TV Diary

a) "Andor" 
Rogue One didn't leave a huge impression on me at the time, I think I was just more invested in the Abrams/Johnson Star Wars trilogy, before it ended so terribly, and didn't give that little standalone adventure much attention. But I rewatched it recently before starting "Andor," and that's a pretty excellent movie. I wish Diego Luna's character didn't have such a Star Wars-by-numbers name like Cassian Andor, though, it sounds like the name a budget toy line would put on a repainted Lando Calrissian action figure. So far this is definitely the most promising Star Wars since since "The Mandalorian," and benefits from not leaning on any cutesy Baby Yoda-type stuff. But I'm just enjoying the cast and the visuals more than I'm really invested in the story, particularly Fiona Shaw, Stellan Skarsgard, Ebon Moss-Bachrach, and Aria Arjona as the gritty yet unspeakably beautiful mechanic.  

b) "Quantum Leap" 
My wife and I both loved "Quantum Leap" as kids and were excited to see the new reboot. Raymond Lee from "Kevin Can F*** Himself" is a pretty good new lead, but the first episode was just okay, I think we were both a little underwhelmed. Maybe the original show was a little cheesy and of its time, I love it but it's not the easiest premise to modernize. 

c) "Dahmer - Monster: The Jeffrey Dahmer Story"
This is probably the best thing Ryan Murphy has made in a while, and Evan Peters is impressive in the role. But seeing this on Netflix just makes me think about how "Mindhunter" was ten times better and we're never gonna get another season of that. And god, the full title is so stupid, why is it like that? 

d) "The Patient"
"The Patient" is about a fictional serial killer but I think it's a much more interesting portrayal than something like "Dahmer." Domhnall Gleeson is a guy who's killed people and gotten away with it, and once to get help and stop killing, so he abducts a therapist, played by Steve Carell, and forces him to do therapy sessions. Seeing the whole situation through Carell's eyes is terrifying, but as the show goes on, Gleeson's character is being slowly revealed in interesting and sometimes funny ways (it really cracked me up that he's a Kenny Chesney fan who says things like "the central idea of No Shoes Nation is love"). 

e) "Monarch"
"Monarch" was originally set to air back in January, but 2 weeks before the premiere date, Fox pushed it back to the fall (apparently because of Covid-related production delays). So it feels a little weird to finally see the show after almost a year of commercials. And it really feels like kind of an annoying bait-and-switch that Susan Sarandon was front-and-center in all that advertising and then her character dies in the first episode. Maybe she's gonna be around a lot in flashbacks, I dunno. That's no slight on Anna Friel, who starred in a great show, "Pushing Daisies," before, but I don't think this really has the makings of a great show, these music industry soap operas are getting tired. 

f) "Wedding Season"
In "Wedding Season," Rosa Salazar plays the bride in a wedding where the guy she's been having an affair with tries to object and stop the wedding. And then the groom and his entire family are poisoned, and everybody assumes they did it, and they go on the run together and try to figure out what happened. Kind of an odd, funny rom com/mystery thing, not a home run so far but one of the better, more memorable new series I've seen lately. 

g) "Tell Me Lies"
This Hulu series is based on a popular novel and tells the story of an on-again-off-again couple over the course of 8 years after they meet in college. Lots of sex scenes and cheating and tragedy and plot twists, but if the book compelled people I think they must have really lost something in translation, it's just a drag. I don't know if the male lead, Jackson White, was the wrong actor for the role, or if the character is just terrible, but I just hate the show when he's onscreen. 

h) "Vampire Academy"
This is also based on a popular book, which my wife has read, but she seemed to have zero interest in this series, and apparently it was already a flop movie a few years ago. Not very promising so far, Peacock has some high quality shows but it feels like all their teen/young adult shows are made by a separate division that's like a rung below The CW. 

i) "Leonardo"
Speaking of The CW, this series was produced in Italy before it was picked up for US broadcast by The CW. But a show about a young sexy da Vinci being accused of murder just feels like an absurd parody of CW shows, it's so stupid. 

j) "The Serpent Queen"
I had never heard of Catherine de Medici, an orphan servant girl who became the queen of France, and it's an undeniably great story and a great role for an actress of Samantha Morton's caliber. What I've watched so far was heavy on flashbacks with another actress, Liv Hill, playing the young Catherine, and it's a pretty dark story at times, but I should catch up on it, it's good so far. 

k) "Heartbreak High"
Apparently "Heartbreak High" was a popular Australian teen drama in the '90s, and this is the new reboot on Netflix, so in my mind it's the Aussie "Degrassi." Seems like a nice little low stakes soap opera, love the accents. 

l) "Mike"
Like a lot of people, I saw Jamie Foxx's pitch for a Mike Tyson biopic and it seemed like he'd do such an incredible job that it dampened my enthusiasm for this Hulu miniseries starring Trevante Rhodes. And that's a shame, because Rhodes is incredibly talented and charismatic and has some great moments here and there, but of the episodes I've seen so far, there's also a lot of moments that don't work, especially the whole framing device of Tyson onstage telling his story to an audience. 

