Friday TV: ‘Wet Hot Summer’ Reunion

wetHotThe original “Wet Hot American Summer” about a camp’s last day in 1981, became a cult classic since its 2001 release, in part because of its cast that included Amy Poehler, Bradley Cooper, Elizabeth Banks, David Hyde Pierce, Michael Ian Black, Christopher Meloni, Paul Rudd, Janeane Garofalo.

It was weird last year when most of them showed up, 14 years later, for the Netflix series that was set on the start of that camp year, instead of the film’s final day.

Now, with “Wet Hot American Summer: 10 Years Later” (Netflix, streaming) they’ve found a more agreeable premise that accounts for the aging cast, set in 1991. Like the others, it’s written by David Wain and Micael Showalter and directed by Wain, and includes a lot of the original cast, including Molly Shannon, Rudd, Poehler, Zak Orth, Marguerite Moreau, Meloni, Black, Garofalo and Pierce but also Kristen Wiig, Lake Bell, Jason Schwartzman, Alyssa Milano, Mark Feuerstein, Marlo Thomas, Dax Shepard, Melanie Lynskey and a bunch of other people. You will hardly miss Bradley Cooper.

Another fun new online show today, “Comrade Detective” (Amazon, streaming) purports to be unearthing a 1980s Romanian crime series, when they’re actually creating in Romania and dubbing the goofy action, with voices provided by Channing Tatum and Joseph Gordon-Levitt and guests Nick Offerman, Jenny Slate, Chloe Savigny and Jason Mantzoukas.

Also streaming, Bryan Fogel’s documentary “Icarus” (Netflix, streaming) looks at the Russian doping scandal in the 2014 Winter Olympic Games.

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James Van Der Beek Becomes Diplo

DiploJames Van Der Beek made sure he met the subject of his funny new comedy “What Would Diplo Do?” (Viceland, 10 p.m.).

But the most important part was going to one of the concerts by the electronic dance music hero also known as Thomas Wesley Pentz.

“Getting up on stage as him was probably the most valuable thing because you realize, ‘I’m literally in his shoes and I’m looking at a sea of people who are all staring up and saying “All right. Move me. Give me a reason to throw my hands in the air. Give me a reason to get excited and be glad that I’m here pressed amongst all these sweaty bodies.” ’ ”

“And what I realized is that it’s like there is some circuitry to it. If you’re just on stage and that energy ends with you, like, “Oh, yeah. I’m the best,” the audience is not having a good time. Yeah. Just kind of getting in the world. That is really how it happened.”

The idea of the show, from successful video director Brandon Dermer, is “EDM Jesus sucks at life,” Van Der Beek says.

The onetime “Dawson’s Creek” star, now 40, plays the influential DJ and producer as kind of a dim bulb savant, who spouts EDM truisms and is surrounded by quirky crew that includes H. Michael Croner, Dora Madison and Dillon Francis.

Van Der Beek said the key to playing Diplo is to take a departure from his distinctive way of talking — “in a way that, like, the best Christopher Walken impressions take a departure from Christopher Walken.”

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Oddball ‘Chris Gethard’ Show Live Again

Chris-Gethard-Show-When it moved from public access TV to cable on Fusion a year or so ago, it also went from a live, anything-goes comedy talk show to one that was taped and a bit edited. Now, with its move to a new network for its third season, “The Chris Gethard Show” (truTV, 11 p.m.) is returning to its live roots, filling a Brooklyn studio with its crazy recurring characters, rabid fans and a surprising array of guest stars willing to take part in their silliness (from Jon Hamm to Diddy).

The move will also allow them to take calls live from viewers, to answer trivia contests or to comment on how the episode is going.

Though Gethard has just come off a well-received HBO standup special, he seemed excited to even be at the TV Critics Association summer press tour to promote the show.

“We were just psyched that they flew us here and paid for it legit,” he marveled. “We were in the green room. They had an omelet station. We were like, whoa.”

“One thing I’ve always said about our show is I want us to go big,” Gethard said. “I really want it to be great. I try so hard to make it great. I have a real chip on my shoulder. If it isn’t great, I want it to be a complete train wreck. That, I think, is very watchable television. What I don’t want is anything middle ground.”

