aNewDomain — It’s a weekend to be thankful for HBO Go or pirating your neighbor’s cable. One of the best TV shows to debut last year is back.
After serving as Jon Stewart’s fill-in on “The Daily Show” for eight weeks in 2013, John Oliver took over the host’s chair on his own HBO program, which returns Sunday night at 11 Eastern. The promos for “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” trumpet the fact that nothing is changing from the first season to the second. Whew. No sense in messing with a formula that clearly works.
Oliver’s biting wit delivered with a decidedly British accent blend for a host unlike any other on TV. His once-a-week presence is enough to place him among the elite of late night, especially after the December departure of Craig Ferguson from CBS.
Oliver’s second season lasts 35 episodes through November. According to a story published by The Verge, Oliver and his team are gearing up for a heavy workload by going from one researcher to four. The new folks have a serious news-gathering pedigree, promising greater depth and, yes, more funny business.
Oliver proved versatile in his rookie season. Each episode includes a 10 to 15 minute feature segment, giving the host opportunities to tackle subjects ranging in seriousness from the Miss America program to the death penalty, net neutrality and racial tensions in Ferguson, Missouri. Here’s a sampling.
While people shouldn’t get all their news from comedy programs, Oliver’s was the first I saw that explained net neutrality in a way the average viewer could understand and stay awake at the same time. He took what would normally be a yawner of a subject and made it relevant to anyone who uses the Internet, aided by the allusion of dingoes and babies. Well done, sir.
One of Oliver’s better takedowns came when he tackled FIFA for its tactics in awarding World Cup soccer bids. Qatar hosting in 2022? Anyway, the host pulled no punches in pointing out the issues he has with soccer’s governing body. It was a superb segment that showed a fan of a sport conflicted by the misdeeds of the people who run it.
One of his better takedowns came when he tackled FIFA for its tactics in awarding World Cup soccer bids. Qatar hosting in 2022? Anyway, Oliver pulled no punches in pointing out the issues he has with soccer’s governing body. It was a superb segment that showed a fan of a sport conflicted by the misdeeds of the people who run it.
The segment resonated. The clip has garnered more than nine million views on YouTube. Check it out below.
The new season offers plenty of grist for Oliver’s mill. We, the dedicated television audience, need a little comic relief that also forces us to think. “Last Week Tonight with John Oliver” is the perfect show for our times: meaty subjects delivered with a wink and a nod.