'Now See This' Newsletter: The Latest From 'The Umbrella Academy' and the TV Academy

11:06 AM 7/31/2020

by THR Staff

Courtesy of Weta Digital

Welcome to Now See This, THR chief TV critic Daniel Fienberg’s weekly viewer guide newsletter dedicated to cutting through the daunting clutter of the broadcast, cable and streaming TV landscape! Comments and suggestions welcome at daniel.fienberg@thr.com.

This is a web version of THR's Now See This newsletter. To sign up and get the newsletter in your inbox every Friday, click here.

  • Under My ‘Umbrella.’ Ella. Ella. Eh. Eh. Eh.


    The weekend’s big new TV releases come with some caveats. The second season of Netflix’s dysfunctional superhero family saga The Umbrella Academy has more narrative clarity, but remains a scattering of dazzling moments in a sea of duller moments. Meanwhile, the Muppets are back in Disney+’s Muppets Now, bringing our favorite felt friends into the world of streaming, unscripted programming. It’s a big improvement over the Muppets’ 2015 ABC sitcom, but it’s still plagued by a questionable distribution of screen time for the beloved characters. 

  • The Emmy of My Emmy Is My Friend

    Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

    If you’re a subscriber to this newsletter, you probably already know that the nominations for the 72nd Primetime Emmys were announced this week, and that despite some expanded category fields, the TV Academy didn’t make that many left-field choices. But maybe you were waiting for awards validation to check out HBO’s Watchmen or Disney+’s The Mandalorian or HBO’s Insecure. Meanwhile, check out Inkoo Kang and my back-and-forth on the pleasures and puzzlers of the Emmy nods.

  • The Mighty ‘Quinn’

    Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.

    DC Universe’s animated Harley Quinn is smarter, funny and more emotionally involving than you could possibly expect, and the first two seasons are available on HBO Max starting on Saturday. [Be sure to check out the TV’s Top 5 interview with showrunners Justin Halpern and Patrick Schumacker.] Also in more-convenient-streaming news, Netflix has acquired streaming rights to seven favorite Black sitcoms from the ‘90s and ‘00s, with Moesha hitting the service first on August 1.

  • Basketball Is Back!

    Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images

    After pulling the plug on its regular season in mid-March, just weeks away from the playoffs, the NBA returned on Thursday night from inside a metaphorical bubble in Florida! Expect dunks, political statements and eerily quiet gymnasiums. I wrote this week about the impact of the pandemic on the return of televised Major League Baseball, an experiment that still feels weird one week in.

  • Honoring Regis Philbin and Olivia de Havilland

    Photofest (2)

    Regis Philbin, a legend who logged more on-air TV time than anybody ever, died last weekend at 88. It’s never a bad time to check out some of Regis’ best TV cameos as himself, including on episodes of Fresh Off the Boat (“Lou Wants to Be a Millionaire,” streaming on Hulu), 30 Rock (“100,” streaming on Peacock), New Girl (“Clean Break,” streaming on Netflix) and more! Meanwhile, there’s probably no wrong place to start when diving into the work of Olivia de Havilland, who died this week at 104, but Peacock has her Oscar winner To Each His Own and HBO Max has the all-time classic Robin Hood, plus — as you may have heard — a little film called Gone with the Wind

  • This Week’s THR Staff Pick

    Courtesy of Food Network

    Editorial assistant Kirsten Chuba writes, “Amy Schumer Learns to Cook (now Emmy nominated!) has been one of my favorite recent watches. It's only four episodes, but she and husband Chris Fischer — a James Beard Award-winning chef — show how to make eight full entrees, drinks and sides with ingredients most people have in their quarantine rations. It's funnier than most comedies on TV right now, and is actually very educational for the cooking-challenged like myself. I could watch it every day.”