Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

It’s Snatch Game time on Drag Race, plus Jon M. Chu and Dana Fox on Home Before Dark

Illustration for article titled It’s Snatch Game time on iDrag Race/i, plus Jon M. Chu and Dana Fox on iHome Before Dark/i
Screenshot: YouTube

Here’s what’s happening in the world of television for Friday, April 3, and Saturday, April 4. All times are Eastern.

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Top picks

RuPaul’s Drag Race (VH1, Friday, 8 p.m.): For all the show’s hullabalooing about big, dramatic finales, longtime Drag Race viewers know that the annual Snatch Game episode—a test of impersonation, cleverness, and improvisation that takes the form of a Match Game send-up—is the real crucible of the season. Strong competitors reveal unforeseen weaknesses. Underdogs race to the front of the back. There are always a few bright spots and at least one train wreck is guaranteed. At its best, it can be downright dazzling and wickedly funny (case in point: BenDeLaCreme’s turn as Maggie Smith in season six, pictured above). At worst, it’s what Latrice Royale once described as “romper room fuckery.”

We’ll see what this year brings tonight. Kate Kulzick stands ready to judge the contestants’ handwriting (and everything else).

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Can you binge it? Some of it. Hulu and Amazon Prime have some early seasons (Amazon has 1-5, Hulu has 1-6 plus two seasons of All Stars and several of Untucked), but that should get you started.

Tales From The Loop (Amazon, Friday, 3:01 a.m., complete first season): “Each episode of Tales From The Loop plays out like a modern fable set in a world both impossible and not unlike our own. At the crux of each is a theme: Motherhood, mortality, and loneliness, with each in turn orbited by a barrage of questions like electrons dancing at the borders of an atom. These questions dabble less in the realm of speculative ‘what-if’ fiction and instead feel like peeks into the private corners of the human experience. How do you avoid repeating the same mistakes as your parents? How do you console a child confronted with the reality of death? How do you learn to love and live with yourself, let alone with other people? ‘Turns out… not everything in life makes sense,’ Loretta tells a character through tears.” Read the rest of Toussaint Egan’s rave pre-air review here.

Regular coverage

Star Wars: The Clone Wars (Disney+, Friday, 3:01 a.m.)
Harley Quinn (DC Universe, Friday, 9 a.m.): season-two premiere drop-in review
DuckTales (Disney XD, Saturday, 9:30 a.m.): season-three premiere drop-in review

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Wild cards

Future Man (Hulu, Friday, 3:01 a.m., complete third and final season): “It’s been an unusual run for Future Man, Hulu’s fitfully funny but endearingly oddball show about a nerdy janitor and two warriors from the future who team up to try and save the world from a coming apocalypse. The first two seasons saw the trio overcome their oft-combative personality clashes to prevent the near-extinction of the human race; the first time on purpose, the second time as the unexpected consequence of their previous actions. They ended the second season imprisoned for time crimes, sentenced to ‘death by entertainment’ in the year 3491 as the subjects of a Running Man-like game called the Die-cathalon. So what’s the mission now? ‘There’s no mission,’ Tiger (Eliza Coupe) tells fellow warrior Wolf (Derek Wilson) and the hapless Josh (Josh Hutcherson). ‘This is about survival.” Cue the futuristic battle arena.’ Read the rest of Alex McLevy’s pre-air review here.

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Can you binge it? Yes, as of today all three seasons are available on Hulu.

Home Before Dark (Apple TV+, Friday, 3:01 a.m., complete first season): Apple TV+’s newest series is an Amblin-esque murder mystery series inspired by the life of wunderkind journalist Hilde Lysiak, starring The Florida Project’s Brooklynn Prince. The A.V. Club spoke with Home Before Dark co-creator Dana Fox and director Jon M. Chu at the Television Critics Association winter press tour about inherited trauma, how their children helped shape the series, and how to make a bingeable show you’ll want to watch with your family.

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The A.V. Club: Visually and tonally, Home Before Dark is very different from the kind of grandeur that you, Jon, oversaw in Crazy Rich Asians. And Dana, before this, you worked on shows like New Girl, which also had a more colorful palette. For something that’s more of a noir, how do you blend those sensibilities—the light and the dark, the comedy and the mystery?

Dana Fox: For me, comedy is deeply rooted in pain and suffering. That’s where a lot of jokes come from; a lot of people develop comedy because they’re trying to make everything okay. So, it was actually kind of easy to make a drama that was still light at times, still funny. I asked myself, “Who would I be if I stumbled across a murder that I had to solve?” And I wouldn’t stop being funny.

Jon M. Chu: When we first sat down, it really came down to like, what is this about? Yes, it’s a great mystery, a binge-worthy sort thing, but at the end of the day, it’s a portrait of this family. It’s about the search for truth and what’s our capacity to actually face the truth in a world where truth and facts are being twisted and changed.

I had just had a little girl when they first approached me [about Home Before Dark]. As I’m trying to figure out “what do I want?,” I began to think about what I want my child’s childhood to be like. I was wrestling with this idea that we tell our kids to live in a world of truth, and yet we lie to them every day. You try to almost fix your childhood that way. But it also had to feel lived in. It’s got to feel like they’re moving into a house that a whole other generation has lived in. What happens when there’s hundreds of stories inside of these walls?

DF: Yeah, [series co-creator] Dara [Resnik] would always say that in a house with children, secrets are like monsters. Growing up, you’d all have this feeling that your parents weren’t telling you something, but you didn’t know what it was and you’d just feel it in your gut. We took that as sort of the jumping off point for the tone because we didn’t want actual monsters. We wanted it to feel as big as it feels in your own childhood.

AVC: The TV boom means there are a lot of shows in general, and also a lot more room for more niche shows. Where do you think Home Before Dark fits into the wider landscape? And do you want people to binge it, or take their time with it?

DF: First and foremost, we want people to be entertained, to have fun. As dark as the show is, I wanted to always balance that with the light. The original title was Magic Hour. We ended up changing it because we were like, let’s make sure nobody thinks it’s about doves shooting out of my jacket. [Laughs.]

JMC: What I loved about the concept of “magic hour” is it is the time of day when day is going away and night is starting to happen. That’s basically how we got to Home Before Dark. In many ways, this is the liminal space between childhood and adulthood. And I love this idea that there is a time and place that if you want to see the newest episode and be the first one to watch it, get your family together and show up in front of your television. It’s the best of both worlds.

Contributor, The A.V. Club and The Takeout. Allison loves television, bourbon, and dramatically overanalyzing social interactions.

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