The Watchman: ‘Amazing’ Adventures on CBS; Baronesses Back on IFC

The Amazing Race
The Amazing Race (Image credit: Sonja Flemming/CBS)

The Amazing Race returns to CBS Oct. 14. It was to debut in May, but got held up due to the pandemic. Trips to the far corners of the globe may be just what the claustrophobic audience is looking for. 

“We’re good to go,” said Bertram van Munster, co-creator and executive producer. “The audience wants it in the worst way.”

The season sees the contestants venture to Tobago, the Amazon, South America, Europe and Asia. In other words, all over the world. 

Munster mentions “a great hunger” for Amazing Race, people sick of their homes, family members, Zoom. “We are not those kinds of animals,” he said. 

It is season 32. Phil Keoghan hosts. Munster calls Amazing Race “the biggest reality show in the genre.”

Baroness von Sketch Show

Baroness von Sketch Show (Image credit: Jackie Brown/IFC )

Also on Oct. 14 is the fifth and final season of Baroness von Sketch Show on IFC. The ladies offer their usual exploration of the absurdity of modern life. Aurora Browne, Meredith MacNeil, Carolyn Taylor and Jennifer Whalen are the Baronesses. 

Browne described the final season as “more and more and more”: bigger, better production values, more fun. “We all got more ambitious in the scenes we were trying to do,” she said. 

There’s a witch trial sketch and a dog show skit and another involving Renaissance painters and drag. There’s an homage to vamp comedy What We Do in the Shadows. 

The troupe has been unwinding amidst the pandemic, but is eager to get back together. Said Browne, “It’s been a restful and creative time for everybody.”

Byrning Down the House on HBO

David Byrne’s American Utopia debuts Oct. 17 on HBO. It’s a film of the former Talking Heads frontman’s Broadway show, offering an array of musicians, dancers and singers, and Byrne in all three roles. Spike Lee directs. 

Lee comes up with interesting camera angles to offer fresh perspectives on Byrne and the gang. “You can see things through a camera lens that you’d never get from your seat,” said David Sirulnick, exec producer for Radical Media. “There are things you can’t see exactly if you’re sitting in the orchestra or in the first mezzanine.”

The Broadway show ran from late in 2019 to early 2020. “How do we come up with something cinematic and additive to the experience of seeing it in the room?” is how Sirulnick described the challenge. 

The show is a mix of Talking Heads numbers, such as “I Zimbra,” “Once in a Lifetime” and “Burning Down the House,” and Byrne solo stuff. Sirulnick called the stage show “a very, very joyous experience.” He added, “We believe the film has the same effect.” 

Michael Malone

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.