TV

The Rundown: The Good Shows Are Coming Back So Soon

The Rundown is a weekly column that highlights some of the biggest, weirdest, and most notable events of the week in entertainment. The number of items could vary, as could the subject matter. It will not always make a ton of sense. Some items might not even be about entertainment, to be honest, or from this week. The important thing is that it’s Friday, and we are here to have some fun.

ITEM NUMBER ONE — Buckle in, kids

I have terrific news: The good shows are coming back. So many of them, so soon, all over the course of about three weeks. I’m going to lay it all out for you in a second, at least to the extent “posting trailers and stupid jokes about shows I like” counts as laying it all out, but know this much going in: This is a mixed blessing. Again, it’s mostly good because the shows are good and we like good things, but also… it’s a lot. And some of these shows have been off the air for multiple years. There are going to be some gaps in your memory. Do you remember everything that happened in the most recent season of Barry? I do not. And this is my job. It’s not ideal.

But. This is a problem for another day. Tomorrow, maybe. And it’s kind of the point of this whole endeavor. I’m trying to give you a few weeks of a heads up so you can barrel through a rewatch or a quick Wiki refresher before you dive in again. There are worse ways to spend a rainy weekend in April, you know? Let’s start with the most pressing…

Better Call Saul is back for its final season on April 18. The season is actually split into two parts, with the first chunk coming now and the next chunk in July, but still. It’s almost here. The show has been so good. Almost unreasonably good, given the legacy it had to live up to as a prequel to Breaking Bad. I’ve actually enjoyed this one more than the original, as blasphemous as some might consider that statement. Breaking Bad did not have Lalo Salamanca. This is important. To me.

One other thing to keep an eye on: This season is set in 2004, which means noted Philly native Mike Ehrmantraut could be distracted by the Super Bowl run by the McNabb/T.O. Philadelphia Eagles and their eventual loss to the New England Patriots. I mean, it probably won’t happen. But it could. Worth considering.

Barry is back on April 24. The first two seasons were some of my favorite television in years. There was murder and drama and goofs and Henry Winkler and my beloved NoHo Hank, all of which was just a delight. NoHo Hank, especially. What an incredible character, just the sweetest man alive packaged into the body of a terrifying Chechen monster, sometimes one that dances on a roof. You definitely have time to rewatch this. You should. There are not many opportunities in life to watch Henry Winkler and Stephen Root in the same show.

The Flight Attendant! Holy crap! The first season of this show blew me away, all twisty murder mystery and dinky-bonk piano music and Kaley Cuoco as a drunken party girl with issues that run deeper than an ocean. Rosie Perez was selling secrets to mysterious Asian businessmen. Some terrifying woman was running around with a butterfly knife. What more could anyone ask for out of a season of television? Nothing! Do not be greedy.

The second season drops on HBO Max on April 21, and I insist you watch the first go-round before then if you have not already. It was a blast. You deserve to have fun. You’ll have the theme music in your head for weeks, which is not at all a complaint. I like to listen to it and pretend I’m going on little missions. It’s all very normal and fine.

Hmm. Is there anything more cosmically perfect than Russian Doll — the trippy, Groundhog Day-esque series about Natasha Lyonne getting stuck in a time loop — returning for a second season on April 20? I’ll answer that for you: There is not. Remember how much you liked Russian Doll? Remember Natasha Lyonne running around New York in a trenchcoat? Remember this paragraph, which actually just appeared in a New Yorker article this week?

Lyonne has a distinctive way of moving through the city: clomping, springy, coat collar popped high. Season 2 of “Russian Doll” opens with one of many shots of Nadia perambulating, her black boots tapping in rhythm with Depeche Mode’s “Personal Jesus.” Lyonne is currently working, with the director Rian Johnson, on a “Columbo”-style crime show for Peacock, and it’s not hard to picture Lyonne, an avid Peter Falk fan, as the hardboiled detective, stalking the streets with a cigarette between her fingers and a wry expression on her face.

All good news. Great news, even. Hey, speaking of things that are great…

Yes, fine, I know, including Holey Moley on this list next to a slew of critically adored prestige shows with big-name casts and ambitious plots might be considered a stretch. In my defense:

  • It is my list
  • Make your own list if you’re so great
  • The Muppets are on this season

This premieres on May 3. I think I am more excited about it than anything else on the list. I feel okay about it.

ITEM NUMBER TWO — It is incredible to me that it took this long to get Jason Momoa into a Fast & Furious movie

aquaman_momoa.jpg
Warner Bros.

I am on the record as saying Jason Momoa should be in every movie, to whatever degree possible, maybe involving some sort of cloning situation, so yes, I was pleased when word broke a few weeks ago that he was set to play a villain in the upcoming tenth (and allegedly final) film in the Fast & Furious franchise. It was a nice thing to read. It was also a hilariously vague thing to read at the time, which I will prove to you again via blockquote.

Jason Momoa is in final negotiations to join Vin Diesel and the cast in what is being called Fast & Furious 10 as a working title. And while plot details are being muffled, the Aquaman actor could be poised to act as one of the film’s villains. Universal had no comment.

