“Comedy Underground with Dave Attell” began an eight-episode run this month. The Comedy Central show airs at 1 a.m. Sunday morning, so the three or four guests on each episode can perform virtually uncensored. Expect most of them to be quite graphic, like host Attell, 49. … The Showtime comedy-drama, “Californication,” about a talented writer who can’t quit his partying ways, began its seventh and final season on April 13 and runs through June. Star David Duchovny, 43, is already filming a new TV series for NBC, “Aquarius,” set in the late 1960s. Duchovny plays a Los Angeles cop who becomes aware of the Manson gang before their infamous crimes.
The eight-episode HBO series “Silicon Valley” is a fairly serious drama about a startup company with a new, potentially very important software program. The humor on the show, which began on April 6, grows organically from its drama. One of the company’s seven or so computer nerds is played by Josh Brener, 29. Brener, whose character is referred to so far only as “Big Head,” led the famous Hasty Pudding Theatricals when he attended Harvard. Brener also appears as Kyle, Marc Maron’s assistant, on the IFC series, “Maron,” which begins its second season on May 8. For a taste of Brener’s humor, visit www.tinyurl.com/nwk-brener for an interview in which Brener throws out funny Jewish cultural lines and Yiddish-isms as if he were a 90-year-old Borscht Belt comedian.
Premiering last week was the 10-episode FX cable series, “Fargo,” based loosely on Ethan and Joel Coen’s Oscar-winning film. Billy Bob Thornton plays a manipulative drifter who meets a small-town Minnesota insurance salesman and sets him on a path of destruction. Co-stars include Adam Goldberg, 43, and Joey King, 14. “Bad Teacher,” a CBS sitcom, started this week and new episodes will air Thursdays at 9:30 p.m. It, too, is loosely based on a film of the same name. Ari Graynor, 30, stars as a former trophy wife who masquerades as a teacher in order to find another rich husband. The co-stars include Sara Gilbert, 39, as a science teacher.
“Years of Living Dangerously” is a nine-part Showtime documentary series focusing on climate change that premiered this month. Investigators travel around the world and interview experts. In the first episode, Harrison Ford, 71, visited Indonesia to investigate deforestation and New York Times journalist Thomas Friedman, 60, visited Syria to study drought and its impact on the civil war there. In later episodes, “60 Minutes” journalist Lesley Stahl, 72, will report from Greenland on the melting of the Arctic ice sheet and New York Times food/health writer Mark Bittman, 64, will report on rising sea levels. The first episode can be viewed for free on Showtime’s website.
Andrew Garfield will host “Satruday Night Live” on May 3, the day after “Amazing Spider-Man: Part 2” opens with him in the title role. Back in 2012, Marvel rebooted the movie series by replacing Tobey Maguire with Garfield, now 30. The first Garfield/reboot flick retold the story of how a teenage boy became a superhero. The sequel finds Spider-Man, aka Peter Parker, fighting off a hoard of uber-baddies. The sequel also has Spider-Man/Marvel creator Stan Lee, 93, in a cameo role. Garfield, unlike Lee, describes Parker as “culturally Jewish.” He told a British paper last week: “Spider-Man is neurotic. Peter Parker is not a simple dude. He can’t just switch off. He never feels like he’s doing enough. And Peter suffers from self-doubt. He ums and ahs about his future because he’s neurotic. He’s Jewish. It’s a defining feature … He’s an over-thinker. It would be much easier if he was a life-saving robot. … I hope Jewish people won’t mind the cliché, because my father’s Jewish. I have that in me for sure.”
Columnist Nate Bloom, an Oaklander, can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.