Recent TV and movies

Good Omens: The thing I will miss most about this series being over is that I cannot recall any show that was able to make me fall asleep more quickly. I think I must have started watching each of those 6 episodes 4 times each before making it through any of them. As to the show... Eh. I read the book but don't remember anything about it other than: I didn't like it much -- which was also true of American Gods. This show is not nearly as good as that American Gods show. It was American Gods Lite, maybe. Diet Gluten-Free American Gods Fun Size.

Jett: A noir that might as well be set in the Tarantinoverse, but without all of the winking about pop culture. It's brutal and great, like, Better Call Saul-level great.

Fleabag: I'm not even sure how to describe this, but it's fantastic.

All About Nina: This was really good. It started off as a pretty funny rom-com about a bitter stand-up comic (and yeah, movies about stand-up comics tend to be terrible) but just when you are settling in to that it takes a particularly brutal turn. The ending felt abrupt at first but the more I thought about it the more I appreciated that.

Archer 1999: Oh yes, right there, right there. That's the spot.

Assimilate: It's a straightforward small town Invasion of the Body Snatchers / Night of the Creeps story. It starts off seeming like it's going to be a lighthearted teen take on it, but then it starts taking itself very seriously. Pretty decent, strong ending.

Jessica Jones: I enjoyed this season more than any since the first, and certainly more than Defenders. It was an interesting choice having the Big Bad not be powered; you might think that would lower the stakes but it just showed that not all problems can be punched. It was almost as much a Hellcat show as an Alias show and that was fine with me.

I feel like all of the Netflix Marvel shows were at their core dancing around the idea of, "Yeah but I'm the good kind of sociopath with no respect for the rule of law, not the bad kind like those other assholes", but never really saying anything coherent about it. They never really staked out their position on the spectrum between, "Superheroes would be pretty fucked up, amirite?" and "We should all learn Krav Maga and beat the shit out of muggers."

I came late to Elementary, because despite Jonny Lee Miller and Lucy Liu being pretty great, I objected to a Holmes story being just another fucking police procedural. (Despite the Holmes books having kinda-sorta invented the police procedural.) Generally, the characters and banter are good and the plots are deeply stupid. But one of the best features of this show: Joan's outfits. The reason I've even mentioning this show at all is that in a recent episode she wore dazzle hammer pants. Dazzle Hammer Pants, you guys.

NOS4A2: I guess it's "What if Happy!, but Stranger Things?" Like Good Omens, I've only stuck with it due to its powerful sedative properties. I think I've only made it 3 eps in.

In the Mouth of Madness: It had been a long time since I saw this... and even being a huge Carpenter fan, and seeing it on a big screen... I'm here to tell you that this movie is very, very, very bad. The Fog holds up much better.

Swamp Thing had only aired one episode when they cancelled it! However, that one episode is one of the strongest pilots of a comic book show I've seen. They're up to 3 episodes now, and so far it's a body horror show, leaning in the direction of The Thing or Annihilation. And guess what, apparently part of the reason that it was cancelled was that after seeing the show that they made, the producers said "Yes but what if it was... a police procedural instead?"

I'm going to blame this one on that weasel that fell into the Large Hadron Collider, too. This is the stupidest timeline, and it means that I'm never going to get to see an episode where Swamp Thing teams up with Flex Mentallo, Man of Muscle Mystery.

Black Mirror: Striking Vipers was great. Smithereens wasn't bad but I don't need to watch a TV show about my twitter feed. And Rachel, Jack and Ashley Too was fantastic. I particularly enjoyed the callbacks to how this tech was used in previous episodes, e.g. the one where the woman got uploaded into a thermostat. Of course they'd use it this way. And I'll leave you with this glorious thing:

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14 Responses:

  1. OMG YES WATSON'S DAZZLE PANTS. The first few seasons of Elementary there was a blog just for examining her outfits. It's where I learned about rag & bone, also worn by Root on Person of Interest. When both shows were running, both on CBS, I really wanted a crossover bottle episode where they all get locked in rooms together in pairs, so Watson & Root can discuss clothes.

  2. MattyJ says:

    I often forget that Miley Cyrus was a drama club kid and started out as a pretty good child actor. If anyone skipped that one because of her I highly recommend you reconsider.

    I'm old enough to have had some Talky Tina flashbacks on that one.

  3. Nick Lamb says:

    First two episodes of this season's Black Mirror felt, I guess, flabby - like it should either have been shorter episodes or it needed to do more with that time. I definitely spent 10-15 minutes in Striking Vipers thinking "OK, yes, I get it, but now what?" before it resolves in a somewhat satisfactory way. I think Smithereens intentionally wants you to feel like it's sprawling, because the protagonist has no specific goal beyond, apparently, confessing something awful to us, but still it felt like this could be just as effective at say 45 minutes instead of an hour.

    Rachel... was much tighter, gets a lot done, and once again Brooker's timing was impeccable. A few weeks back the world discovers that NIN fans are annoyingly reasonable about the creation of derivative works (in the form of "Old Town Road") compared to almost any fandom - and now here's an entire TV show doing it with much more famous material than Ghosts. All the NIN fans I know who commented while watching were like "Um... what? Oh, OK, I get it now. Cool".

    I'm going to guess that the scene where they steal dad's car wasn't intended to frame siphoning the entire personality of a pop star into some AI in a kid's toy as easier than self-driving cars, but maybe I'm wrong.

    All of my friends who were shrieking about Good Omens shut up after it went live, so I'm going to take that as a bad sign, but I will probably check out at least one episode when it's broadcast since I live in the UK.

  4. Tyler says:

    Is the latest season of Archer actually good? The previous one on the tropical island was a dud. I’ve given up on expecting the brilliance that was the first two seasons.

    • Tyler says:

      Welp, I just watched the first 5 episodes. It’s good if you have nothing better to watch.

  5. DaveL says:

    I liked "Good Omens" enough (which is to say, "a lot") that when it was over, I re-read the book. I was astonished by how closely the show followed the book. The slow parts of the show were the same as the slow parts of the book, etc. "American Gods" hardly follows the book at all, much for the better as an ostensible multi-season show.

    • jwz says:

      Right, and that's no doubt why I liked it more -- because I vastly prefer Bryan Fuller's writing to Gaiman's.

  6. ennui says:

    "Yeah but I'm the good kind of sociopath with no respect for the rule of law, not the bad kind like those other assholes"

    I'm waiting patiently for that Marshall Law adaption that I'm sure is coming any day now. Hell, if horseshoe theory is correct, it might be perfect for Zach Snyder.

  7. Lloyd says:

    I don't think television adaptations of Pratchett's books have ever worked - UK Sky TV did several miniseries, which were faithful, involved pterry, and, to me, not worth watching while awake.

    Perhaps a couple of the later Vimes novels might work structurally, but the setup of the backstory and environment would just introduce jarring elements.

  8. Shea says:

    Only just started Good Omens, but am I the only one seeing David Tennant channeling Bill Nighy?

    (Currently battling insomnia anyway so we'll see which wins in the end.)