Delightful. I love when movie studios treat casting news like nuclear launch codes. And I love when the trade publications play along and report on it like this. It’s a fun little dance we all do. A dance I bring up again now for two main reasons: One, because it is kind of wild that it took 10 Fast & Furious movies to get Jason Momoa into one of them, especially when you think for more than two seconds about how perfect this fit is; two, Jason Momoa is really freaking jazzed to be working with Charlize Theron.

Momoa said he’s looking forward to working with Diesel as well, telling ET that fans can expect plenty of action-packed scenes between the pair.

“I’m sure that’s why they hired me,” Momoa joked. “But yeah, I’m excited I’m working with Vin. I’m excited I’m working with Charlize.”

This is… cool. Very cool. Vin Diesel and Ludacris doing battle against Charlize Theron and Jason Momoa. I’m so happy I might launch myself into outer space in a Pontiac. I hope Jason Momoa is playing Satan and Vin Diesel drives a muscle car straight to Hell to fight him. I do not ask for much. This would be a nice treat for me.

Also, I am pretty excited to see what Charlize Theron’s hair looks like in this movie. That is not the type of sentence I would usually type, as I am not a big hair/fashion guy (he says wearing sweats and a thin hoodie that is pulled over his buzz cut). But please recall that she showed up in Fate of the Furious with braids for some reason…

charlize-theron-fast-furious-feat.jpg
Universal

… and then returned for F9 with a meticulously trimmed bowl cut despite being held inside what appeared to be the jail equivalent of a terrarium.

f9-charlize.jpg
Universal

There is almost no limit to the possibilities at play here. She might show up with a mohawk in this one. She might shave her head again like she did in Fury Road. She might dye it green and style it straight up like a Christmas tree. I would be excited if I were Jason Momoa, too.

There will never be a better movie franchise.

ITEM NUMBER THREE — I must know everything about this at once

vanessa-hudgens-feat.jpg
Getty Image

There’s no point in dancing around this one, as any flowery language I toss in here will just distract from the facts, and we can’t take that risk. Here we go: Vanessa Hudgens can talk to ghosts. She says she can, at least. She said so to Kelly Clarkson, on television, with examples and a vow to use her gift for good. It’s maybe my favorite thing a celebrity has said so far this year, except for the thing where it’s not even my favorite thing a celebrity said this week. I’ll get to that. First, Vanessa, via Us Weekly:

“I’ve accepted the fact that I see things and I hear things,” the Tick, Tick… Boom! actress, 33, revealed during a Tuesday, April 5, appearance on The Kelly Clarkson Show, noting that she’s had “a lot” of paranormal encounters through the years. “I kind of shut it down for a while [because] the unknown is scary. But I recently was like, ‘No, this is a gift and something that I have the ability to do, so I’m going to lean into it.’”

Hudgens continued: “I remember getting ready for school when I was 8 years old, and there was, like, you know, those ducks that you pull [the string]? It’s a toy. There was one of those on the dining room table, and I started walking, and it just started going alongside me.”

I would 100 percent, no joke at all here, watch a reality show about Vanessa Hudgens traveling around the country and having chats with ghosts. Combine it with Zac Efron’s eco-travel show, if possible. It’s all relentlessly fascinating to me. It’s fascinating if she’s mistaken about it all, sure, particularly because she went on television and said it out loud into a camera. But it’s even more fascinating if she’s right. What if Vanessa Hudgens can for real communicate with ghosts? Don’t you kind of want to live in that world? I do.

And yet, still, not my favorite celebrity quote of the week. That honor goes to Britney Spears, who logged into Instagram and said this.

“I’m sharing this because we all seem to alienate behind our phones and computers … I’ve never opened a computer my whole life … just a phone. […] I say all this but I will probably buy a computer today !!!”

Again, fascinating if she’s mistaken or exaggerating, but extremely fascinating if she is serious. How did one even live through the 1990s and 2000s without using a computer? Smartphones weren’t really super practical until like 2005-2006, and even then… was Britney using a Blackberry? You know what? No. I kind of don’t even want to know the truth here. Just let me go on believing that Britney Spears has never used a computer. We should all be so lucky.

ITEM NUMBER FOUR — Perhaps he should consider being… Lessbius

leto morbius
sony

The Morbius discourse was vibrating at a nice hum earlier this week, with a bunch of bad reviews dropping and a handful of “What exactly does Mr. “Requiem for an Asshole” Jared Leto think he is doing here?”-style articles, which is always fun for a person like me who adores chaos. But then the vibrations kicked into a glass-shattering mania thanks to an interview Uproxx’s Mike Ryan did with the film’s director, Daniel Espinosa. It was this exchange that did it, mostly, for understandable reasons. Look at this.

I heard a story about filming and I want to see if this is true. Someone told me that Jared Leto was so committed to playing Michael Morbius that even when he had to go to the bathroom, he would use his crutches and slowly limp to get to the bathroom. But it was taking so long between for pee breaks, that a deal was made with him to get him a wheelchair so someone could wheel him there quicker and he agreed to that. Is this true?

