British comedian Sacha Baron Cohen returns to television with his new Showtime docu-comedy series “Who Is America?” The seven-episode, half-hour series is being kept under tight wraps by Showtime but promises to explore “the diverse individuals, from the infamous to the unknown across the political and cultural spectrum, who populate our unique nation.” The first episode, for example, features an interview with Dick Cheney. Having burned out his three stock characters (Ali G., Borat and Brüno) in previous movies and TV shows, it’s anyone’s guess where this new series will take Cohen—although teaser pics seem to peg him as playing a conservative journalist along the lines of Stephen Colbert’s “Stephen Colbert.” The first (no doubt controversial) episode debuts on Sunday, July 15 at 8pm.
TV shows talking about TV shows (see AMC’s “Talking Dead,” “Talking Preacher,” “Talking Saul”—pretty much anything with Chris Hardwick) seem to be the new rage. They’re cheap to produce, and … Yeah, that’s it. They’re cheap to produce. Now Bravo has announced a new late-night talk show called “Real Men Watch Bravo.” Jerry O’Connell—the chubby kid from Stand By Me who grew up buff, starred in five seasons of “Sliders” and went on to become America’s most over-enthusiastic talk show guest—is signed on as the show’s host. Each week, evidently, O’Connell and a panel of male “celebrities, comics and tastemakers” will wax enthusiastic about Bravo’s “buzziest” moments of the week. The network promises O’Connell will be offering advice to “The Real Housewives” from every franchise, while guests fanboy over “Vanderpump Rules” and everybody discusses their favorite houses from “Million Dollar Listings.” The network-specific pop culture chat show is expected to debut this fall.
Earlier this month Netflix held a big presentation at the annual Anime Expo in Los Angeles. The streaming network announced a packed slate of new and returning Japanese animated series. A brand-new animated version of the live-action, monster-fighting superhero franchise “Ultraman” (which first appeared in 1966) led the lineup and is set to debut in early 2019. “Kengen Ashura” is described as the story of an ordinary 56-year-old office worker who is “promoted” one day by the chairman of his company to serve as a corporate gladiator, battling representatives from other businesses. It debuts later in 2018. The eagerly awaited Godzilla: City on the Edge of Battle (a feature-length sequel to the Godzilla: Planet of Monsters film) was released in Japanese theaters on May 18 and hits Netflix on July 18. “Dragon Pilot” is a high-flying air combat drama (à la “Area 88”) set to premiere in late September. “Cannon Busters” is a steampunk fantasy series about a “high-end friendship droid,” a discarded maintenance robot and a brash fugitive who go on a quest to rescue the heir to a kingdom. It hits Netflix on March 1, 2019. Season 2 of “Castlevania,” based on the vampire-centric Konami video game series, launches Oct. 26 (just in time for Halloween). Best of all, however, was the news that Netflix is delivering a second season of the wonderful Sanrio-based series “Aggretsuko.” The further adventures of Japan’s cutest, job-hating, death metal-loving red panda are expected to arrive sometime next year.