Stranger Things serves a bracing cocktail of tension, humor, and baloney

A-

I didn’t trust Bob Newby, a.k.a. “Bob The Brain,” until “Chapter Five: Dig Dug.” Something about his aw shucks optimism and gratitude doesn’t quite ring true. Bob’s speech to Will about Mr. Baldo is set up as a bonding moment. But that pep talk draws Will deeper into the shadow monster’s thrall, and Bob’s…

The surreal indie comedy Lemon looks better than it runs

C

The sad fact about modern weird-for-weird’s-sake micro-indies is that they tend to be even more alike that than the toothlessly quirky Sundance items to which they’re supposed to serve as an antidote. It’s like they’ve all been grown from the same frothy mixture of Adult Swim anti-comedy, vintage lens fetishism, and…

Brett Gelman makes cringe comedy with Michael Cera and others in the Lemon trailer

Brett Gelman has never been one to shy away from stranger material. In fact, he dives into it—most often with projects of his own creation, like Brett Gelman’s Dinner In America, but also playing odd-duck characters in series like Eagleheart or Another Period. He’s also shown range as more buttoned down and grounded…

Comedy Central’s new sci-fi cartoon should be called Jeff & Some Unrealized Potential

B-

It’s fair to wonder where a show can conceivably go when it kills its title character in the first episode. It’s a pretty nihilistic way to introduce a new series: Have the protagonist accidentally murder an alien being, and then be required to kill a fellow human to even the scales, leading him to murder several…

Brett Gelman leaves Adult Swim, citing “the misogyny of their policies”

Earlier this year, Adult Swim announced its full roster of new shows, returning series, and specials, and of the 47 announced projects, exactly zero were created (or even co-created) by women. Buzzfeed dug deeper and found that these dismal numbers are nothing new for the late-night network: According to the available…

Thomas Middleditch, Nick Kroll, and Jenny Slate get wild in the Joshy trailer

People sure do say “Joshy” a lot in the first trailer for Hulu’s upcoming feature film Joshy. Joshy, played by Silicon Valley’s Thomas Middleditch, is a bummed out dude whose friends decide to go through with his bachelor party even though his wedding has been canceled, descending on Ojai for a weekend of emotionally…

Married asks if getting your act together means shedding those who haven’t

B

A continuing theme of Married’s second season has been growing up. That might seem like a late game realization for two people in their 40s, but Russ and Lina were introduced as two people who’d put off growing up for as long as humanly possible. Even the inescapable daily reminders of their adulthood—bills,…