Catch summer TV online

by Mike Heral, Staff Writer

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Summer used to be a time for vacations, but now it’s time for more TV. Here’s a recap of some of this summer’s offerings, along with how to find them now.

“The Leftovers”

Available on HBO GO (subscription required)

You’d think “Lost” writing veteran Damon Lindelof would avoid creating a series featuring more questions than answers. After all, he famously shut down his Twitter account after disappointed “Lost” fans filled his feed with heavy criticism. But Lindelof either loves punishment via snark or he’s a slow learner because “The Leftovers” invites comparisons to “Lost.” Survivors? Check. Male protagonist involved in a crisis of conscience? Check. Flashback-heavy episodes resulting in the viewer’s temporal delirium? Check.

Despite how slowly this show moves, and whether or not you like the characters, “The Leftovers” is worth checking out if only to see how Lindelof walks the ledge between putting together a classic story and falling into a pit filled with trolls. If he harnesses the brilliance of the “Two Boats and a Helicopter” episode, this show is destined for masterpiece status.

“The Strain”

Available on FX.com

After finding success with “Hellboy” and “Pan’s Labyrinth,” Guillermo del Toro is the latest top-talent Hollywood director taking a shot at TV. It’s actually his return to TV, but his 1986 thriller “Hora Marcada” aired only on Spanish-speaking channels.

“The Strain” reboots the waning vampire fad by turning the ageless creatures into a hybrid between Count Dracula and the Xenomorph from “Alien.” Using a virus to transmit vampirism is a smart strategy given the global pandemic hysteria in play, following the seemingly endless H1N1 swine flu and Ebola crises. And speaking of scares, del Toro delivers enough to keep the audience from dwelling on the dumb decisions his characters make just to service the plot.

“You’re the Worst”

Available on FX.com/Amazon Instant Video

In “You’re the Worst,” two millennials have the anti-social market cornered. Naturally, they meet and fall in love despite themselves, and hilarity and hijinks ensue. Despite the growing corniness, the chemistry between leads Chris Geere and Aya Cash makes the show worth watching.

The real issue with this show is that it wants to be edgy, yet its edginess is constrained by its cable channel home. Sure, cable pushes the envelope, but only so far. If the producers want to truly deconstruct the format, take the show to HBO or Showtime a la “Entourage” and “Californication.”

“BoJack Horseman”
Netflix

Netflix hopes to take its binge-watching success into animation with this story about an aging horse/past TV star, almost two decades removed from his ‘90s sitcom success. But it’s not your grandfather’s “Mr. Ed” because these animals interact with humans in every way imaginable. I can imagine this show’s pitch thusly: Come for the sex scenes between cartoon animals and cartoon people, stay for the titular cartoon horse’s existential crisis.

One highlight includes the second episode focusing on BoJack’s public relations headache after he insults a Navy SEAL. That is, a cartoon seal who serves as a naval officer. Yeah, it’s that kind of show.

Wisely straying from typecasting, Jesse from “Breaking Bad” (Aaron Paul) also shows up as a down-on-his-luck sidekick with a penchant for unwise lifestyle choices. Seriously, though, “BoJack Horseman” delivers enough clever gags and interesting plots warranting the binge-watching Netflix knows you’re going to do.

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