This week’s question comes from TV editor Danette Chavez. Quibi will arrive on April 6, and has already announced an avalanche of original programming in 10-minute segments, which we’ve been keeping track of here and here. There’s a little something for everyone, so we’re asking:
What Quibi show are you actually looking forward to?
A month ago, this response would have been Elba Vs. Block, a kind of “Fast And The Furious meets Top Gear” series, in which Idris Elba races against rally driver Ken Block. But now I’m looking for something a tad more uplifting, like the I Promise docu-series. This uplifting and insightful new series was filmed during the first academic year of LeBron James’ I Promise school in Akron, Ohio. James makes an appearance throughout, but the focus is on the students, families, and educators at the school, who are navigating both their day-to-day lives and being part of the launch of a new educational platform.
I rolled my eyes at plenty of the offerings in Quibi’s initial launch pitch, but damn if they didn’t find my weakness: Tituss Burgess shrieking gleefully as he blasts an entire entree and sides into two poor human beings’ faces with a set of ridiculous “food cannons.” Will the cooking parts of Dishmantled be able to live up to the show’s gloriously messy money shot? Who cares? Each episode is only a couple of minutes long, which means they’re all roughly 20 percent “murder spaghetti” by volume. Bring it on.
While I’m excited about quite a few things, I’m most excited about Biggest Little Cook-Off, the teeny-tiny baking show hosted by Andy Samberg. Think Tiny Kitchen, but funny! As a miniatures aficionado myself, I can’t wait for the show’s itty-bitty face-offs, wee bits of reality drama, and presumably average to large-sized jokes. Unlike grander shows like Murder Flip—which, duh, I can’t wait to watch—Biggest Little Cook-Off seems tailor-made for Quibi’s shortened runtimes and cell phone friendly viewing. I look forward to testing its tiny tiny merits and judging for myself.
I’m going to show up to anything horror writer-director Alexandre Aja does (his most recent, the delightfully entertaining survival thriller Crawl, was merely the latest reaffirmation of my affection for the filmmaker). So reading the description for Tomie, Aja’s adaptation of Junji Ito’s manga comic of the same name, was really just a way to stoke my interest for something I was already on board with. True, I’ve already seen the lackluster film version of the story—about a high-school girl who goes missing, only for pieces of her body to be discovered scattered around a small town, which kicks off something far more bananas. But Aja’s twisted sense of humor and passion for weirdness makes me think this could be… well, again: better than the movie, really. (Even this trailer for that misfire is a bummer.)
I typically avoid TV that glorifies the wealthy, but nothing will stop me from watching Barkitecture, a show in which a Bachelorette alum builds luxury dog houses for privileged pups. The good boys deserve good things. They deserve to sploot on a bearskin rug, firelight flickering over their gold-plated bowls. They deserve to be pet by Tyler Cameron, one of the most handsome men to ever grace a television screen. That said, I’m also curious if the dogs actually like their sumptuous new pads or if, like my cat, they’d rather just crash on a ripped paper bag.
Give me Laura Dern or give me death. The recent Oscar winner can do no wrong, but on top of that there’s so much right with Just One Drink. Created by author Nick Hornby (High Fidelity, About A Boy), this is described as a series of “one-act vignettes” starring Dern as a bartender for patrons in “various states of emotional disrepair.” It sounds, on first description, a lot like the similarly bite-sized Web Therapy, which was one of the first high-profile “web series” (back when that was a term people used). If Laura Dern’s publican is anything like Lisa Kudrow’s inept and egocentric therapist, we’re all in for a boozy treat. Since Quibi hasn’t shared any images of Just One Drink yet, let’s all enjoy the season 2 trailer for Web Therapy.
Thankfully, a glut of streaming services means more opportunities for LGBTQ-inclusive programming. And Quibi’s been no slouch in giving the gays everything they want, especially in terms of game shows—after all, by emphasizing pageantry and competitiveness, game shows have always been pretty gay. I’ll be queueing up the tongue-in-cheek Gayme Show: With gag-worthy antics and celebrity guests, it’s basically the queer answer to Whose Line Is It Anyway? And praise be to the Singled Out reboot, which recruits Keke Palmer and Joel Kim Booster to host a dating show open to the entire spectrum of gender and sexual preference.
No offense to my esteemed colleagues whose hearts maintain a soft spot for VH1’s Celebreality phase, but I pine for a period in the channel’s history just before that programming shift, when the talking heads of I Love The… retrospectives peacefully coexisted with the tabloid tell-alls of Behind The Music and trivia-packed countdown shows. That’s why I’m looking forward to wasting some upcoming Saturday afternoon with the Will Arnett-hosted Memory Hole, an unscripted series committed to digging up and shining new light on “the most cringe-worthy events in pop culture.” That could be a set up for a lot of empty Hal-Sparks-on-a-tear-about-Strawberry-Shortcake snark, but with a Patriot Act With Hasan Minhaj alum at the creative helm and the backing of the expert entertainment archivists at Shout! Factory, I have hope that Memory Hole will provide some new company for all the old Pop-Up Video bubbles still rattling around in my head. (Did you know Mark McGrath’s mother was still alive when he sang “god rest her soul” on Sugar Ray’s “Fly”? It’s a Gilbert O’Sullivan reference!)
There are so many new streaming platforms now that I didn’t really bother trying to keep up with what was on Quibi, but that changed when I saw the trailer for its Reno 911! revival. I fell off of the original series even before the movie came out, so it’s not like it was my favorite show, but it seems perfectly suited to a service that’s all about quick bites of content. Each episode doesn’t need to be any longer than a single scene for a show with no plot, especially if those scenes are as good as Dangle losing his mind about singing squirrels in the trailer.
Like Sam, I am all about the Reno 911! reboot—the main source of my interest in Quibi. However, I am also thoroughly drawn to Flipped, the Will Forte and Kaitlin Olson-starrer about a down-on-their-luck couple who renovates their shared life with a HGTV-style show. During their mission to become the next Chip and Joanna, they stumble upon a hidden stash of cash that gets them in a heap of trouble with a crime boss. It combines all of my favorite things: Olson, home renovation, and the possibility that every wholesome-looking DIY venture comes with a significantly darker backstory.