We still love and need you, TV


This column from CNN Senior Entertainment Writer Lisa Respers France will become a weekly newsletter later this month. You can subscribe here. Tell us what you’d like to see more of in the newsletter at entertainment.newsletter@cnn.com.

(CNN)You all may be having a love affair with the outside, but it’s starting to feel like an ex to me.

The one you try and get back with and then you are reminded of why you broke up in the first place? In this case, it’s the heat, mosquitoes and crowds that killed the relationship.

    Which is why I am forever grateful for my true love: television.

      Tonight, CNN has a new episode of “History of the Sitcom,” which explores some of the TV shows and stories that have become woven into our lives over the years. (Ever find yourself talking about a TV character like they’re actually a friend?)

        With all the turmoil we’ve gone through recently, you’d best believe television sitcoms — and their characters — have truly helped some of us get through. (And if you want more from CNN Original Series, you can sign up for the Keep Watching newsletter here.)

        The Emmy nominations announced Tuesday celebrated some of what Hollywood considers the best TV of the year. Drop me a line if you agreed with the picks (or not).

          Speaking of TV, let’s roll right into it:

          Three things to watch

          ‘Never Have I Ever’ Season 2

          Color me OBSESSED with season one of this series about Devi Vishwakumar (played by Maitreyi Ramakrishnan), a witty Indian American teen trying to live her best high school life following a family tragedy.

          Season two is here and looks even better than the first season, if that’s at all possible. This time around, Devi is juggling two love interests and dropping lines like, “My mom doesn’t tell me how to live my life, Megan Thee Stallion does.”

          Hot girl summer, we salute you!

          The new season is streaming on Netflix.

          ‘The White Lotus’

          Speaking of summer, my wish for you is that you are reading this while on vacation — preferably from somewhere with a beautiful beach.

          Hell, that’s the wish for myself as well, but the closest I will get to that anytime soon will be watching the HBO limited series “The White Lotus.”

          Given that it’s about a bunch of high-maintenance guests and the uncomfortable situations that arise with the staff who has to deal with them at a Hawaiian resort, perhaps it will make me feel a teensy bit better about not being on an island right now. (Especially since I plan on watching with a cool, tropical drink in my hand.)

          “The White Lotus” is currently on HBO, which is owned by CNN’s parent company.

          ‘Space Jam: A New Legacy’

          I’m not sure anyone asked for another “Space Jam” movie, but forgiveness is granted because of the cast.

          Basketball legend LeBron James plays a father who must assemble a team of elite basketball players in order to get his son back after they are both pulled into a computerized world.

          I kind of love that this movie gives us yet another opportunity to compare James and basketball great Michael Jordan, who starred in the first “Space Jam” film.

          Here’s the crazy thing, though: They both are phenomenal athletes, so debate all you want.

          The new movie is in theaters and also streaming on HBO Max.

          Two things to listen to

          Singer and guitarist John Mayer’s new album is inspired by the 1980s and titled “Sob Rock.”

          Weep not, however, as he said it’s not so much of a throwback that it feels unauthentic.

          “Yes, it’s funny to hear a chorused Jackson guitar going through the same amp they used back then,” Mayer told Guitar.com. “But I had to figure out this genetic tightrope walk, where if it has too much retro-DNA, two things happen: I lose interest, and I don’t believe it.”

          It’s Mayer’s eighth solo album after 2017’s “The Search for Everything.”

          “Sob Rock” is available now.

          Being the kid of two major superstars can be daunting, but Willow Smith seems to be handling it all just fine.

          Not only is she the only daughter of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith and cohost of her mother’s “Red Table Talk” on Facebook Watch.

          Now, she’s following again in her mother’s footsteps with a newly released rock album, “lately I feel EVERYTHING.”

          “I just wanted to let loose with this album,” Smith said in a statement reported by Rolling Stone. “I wanted to have fun and be young and not be so existential and worrying all the time.”

          One thing to talk about

          Olivia Jade Giannulli wants you to know that actually all press is not good press.

          The 21-year-old influencer — whose parents, actress Lori Loughlin and fashion designer Mossimo Giannulli, both went to prison as part of a massive college admissions scandal that broke in 2019 — sought to clear that up recently.

          The rebooted teen series “Gossip Girl” on HBO Max (which is owned by CNN’s parent company) aired an episode that referenced the controversy.

          The character Monet De Haan (played by Savannah Lee Smith) says, “You as someone who loses is bad for business,” before her friend Luna La (played by Zión Moreno) says, “And everything will be fine so long as you win. Olivia Jade gained followers when her mom went to jail.”

          Giannulli, who goes by her first name online, posted a video of herself on TikTok watching the show with the caption, “No, I didn’t.”

          Now we know.

          Something to sip on

          Let’s end on some bittersweet Emmy news.

          Jurnee Smollett and Jonathan Majors made history as the first Black actors from the same series to ever be nominated in the lead actress and lead actor categories, respectively.

          Wonderful for those who champion diversity in Hollywood, but also frustrating for fans of the HBO series “Lovecraft Country,” which was not renewed.

          Set during the Jim Crow era, the sci-fi/horror series, in which racism was a huge part of the scariness, scored a total of 18 Emmy nominations, including outstanding drama series, supporting actor in a drama series for Michael K. Williams, and supporting actress for Aunjanue Ellis.

            Some shows, sadly, can grab the hearts of die-hard viewers and still not succeed in Hollywood — which often stuns me, given the competition for content.

            At least “Lovecraft” is getting some recognition for its greatness.