Sundays, 10:30pm, HBO
Captive audience: Mockumentary-show watchers; Christopher Guest fans; people who’ll watch anything with British people in it.
Moment of truth: Director Christopher Guest (Waiting for Guffman, Best in Show) finally comes out of hiding to do a TV show, where he once again has a cast making up subtly (but still sidesplittingly) funny stuff in a mockumentary format. Irish funnyman Chris O’Dowd (The IT Crowd) stars as an unemployed, recently dumped man who develops a new hobby: tracking down his family history. Considering how he basically started this mockumentary boom when he worked on This Is Spinal Tap, it’s appropriate that Guest has gone across the pond to show Ricky Gervais and co. how it’s done.
Emmy or phlegmmy: Emmy.
Tuesdays, 9pm, A&E
Captive audience: Antiques Roadshow watchers; fans of Pawn Stars, Duck Dynasty and all the other successful, suspicious reality shows that are on cable now.
Moment of truth: Now in its fourth season, A&E’s hit reality show continues to make entertainment out of junk. It’s still as hilariously staged as ever, as its crew of professional, abandoned storage space buyers battle it out during auctions, hoping to find some profitable rarities. Of course, they do find these items, which leads to them going to experts and getting ‘em appraised. And let’s not forget the cheesy, usually lewd one-liners these people throw out during their talking-head interviews. If there has ever been a show that’s informative, amusing and cockamamie all at the same time, it’s this one.
Emmy or phlegmmy: Emmy.
Saturdays, 10pm, BBC America
Captive audience: Podcast listeners; geeks; people who already miss Attack of the Show.
Moment of truth: Comedian, former MTV game-show host and all-around ubernerd Chris Hardwick has found a way to bring his Nerdist podcast to TV, in the form of a weekly talk show, now in its second season. Hardwick and his podcast buddies Matt Mira and Jonah Ray continue to do what they do on their podcast: out-geek each other with pop-culture trivia and references while occasionally talking to their guests. The show may be a turnoff to those who are not into goofy, wall-to-wall geekery. Then again, just like with Hardwick’s podcast, it appears tailor-made for the nerdiest of audiences.
Emmy or phlegmmy: Phl-emmy.
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