Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

Netflix and The CW bless our screens with two diverting adventures in genre

David Harbour, Priscilla Quintana
Photo: Allyson Riggs (Netflix), The CW

Here’s what’s happening in the world of television for Tuesday, July 16. All times are Eastern. 


Top picks

Frankenstein’s Monster’s Monster, Frankenstein (Netflix, 3:01 a.m., comedy special premiere): The premise of this half-hour comedy special is as twisty as its title. David Harbour, the son of noted thespian David Harbour Jr., starts digging into the history of his pater familias, whose career in the dazzling world of plays-produced-for-television contains a number of skeletons.

That’s a lot for 30 minutes, as the special seems to skewer not only Frankenstein, but also the era of televised plays, the documentarian-as-subject subgenre, and inflated self-importance in general. We’re excited about it—and about Kate Berlant’s turn—as is Randall Colburn; keep your eyes peeled for his pre-air review.

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Pandora (The CW, 8 p.m., series premiere): In a post-Game Of Thrones era, it can be refreshing to see a genre show that’s just happy doing its thing without trying to be a big deal. Pandora, a sci-fi series premiering tonight on The CW (starring Priscilla Quintana as Jax/a.k.a. Pandora), is pretty much a textbook example of that kind of low-pressure, under-the-radar TV show that just wants to take you on a ride without expecting you to do any extra work. Endearingly soapy and cheesy, Pandora is like a futuristic Harry Potter where everyone at the Space Training Academy has a built-in sci-fi gimmick (Telepaths! Clones! Hostile aliens that are trying to be friendly now! Some kind of cyborg roommate!), and everyone possesses either secret romantic intentions, potential involvement in the season-long mystery, or both.

Pandora is a show where characters wear ridiculous sci-fi clothing, have ridiculous sci-fi names, and eagerly explain their ridiculous sci-fi backstories to anyone who will listen. It might not be anyone’s new favorite show, but it is fun—and there are certainly worse ways to spend your summer TV time.

Regular coverage

Pose (FX, 10 p.m.)
The 100 (The CW, 9 p.m.) 

Wild card

Martha & Snoop’s Potluck Party Challenge (VH1, 9 p.m.): Sometimes one seeks art that challenges, enriches, and provokes. We’re lucky to live in an era in which such things can be found in galleries, theaters, opera houses, dance studios, and other such real-world venues, and can also be found on your TV. That’s incredible. This is not one of those shows. This is Martha Stewart and Snoop Dogg, getting high and cooking together (in this case, specifically barbecue) with other famous people in a competition setting.

Yep. It’s hot, we’re tired, that looks just about perfect.

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