If your binge high is over after watching Garth Marenghi's Darkplace and now you are chasing that feeling, check out this list of shows.
In the Know
Peacock’s claymation sitcom is at its best when it skips the satire for the strange, but “best” is grading on a curve.
To its credit, In The Know resists dropping the term “woke” to describe its characters. Unfortunately, in a fairly disastrous opener, that’s the only “those silly sensitive liberals” signifier it lets go past. The premiere’s big joke, one it repeats OFTEN, centers on the proper terminology for someone without a place to live. Because, of course, it's a goofy waste of time to worry about language. Only Zach Woods’ ever-increasing profane frustration at being corrected by Fabian (Caitlin Reilly) saves the bit. His voice performance as “NPR’s third most popular host” Lauren Caspian is just sly enough to make it unclear if his anger comes from his inability to remember the correct term, someone having the nerve to interrupt him, or the thought that someone in the office might be more progressive than him.
It isn’t that mocking blowhard radio hosts can’t be a rich comic vein. Just check out the original Frasier series, a show with a strangely intense cross-generational appeal that persists even over 19 years after the final episode aired. It’s centering that mockery on NPR, particularly an NPR that has more in common with a conservative’s fever dream of what the company is like rather than anything resembling reality, feels like a weak tea. Fortunately, things improve for In The Know as it quickly moves beyond what initially seems like an exercise in sticking it to those caricatures of public radio employees. Continue Reading →
The Fall of the House of Usher
The most gripping moment in 2022’s Academy Award-winning documentary All the Beauty and the Bloodshed is when members of the now disgraced Sackler Family, whose pharmaceutical company manufactured and marketed the highly addictive painkiller Oxy-Contin, are ordered to attend a virtual hearing in which they're confronted by families who had been impacted by the drug. Listening to tragic stories of accidental overdoses, birth defects, and young men cut down in their prime due to a prescription medication that had been promoted as safe and non-addicting, the Sacklers could not look more bored, even slightly annoyed. It’s a chilling reminder that extreme wealth often results in a loss of empathy, if not one’s entire soul. Continue Reading →
In 1983, a group of crooks broke into a vault at the Heathrow International Trading Estate in London, patrolled by Brink’s Mat security conglomeration. The Brinks company was already famous for a famous robbery, one that was carried out in the '50s in the North End in Boston, an incident that turned into a charmingly strange movie by William Friedkin in 1978. Continue Reading →
Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty
There’s no denying Winning Time: The Rise of the Lakers Dynasty remains entertaining in its second season. There’s no denying that its panoply of digital tricks holds the viewer’s attention, whether what’s on-screen is a scrimmage gone awry or a father meeting his child for the first time. But does that mean it’s good? Continue Reading →
So the idea of “having it all” was a big lie, right? It is nearly impossible to balance and give equal time to a fulfilling career, a stable relationship, and full-time parenting, with room for leisure time, hobbies, and staying fit. Something will fall to the wayside somewhere, sacrifices will have to be made that will either affect us now or affect us later. But women, we’ve been hearing this nonsense for decades, right, about how with the perfect day planner or the number one meal delivery service or the best ten-minute workout we can do it, we just have to want it bad enough. But not too bad, because ambition is an ugly thing in women. But, on the other hand, so is laziness. Add “find the right balance between too ambitious and not ambitious enough” to the list of things we have to do. Continue Reading →
The Horror of Dolores Roach
On a fundamental level, The Horror of Dolores Roach confirms that old chestnut, “You can never go home again.” The titular Dolores Roach (Justina Machado) tries it twice over the course of the limited series—adapted from a Gimlet podcast which, itself, was adapted from an off-Broadway play—and each time finds an increasingly hostile environment has overtaken the “home” she knew. Continue Reading →