Yes.

All right.

Yeah. Because I think that what Jared thinks, what Jared believes, is that somehow the pain of those movements, even when he was playing normal Michael Morbius, he needed, because he’s been having this pain his whole life. Even though, as he’s alive and strong, it has to be a difference. Hey, man, it’s people’s processes.

There’s a lot to unpack here, some of which we can knock out via bullet point, so let’s start there:

  • This is deeply funny
  • Imagine how much all the other people on set hated this
  • Actors seem like very exhausting people, generally

There’s also the other thing, which I point out because I have a for-real disability and use a wheelchair because I have to: Please knock this off. Please. Just act. I understand you want to get into the character’s mind so you can comprehend their situation, but also, no. Get up. Jared. Listen to me. Do not do this.

Also, somewhat related, but still: Please consider casting actual people with disabilities in roles where a character is disabled. Not even all the time. But sometimes. I know the point of acting is to be someone you’re not and it defeats the purpose a bit if we get too strict with all of this, but also… let’s go back to the bullet points again here:

  • It’s not like disabled actors can super-easily play non-disabled characters, so there’s already a limited pool they’re working with
  • Some people defended Leto by pointing out that Daniel Day-Lewis did similar stuff on the set of My Left Foot, but I’ll just go ahead and say it: that doesn’t make either any better
  • Let me play Batman

That last one isn’t as important as the others, I suppose. But it’s worth considering. I mean, if we’re going to let Jared Leto play a character with a disability…

It’s only fair.

ITEM NUMBER FIVE — Imagine a world where this answer was correct

You’ve probably seen this clip floating around this week. It went viral like three different times. With good reason. Watch it now if you haven’t seen it. Watch it again if you have.

Okay, did you watch it again? Good. Now, imagine a world where Martin Scorsese actually did direct 8 Mile and actually did win an Oscar for it after not winning Oscars for movies like Goodfellas and Mean Streets. That would be one of the funniest facts ever. There would have been an amazing scene where Eminem’s mom made spaghetti. Robert De Niro would have been in it for some reason. Leonardo DiCaprio might have replaced Eminem in the lead role. Think about that last one for a few hours this weekend.

Hmm. I kind of wish this was a real thing now. What a journey this was.

READER MAIL

If you have questions about television, movies, food, local news, weather, or whatever you want, shoot them to me on Twitter or at brian.grubb@uproxx.com (put “RUNDOWN” in the subject line). I am the first writer to ever answer reader mail in a column. Do not look up this last part.

From AJ:

I liked your reasoning for captions a lot, even though I’m not a screencapper myself. My go-to argument for captions was always much simpler: watch any episode of Always Sunny with them on and see all the excellent jokes you’re missing when they all talk over each other. Whoever does the Sunny captions makes a point of pulling the best joke out of those moments, regardless of which one is loudest/most audible. I’ve gotten a number of caption converts with this trick over the years.

AJ is referring to this article I wrote last week, in which I made a three-part case for watching television with the captions turned on, all the time. It’s a good point that I appreciate, in part because it is correct and in part because it gives me an excuse to post this screencap again.

poop
FX

Thank you, AJ. And thank you, Danny DeVito. Great work by everyone here.

AND NOW, THE NEWS

To the Netherlands!

Thieves have made off with 1,600 kilos of cheese worth €21,000 from a dairy farm in Fijnaart in Noord Brabant, in the latest in a series of cheese heists in the Netherlands.

CHEESE HEIST

STRING OF CHEESE HEISTS

STRING CHEESE HEIST?

HMM

NO

BUT MORE IMPORTANTLY

I’M REALLY PLEASED WITH MYSELF FOR THIS NEXT LINE

WHAT KIND OF MUENSTER WOULD DO THIS?

THANK YOU

‘We will need better security for our cheeses from now on,’ Theo Dekker, chairman of dairy farmers organisation Bond van Boerderij-Zuiverlbereiders, told local broadcaster Omroep Brabant.

‘This is not just a simple theft, it’s organised crime,’ Dekker said. ‘These gangs are not afraid to use violence. They’ll load up and off they go.’

Ahhhh man, now I feel bad for joking, now that I know these are mob-related violent cheese heists. A little bad. It’s still a lot to wrap your head around. I do not regret the Muenster pun, though. I still feel good about that one.

Cheese farmers were plagued by a string of cheese thefts a couple of years ago and this week’s heist may be a sign of things to come, Dekker said.

His organisation is also keeping an eye on online cheese sellers. A batch of stolen cheese was offered for sale on Marktplaats last year and traced within 15 minutes. ‘But those were amateurs and cheese farmers are now up against something bigger,’ Dekker said.

I am going to say something here and I need you to know I am completely serious: I need someone — anyone, maybe someone who has directed a John Wick or a Fast & Furious — to make a movie about a collection of fed-up dairy farmers banding together to take down the entire European cheese syndicate.

Listen to me. This is a good idea. I am trying to help.

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