What to Watch: “Mayans M.C.” and Season 2 of “The Deuce”
Plus a stellar return to television by Jim Carrey in "Kidding."
Welcome to What to Watch, a series where we tell you the best shows, movies and series out right now, both on networks and streaming services. It’s the beginning of fall, which means a slew of season premieres both new and returning, and the return of enthusiasm in this young TV addict.
Mayans M.C. (FX)
This show is a pretty safe if/then recommendation. In fact, Mayans may be an even more enthralling gang than SAMCRO. There’s certainly much more conflict so far than in the original series. JD Parlo stars as EZ Reyes, the new character lead for Mayans, but fans have already caught nods to Sons of Anarchy characters through flashbacks and easter eggs. EZ is fresh out of prison in this new show, and how he landed there will be revealed over time in Mayans, along with how he plans to lay down stakes. Sons of Anarchy remains FX’s highest watch show ever, so I know many of you will be excited for this new series.
The Purge (USA)
The long-promised origin story to the hit film franchise comes to us on television. Covering the inaugural purge, a 12-hour event in which any and all crime is legal (but you already knew that), the 10-episode series follows seemingly unrelated characters as they decide how to prepare and/or participate in the murderfest. These movies have been some of the best horror-thrillers we’ve gotten in a long time, so it’ll be interesting to see how Blumhouse translates the jump scare-heavy film series into a suspenseful television series, commercials and all.
The Deuce season 2 (HBO)
The Deuce is one of HBO’s less celebrated original series, which is a shame considering the talents of Maggie Gyllenhaal and James Franco (but mainly Maggie Gyllenhaal) demonstrated in this dramatization of New York’s sex trade — from small pimp-and-prostitute groups to porn films and infamous massage parlors. If you haven’t watched season one, it’s worth making time for. If you have, brace yourself for a five-year jump into season two where creators David Simon and George Pelecanos (also responsible for The Wire) showcase their female actors —Margarita Levieva as club manager Abby and Emily Meade as the pimped-out Lori (and, again, Gyllenhaal, who better get an Emmy for this role. These are three women struggling to come into their own sense of agency in an industry set to be dominated by men for decades to come.
It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia season 13 (FXX)
The gang is down a member with Dennis not in Philly this season, but the show remains a cathartic 30 minutes of no-holds-barred comedy with the addition of Cindy (Mindy Kaling) as the new bar manager to help “make Paddy’s great again.” Although the crew doesn’t exactly thrive under Cindy, who actually makes for a pretty functional boss if Mac, Charlie, Dee, and Frank could resemble anything close to functional themselves. Their own solution to Dennis’ absence is to get a more lifelike stand in than Mindy (which you’ll definitely notice in the trailer), but will that be enough to fill the Dennis shaped hole in their heart? Probably not.
If there’s one thing Jim Carrey does consistently well, it’s making me feel uncomfortable, which is fitting in this tragic reimagining of Mister Rogers. Honestly, the cynic in me was dying to hate this show after watching the trailer— too loud, too abstract, too many fourth-wall breaks, too much of a dude who seemingly has no grounding in reality. Yet so far (two episodes in) Carrey delivers a gravitating performance as Mr. Pickles, a younger and sillier Mr. Rogers who battles with the death of his son Phil. Phil’s death sparks a revelation in Jeff Pickles, who tells his status quo producer “kids know the sky is blue, but they need to know what to do when it’s falling.” Carrey delivers an impressive performance balancing Kidding between tones both somber and sweet, making it the perfect return to television for an actor with films like The Truman Show and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind on his resume.