What To Watch This Summer

Jul 8, 2017
Copyright 2017 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

SCOTT SIMON, HOST:

Lots of people know my love of nature and being out of doors. Let me pause now for laughter. Sometimes summer heat drives people to their screens on long summer nights. We thought we'd reach out to a few of our favorite critics to see what shows they've liked, including a couple of series that aren't so well known. Alan Sepinwall, TV critic for Uproxx, joins us from his office in New Jersey. Alan, thanks so much for being back with us.

ALAN SEPINWALL: Thanks for having me.

SIMON: I hear a lot about "GLOW," "Gorgeous Ladies Of Wrestling."

SEPINWALL: Oh, it's so much fun. It's set in 1985. It's about a bunch of out-of-work actresses who come together to try to form this outlaw wrestling thing for a syndicated TV show. Loosely based on a real show that I watched growing up. It stars Alison Brie. She's an out-of-work actress. No one will hire her.

SIMON: Alison Brie from "Mad Men."

SEPINWALL: From "Mad Men," from "Community," from "Bojack Horseman." In terms of, like, first four TV shows, she's got an awfully good resume. And she's great here as this person who is desperate to be taken seriously. And the only place she can find to do that in is the world of professional wrestling. It's only 10 half-hour episodes. It's a quick binge. It's a fun binge. There's probably some Netflix shows that I would say are technically aesthetically better than it, but I have had more fun watching - they have done. It's just a real pleasure.

SIMON: Then let me ask you about "Twin Peaks." Now, I have to tell you that I didn't like the sound of a reboot of "Twin Peaks." This is, of course, a famous series from the 1990s.

SEPINWALL: It's a mess, but I like it I think is the best way to put it. There's long swathes of it where I either don't understand what's happening or am very impatient for things to start happening.

SIMON: It sounds like you might have to sit through 20 minutes of drudgery to get to two minutes of wonder.

SEPINWALL: Yeah. And I think there's certainly something to be said for consistency. And there's a lot of shows that, you know, over the course of an hour or a season, I get more pleasure out of than I do out of "Twin Peaks." But the, you know, peaks - if you'll pardon the pun - of this show are so extraordinary. And it suddenly - I'm now watching 20 minutes of increasing close-ups inside a mushroom cloud from the first atomic bomb test. And we're just going in. And, OK, this is Stanley Kubrick now. And I love it. And I don't know why we're doing it, but it's great.

SIMON: I understand you and I both like "Brockmire," which I find not only delightfully racy but oddly touching.

SEPINWALL: Yeah. It's kind of shocking. It's the show Hank Azaria plays a disgraced former baseball announcer. He is trying to climb back up the ladder working for a minor league baseball team called the Frackers. And it's debauched. And it's filthy. And it's all of these things. But there's also kind of a sincere romance between Hank Azaria and Amanda Peet that really works. And there's a genuine love of baseball mixed in with all the drug and sex humor. It's really quite remarkable.

SIMON: Well, some of us, we love baseball in part because of the drug and sex humor. Is there one series you recommend that people might go back to binge after all these shows we've heard about have finished their run?

SEPINWALL: Well, this is one that just finished its run a few weeks ago. That's "The Leftovers" from HBO. It did three seasons. It's 28 episodes total. It is one of the great shows of my lifetime. It's set in a world where the rapture happened. Two percent of the world vanished. And it's just about a group of people trying to make sense of it. It's extraordinary. It's crazy. It has cave women and nuclear weapons and trips to the afterlife and presidential assassinations and evil twins. And the first season is a little heavy and a little dark. And you've got to get through that to get to the real marvel of it. But seasons 2 and 3 are unbelievable.

SIMON: All right. Well, we'll get takeout. Alan Sepinwall, who's TV critic of Uproxx. Thanks so much for being back with us, Alan.

SEPINWALL: My absolute pleasure.

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "SHADOW - INSTRUMENTAL") Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.