Q. You recently wrote about a show called “Made for Love,” with some actors I like including Ray Romano. Before that, I had never heard of it, and I read about TV all the time. How does that happen?
A. A timely question indeed, FOMO, and a big one, too. It addresses the current state of overwhelm that dogs most TV lovers. Many call it Peak TV, and it’s a bit of a headache, even as it offers tons of variety.
The problem is, of course, the plethora of streaming and cable options. There are so many separate outlets, and each has its own audience of paying subscribers. You know the litany of names, from HBO and Showtime to Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, Apple TV+, Disney+, Amazon, Peacock, etc. Each creates its own original series, but you may not hear about them unless you subscribe to that service (or pay super-duper close attention to TV critics, wink).
I’m guessing you don’t have HBO Max, which may explain why you didn’t know about its “Made for Love,” a sci-fi romantic comedy starring Cristin Milioti in which a billionaire tech guy implants a chip in his wife’s head so he can see what she sees. I found the conceit about love overly complicated, particularly in the first few episodes, but I liked Milioti and loved Romano, who, as her father, a widower who’s in love with a life-sized sex doll, is aces. It’s a strange, intermittently entertaining and amusing eight-episode season.
Before I go on, I want to address those readers who regularly write to me, or write in the comments, to complain about the costs of good TV. I hear you folks, but I’m only partially sympathetic. The price of a full month of TV shows and movies on, say, Apple TV+ is less expensive than a single night out at the movies. Learn how to sign up for a service, use it for a month or two, then cancel and try another service, and you will not be paying much for an awful lot of what is now called “content.” I understand that not everyone can keep all these channels and services going year round, but if you’re savvy about it, you can deliberately cycle through everything.
A number of decent and perhaps under-recognized shows are tucked into these outlets. Here are just a few titles: Amazon has a sci-fi comedy called “Upload” that I thoroughly enjoyed. It’s from the esteemed Greg Daniels, of “The Office” and many other good series, and it’s about people who choose to live a digital afterlife. Peacock has a suspense import that I admired, about deep fakery in London, called “The Capture.” Not many people talk about the drama series “For All Mankind,” which is on Apple TV+, but if you like alternate histories and the space race, you might want to give it a try. Hulu has “Shrill,” a really sweet comedy featuring Aidy Bryant that’s based on Lindy West’s book about women and weight. And Hulu also has “A Teacher,” a dark drama about the affair between a high school teacher and one of her students.