Our Flag Means Death
It’s always the surprise hit quirky shows with the most to live up to in their second season. A bad sophomore outing, especially after quickly gaining a cult following, could make or break, say, the plucky little pirate romance known as Our Flag Means Death Season 2. Luckily, David Jenkins, Taika Waititi, et al. keep things fresh and fun without reinventing (or stealing) the wheel. Continue Reading →
Some find entertainment without characters to like a difficult slog. Those individuals would do well to avoid Wilderness, a series almost entirely devoid of likable major characters. The one possible exception of note, the lead couple’s neighbor Ash (Morgana Van Peebles), will ultimately depend on how individuals feel about the morality of blatantly hitting on a married woman who isn’t exactly in the best headspace. Continue Reading →
The Morning Show
Aaron Sorkin learned the hard way that no one takes TV as seriously as TV people. When he followed up his critically acclaimed The West Wing, a show about the inner workings of the White House, with Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip he discovered that you can’t treat everything with the gravity of a cabinet meeting and the wit of a theater major who gets straight Bs. His backstage drama about a fake sketch show pleased no one. When he tried to course correct with The Newsroom he tried to portray the American news media out to be brave warriors for the cause of truth. Both shows have lived rich second lives as meme generators about what Andrew Sarris would call "strained seriousness." Continue Reading →
Betty Gilpin is a dramatic arts treasure. Capable of ringing tears or laughs out of any situation she deserves all her flowers and more. She is so good, her portrayal of Sister Simone nearly pulls Mrs. Davis across into great television. Continue Reading →
You ever have a really great orgasm? Like so strong it sends you into an entirely different dimension? Now imagine that’s not a metaphor. Welcome to the premise of creator-writer-director-star Zoe Lister-Jones’ Slip. Continue Reading →
The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel
When a show enters its final season, it has an opportunity to decide what it really wants to say. And what The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel wants to say is this: For all her tenacity, Susie (Alex Borstein) genuinely cares about the people in her orbit, especially her first client. For all that he's been a presumptuous prick, Joel (Michael Zegen) has become a better man. For all his professorial condescension, Abe (Tony Shalhoub) realizes how wrong he's been about so many things. And for all her immense talent and unflappable air, Midge (Rachel Brosnahan) must and will scratch and claw to get the chances denied her because of her gender and prove that this isn't just a phase; it's who she was meant to be. Continue Reading →
Daisy Jones & the Six
The story of Daisy Jones & The Six begins, fittingly, at its dramatic end. The show opens with the members of the titular band taking their seats for a series of talking-head interviews before a title card that reads, “On October 4, 1977, Daisy Jones and the Six performed to a sold-out crowd at Soldier Field in Chicago, Illinois.” Despite being one of the biggest bands in the world at that time, “It would be their final performance.” From there, we jump back in time to learn exactly how Daisy and the five members of the Six (yes, five) became a band. Continue Reading →
It’s strange how politics and bureaucracy are, in part, what made the Star Wars prequels such a stultifying affair while they give Andor a jolt that’s a large part of its charm. Nonetheless, thanks to excellent performances from the likes of Denise Gough as Imperial officer Dedra Meero and Kyle Soller as disgraced space cop Syril Karn, that was the reality of 2022. Continue Reading →
When Black Bird opens with its Mogwai-penned and performed score and its series of voyeuristic but vague imagery, one will likely have an idea what kind of show they’re in for. And they will probably be correct. Continue Reading →
For many, turning thirty marks the end of your youth. A lot of people believe that you should have yourself figured out and should be on a set path by the time you complete your third decade of life. However, life often doesn’t work like that, and it’s not uncommon for people to “find themselves” well into their thirties or beyond. Continue Reading →
The White Lotus
Within the opening scene of The White Lotus, it’s revealed that someone will die at some point during the show. But the question of who that someone is and how will they die isn’t really the central plot, as the six-part miniseries is much more interested in the characters and their fascinating dynamics than the mysteries and all the events leading up to the impending death. Continue Reading →
Netflix breathes new life into the tired stand-up comedian sitcom genre.
The stand-up comedy dramedy is dead. It was tired after Seinfeld, and the only person that got it right since turned out to be a monster. Every other offer in the genre has either struggled with a relationship with the world outside of comedy, or an obsession with the inside world of comedy, which is not that interesting. I am sorry to say, but I do not care about anyone’s struggles to impress a booker.
The thing that Feel Good, Netflix’s new British comedy centered on the life of queer comedian Mae Martin, gets right is that stand up is still work. It doesn’t matter if your work is talking in front of other people, or working in an office. Most of the time it’s not that interesting. Our current society is so obsessed with work that the obsession tends to bleed into our media. Feel Good isn’t a show about a stand-up comedian. It's about a person who happens to be a stand-up comedian.
Mae as a character has more important things to think about than comedy. The show navigates through its first six episodes mostly focused on Mae’s relationships with George (Charlotte Ritchie), a teacher who’s never had any queer experiences, her mother, Linda (Lisa Kudrow), and her sobriety. Martin proves themself a capable actor, painting a well-made version of a person who doesn’t just love cocaine but loves getting high on any sort of obsessive behavior. Feel Good isn’t about drugs or about being queer. It's about the day to day struggle to fight our worst aspects. Continue Reading →