The story of Theranos, a multi-billion dollar tech company, its founder Elizabeth Holmes, the youngest self-made female billionaire, and the massive fraud that collapsed the company. Directed and written by Alex Gibney (Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room).
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Automation Season 6, Ep 3
The main story is on Automation, a fundamental aspect of industry that has been with us since the dawn of the industrial age, but which doesn't often get talked about in a nuanced manner. Are our jobs vulnerable to it or will it result in new jobs, and how should we react? The main story is available to watch on YouTube.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Psychics Season 6, Ep 2
You might not think much about psychics these days, but they're still all over the place, on daytime talk and "reality" shows especially. LWT takes a look at how they continue to bilk people. The main story is on YouTube.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Brexit III Season 6, Ep 1
The episode of Last Week Tonight that aired three weeks ago was about the continuing situation of Brexit, a cliff the UK is bound and determined to drive off of because of leadership. The main story is on YouTube. [more inside]
At the height of his stardom Michael Jackson began long-running relationships with two boys, aged 7 and 10, and their families. Now in their 30s, they tell their story and how they came to terms with it years later.
True Detective: Now Am Found Season 3, Ep 8
Wayne struggles to hold on to his memories, and his grip on reality, as the truth behind the Purcell case is finally revealed. [Season finale] [more inside]
Barry: Chapter Seven: Loud, Fast And Keep Going Season 1, Ep 7
After a shootout at the airstrip, Barry must make a tough decision to avoid capture. Sally worries her performance in MacBeth will be compromised and ruin her chance at impressing a top talent agent. [more inside]
This stylish noir set in a world where everyone uses magic, Detective Lovecraft searches for the Necronomicon. [more inside]
True Detective: The Final Country Season 3, Ep 7
Following up on new leads, Wayne and Roland track down a man who left the police force in the midst of the Purcell investigation. Meanwhile, Amelia visits Lucy Purcell's best friend in hopes of gaining insights into the whereabouts of the mysterious one-eyed man. [more inside]
True Detective: Hunters in the Dark Season 3, Ep 6
Wayne and Roland revisit discrepancies in the Purcell case that were hidden or forgotten, and take another look at Tom Purcell and Lucy's cousin, Dan O' Brien; the glitter of Amelia's book release is tarnished by a voice from the past. [more inside]
True Detective: If You Have Ghosts Season 3, Ep 5
Wayne finds himself in a no-win situation as new clues emerge in the Purcell case. Roland wrestles with how to keep evidence secure as lawyers demand a new investigation. Amelia finds her relationship with Wayne imperiled by her writing aspirations and his jealousy. [Official synopsis] [more inside]
True Detective: The Hour and the Day Season 3, Ep 4
Hays and West see a possible connection between the local church and the Purcell crimes. As the detectives search for one suspect and round up another for interrogation, Woodard is targeted by a vigilante group.
True Detective: The Big Never Season 3, Ep 3
Hays recalls his early romance with Amelia, as well as cracks in their relationship that surfaced after they married; ten years after the Purcell crimes, new evidence emerges, giving Hays a second chance to vindicate himself and the investigation.
True Detective: Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye Season 3, Ep 2
Hays looks back at the aftermath of the 1980 Purcell case, including possible evidence left behind at an outdoor hangout for local kids; as attention focuses on two conspicuous suspects, the parents of the missing children receive a cryptic note.
True Detective: The Great War and Modern Memory Season 3, Ep 1
Retired detective Wayne Hays (Mahershala Ali), has a memory problem, and memories of a memory problem, all relating to the case of the missing Purcell children in West Finger, Arkansas, thirty-five year ago. [more inside]
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Draining the Swamp Season 5, Ep 29
This week (yes, a timely LWT post!):
- The Republicans lose the US House of Representatives, an act which Trump actually said was "close to a complete victory" for him. Also, businessman Danny Darkanian loses his sixth straight election in Nevada, annoying his wife greatly. And three states voted to expand Medicaid, Flordia voted to restore voting rights to felons, and Utah voted to legalize medical marihuana.
- Update in Stupid Watergate: Trump fires Jeff Sessions and replaces him, as acting head of the Justice Department, with Matthew Whitaker, a man known for many stupid things, foremost among them serving as an advisor to a company that had to pay out a $25M judgement for scamming inventors.
