a premise of a disease which is a ticking clock, limited his time to get things done.  The political arena is ripe for a character drama.  Kane is old school and hard and certainly no Jeb Bartlett from The West Wing, nor Tommy Carcetti from The Wire, though maybe he’d be more similar to Carcetti’s predecessor Clarence Royce if we ever saw a drama about him.  The first episode was a chance to see Kane display the full range of his political tactics and watch them work so we can understand why he’s both a respected and feared mayor and so we have a baseline for when situations inevitably go less smoothly as the season goes on.  There’s a host of relationships to be explored, between Kane and his wife and daughter as well as between Kane and his long time staff members.  He’s going to have to continue to maneuver to keep his airport project on track as well as push his favored candidate for governor from behind the scenes.  Honestly, I think the show sounds intriguing even without the looming medical condition.

Will I watch again?  I’m not sure why I expected to not like the show at all, but I didn’t, and I was pleasantly surprised.  It’s earned at least a couple more episodes.

Fall 2011 Preview: Cable

5 Oct

Homeland – Showtime – 10/2/11

 

Homeland stars Claire Daines as a CIA analyst who obtains a piece of intelligence about terrorist activity that no one else knows, which is that an American prisoner of war has been turned by Al Queda.  She makes nothing of that information until a POW marine who has been away eight years is discovered alive in Iraq.  Hailed as an American hero, the POW, played by Damian Lewis, may be a terrorist, or Daines may be crazy.  Nothing but great buzz here, and it sounds more intriguing than any other new show as a layered psychological thriller.

Prediction:  Renewal – best buzz of the year, and that’s worth even more on a premium network, and even more on Showtime, which still wants to be HBO

American Horror Story – FX – 10/5/11

 

The preview looks insane, and about the only fact I know, other than that Dylan McDermott and Connie Britton and their kid move into a haunted house is that Britton has sex with a ghost in a latex suit in the first episode, and frankly that leaves me even more confused.  Ryan Murphy has an extremely hit and miss record (Nip/Tuck, Glee) and horror is a genre that you generally don’t see on television, because it doesn’t play well for the long run.  From what buzz I have read, a ton takes place in the first episode, enough to make the episode exciting in and of itself but to wonder where the show goes from there, and why the fuck the couple doesn’t just move out.  This’ll probably take a couple episodes of watching to figure out whether it’s worthwhile.

Prediction:  Renewal – I honestly don’t know what to think, but here’s a stab

Hell on Wheels – 11/6/11

Set during the building of the transcontinental railroad, the series features a confederate soldier determined to take revenge on union soldiers who murdered his wife.  Deadwood is the first comparison that springs to mind, due to the time period.  It looks at least interesting, and as a history major, I tend to be a sucker for historically-based shows.  Apparently reconstruction plays a part, and Native American attacks, and who knows what else.

Prediction: Renewal – I have just as little idea as with the show above, but since Rubicon’s been the only non-Renewed show on AMC so far, I’ll take the odds

Boss – Starz – 10/21/11

 

Kelsey Grammer stars as the mayor of Chicago who has been recently diagnosed with a degenerative neurological disease.  He keeps this from everyone, his family, friends and staff, who are generally too busy with their own priorities to notice him slipping.  Political intrigue and family drama are in play, with administration members shooting for higher office, and a relationship between Grammar and his wife that may be falling apart.  I’m not sure it will be good, but it certainly could be.

Verdict: Renewal – this is downright cheating – it’s already been renewed, which is admittedly kind of incredible.  I wish Party Down got this kind of support from Starz.

Enlightened – HBO – 9/10/11

Laura Dern portrays an executive with a public breakdown in this HBO comedy.  Buzz seems to be at least slightly positive.  Luke Wilson plays her ex-husband, and Diane Ladd playes her mother.  Creator Mike White wrote for Freaks and Geeks and wrote School of Rock, but also wrote Nacho Libre.  This preview is admittedly weak but after the varying and distinct dramatic premises of the shows above, it’s hard to find a lot to say about Enlightened, especially before watching it.  I don’t mean that in a bad way, just in a premise-is-a-lot-less-important-in-comedy-so-let’s-wait-and-see way.

Prediction:  Renewal – it’s absolutely ridiculous I’ve predicted renewal for all of these, though I feel anecdotally shows are more likely to get picked up on premium cable networks.