almost genius tv show

Since its refresh in 2014, truTV continues to bolster its programming. The latest example is “Almost Genius,” a comedy series with clips of ordinary people who almost complete outrageous stunts (premieres Dec 29, 10pm ET). Think of it as a blooper reel highlighting crotch hits and daredevil misfires, but with the real humor coming from the interjection of hosts and comedians April Richardson and Chris Fairbanks. The half-hour show stresses that it doesn’t mock because “as everyone knows, ‘almost’ is awesome and genius.” Although Richardson and Fairbanks aren’t putting themselves in danger, they claim that a pre-existing friendship helped them feel at ease on set. “I love that I’m not embarrassed or nervous. If I do something bad, I trust [my co-host] to be like, ‘say it this way—say it like you talk in real life,’” said Richardson. Almost Genius actually puts the hosts in the middle of the action. Sort of. In the studio, the pair did a lot of green screen work, introducing funny clips and in some cases acting for scenes that they’d be superimposed into. “As the show turns into what it is, we’re figuring out the format of it in the first episode. One of the more exciting things is that we’re being composited into the videos—not just our heads, but it stylistically looks like we’re put into the video,” Fairbanks explained. In a trailer, a digitally inserted Fairbanks shouts at a bicyclist “I don’t have much tape in the camera, so please make this interesting.” That’s a safe bet given that the series celebrates viral goodies. With both hosts having appeared on NBC ’s “Last Comic Standing,” the two are in agreement that truTV has afforded them more creative freedom than broadcast. “With Last Comic Standing, they wanted everything you would possibly say written out verbatim. And a lot of my act is improvised,” said Fairbanks. – Zoe Silverman

“Back to the Bar,” Sun, 10pm, Spike. We understand if you’re holiday-ed out already. Our prescription includes this “Bar Rescue” special revisiting past rescues to see how they’re doing. Host Jon Taffer also ‘treats’ us to his list of favorite bar critters and an encounter with short-tempered AZ bar owner Howard Hughes. It’s an eclectic pastiche Bar Rescue fans will love. — “Paris Terror Attack,” Mon, Jan 4, 8pm, Smithsonian. A riveting, hour-by-hour re-telling of the Charlie Hebdo attacks last January. The footage is incredible and chilling at the same time, especially at the start, at Hebdo, and the finish, in a kosher grocery in eastern Paris. — Notable: “John Lennon 75th Birthday Concert,” Saturday, 9pm, AMC. The guest list is not quite what you’d expect, as the concert has a decidedly country-folk tone to it with Willie Nelson, Chris Stapleton, Sheryl Crow, John Fogerty and Kris Kristofferson on hand, among others. — One way for golf fans to avoid holiday themed programs is to catch the excellent fare Golf Channel is running through Jan 1, including numerous specials, re-runs of “Shell’s Wonderful World of Golf” and re-plays of final rounds of ’15 tourneys. — Or stay tuned to Starz from Wed, when it marathons its series (“Outlander,” December 26, noon) and has the “Die Hard” films on Xmas eve. – Seth Arenstein

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