Remember Oxygen, the network founded, in part, by Oprah Winfrey?
It started in 2000 with a slate of programming geared toward women – a sort of Lifetime Jr. Over the years, shows that have aired on Oxygen include “Bad Girls Club,” “House of Glam,” “Hollywood Unzipped: Stylist Wars,” “The Glee Project,” “Top Model Obsessed,” “Girls Behaving Badly,” the various “Tori and Dean” shows that focused on Tori Spelling and her husband, and “Oprah After the Show” – reality shows that took viewers inside celebrity- and glamour-driven worlds. The channel was also a repository for syndicated reruns of network reality and talk shows and old sitcoms, including “America’s Next Top Model,” “America’s Got Talent,” “Ellen,” “The Tyra Banks Show,” “Glee,” “Kate & Allie,” “Ned & Stacey,” “Mad About You” and “Absolutely Fabulous,” among others.
In 2007, NBC Universal acquired the network, and programming remained the same, at first. But slowly, things began to change. A focus on modern millennial women with programming like “Sisterhood of Hip-Hop” and “Funny Girls” showed up around 2014.
Then, earlier this year, another re-branding was set in motion: Oxygen would now be the destination for true crime. Now, shows – including several from Dick Wolf, creator of the “Law & Order” juggernaut – such as “Cold Justice” (previously canceled on TNT), “Criminal Confessions,” “Dateline: Secrets Uncovered” and “The Disappearance of Maura Murray,” about a nursing student who went missing in 2004.
The latest true-crime show coming to the refocused network is “Dahmer on Dahmer: A Serial Killer Speaks,” a two-night special airing Saturday and Sunday. The special takes a new look at notorious Milwaukee killer Jeffrey Dahmer, who was caught in 1991 when one of the men he had kidnapped escaped and led police to a horror scene of body parts and photos of young men who had previously been considered missing but had been killed and dismembered.
After he was convicted and imprisoned, journalist Nancy Glass created a rapport with him when she gained exclusive access and the first televised interview, in which he revealed dark details of his life and the grisly acts he committed. In “Dahmer on Dahmer,” Glass revisits those interviews, 25 years later, with comments about on- and off-camera conversations. The show also includes new interviews with his parents, Lionel and Shari Dahmer, who haven’t spoken publicly about the case in 20 years; two surviving victims, Billy Capshaw and Preston Davis, who have not spoken of their experiences; and others who were close to the case.
The first part of “Dahmer on Dahmer” airs Saturday at 6 p.m., followed by the second part Sunday at 6 p.m., on Oxygen. The two-part special then will be rebroadcast Sunday at 7 p.m.
Showtime’s latest show, much as it did with “The Big C,” aims its comedy at cancer. “Ill Behaviour,” which premieres Monday, involves Charlie (Tom Riley), whose prognosis of Hodgkin’s lymphoma is good, so he rejects chemotherapy in favor of a holistic approach to combat the disease. This doesn’t sit well with his best friend, Joel (Chris Geere), who decides, with the help of a mutual friend, Tess (Jessica Regan), to kidnap him and force chemo upon him. In order to do that, though, they enlist Nadia (Lizzy Caplan), an oncologist and raging alcoholic, to administer the treatment. It gets a bit twisted — well, more twisted — when Charlie’s wife reports him missing, and recently divorced Joel does his best to console her, without letting slip that he’s responsible for his disappearance in the first place. To say it’s a dark comedy is putting it mildly. “Ill Behaviour” premieres at 9:30 p.m. Monday on Showtime.
Among the series set to premiere this week online is the comedy “Future Man,” starring Josh Hutcherson (Peeta of “The Hunger Games” trilogy) as Josh Futterman, a janitor by day and world-class video-game player by night who is tapped by visitors from the future to become the savior of the human race. Turns out his video game was really a recruiting program. The series also stars Eliza Coupe and Derek Wilson as agents from the future and Ed Begley Jr. and the late Glenne Headly as Futterman’s parents, with whom he lives. Headly will appear in the five episodes she filmed before her death in June, and Hulu has not recast the role. The show also counts UW-Madison grad and alum of the Onion and “The Daily Show with Jon Stewart” Ben Karlin as executive producer and showrunner; Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg, the team behind AMC’s “Preacher,” are also executive producers. “Future Man” begins streaming all episodes Tuesday on Hulu.
Also premiering is the second season of “Lady Dynamite,” comedian Maria Bamford’s zany series loosely based on her life. Joining the expansive and star-studded cast, which already includes Ana Gasteyer, Mary Kay Place and Ed Begley Jr. as her parents, Andy Samberg, Fred Armisen, Judy Greer, David Spade, Jenny Slate, Judd Apatow and Weird Al Yankovic, among others. Season two of “Lady Dynamite” hits Netflix Friday.
And the Hulu original documentary “Obey Giant,” from filmmaker James Moll and executive producer James Franco, takes a closer look at underground street art, particularly the rise of Shepard Fairey (whose own website is obeygiant.com), who gained fame and notoriety for his Obama “HOPE” poster. The film premieres Saturday on Hulu.
The “Man” is back
Returning for its second season is “Man with a Plan,” the CBS sitcom starring Matt LeBlanc as the parent-in-charge when his wife goes back to work; he’s adjusting to his new role juggling school-age kids and running his contracting business with a scheming brother. “Man with a Plan” premieres at 7:30 p.m. Monday on CBS.