Thu Tran (slight return) (The Internet, mostly). Thu Tran, the mistress and co-architect of
Earlier this year, MTV Other, an impolite Internet iteration of the Viacomathon, posted six episodes of her Web series "Late Night Munchies," whose title is a clue to its general air of derangement. If you are not already a fan, I wouldn't recommend you start here; it has something of the substance and flavor of "Food Party," if not its discipline, ambition, budget, magic or puppets, but it is far more visually and viscerally disturbing. (The images are manhandled in post-production.) As in "Food Party," Thu hosts in her happy, stilted style ("Hello, people who are ages teen through grandma" she says at the outset of one episode); prepares or seems to prepare strange, unpalatable dishes; welcomes guests onto a colorful set; and every so often loses her mind. There are also whimsical, semi-coherent fake commercials (an ice cream deodorant, a "shellphone," some sort of reflective potato chip) and "food dares," none of which I have it in me to describe here, though one involves violating the "five-second rule." There are crafts: Thu and Har Mar Superstar -- the guests are all out-of-the-mainstream musicians -- make cigarette holders from hot dogs; Thu and Nimai Larson give each other makeovers with food: "We're going to the club, we want to look hot for the guys there."
The more exciting discovery, to me, are the 17 videos (18, counting the trailer) that make up the wonderful "The Misguided Guide to the Origin of Everything." These cartoons, mostly from 2012 and in Thu's own lovely, storybook hand, combine a little bit of animation with a lot of two-dimensional puppetry and purport to answer questions scientific, practical and metaphysical, including "What Is Time?," "Why Do Feet Have Arches?" "How Do You Tie Your Shoes?" and "Who Am I?" The answers are complicated and fabulous, personal and unpredictable. Thu appears on camera to introduce some of them. Though it is superficially less like "Food Party," it is spiritually and aesthetically closer to it than "Munchies." I'd say that, as a group, they're fine for children of a not overly sensitive nature, and most don't require even that caveat. The same would apply to their parents.
"High Moon" (Syfy, Monday). You can't sell 'em all. Bryan Fuller ("Hannibal") is the producer and co-writer, with Jim Danger Gray, of this feature-length pilot, not picked up for series by Syfy but airing this week as a TV movie or "event." In 2012, a similar end befell "Mockingbird Lane," Fuller's reboot of "The Munsters," made for Syfy's corporate cousin NBC, and while it's too bad that there won't be a series based on this sample -- because I WOULD WATCH IT -- it's better to share these things, even with a near total lack of promotion, than to bury them under a papier-mache rock on the Universal back lot. I haven't made "Hannibal" a habit, but Fuller's
Based on "The
"James McNeill Whistler and the Case for Beauty" (
"Tim and Eric’s Bedtime Stories" (
"The Roosevelts" (PBS, Sunday to Saturday).