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The Watchman: TBS Offers More 'Misery'; Acorn TV's Darkly Funny Drama

TBS Offers More ‘Misery’

(Image credit: TBS)

Season two of The Misery Index, a comedic game show hosted by Jameela Jamil and paneled by the guys in the Tenderloins, starts on TBS May 14. Jamil played Tahani on The Good Place and The Tenderloins — Brian “Q” Quinn, James “Murr” Murray, Joe Gatto and Sal Vulcano — are from Impractical Jokers.

Inspired by the card game Sh*t Happens, The Misery Index features teams competing against each other by attempting to rate miserable and hysterical real-life happenings based on the “misery index.” The producers are pumped about the way season one landed. “The audience got it in the way we intended it to be,” said Dan Newmark, who produces alongside brother Ben for Grandma’s House Entertainment.

Ben said they’ve “decided to amp things up” in season two, including fun episode themes, such as USA versus U.K., as New York’s Tenderloins and the U.K.’s Jamil often debate which nation creates better misery.

The Newmarks rave about Jamil in the host role. “There’s a lot she brings to the show, and she’s a great counter to the Tenderloins and the type of comedy they bring,” Dan said. “She balances the show.”

Ben calls Jamil “the fifth Tenderloin.”

He added, “The guys embrace her and she embraces the guys.”

The Newmarks feel The Misery Index is about right for the nation in the state that it’s in. “It’s a time when we need entertainment and distraction and our show gives people permission to have fun,” Dan said. “We need to laugh with each other and share the miseries that come up in our lives.”

Acorn TV ‘Still’ Offering Darkly Funny Drama

(Image credit: Acorn TV)

On May 18, Dead Still begins on Acorn TV. Set in Victorian-era Ireland, the series is a murder mystery centered around postmortem photography, which apparently was a bit of a thing in 1880s Ireland.

Brock Blennerhasset makes a living taking portraits of the deceased for their families, and a series of murders threatens his reputation. A detective drags him into an investigation of Dublin’s slimy underbelly. 

“The kernel of the idea was the origins of crime-scene photography,” said co-creator/writer John Morton.

Morton initially had Daguerreotype as the title of the show. “It’s a little bit of a mouthful,” he said.

Dead Still was suggested, and “it suited the tone of the show,” he said.

Morton’s influences on the project include Arthur Conan Doyle’s novels and other Victorian-era detective fiction. He said much has been set in Victorian London and Victorian America, but not so much Ireland. “It seemed like a novel take,” he said.

Dead Still deftly mixes drama and humor. “It starts jaunty,” Morton said, “and progresses to a darker place.”