FX seems eager to play with the conventional idea of late night shows. With Russell Brand’s pop culture/current events series BrandX wrapped (set to return with a second season this fall) the network fills the talk show void with a new series this week. Totally Biased with W. Kamau Bell (11 p.m. Thursdays) features news commentary with humor from a quickly rising comic. Bell, named best San Francisco comedian by SF Weekly (among other publications), is known for his unique approach to race, politics and other social issues in stand-up.
Totally Biased blends favorite aspects of The Soup, Tosh.0 and The Daily Show to create an engaging commentary that’ll hopefully make the audience think and laugh. Episodes will be filmed just hours before airing, in a loft-looking New York space with a live audience. Bell appears stand-up style (no desk and sofa for this talk show) in front of a digital screen, perfect for visuals and web references. Contributors will swing by for more opinion-dishing and sketch comedy. With the proverbial stamp of approval from executive producer Chris Rock, it looks like W. Kamau Bell has all the elements to create a successful show.
WEDNESDAY AUG. 8
Top Chef Masters(10 p.m., Bravo) – The chefs do their best Benihana, presenting a Japanese-style spectacle while cooking for Olympic skater Brian Boitano and others.
Futurama (10 p.m., Comedy Central) – Bender learns that robots do not have the ability to choose, sparking his quest for the meaning of life in “Free Will Hunting.”
THURSDAY AUG. 9
Project Runway (9 p.m., Lifetime) – Everyone wants to leave the show! The designers cope with personal drama while creating women’s day-to-evening ensembles.
Wilfred (10 p.m., FX) – Ryan asks Amanda to move in; Wilfred senses Doomsday.
The Real L Word (10 p.m., Showtime) – Both New York and L.A. ladies prepare for the biggest worldwide lesbian party of the year: Dinah Shore Weekend at Palm Springs. Romi and Kelsey make their debut as a sober couple (again), Amanda drops some news on Lauren, “Donna Somer” (pre-packaged couple name) miss their flight.
Louie (10:30 p.m., FX) – Louie goes to IKEA with an old friend and ends up in a hospital.
FRIDAY AUG. 10
Comedy Bang! Bang! (Season Finale, 10 p.m., IFC) – In an epic night of musical comedy, Scott and Reggie welcome “Weird Al” Yankovic and Tenacious D.
Bunk (Season Finale, 10:30 p.m., IFC) – The comedy game show’s first season comes to a close with Alex Borstein (“Montez’s wife” to me from now on), Andy Daly and John Gemberling.
SUNDAY AUG. 12
2012 Summer Olympics Closing Ceremony (7 p.m., NBC) – Say goodbye to the games and see how London tops that odd opening celebration.
True Blood (9 p.m., HBO) – Pam and Tara deal with a new sheriff assigned to Eric’s former territory; Luna is willing to go to dangerous lengths to find Emma; Jason finds a scroll that may reveal some family secrets; Bill threatens Eric with the true death.
Roast of Roseanne (Premiere, 10 p.m., Comedy Central) -– The wonderful Jane Lynch hosts this tribute to the original blue-collar comedian, Roseanne Barr. Roasters include Jeffrey Ross, fellow ’80s-’90s TV mom Katey Sagal, Sharon Stone, Carrie Fisher and several former Roseanne cast mates.
The Newsroom (10 p.m., HBO) – Ratings drop when the crew refuses to cover the Casey Anthony case and other over-sensationalized stories on News Night; Charlie investigates some major internal shadiness at ACN.
Breaking Bad (10 p.m., AMC) – Tick, tick, tick…Walt, Mike and Jesse meet with Lydia to discuss a potentially huge source of Methylamine.
Weeds (10 p.m., Showtime) – The Botwins get legit! Nancy becomes a pharmaceutical rep, Shane graduates from the police academy and Andy tries to land a job at a synagogue.
Small Town Security (11 p.m., AMC) – Croft organizes sneak attacks and pepper-spray training sessions to help transform his crew into that “elite force.” Captain continues to work on his hoarding.
MONDAY AUG. 13
Gallery Girls (Series Premiere, 10 p.m., Bravo) – Bravo offers another arts-related attempt with this reality series following seven women in New York’s arts scene, pinning the Brooklynites against those from Manhattan. (I can’t help but ponder where Girls’ Marnie would fit in.)
CONTACT JAC KERN: [email protected]