TV for summer 2024: ‘The Bear’ and ‘Couples Therapy,’ but few chances taken

From left: Gaby Hoffmann and Benedict Cumberbatch in "Eric." (Ludovic Robert/Netflix)

Maybe it’s just me, maybe it’s the times we’re living in, or maybe it’s a post-Hollywood strike malaise, but the summer TV lineup is looking unimpressive. I wish I had more enthusiasm for the coming slate of premieres, but the studios are in the midst of a pipeline problem and decision-makers appear to be unwilling to take chances on the new and unfamiliar. At the very least, you can be assured these shows will be competently made. But where are the big swings?

On the bright side, I’m expecting the return of “The Bear” to be as satisfying as it has been in seasons past (haven’t seen a lick of the new episodes, I’m just going on track record alone). New and unfamiliar athletes will become household names as the Summer Olympics kicks into gear, which is one of my favorite traditions. And “Couples Therapy,” back for a fourth season, remains one of the best unscripted shows on television.

Here’s a look at what’s on the schedule:

From left: Gaby Hoffmann and Benedict Cumberbatch in “Eric.” (Ludovic Robert/Netflix) 

“Eric” (May 30 on Netflix): Benedict Cumberbatch returns to television as a children’s show puppeteer whose life falls apart when his preteen son goes missing. Netflix marketing describes the six-episode limited series as a thriller about a desperate father battling demons as he takes to the “vibrant, dangerous and intoxicating streets of ’80s New York.”

Dr. Orna Guralnik in the midst of a session in Season 4 of “Couples Therapy.” (Showtime) 

“Couples Therapy” (June 2 on Showtime; begins streaming May 31on Paramount+ ): Consistently absorbing and enlightening, “Couples Therapy” may be the least cynical reality show in existence. That’s thanks to the producers as well as the calming, thoughtful approach taken by psychoanalyst Orna Guralnik, who helps couples recognize the patterns — often shaped in childhood — that can make building a life together as adults so difficult. I always feel smarter about human beings and our struggle to connect after watching this show.

“Clipped” (June 4 on Hulu): “Winning Time” on HBO took a sprawling look back at the rise of the LA Lakers. Now Hulu (via FX) narrows its focus to LA’s other NBA team, the Clippers and, specifically, the team’s notorious former owner Donald Sterling (played by Ed O’Neill), who was banned for life by the league and forced to sell the team after making racist remarks. Laurence Fishburne also stars as coach Doc Rivers.

From left: Jacki Weaver as Shelly Sterling, Ed O’Neill as Donald Sterling and Cleopatra Coleman as V Stiviano in “Clipped.” (Kelsey McNeal/FX) 

“Becoming Karl Lagerfeld” (June 7 on Hulu): I’m skeptical of these kinds of biopic TV projects (Apple’s “The New Look,” about Coco Chanel and Christian Dior, was embarrassing for its Nazi apologia) but hope springs eternal. This time the designer du jour is Karl Lagerfeld, who would ultimately become the longtime and influential creative director at Chanel. Despite his impressive professional standing, Lagerfeld had a less than stellar reputation as a human being, with accusations …read more

Source:: The Mercury News – Entertainment


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