Now entering its second season, NBC’s “Marlon” (8 p.m. and 8:30 p.m., TV-PG) is said to be loosely based on Marlon Wayans’ own life. That’s often a bad sign, but it’s not the only problem with this strained sitcom.
Wayans plays a loose impersonation of himself named Marlon Wayne. Essence Atkins is Ashley Wayne, his former wife, but you’d never know it. Marlon barges in the house unannounced as if they were still married. They stay friendly for the sake of their children.
Marlon makes a living off some kind of internet fame gained from speaking frankly, if childishly, about everything and anything.
It doesn’t take a great deal of sophistication to distinguish internet performances from everyday activity. Even “iCarly” did that. Here, Marlon’s online shtick is shown in the same video resolution as everything else, adding a flatness to the sitcom’s fakeness.
With nothing to distinguish performance from the everyday, comedy bits tend to bleed into “real” life. In this season’s first episode, Marlon disrupts a counseling session with an extended skit about an airline hijacking, much to the chagrin of Ashley and the counselor.
Wayans is a natural performer and brings a certain ebullience to his role, but the whole enterprise is rather slapdash and thoughtless. Just as online shenanigans and “real” life look the same, marriage, divorce, fatherhood and friendship seem to have no meaning or consequences to a cartoon character who is always “on.”
- Premium subscription service CBS All Access begins streaming “Strange Angel.” Based on the book of the same name by George Pendle, it follows the stranger-than-fiction life of Jack Parsons (Jack Reynor), a pioneer of rocketry and jet engines and a co-founder of the Jet Propulsion Laboratory who also dabbled in the occult. During the World War II era, Parsons joined a religious order founded by Aleister Crowley. Later, Parsons’ romantic life resulted in a personal tangle with L. Ron Hubbard, the science fiction writer and founder of Scientology.
Episodes of “Strange Angel” were not distributed for review.
- New challengers arrive on “The Four: Battle for Stardom” (7 p.m., Fox, TV-14).
- Tandy becomes a fugitive on “Marvel’s Cloak and Dagger” (7 p.m., Freeform, TV-14).
- Brad’s singing competition begins on “Nashville” (8 p.m., CMT, TV-PG).
- “Girlfriends’ Guide to Divorce” (9 p.m., Bravo, TV-14) enters its fifth and final season not long after the cancellation of Bravo’s other scripted series, “Imposters.”
- Bonnie must balance her checkbook for the first time on “American Woman” (9 p.m., Paramount, TV-14).
- “Survivor” without companionship, “Alone” (9:03 p.m., History, TV-PG) enters its fifth season.
- “American Woman” stars Alicia Silverstone and Mena Suvari appear on “Lip Sync Battle” (9:40 p.m., Paramount, TV-PG).
- Singing and dancing on “Little Big Shots” (7 p.m., NBC, TV-G)
© 2018 United Feature Synd.