TV CORNER – “BROCKMIRE” ON IFC TV
In case you are not aware, IFC is part of the AMC cable network empire, where the currently best known series is likely the quirky “Portlandia.” The talented Hank Azaria hopes to change that in his role of outlandish plaid-blazer wearing major league baseball announcer fired years ago during an epic on-air meltdown play-by-play of his then-wife’s adultery.
As the titular character in the sports comedy “Brockmire,” Azaria’s Jim Brockmire is either seeking redemption for his career or looking to hide out in a rust-belt Pennsylvania small town on the verge of financial collapse. After a decade-long interregnum spent wandering foreign lands, Brockmire is hired by minor league team owner Jules (Amanda Peet) to rescue the fictional Morristown Frackers from the doldrums of apathy and despair.
Jules could be the perfect match for a broadcaster on the rebound. She’s strong-willed and hard-drinking, and Brockmire relates to that as his affinity for top-shelf booze has no bounds.The borderline suicidal and self-destructive alcoholic Brockmire soon has a sexual relationship with Jules that is invigorated mostly by an apparent connection to the Frackers having a winning streak that fills the stadium with fans eager to have something to cheer.
In the broadcast booth, Brockmire is constantly letting loose with verbal zingers that would probably get him suspended if the Frackers fan base was not equally loopy and unhinged. There are great scenes between Brockmire and his reluctant whiz kid broadcast partner Charles (Tyrel Jackson Williams), whose limited knowledge of America’s favorite pastime is a source of frustration to the veteran announcer.
Speaking to the nation’s TV critics during the recent winter press tour, Hank Azaria summed up the essence of “Brockmire” by noting that “in its own weird, alcoholic-soaked, soporific, dark, gritty, say way, this is a love letter to baseball.” Indeed, a fondness for America’s game and the willingness to enjoy the raucous humor, often profane and unsuitable for family viewing, makes the enjoyable sports comedy of “Brockmire” a rare treat for hardcore fans.
Director and exec producer David Fincher recently talked about the show in terms of “next year”, implying he’d be filming in 2018, which would further imply that the second season would drop towards the end of the year, much like season one.
“SNOWFALL” ON THE FX NETWORK. The FX Network’s original programming for the summer includes ten episodes of the one-hour drama “Snowfall,” which is ambitiously tagged as the story of how crack had its roots in South Central Los Angeles during the summer of 1983. The series is ambitious because it runs several subplots and storylines designed to eventually meld into one coherent story of the epidemic of an illicit street drug devastating impoverished neighborhoods.
At the heart of the story is young African-American Franklin Saint (Damson Idris), a streetwise entrepreneur even though he attended upscale schools in the Valley. His ticket to the big leagues of the drug world comes from a school friend.
Showing courage or dangerous nerve, Franklin convinces gun-happy Israeli drug cartel boss Avi Drexler (Alon Moni Aboutboul) to advance a kilo of cocaine that he must turn around in a day to repay a debt of $12,000.
Meanwhile, Carter Hudson’s Teddy McDonald, a CIA operative banished to Los Angeles from the East Coast after a mysterious misstep in the past, is anxious to get back in the spy game by hooking up with Nicaraguan rebels fighting the Sandinistas.
Enter Juan Javier Cardenas’ Alejandro Usteves, a Contra soldier and pilot eager to reclaim the life that was taken from him by Daniel Ortega’s overthrow of the Somoza family’s rule in the Central American nation. If anything, “Snowfall” may unleash anew more conspiracy theories about the CIA and drug trafficking to finance rebel operations. You can check online for a variety of news reports to support or debunk allegations.
And yet, there are other story strains running through this new series, from Lucia Villanueva (Emily Rios), the daughter of a Mexican crime lord entering the more profitable sale of hard drugs, to Mexican wrestler Gustavo (Sergio Peris-Mancheta) becoming the gang’s enforcer. “Snowfall” may require patience of the viewers to hang in for the long haul to see where the story either congeals or unravels. But it could be an interesting ride.