m) "Kevin Can F**k Himself"
I think AMC's ads for this are the first time I've seen the self-important phrase "the final season" used to describe a show's 2nd season. The first season of "Kevin Can F**k Himself" was such a unique and ambitious show that sometimes kind of buckled under the weight of what it was trying to pull off that I'm not surprised they decided to end it here, in fact it gives me hope that they'll wrap it up satisfyingly. I like that Alex Bonifer's character Neil spent pretty much the whole season in the sitcom half of the show and is now mostly in the drama half, so you get to see both the actor's range and different sides of the character. It'll be interesting to see if the same thing happens with Kevin by the end of the series, Eric Peterson gives such a great and committed performance in that kind of deliberately one-dimensional role that it could really be something. 

n) "Atlanta"
"Atlanta" returning this year with two back-to-back seasons to end its run has been interesting. Even though the reviews remained strong, I noticed really sharply divided reactions to season 3, which had a lot of standalone episodes without the main cast, and episodes where the main cast was far away from Atlanta. And it seems like season 4 kind of returns to the tone and style of stories of the first season, almost to the point of feeling overly familiar and formulaic, but it was a great show from the beginning, I'm not complaining, I'm happy to see more of Brian Tyree Henry as Alfred, such a great character and performance. 

o) "Los Espookys"
I feel bad for all the excellent shows that made their first season before the pandemic and then ended up taking 2-3 years to get the second season out ("Russian Doll," "Ramy," "Avenue 5"). I had started to forget how funny "Los Espookys" was but that first episode really brought it back, everything Julio Torres says is hysterical. 

p) "Abbott Elementary"
One of the cool things about a network sitcom becoming a hit right out of the box like "Abbott Elementary" did last season is that you can pretty much count on a good 5-10 years of this show being on every week and hopefully maintaining this level of quality for a while. After Sheryl Lee Ralph's Emmy win it was fun to see her get probably the best line of the season premiere ("Sea Barbara is very different from Land Barbara"). But I especially loved the episode because it felt like Quinta Brunson's character was suddenly at a low point and the other characters were there for her, they're already kind of deepening the character dynamics. 

q) "9-1-1"
My wife and I still watch this, incredibly. A ridiculous show, but I do enjoy those cold opens where you meet some unfamiliar character going about their day and kind of wait for the shit to hit the fan, it's often the most entertaining part of the episode, just trying to predict how it's all going to go wrong. 

r) "The Resident"
The less ridiculous Fox procedural that's also kind of just lumbering along with a likable cast. At this point I fully wish Malcolm Jamal-Warner was the main character of the show, I'm tired of Matt Czuchry and Bruce Greenwood. 

s) "Cyberpunk: Edgerunners"
Cyberpunk has been the name of an entire genre for my entire life so it's always weird when people make it the title or a specific thing, whether it's a Billy Idol album (lol), a video game, or this Netflix anime based on the video game. Pretty cool animation style in this show, though. 

t) "Sago Mini Friends"
I put this Apple TV+ cartoon on for my 7-year-olds but he didn't any attention to it, it's kinda for babies in that way that's annoying for anyone older than a toddler. 

u) "Central Park"
As far as animated shows from "Bob's Burgers" people, this is way better than "The Great North" but it's still trailing pretty far behind "Bob's Burgers," they need to make better use of Titus Burgess. 

v) "Super/Natural"
This Disney+ nature docuseries narrated by Benedict Cumberpatch has some really cool, creative editing and storytelling to sort of show the relationships between different species with dramatic zooms and long tracking shots, really puts a new spin on a familiar genre. 

This Freeform reality show about 6 young creatives in NYC feels a little like a Gen Z answer to the original "The Real World," but without the manufactured drama of making everybody live together. Not terribly gripping stuff but I appreciate that it's portraying everybody in a pretty empathetic and non-sensationalized light. 

This E! show about parents raising their kids to be in show business is depressing, some of these people are just gross and I feel bad for the kids. Also, feels kind of messed up to have the F-word in the title of a show that's mostly about kids, especially kids who are trying to work in media and know they're on a TV show and what it's called. 

y) "Shadowland"
This Peacock docuseries is a continuation of The Atlantic's series of articles about Americans who believe in conspiracy theories. It feels helpful to put some faces of normal people on this problem, which sometimes seems to huge and pervasive and abstract, but man, it's so depressing seeing how far through the looking glass some of these folks are. 

z) "Sins of Our Mother" 
In a world full of horrible news stories and true crime infotainment about abuse and murder, the story of Lori Vallow killing her own children and remarrying and pretending they never existed is one of the few stories that really deeply upset and angered me. I watched a bit of the new Netflix miniseries about it but man, it's just a really rough story to contemplate. 
« Home | Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »
| Next »

Post a Comment