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Also on Thursday: Check Into ‘Guest Book’

GuestBookv2-628x353Rented rooms are the setting for more than one anthology series this summer. In addition to the Duplass Brothers’ “Room 104” on HBO, here is “The Guest Book” (TBS, 10 and 10:30 p.m.), a comedy series from Greg Garcia (“Raising Hope” and “My Name is Earl”) that changes cast and story each week depending on who checks into the vacation cabin in the mountains.

There are some town residents who recur, played by Kellie Martin, Garret Dillahunt and Laura Bell Bundy. Among the guests are Jenna Fischer, Michaela Watkins, Margo Martingale, Michael Rapport and Jaime Pressly. Kicking it off in the first of two episodes tonight is Danny Pudi as a middle school science teacher looking to perk up his married life.

On the new “Nuts + Bolts” (Viceland, 10:30 p.m.), Tyler the Creator looks at how things work, inviting experts and personal heroes along the way.

“I Love Kellie Pickler” (CMT, 11 p.m.) starts its third season

There’s a live eviction on “Big Brother” (CBS, 9 p.m.) before another head of household competition.

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Funny Women Invade From Canada

baroness-von-sketch-show-3From out of Canada comes the quartet of women who pick up the quirks of lives for suburban moms, office workers and other women and translate them into fast comedy scenes in the all female  “Baroness Von Sketch Show” (IFC, 10 p.m.).

Part of what’s refreshing about Carolyn Taylor, Meredith MacNeill, Aurora Browne, and Jennifer Whalen — mostly alums of Second City Toronto — is that they aren’t overly familiar to stateside audiences, and have the ability to surprise with their characters and their ideas.

Unlike “Saturday Night Live,” they don’t do impressions or comment on recent topical events.

“It’s more of a small ‘p,’ political,” Taylor told reporters last week at the TV Critics Association summer press tour. “We are really interested in showing the truths of our lives and of, you know, the life of being a person.”

“A woman moving through this world,” says MacNeill.

“At a time when there is a lot of disagreement, perhaps, about what is real and what is fake,” Browne says. “It seems like it is almost a political act for us to just show our imperfection.

“We don’t do any impressions or anything like that,” she says. “But I hope that you’ll see yourself represented somewhere in there.”

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Rob Lowe & Sons, Ghost Busters

LoweFilesRob Lowe finds an excuse to hang out with his college age sons by indulging his life long interest in the paranormal with “The Lowe Files” (A&E, 10 p.m.), where he gets them in a van to visit alleged haunted locales, Bigfoot tracks and the rest.

Their camaraderie, and its occasional humor, leavens what is usually deadly serious (and unconvincing) paranormal sleuthing shows.

“Part of the whole concept of the show is that it’s the journey and it’s creating memories for us and having an excuse to be together,” Lowe told reporters last week at the TV Critics Association summer press tour. “So if we don’t find actual results it’s not really all that important. And when we did find results, which we did in a couple of shows in particular they were kind of mind blowing.”

One of them happened in tonight’s premiere, a condemned former boys’ reformatory in California, where “the furniture was moving and the voices were talking and the lights went on and off.”

“What we ended up getting on camera just so far exceeded my expectations,” says son Matthew Lowe, 23. “That’s what I was most happy about.”

Lowe says his interest in this area came as a youngster.

“When I was probably eight years old, I saw probably was a Roger Corman movie, ‘Legend of Boggy Creek,’ at the drive in and it’s, like, a guy in a horrendous suit, you know, terrorizing people, and it so traumatized me that I was obsessed with Bigfoot for forever on. So to go out and do this, it’s like the 8 year old boy trapped into a 53 year old man’s body’s sort of dream.”

 

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Also on Wednesday: Jessica Biel Kills

The Sinner - Season 1Jessica Biel plays an unassuming housewife who commits a bloody stabbing murder in the opening minutes of “The Sinner” (USA, 10 p.m.). The rest of the eight-episode series looks at what prompted it. Bill Pullman plays the detective determined to find out.

Here’s a new twist on a survival series: total “Darkness” (Discovery, 10 p.m.). Three men are dropped into the cave system in the Ozarks.

