3 wonderfully weird shows premiering next week: 'The Lowe Files,' 'What Would Diplo Do?' 'Comrade Detective'
It seems like nothing is off limits on TV these days. Next week, three new shows air that I can't believe are really happening. They're all weird in their own ways, and I'm delighted. But let's be honest, at the point I'd probably watch a TV show about people coming up with TV shows. America has spoken, and we'll watch just about anything to distract us from our boring lives.
The Lowe Files
First up, Rob Lowe returns to our living rooms with a new reality show on A&E. This heartthrob and his two handsome sons, Matthew and John Owen, will explore mysterious legends and stories with help from scientific experts and even Rob's personal shaman. It's like a real-life version of Supernatural, a long-running CW show about two brothers and sometimes their dad hunting ghosts and supernatural beings. The nine-episode series takes them on all the quintessential adventures: searching for Bigfoot; finding an underwater alien base; and tracing haunted landmarks. The guys ooze so much charm, even when ordering doughnuts at a local shop. Rob narrates the episodes, showing just how much he loves sharing his sci-fi and paranormal obsession with his 20-something sons. It's clear they're all having a blast, especially while scaring the pants off each other. "What's that quote? It's not about the destination. It's about the journey," says Matthew in the car on the way to a haunted castle. "I think that's Miley Cyrus, maybe?" laughs John Owen. Oh, you boys are so funny. 10 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 2, on A&E.
What Would Diplo Do?
James Van Der Beek trades Dawson for Diplo in Viceland's first scripted show. The channel known for reality shows about food and weed found something hilarious in Van Der Beek's take on the South Florida EDM producer. The series, What Would Diplo Do?, all written by Van Der Beek, is based on a Web short because if it works on the Internet, I guess it can be a TV show. To me, Van Der Beek plays the same character over and over again. But I'm not complaining, I've loved it all. Here, Van Der Beek's Diplo is a semi-self-aware cute doofus with questionable talent and lots of "deep thoughts." For example, he ponders who would have more Twitter followers, Buddha or Jesus. (Jesus because he probably has more haters.) That social media network is a huge part of Diplo's life. In one episode, he and Calvin Harris, yes the real ex of Taylor Swift, get in a Twitter fight. Before a music festival where they're both performing, they bond over the realization that they're more than just "posers pressing buttons." Seriously. The constant electronic noise peppered between scenes makes my ears bleed. But JVDB remains charming so I'm happy to have him back on the small screen. But really, just bring back Don't Trust the B in Apartment 23. 10 p.m. Thursday, Aug. 3, on Viceland.
Just when you think we've run out of ideas, my celebrity boyfriends create something both absurd and brilliant. Amazon's new show from Channing Tatum and Joseph Gordon-Levitt is a 1980s Romanian cop show spoof that comes with a delightfully silly backstory. Romania's most popular and longest-running show, Comrade Detective was created by the government in the midst of Cold War hysteria. And now it's been rediscovered and remastered for U.S. audiences. Real Romanian actors play the characters, but are dubbed by familiar American voices. The whole thing is made to feel tacky and dated. But after watching a couple episodes of this propaganda parody, I am all in. The comedy is loaded with amusing Marx references and clever nationalist jokes. And an awesome '80s soundtrack, naturally. Tatum and Gordon-Levitt voice the leads, two cops who investigate the murder of a fellow detective. But a pair of bootylicious Jordache jeans unravels a much larger plot from communism's biggest threat: American capitalism. It's a smart take on current events, but it's likely not for everyone. But if anything, it's fun to keep your ears tuned for the voices including Nick Offerman, Jenny Slate, Fred Armisen, Kim Basinger, among others. Midnight Friday, Aug. 4, on Amazon.