For our first segment this week, we talk about half-hour animated TV shows, and why we don't spend much time talking about them. Andrew, with some assists from Margaret, tries to explain to Kathryn why animated TV shows are worthy watches, particularly shows like Bob's Burgers, Home Movies, Clone High and Venture Brothers.
In light of Kathryn's animated TV reticence, we turn to a consideration of our TV dealmakers and dealbreakers. What things about a TV show will make us tune in, regardless of any other aspect of its production? (For Margaret, is it a costume drama? Then yeah, she's there.) What things about a TV show will make us tune out and never look back? Andrew lets loose some Joss Whedon feelings.
In this week’s show, things start innocently enough. Kathryn and Margaret talk about ESPN’s O.J.: Made in America, which is a documentary that we talk about as a companion piece to the fictionalized American Crime Story about O.J. Simpson that wrapped up earlier this year.
Then, the gang moves on to the final stretch of The Great British Bake-Off, where things rapidly become surprisingly sexual. You’ve been warned.
Summer is upon us, and we talk about some of the summer programming we're most looking forward to watching. Margaret's interested in the new Baz Luhrman show The Get Down, Andrew's thinking about catching up with Mr Robot, and we all wonder why TBS won't let us watch Playing House in some easily accessible streaming place.
Our main discussion this week is about the secondary television market - recaps, post-show discussions, series-specific podcasts, and all forms of immediate TV criticism. We talk about what works and what doesn't, why we like TV criticism, and what kinds of recaps we seek out. Margaret and Kathryn are wistful about the late, lamented Television Without Pity, and Andrew tells us how TV recaps are like a tree.
We revisit several old stomping grounds this week—first it's back to Nashville, which hadn't been revived when we recorded this but has been as we write this. Then, we gush a bit about the latest season of The Americans, which we covered in our last TV Book Club. And finally it's on to our current TV Book Club, the still-charming, pastry-filled world of the Great British Bake-Off.
It's spring, the time when a young man's fancy turns to cancelling television shows that have been underperforming for quite a while, but which had survived until now because no one really understands the current TV paradigm. We run through several of the recent TV cancellations, and discuss whether or not they'll really be missed. After chiding Margaret for being part of the Agent Carter problem, we move on to a discussion of trailers for new network TV series in the fall. Spoiler: some of them are very, very bad.
Kathryn and Margaret attended Vulture's panel on season two of UnREAL, which arrives this month. Then we move on to the next part of our TV Book Club segment on The Great British Bake-Off (or "The Great British Baking Show" to Americans). We are, for better or worse, not quite as nice as the people on the show.
CBS is suggesting that the only way to access its new Star Trek series will be through its streaming service, and we talk about why that seems like a terrible idea. At some point, we'll no longer be willing to sign up for new streaming services whenever they debut, and CBS All Access might just be the straw that breaks the camel's back.
We then turn to the main task of the day - another TV vs TV lightning round, this time on the topic of procedurals. We pass around the judge's wig to consider such questions as: which is the best procedural premise? Who's the best side character? Do will-they-won't-theys make procedurals better or worse? And thanks to Andrew and Kathryn's deep knowledge of a particular series, TV v TV becomes a Bones-a-palooza.
The gang kicks this week's show off by talking about their favorite reality show tropes—when the shows start making your root for or against certain characters, when people are or aren't there to make friends, and when you know in your bones that someone is about to be sent home.
They then move over to the first episode of the only (easily, legally available in the US) season of The Great British Bake-Off, listed on Netflix as "The Great British Baking Show" even though we refuse to refer to it by its legally mandated name. Needless to say, we are completely done in by its charm, even if some of the contestants give us the weirds.
After an impressively great second season, we talk about what makes CW's zombie procedural mystery iZombie so much fun. Shows that meld procedural beats with long arc stories over the course of a season are so hard to pull off well, so we talk about what makes iZombie work, and how strong its season finale was.
We jump from there to a discussion of the delightful food prep montages on iZombie, and then broaden our consideration of how TV depicts food. Margaret brings up Hannibal, Andrew talks about Bob's Burgers, and Kathryn raises her fists in fury at yet another dumb House of Cards food scene. In an attempt to find a baseline for what we consider to be "good" and "bad" food, Andrew asks us to name our worst meals. Kathryn's is pretty troubling.
This week we dive into the real-world Sorting Hat that is the Myers-Briggs personality test, where we find out what personality traits we share and which we don't (spoilers: Margaret and Kathryn are polar opposites).
Then we dive into the second season of Tiny Fey and Robert Carlock's The Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt, a sophomore season that starts weak but picks up steam as it chugs along. Tina Fey isn't always the best at taking criticism, but damn can she deliver a funny one-liner.
Thanks to a question from a listener, Andrew, Margaret and Kathryn revisit the idea of rewatches and try to take apart exactly what draws us to rewatching certain series, episodes, and scenes. We think about Mad Men, Outlander, Veronica Mars, and the pleasures of doing research on the shows we love.
Next, inspired by our Americans book club, we consider historical television series, and think about the differences between historical miniseries and open-ended historical series. We talk about Outlander, Wolf Hall, Downton Abbey, John Adams, The Hour, and more. What is the difference between a miniseries and a series in this instance? How are television shows influenced by their source material? Aren't all histories false narratives we impose on events to make ourselves feel good? And also - Margaret makes a near-fatal error.
Big episode this week! First off, Andrew is continuing his #Winestunts odyssey from last week, which as Kathryn pointed out was something that he chose to inflict upon himself. It results in a lot of love.