Colin Stafford-Johnson looks at “Ireland’s Wild Coast” (PBS, 8 p.m., check local listings).

Ed comes under scrutiny on a new “Broadchurch” (BBC America, 10 p.m).

To help promote his new movie”An Inconvenient Sequel: Truth to Power,” former Vice President Al Gore presides over a town hall forum in  “An Inconvenient Special” (MTV, 7:30 p.m.).

The season finale of Ali Wentworth’s “Nightcap” (Pop, 8 p.m.) brings J.J. Abrams and Mark Hamill.

Charley’s mother makes a visit on “Queen Sugar” (OWN, 10 p.m.).

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‘Manhunt: Unabomber’ Puts On the Hoodie

paul-bettany-manhunt-unabomber-e1496698904373Paul Bettany portrays Ted Kaczynski tonight in “Manhunt: Unabomber” (Discovery, 9 p.m.), the first of an eight-hour miniseries on the cable network. He’s part of a cast that includes Sam Worthington and Chris Noth as investigators, Jane Lynch as Janet Reno and Mark Duplass as the brother who turned him in.

Bettany credited hair and makeup people into making him resemble the Unabomber. But to get in his head, he did a lot of reading. one was his unpublished autobiography, which the actor calls “incredibly honest and revealing.”

But he also got access to his reading list of books found in his Montana cabin.

“That was fascinating,” Bettany told reporters at the TV Critics Association summer press tour last week. “The novels that he had chosen to keep quite literally around his head, you know, above his bed, were fascinatingly cliched in that they were like Joseph Conrad’s ‘The Secret Agent’ and Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s ‘Crime and Punishment’ and Arthur Koestler’s ‘Darkness at Noon.’

“They were all they were all novels about the outside, the man who feels like an alien in society and commits a crime that he can’t come back from, and that was really useful for me.”

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Also on Tuesday: Marilyn Monroe All Day

seven-year-itchTurner Classic Movies begins its month-long Summer Under the Stars event, saluting a different star each night. It begins with one of the biggest, Marilyn Monroe, featured in movies all day: “The Asphalt Jungle” (9:30 a.m.), “Some Like It Hot” (11:30 a.m.), “Love Nest” (2 p.m.), “There’s No Business Like Show Business” (3:45 p.m.), “Bus Stop” (6 p.m.), “The Seven Year Itch” (8 p.m.), “Niagara” (10 p.m.), “River of No Return” (midnight), “How to Marry a Millionaire” (2 a.m.) and “The Prince and the Showgirl” (4 a.m.).

“Rare: Creatures of the Photo Ark” (PBS, 9 p.m.) ends with National Geographic photographer Joel Sartre taking on insects.

“Maz Jobrani: Immigrant” (Netflix, streaming) takes on politics in his latest stand-up special.

Laverne Cox joins the judges panel on “America’s Got Talent” (NBC, 8 p.m.).

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Monday TV: ‘Siesta Key,’ Shakespeare Flop

siestaKeyThe glossy reality documentary style of MTV’s old “Laguna Beach” — big on backing music and without confessional afterthoughts — is attempted again with a whole new group of pretty young people. This time it’s college students going to summer break in Sarasota, Fla., for a series called “Siesta Key” (MTV, 10 p.m.). In the premiere, Alex finds himself in a love triangle with Madisson and Juliette.

Making a thriller out of Shakespeare was the aim of “A Midsummer’s Nightmare” (Lifetime, 11 p.m.), which only got as far as the pilot apparently. That’s all that’s scheduled to be shown, anyway. The work is said to include in its cast Courtney Love, Eric Balfour, Chad Rook and Dominic Monaghan.

Will there be a nightly Diana documentary leading up to the 20th anniversary of her death in a month?  Anyway, there is tonight with “Princess Diana: Tragedy or Treason?” (TLC, 8 p.m.).

A death 25 years ago, of an uncle who died of AIDS, is the subject of Cecilia Aldarano’s personal film “Memories of a Penitent Heart” on “POV” (PBS, 10 p.m., check local listings).

A pause before decision-time for Rachel Lindsay is the edition of “The Bachelorette” (ABC, 8 p.m.) known as “The Men Tell All.”

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