- And Now: Steve Bannon's Election Night Coverage Went Just Great
- Main Story: Donald Trump (again), and his campaign promise to "drain the swamp." A noble sentiment, but, predictably, absolutely the opposite of what he's doing. Here's the piece on YouTube.
- And Now: Monday Night Football's Graphics Are Officially Out Of Hand
- Finally, an epidemic of unnotified promotion of products by influencers on social media has been going on, including DJ Khaled hawking alcohol to millions of followers. To help illustrate, LWT reveals something they've been doing (not been getting paid for it, but doing it anyway) concerning Scientology....
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Family Separation Season 5, Ep 28
- 2018 Midterms, which has been exceptional in negativity. California Congressman Duncan Hunter accused opponent Ammar Campa-Najjar of being a terrorist trying to infiltrate Congress; Iowa Congressman Steve King, who has been notorious for associating with white nationalists and got pissy when confronted about it before cameras, and lost the support of a number of corporate PACs; and in Nebraska's 1st district a sign promoting Jeff Fortenberry was defaced with googly eyes and changed to read Jeff Fartenberry, causing his Chief-of-Staff to accuse a local professor, who was unlucky enough to have "liked" a Facebook photo of the sign within his random notice, of supporting vandalism.
- And Now: Out Annual Check-In With The Consequences Of Combining Local News Shows And Halloween
- Main story: Immigration, "The system that brought you me, but it's still good, and I promise that won't happen again." Specifically, the Trump administration's family separation policy. It's faded from the news, but its consequences have not ended yet. Content warning: horrifying consequences of the enforced separation of children from their parents. YouTube
- And Now: Halloween Part II: Just The Traffic And Weather
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: State Attorneys General Season 5, Ep 27
- Violence marred the prior week, and Fox News went out of their way to position the attacks as "false flag" operations, supposedly stages by Democrats to make Republicans look bad. Geraldo Riviera "outsmarts himself" in making such allegations.
- Saudi Arabia continues to try to explain the disappearance, likely murder, of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, while President Trump and right-wing figures try to downplay the killing of an American resident.
- Main story: the role of state Attorneys General on our nation, their role in investigating wrongdoing, and the increasing degree to which the offices have become politicized. YouTube
- Special productions: A WWE commercial that properly notes the fact that it takes place in Saudi Arabia, and the problems that causes; a concert for bagpipes, accordion, theremin and recorder (multiple, played by young children) to annoy people to stepping away from their TV sets and actually researching their states' candidates for Attorney General. A good place to do that, they note, is at Vote411.org.
Pod Save America: Series Premiere Season 1, Ep 1
Pod Save America hosts Jon Favreau, Dan Pfeiffer, Jon Lovett, and Tommy Vietor, along with guest host Erin Ryan, host the first of four HBO specials leading up to the midterm elections. It's like a podcast, but with faces. [more inside]
The Deuce: All You'll Be Eating is Cannibals Season 2, Ep 5
Candy taps an unlikely co-producer. Bobby is on the wrong end of a raid. Big Mike cashes in on a hit. [more inside]
The Deuce: What Big Ideas Season 2, Ep 4
Ashley and Abby track down the identity of a young sex worker killed in a fire, collateral damage in the escalating mob war over the parlors. Vincent witnesses the brutal side of Rudy's operation. Alston educates the mayor's guy on why the raids he's planning won't turn up anything. Candy continues building on her Little Red Riding Hood vision. Larry makes his first moves into movies.
This week (after a gap of some episodes, sorry about that), after an introduction acknowledging Trump's embarrassing UN conference and the Philadelphia Flyers mascot Gritty, the whole show was devoted to the main story, Brett Kavanaugh's looming confirmation, and the terrible implications if he is confirmed. [more inside]
Insecure: Season 3, Episode 8: Ghost-Like [Season Finale] Season 3, Ep 8
After facing numerous obstacles, Issa gets discouraged about her project. Molly helps give Issa a drama-free 30th birthday.
Insecure: Season 3, Episode 7: Obsessed-like Season 3, Ep 7
Girl, he buys you one taco and you bust it wide open on a ferris wheel.
Insecure: Season 3, Episode 6: Ready-Like Season 3, Ep 6
Issa plans a new project; Molly avoids a new guy's advances; the girls are surprised by Tiffany's baby-shower attendees.
