“Lodge 49” on AMC: Created by short story writer Jim Gavin, this oddball series heading into its final few episodes is your ideal companion for the never-ending Southern California summer. Centering on the genial misadventures of a grieving Long Beach surfer named Dud (Wyatt Russell) who falls into a fraternal order akin to the Masons that may or may not be tied into mystical secrets, the show’s breezy pace and oddball diversions defy easy description. But on a sprawling TV landscape that remains stocked with formulaic procedurals and reboots, a compassionate and character-rich story such as this amounts to a rare treasure.
The Necks, “Body”: Less of a piano trio than a decades-long experiment in musical telepathy, this category-defying Australian group has built a following around spontaneously created performances that rise, ebb and flow in an array of directions before finding natural conclusions in about an hour. The Necks’ recordings are often remarkable documents of their trance-like interplay, and their 20th patiently dances along a restless mix of cymbals, flickering piano and a heartbeat-like thump before shifting into an unexpectedly noisy direction that at first feels shockingly abrupt but, in subsequent listens, was placed just right.
“The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel”: Amy Sherman-Palladino’s big night at the Emmys shouldn’t be considered a surprise considering its wins at last year’s Golden Globes, not to mention the very real fact that every collective body in Hollywood can’t resist a fizzy, nostalgia-tinged fantasy about breaking into showbiz. But for all its witty dialogue — which can be crackling or exhausting depending on your perspective — and uplifting message of a female empowerment, it’s too bad its awards success came at the expense of “Atlanta” and “Barry,” two distinctive shows that took more chances and say far more about 2018.