- Dunder Mifflin diehards lose their minds.
- The Hills reboot is so bizarre.
- Los Espookys is so fun.
- Jeremy Renner, what are you doing?
- Living for the new Charlie’s Angels.
'The Office' Leaves Netflix, The World Goes Insane
If you want to mystify anyone over the age of 30, try to explain to them the current blockbuster, zombie-like popularity of The Office, a TV show that barely survived its first season on NBC, burned fast-and-bright as a Must-See TV phenomenon, and ended its run drowned in arguments over which season it was when the show started to suck. (My exceptionally lukewarm take: It never did!)
I loved The Office. Back when keeping your cellphone’s ringer on was not a practice exclusively reserved for sociopaths and people attending Broadway shows, the theme song was my ringtone. At one point, I owned most of the seasons on DVD. I still wear the Dunder Mifflin apparel I purchased during that time to the gym, an activity that happens at least on a monthly occurrence.
Yet I do not understand how The Office is, six years after going off air, today’s most popular TV show. Not most popular throwback series. Like, most popular TV show available to watch today. NBCUniversal just spent $500 million to mint that fact. People are not happy!
It was announced this week that NBCUniversal won a heated auction for the streaming rights to the series, the result of which is Dunder Mifflin’s relocation from Netflix to a planned, not-yet-launched NBCU platform in 2021. The whole thing has triggered somewhat of a couch-potatopocalypse, with Netflix diehards wailing over the prospect of the series being removed from the site, even starting a petition. Apparently kids these days are obsessed with bingeing the show on Netflix, over and over and over again.
The whole thing is a perfect case study of just how absurd TV programming and our viewing habits have become.
It’s easier to come by the nuclear codes than it is to attain accurate, contextual viewership information from Netflix. But there are second-party sites that have figured out confusing ways to measure, well, something, when it comes to audience numbers, and they unanimously proclaim The Office as the service’s most-watched series. More than any original Netflix show. More than Friends. It could be arguably said that The Office (2005-2013) is the most popular TV series in the world. I mean…sure, why not?
It makes sense, then, that NBCU would want to take back The Office for its own service, for which it will need to build a subscriber base. But also, what a gamble to assume that people, even with cord-cutting becoming more popular, would be willing to pay for yet another service just for one marquee show. NBCU stood to make a lot of money, nearly guaranteed money, by continuing to license the show to other services like Netflix.
(By the way, folks, you can buy the entire series on iTunes today. The box set of DVDs is available on Amazon. Hell, I’ll send you mine: Best offer, but must travel to my parents’ house in Southern Maryland to pick up.)
No matter, though. The Office is leaving Netflix, and people are leaving their right minds in return.
This is something that baffles me, this idea of late that despite the ever-growing number of ways to watch TV, Netflix is somehow the only option. I am asked on a daily basis for my TV recommendations—not weird, as I am a TV critic. The interruption before I even finish saying a series’ name—Fleabag! Years and Years! What We Do in the Shadows!—of “well, is it on Netflix?” is quite weird. You did not ask me what Netflix show to watch. You just assumed that the only shows someone would watch are on Netflix.
There’s the same “I’ll just wait for it to come on Netflix” reflex that is maddening when it comes to movies and TV series. Many, many times, that sentence has come with a confusing addendum: “...when it’s free.” Do these people think Netflix is free? I understand many of us are mooching accounts. But, like, it’s not. (Honestly, the first Democratic candidate to announce a plan for “Netflix for All!” will run away with this election.)
In any case, the whole thing is very strange to me, a fan of The Office who does not understand its lingering popularity, nor people’s attitudes about watching TV these days. I guess what I’m saying is I know nothing about my job.
Is the New 'The Hills,' Like, Good?
The Hills: New Beginnings is yet another one of those shows that every millennial flipped a shit bigger than Everest over when the announcement came that it was being rebooted, only to show very little interest when it’s actually returned. (See also: Boy Meets World, DuckTales, Charmed…) The show came back this week to not much fanfare—and fewer fireworks on screen.
First of all, neither Lauren Conrad nor Kristin Cavallari are involved, which, what’s the point? Second of all, for all the talk of “new beginnings,” absolutely nothing has changed, except for the fact that we’re being gaslit into believing Mischa Barton and Pam Anderson’s son was an indelible part of this crew.
The cinematic camerawork is the same, except now we know how much of it was staged in the original run. That thing where one character will say something dramatic and then she and her scene partner will stare at each other for an uncomfortable amount of time is the same. And these characters are reuniting as if they just had brunch in last week’s episode, as if the show hasn’t been off-air for nearly a decade.
These people have had marriages, divorces, children, and multiple face lifts. They’re acting as if since the last time they’ve seen each other, they went to a restaurant opening and got some highlights. It’s bizarre! I will for some reason keep watching!
I Love 'Los Espookys' So Much
Los Espookys airs its third episode on HBO on Friday night. When it first came out, based on its pedigree—Julio Torres, the writer of SNL’s best sketches, is a co-creator and star—I assumed I would like, but I also thought it was so small and weird and goofy that it would be skippable. I WAS WRONG!!! This is the most peculiar show I’ve seen in a long time, a world of chocolate dynasties, adoption intrigue, Fred Armisen as a prodigy valet attendant, and a crew of friends who stage spooky events. I can’t remember ever giggling more.
Is Jeremy Renner...Scatting?
Whatever is happening in this video, it nearly ruined my week. (Watch here.)
Yes, Yes, Yes to Charlie’s Angels
But everything that is happening in this video nearly saved it. (Watch here.)
Finally, the Best TV News of the Year
It was announced Thursday afternoon that PopTV, the network best known for airing Schitt’s Creek, has rescued the Netflix comedy One Day at a Time—easily one of the best and most vital comedies that have aired these last few years—from cancellation, planning to air a new season in 2020. Fans were livid that the streamer canceled the series, which features Rita Moreno in the best supporting performance on TV, earlier this year. Now, they’re cheering. Dale!
What to watch this week:
Toy Story 4: It’s so hot, guys. Just go see a movie you know is going to be good.
Ramy Youssef: Feelings: Ramy on Hulu is a very good show. Ramy Youssef: Feelings on HBO is a very good comedy special.
Yesterday: It’s the summer, why not watch a charming rom-com in which a character sings a lot of Beatles songs?
What to skip this week:
Yesterday: Because the movie is absolutely insane! Choice is yours; godspeed.
The Loudest Voice: Quote my colleague Maxwell Tani: “a barely-coherent mess.”
Annabelle Comes Home: These! Movies! Are! Not! For! Me! (But maybe you…)