Insecure: Season 3, Episode 5: High-Like Season 3, Ep 5
The girls take a weekend trip to celebrate Tiffany. Molly has trouble leaving her obsession with work behind. [more inside]
Insecure: Season 3, Episode 4: Fresh-Like Season 3, Ep 4
Issa tries to let go of some cherished mementos; Molly vents to her therapist about work.
Insecure: Season 3, Episode 3: Backwards-Like Season 3, Ep 3
Issa treats Daniel to a thank-you dinner; Molly finds her new dream job leaves something to be desired.
Insecure: Season 3, Episode 2: Familiar-Like Season 3, Ep 2
Issa gets advice from Kelli about her financial situation. Later, Issa plays wing woman as Daniel tries to make a music-industry connection.
Insecure: Season 3, Episode 1: Better-Like Season 3, Ep 1
Issa tries to save while money while crashing on Daniel's couch; Molly vows to set boundaries in her life.
At first report, Miss Sherlock sounds like yet another rehash of the Holmes/Watson stories, but I'd urge taking a look at this one. For one thing, the leads are two WOC (played by Yuko Takeuchi and Shihori Kanjiya, respectively), the crimes are increasingly bizarre as the season progresses (it's not a spoiler to reveal that the first victim is killed in the opening scene of the series by having a bomb explode in his stomach), and the undeniable style and irascibility of Takeuchi's Sherlock ("So, do you still hate children?" "Yes") are a treat to watch. Screenrant calls it "a clever reimagining", while tumblr is losing its collective mind under the hashtag #watolock. [more inside]
WIth no audience and thus a silent theater, stand-up comedian and former Weekend Update writer Drew Michael offers a highbred of comedy and performance art in this engaging and self-indulgent experimental monologue. Topics include disability, herpes, self-reflection, and relationships.
Barry tries to fly solo at a remote airstrip, but Taylor still wants in; Vacha looks to exact revenge on the man who killed his brother, despite Pazar's hands-off orders; Moss tries to end her association with Gene, but finds herself drawn to his classroom at a critical juncture; Sally lobbies for a major acting challenge. [more inside]
This episode aired on July 29:
- More Stupid Watergate, "Something with the potential gravity of Watergate, if the entire White House was on bath salts and Nixon was a raccoon with his head stuck in a jar of peanut butter." Revealed is that Cohen secretly taped interactions between him and Trump, and some of one of the tapes was leaked, relating them planning to keep a story about Trump's affair with Playboy Bunny Karen McDougal secret. Also, Cohen claims Trump knew in advance of the meeting with Russian representatives in Trump Tower. And, Mueller is looking into whether Trump's tweets constitute obstruction of justice.
- Facebook loses $119 billion dollars of value, 19% of its total valuation, overnight. That's more than the value of the entire global cheese market: Facebook's stock dropped by the concept of cheese. It's because of piracy issues, which they've apologized for via an ubiquitous ad. LWT provides one of their trademark more honest versions.
- Main story: Workplace sexual harassment. In the wake of a number of prominent male executives being brought down, it's looking like something may finally be done about it... except that the current situation shares a lot of things in common with the 90s, at which time everything was supposed to change, and then, didn't. The issue became national news with the testimony of Anita Hill before the Senate Judiciary Committee.
- The last act was a great interview with Anita Hill herself.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Gene Editing and CRISPR Season 5, Ep 17
Let's catch up a bit, shall we? This was the episode that aired July 8, 2018:
- Trump's "We got more money, we got better brains, we got more houses," etc. speech.
- The week's prerequisite bombshell was the retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy. As of this writing his position has still not been filled. Oliver reminds us that this has the potential to be really really bad for reproductive and LGBT rights. Democrat hopes to block mean once again playing America's most depressing game show, HOPE SUSAN COLLINS FLIPS AND BE DISAPPOINTED WHEN SHE DOESN'T!!! Jeffery Toobin made a tour of talk shows to make sure everyone's hopes were appropriately dead.
- And Now: For Canada Day, The Most Canadian Thing Imaginable: Polite Interactions Between Professional Curlers At The 2018 Tim Hortons National Championship
- Main story: Gene editing, and how a revolution in technology, "CRISPR," puts it into the hands of people literally working in their garage. Contents: jacked, sexy beagles; work on reviving wooly mammoths; irresponsible biohackers; the hope to wipe out malaria; an Australian man who hates invasive cane toads; a Lyme disease experiment on Nantucket Island; the question of whether deafness and dwarfism are diseases that should be eliminated; and China's pushing the boundaries of gene editing. It's on YouTube (20m).
