People said I “just have to” watch Ozark (streaming, Netflix), another summer series that got byme because there are too many shows. Ozark must be good, since Netflix renewed it for a second season, right? Blame Netflix’s idiotic, Trumpian “Very Good/ Very Bad” ratings system. The Jason Bateman crime drama (he also directed half the episodes) mostly lives up to its Southern-Fried Breaking Bad hype, leaning more on action than creating characters to care about. This makes for a quick binge, which is smart, because the plot (a nonsensical money-laundering operation in a tourist trap) shouldn’t be overthought. “Very Meh.”
Meanwhile, The Guest Book (Thursdays 9:30 pm, TBS) is halfway through its debut season and you probably never heard of it. Creator Greg Garcia’s (My Name is Earl) sorta-anthology comedy about a rental cabin in a small mountain town features a rotating cast of out-there characters and a Coen Brothers zeal for interconnected storylines. Each episode stands alone well enough, but The Guest Book will work best as a 10-part whole on whatever streaming service it winds up on—at which time I’ll be asked “Have you seen this new show on Netflix? It’s sooo funny and weird!” Bonus: Indie-folk duo HoneyHoney closes each episode, Twin Peaks-style.
Season 1, Murder House, is still the best of the series, but American Horror Story: Cult (Season 7 premiere Tuesday 9 pm, FX) looks promising as hell. Cult begins on election night 2016, with Trump’s victory shattering leftie Ally (Sarah Paulson) and delighting loony Kai (Evan Peters). But it’s not about politics. Showrunner Ryan Murphy says this season is about paranoia and “the euphoria and the fear” of the nation (which is current politics, but whatever). Several regular AHS players return, joined by newcomers like Billie Lourd, Alison Pill, Lena Dunham(!) and Billy Eichner(!). This might be the one to top Murder House. Thank Trump?
When we left You’re the Worst (Season 4 premiere Wednesday 9pm, FXX), Jimmy (Chis Geere) had just proposed to Gretchen (Aya Cash) and then abandoned her on a hilltop. Jimmy’s cold feet haven’t warmed up at the outset of Season 4, Gretchen’s bitterness hasn’t cooled, and hangers-on Lindsay and Edgar have no idea how to function in a post-GretchJim world. Don’t be sad: As funny as they were as self-absorbed bang-buds reluctantly falling in love, Gretchen and Jimmy are even more hilarious as toxic exes who’ll inevitably get back together—if Gretchen’s revenge schemes don’t kill him first. Hulu seasons 1-3 now.
Bill Frost writes about television for Salt Lake City Weekly and tweets about it at @Bill_Frost.