Watch list: 5 shows you may have missed
We're 10 days into the Writers Guild of America strike, and while plenty of shows have shut down production as a result, we're not looking at a shortage of good TV to watch — yet. But it can't hurt to be prepared.
If your "what to watch next" list is looking a little lean, may we suggest these five new and returning series you may have missed.
<em>American Auto</em> (NBC/Peacock)
This oddball gem about from Superstore creator Justin Spitzer truly embraced the weird in season 2. As overmatched Payne Motors CEO Katherine Hastings (Ana Gasteyer) races to turn the company's fortunes around, her hapless staff — high-strung PR rep Sadie (Harriet Dyer), effusively inept Payne heir Wesley (John Barinholtz), level-headed new exec Jack (Tye White), smug designer Cyrus (Michael Benjamin Washington), obsequious general counsel Elliot (Humphrey Ker), and savvy assistant Dori (X Mayo) — are faced with an endless onslaught of catastrophes, many of which are Katherine's doing. The stories balance workplace-comedy silliness (Elliot unknowingly falls for Payne's new AI chatbot), corporate satire (Wesley tasks Jack, Elliot, and Cyrus with helping him draft the company's abortion policy), and hilarious esoterica. You haven't experienced quality network comedy until you've seen frantic car exec Ted (guest star Josh Malina) try to explain how Katherine's offhand comment at a school science fair inflamed the already complicated political tensions between Eritrea, Ethiopia, and Somalia.
<em>The Muppets Mayhem</em> (Disney+)
This frequently charming new entry into the Muppet canon follows aspiring music exec Nora (Lilly Singh) as she tries to wrangle Dr. Teeth and the Electric Mayhem into the studio before her brash boss sells the label to a slick streaming exec (Anders Holm). While the focus on Nora's strained relationship with her sister Hannah (Saara Chaudry) makes the first few episodes a little draggy, Muppets Mayhem ultimately finds its groove by letting the freak-flag-flying Muppet stars take the lead. When they're not grappling with writers' block ("Middle of the song/ middle of the song/ this right here/ is the middle of the song"), the Mayhem mingle with guest stars (who knew Janis and Ziggy Marley have history?), hang with their number one fan, Moog (the adorable Tahj Mowry), get loopy on expired marshmallows, and bust out some righteous tunes. Try not to cry when Floyd apologizes to Animal by singing "Bridge Over Troubled Water" in the middle of a Benihana dinner rush.
<em>Silo</em> (Apple TV+)
Based on the Silo series by author Hugh Howey, this sprawling sci-fi thriller takes place in a post-apocalyptic future where humanity has been forced to live underground in massive silos because the air on Earth is too toxic to breathe. After the heart-wrenching prologue of a pilot (featuring Rashida Jones as a curious IT employee), the story centers on Juliette (Rebecca Ferguson), an engineer who reluctantly agrees to become sheriff of the silo after a loved one's mysterious death. She begins looking for answers and naturally uncovers a series of shocking truths about life in the silo and what's really going on outside. Hollywood has been trying to adapt Silo into a film or TV show for over a decade, but the extremely high-concept story needed a backer willing to spend a massive amount of money to make it happen. Silo's elaborate production design creates a fully realized underground world, and the story stays faithful to Howey's propulsive narrative about humanity's unwavering drive to understand who we are.
<em>Single Drunk Female</em> (Freeform/Hulu)
No longer a newcomer in the recovery community, Boston-based writer Sam (Sofia Black-D'Elia) tries to settle into sobriety in season 2 of Single Drunk Female, Simone Finch's wry comedy about family — found or otherwise. After landing a job at a local arts magazine, Sam navigates dating a non-sober "normie" (Ricky Velez), getting to know her free spirited new sponsor Darby (Busy Philipps), and helping her best friend Brit (Sasha Compère) figure out how to move on after a divorce. The second season also goes deeper into Sam's fraught relationship with her passive-aggressive martyr mom Carol (the excellent Ally Sheedy), who ultimately must take accountability for her own shortcomings as a parent and a partner.
Inspired by the life of TV writer and relationship author Tracy McMillan, UnPrisoned is a welcome showcase for Delroy Lindo and a touching family comedy about the generational cost of mass incarceration. Marriage and family therapist Paige Alexander (Kerry Washington) reluctantly agrees to pick up her freshly released felon father Edwin (Lindo) at his transitional housing building, but she has no intention of letting him back into her life. Of course, her resolve doesn't last. "Your unconscious mind wants a do-over, and what it wants, it gets," the therapist tells her devoted Instagram followers, before agreeing to let Edwin move in with her and her 16-year-old son, Finn (Faly Rakotohavana). Over eight episodes, Paige internalizes Edwin's real-talk analysis of her chaotic love life ("You are the side piece. A man lies to his main bitch") and comes to a deeper understanding of the family history that set her dad up for a lifetime of struggle.
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