- And Now: Hey Guys--What The Fuck's Going On With Animals In Florida?
Barry: Chapter 4: Commit ... to YOU Season 1, Ep 4
Barry finds that escaping Fuches and winning Sally's affections is harder than he thought. [more inside]
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Mexican Elections Season 5, Ep 16
Last week (at one remove)....
- Trump reacts to outrage over his policy to separate the children of illegal migrants to the US from their parents, first by insisting he couldn't change it, then when the outcry became too great, changing it. Because he LIES.
- 7-11 courts controversy in Norway by advertising condoms on television and in train stations there a defense against chlamydia, which has especially high incidence rates there. The spots called Norway the "Land of Chlamydia."
- And Now: Local News Is Concerned About Teens
- Main story: Mexico, and their upcoming (well, yesteray's) elections, the largest in that nation's history. The approval ratings of their current President, Enrique Peña Nieto, went down to 12% from public anger over corruption. The show looks at a number of competitors for the top job, and their issues, sometimes considerable ones. The main story can be watched on YouTube (20m).
- And Now: Kathie Lee and Hoda Are Slowly Becoming One.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: China President Xi Jinping Season 5, Ep 15
- Trump's summit with North Korea leader Kim Jong Un happened. The result was what Oliver reminds us is a Trump speciality, something akin to an "Ice Cream Blow Job." Something that sounds great, but when you think about it, doesn't actually mean anything.
- Thousands of children were forcibly taken from parents due to the Trump administration's zero-tolerance policy over illegal imigration, an act that has infuriated millions.
- And Now: Senator Chuck Schumer Is Caught In An Endless Graduation-Speech Time Loop
- Main story: China President Xi Jinping has overcome term limits, had his ideas enshrined in China's constitution, and cultivated a cult of personality around himself. Under him, China's released catchy viral videos to advance their economic interests. LWT made their own to remind everyone of their human rights issues. The main story (20m) is available on YouTube.
Westworld: Vanishing Point Season 2, Ep 9
The Man in Black confronts his troubled past; Charlotte forms a plan to kill all the hosts. [more inside]
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Stupid Watergate II: Fox News' Cries Of "Witch Hunt" Season 5, Ep 14
- Trump prepares for the (then) upcoming North Korea summit, of course, by not preparing.
- Philippine President and strongman Rodrigo Duterte very uncomfortably kisses a young woman before a crowd.
- And Now: Julie Chen Has A Few Questions For The Audience of "The Talk."
- Main Story: More on Stupid Watergate, this time about Fox News' efforts to normalize the idea that the Mueller investigation is a "witch hunt" by calling that through every channel available to them, in an desperate (yet somewhat effective) effort to get ordinary Americans thinking it must be one, despite the fact that they've already charged 20 people and three companies, and gotten five guilty pleas. Watch it on YouTube (18m).
- And Now: The Entire Seventeen-Minute Piece You Just Saw, Boiled Down To Eight Seconds.
- Finally, a bit about the UK. Last week's episode had a segment about the putdowns of House of Commons speaker John Bercow that could not air in the UK, because of a stupid law saying footage of the chamber could not be used in "light entertainment" or "political satire." Because they used such footage this week and thus UK viewers again cannot be shown the whole program, LWT offers five minutes of replacement content: Gilbert Gottfried reading Yelp reviews.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Guardianship for the Elderly Season 5, Ep 13
- The summit with North Korea is called off. North Korea sends Trump a message in an oversized envelope. Trump calls the summit back on. Trump admits he hadn't read the contents of the envelope. Leader of the greatest nation in the world, folks.
- Russian journalist Arkady Babchenko is declared to be dead on worldwide news, but then discovered to be alive, his faked death an element in a sting to catch a group of Russian assassins.
- In the UK, the chairman of the British Monarchists Society, one "Thomas J. Mace-Archer-Mills, Esq.," a fixture on TV during the royal wedding, is revealed to actually to have been born and lived to his teens in the US, and even got an unrelated elderly British couple to call themselves his grandparents.
- And Now: The Very British Put-Downs of Speaker of the House of Commons John Bercow.
- Main story: Legal guardianship, a state under which senior citizens can be put where they have limited rights, and can find it difficult to get out of.
Westworld: Les Écorchés Season 2, Ep 7
Bernard meets with an unexpected old friend; The Cradle is under threat; Maeve encounters a scene from her past.
