Videos by OutKick
It happens all the time. You’re watching a popular TV show, and then all of a sudden a woke moment erupts. It can be an unannounced lecture, a slam at a GOP politician or just an attack on the Patriarchy.
Many shows today either dip a toe in woke storytelling or go all-in. And, sadly, show quality often suffers as a result. There’s a reason series like “First Kill,” the “Party of Five” reboot and “Y: The Last Man” got an early hook.
Other TV shows, though, resist the woke siren song. They rely on tried and true storytelling tics, knowing audiences enjoy those narratives most. The following shows aren’t perfect, but they offer a welcome respite from Hollywood finger wagging.
“Frank of Ireland”
This under-the-radar gem follows a 30-something slacker with delusions of rock star grandeur. Brian Gleeson, who co-created the show with his busy brother Domhnall Gleeson (the “Star Wars” and “Peter Rabbit” franchises) plays the title character.
The six-episode series is hilarious from the jump, and little effort is made to make Frank remotely likable. He’s a self-absorbed jerk who exists for his own man-child pleasures. No apologies needed.
Frank’s behavior sets the comedy in motion, and it’s how the world reacts to his buffoonery that matters.
“Beavis and Butt-Head”
Mike Judge’s ‘90s creation is back, courtesy of Paramount Plus, and these lunkheads haven’t changed a bit. Same heavy metal T-shirts, same slack-jawed approach to life.
The culture around them, though, changed dramatically while they were gone. So seeing these cretins reject PC groupthink and behave like hormonally-charged teenagers is … refreshing, even bold.
Judge showed us the characters wouldn’t go woke with the recent “Beavis and Butt-Head Do the Universe,” which mocked so-called white privilege. The first two episodes of the rebooted series offer more of the same. Juvenile yuks peppered by plenty of snickers from the not-so-dynamic duo.
Star Ashton Kutcher spearheaded the Netflix series with red state audiences in mind. And, for the most part, this traditional sitcom delivered on that premise. The series followed two Texas brothers, their ranch-owning pappy (Sam Elliott, of course) and their feisty ma, Maggie (Debra Winger).
Here’s how the Left-leaning Decider.com described the characters in question.
They hate the government, take pride in hard work, and shake their heads at the changing times…
The TV show’s final episodes found Maggie leaning into a gun control message and coming out as a lesbian, so the unwoke DNA couldn’t last forever.
Tom Cruise stepped aside as the much larger Alan Ritchson took over as Lee Child’s popular hero. The casting is much better for Hollywood’s second attempt at bringing the mountainous Jack Reacher to life. That isn’t the only upgrade on the two-movie franchise starring Mr. Maverick himself.
The show celebrates masculinity, strength and the ability to get the job done without all that hand-wringing. Ritchson’s Reacher pulls no punches, literally. He’s aware of his strengths and has no problem using them to save the day or solve a crime.
The Terminal List
Woke critics ran to their safe spaces after screening Chris Pratt’s military thriller, based on the novels by Jack Carr. It’s jingoistic, right-wing and too darn pro-America, they cried.
Pratt and co. struck a nerve. Hard.
The show proved an instant smash with fans, much like Prime Video’s “Reacher,” and Pratt went so far as to tease critics for hating a show that so many fans adore.
Carr contests the show isn’t political at all. He’s right, but being apolitical in 2022 can be downright political now.
The Prime Video series hails from “The Office” co-creator Stephen Merchant. That’s a good sign, but so is the presence of Christopher Walken in this smart ensemble story. Six Brits and one American (Walken) must do community service to make amends for their modest crimes.
The characters are expertly cast and each episode of season 1 (no. 2 just went live) features enough chuckles to make it worth your while. The most intriguing part, though, comes with two of the seven souls cleaning up old buildings under police orders.
Darren Boyd (John Halloran) is a prototypical Republican, one overseeing the potential demise of the family business. Myrna Okeke (Clare Perkins) is a BLM enthusiast constantly ranting about systemic racist.
Yet Darren is granted significant sympathy while Myrna’s flaws are big, bold and unavoidable.
That balance is rare in pop culture today, and more than welcome. And while Myrna’s proclamations are woke to the core, they flow directly from her character, not the show’s eagerness to Speak Truth to Power.