While that continues, the crew introduces a new segment in which they sort their favorite TV characters into their probable Hogwarts houses, starting with perennial favorite Jane the Virgin. And we come to the thrilling, wig-tastic conclusion to the first season of FX's The Americans. Enjoy!
In response to all of the lovely reviews and apology requests we've received, we do a tour through some listener apologies, and Andrew makes a bid for even more apologies by voicing some thoughts about Firefly. In our long segment this week, we talk about what happens to a television show when a TV love interest alienates viewers. We consider Gilmore Girls and Veronica Mars, as well as Sex and the City, Friends, and more. Are all male-centered love triangles dramas, while female-centered ones are comedies?
While we discuss this, Andrew makes good on his promise to procure and consume an entire bottle of Tituss Burgess's Kimmy Schmidt-inspired wine, Pinot by Tituss. #WineStunts ensue.
Lots of genre shows have a character who isn't in on the central secret - not because they're dumb, usually, but because of contrivances that serve the plot. We've dubbed this archetype "The Babineaux" in honor of one of our favorite recent examples.
After that, we talk out the next leg of our TV Book Club discussion of FX's The Americans. The tension amps up in this run of episodes, and episode nine in particular begins a steady escalation that will carry us all the way to the finale.
Special guest Sophie Brookover joins us this week to help us talk everything out! You can read more of her and Margaret's work in the weekly Two Bossy Dames newsletter, which you can find at www.tinyletter.com/twobossydames.
Once again we return to our Hatewatch segment, which this week, we're calling Hatewatch of Cards. Kathryn talks about House of Cards' most recent season and one particular meal prepared by Claire Underwood. We also kick off our Apology Tour with an apology that's been a long time coming.
For our long segment, we consider Mo Ryan's recent Variety piece on the dominance of television comedies, and talk about whether comedy is ascendant on TV today, and why. We breeze through a long list of amazing comedy on TV right now, talk about TV drama's over-reliance on sad white men, and think about whether comedy ages better than drama.
This week we all learn more about each other and ourselves by talking about all the kids' TV we watched as kids. Some of those relationships were healthier than others.
Then, we move on to a still-entertaining but much bleaker subject: episodes two through five of the first season of FX's The Americans.
Inspired by a recent article by Sydney Ember about the changing role of advertisements on network TV, we consider the problems of the network TV ad model more broadly. Should there be sponsored segments? Should there be native advertisement? Should shows just run longer to cram more marketing goodness in? We then look at the spate of current and upcoming TV offerings. Andrew complains about Game of Thrones, Kathryn recommends Outlander, and Margaret reveals some surprising information about Jackie Chan.
Today's APB is all about wine, specifically viewed through the lens of Matthew Goode and Matthew Rhys' thoroughly charming-looking Wine Show and a certain actor's new line of pinot noir.
This week, Margaret lays out in detail JUST how frustrated she is with "the one piece of the Shondaverse [she] still engage[s] with on a weekly basis," which is just as vitriolic and frustrated as you'd expect.
After that, we launch into our next TV Book Club selection, the pilot of FX's The Americans. Spies are more fun than lawyers, at least in this episode.
This week, we start things off by dipping into our mailbag to talk about your excellent Gilmore Girls podcast comments, and we brag about our amazing, personalized line of ATV cocktails. Then we turn to the big event: an epic, TV vs TV sitcom-themed battle, in which we pass around the white powdered judge’s wig to adjudicate some of the most vital sitcom debates of our time. Which is the best sitcom theme song? Who is the worst Kramer? And why does Margaret apologize to the guy from the B-52s?
We kick things off this week by talking about the three weird tricks that TV shows employ to write pregnant actors into their shows, whether they're working it into the plot, hiding it, or otherwise.
Then we wrap up the Bunheads epoch of our TV Book Club segment. We mourn a show that was cut down in its prime, simultaneously praise and puzzle over its perhaps-fatal quirks, and like ranch chips.
It’s the height of awards season, and inspired by Ricky Gervais’s performance at the 2016 Golden Globes, we have a discussion about watching awards shows. We consider the distasteful parts of following celebrity culture, and Kathryn and Margaret try to convince Andrew that celebrity gossip isn’t just dumb fluff. We have a wide-ranging discussion about the social usefulness of celebrities, and return to the way awards shows give us a stage to work out Big Issues. Finally, we turn to this year’s Golden Globes to ask, "Ricky Gervais - what happened to you?”
We introduce a special new feature, the ATV Bulletin, where we address important news of the day (or, you know, news of the last couple of days). In this short episode, we discuss the recent announcement that Sutton Foster will appear on the Netflix revival series of Gilmore Girls. In addition, Margaret brings us an extremely important question to consider: which citizens of Stars Hollow would have a podcast, and what would that podcast be about?
This week, Kathryn's sister Laura joins the gang to help talk us through life as a teenage ballerina. It turns out Amy Sherman-Palladino's Bunheads gets a lot of the details right, even if the dances are a bit too polished for this age and skill level.
Bunheads really finds its feet in this run of episodes—in between singing its praises, we also talk about how we approach shows that have been recommended to us by others. Do we actually watch them, and how do those recommendations change our viewing experience?
In honor of the Super Bowl this week, we have a wide-ranging discussion about sports and television, featuring returning guest and Overdue podcast brother Craig Getting. We talk about all the ways that sports fandom can be troubling, and all the things that make sports such compelling televisual entertainment. Highlights include: our personal sports narratives, Margaret’s description of cultural sports fandom, what it’s like to follow athletic careers like soap operas, and eventually we actually let Craig talk about football.