Wyatt Cenac's Problem Areas: First Season Season 1, Ep 0
Wyatt Cenac's Problem Areas takes "a satirical look at social and cultural issues from Cenac's unique perspective. Rather than sit behind a desk, he will undertake a journey to understand some of the big issues of the moment and investigate real-world solutions." [more inside]
Room 104: Voyeurs Season 1, Ep 6
Written and directed by contemporary dancer Dayna Hanson, this episode is an intimate fever dream that softly explores the things we leave behind. [more inside]
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Rehab Season 5, Ep 12
- Prince Harry and Meghan Markle get married. Next!
- North Korea may call off the summit between Trump and Kim Jong Un over demands that the country denuclearize. John Bolton says on air they were using "The Libyan model," which turns out to be the worst thing he could have said; autocrats the world over have obsessed over Gadaffi's horrible death since it happened in 2011.
- And Now: Local News Gets A Little Too British For The Royal Wedding ("Hello gov'ner." "Cheerio!" "Hallo hallo!" "Tally-ho." "A spot of tea?" etc.)
- Main Story: Rehab, a 35 billion dollar industry. Federal law requires health insurance to pay for some of it, but there are no federal standards for what "Rehab" means, leading to a situation ripe for abuse by unscrupulous people.
- And Now: Just Look At This Bunch of Royal Wedding Shit.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Venezuela Season 5, Ep 11
- A Trump aide was heard to say something unkind about John McCain, regarding his dying of brain cancer, thus fulfilling everyone's dreaded expectations for the kind of people Donald Trump would employ in his office.
- Scandals swirl around the Trump administration yet yet again again, as Michael Cohen comes under allegations for selling access to Trump.
- And Now: Local News Gets Real About Mother's Day
- Main Story: Venezuela. A piece reminiscent of the pre-Trump era, about the serious problems faced by a country that isn't the United States, about the trials currently suffered by Venezuela, which are less about socialism and more about epic levels of mismanagement. Its next elections are on May 20. Its former President was Hugo Chávez, an extremely popular leader who nationalized the oil industry and allowed his citizens to reap the rewards, although his government was notoriously corrupt. His successor, Nicolás Maduro, has not fared nearly as well. It's a long and very interesting piece, ending with Lin-Manuel Miranda in a bird suit pleading with Maduro to get his act together.
Silicon Valley: Artificial Emotional Intelligence Season 5, Ep 6
Richard decides to help out Laurie; Gavin struggles to bargain with a new partner; Dinesh relishes a rare win.
Silicon Valley: Facial Recognition Season 5, Ep 5
Richard's confidence takes a hit; Gilfoyle worries about an artificial-intelligence partner. [more inside]
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: The Iran Deal Season 5, Ep 9
- The FBI raided Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen's offices. Everyone's asking, "Will he 'flip?'"
- Ryan Zinke, Trump's Secretary of the Interior, oversees the largest reduction in America's public lands in our nation's history, and calls himself a geologist under oath despite having never worked as one. He's also a deeply strange man.
- And Now: Somebody Please Tell Ryan Zinke He's Not a Geologist
- Main story: The Iran Deal, which Trump has been loud about disliking, asserting the people who wrote it were "babies." LWT takes a deep look at what it is and what it's for. The deal is important for limiting Iran's nuclear hopes, but Trump, his national security advisors and Sean Hannity are all against it. In a last ditch effort to get it through to him, LWT has paid for ad time during Hannity's show in the DC area featuring everyone's favorite, the Catheter Cowboy.
Last Week Tonight with John Oliver: Corporate Taxes Season 5, Ep 8
- The Comey interview, which happened after LWT taped.
- The FBI raids Michael Cohen's office, home and hotel room. And a bunch of other stuff happened as well.
- And Now: Ari Melber, Rap Genius
- Main story: Corporate Taxes, the lengths that companies go to in order to avoid them, and how they stand to profit under Trump's budget.
- And Now: Ari Melber, Rap Genius, Volume Two: Just Jay-Z Quotes
- There are two remaining Blockbuster Video locations remaining in the United States, last remnants of a vast empire, and one of them is in Alaska. Last Week Tonight bought Russell Crowe's leather jockstrap from the movie Cinderella Man at auction, among a lot of other stuff. How do these two facts concide? Well, let's just say the store should get in touch with LWT within the 48 hours after airing.