The sitcom remains consistently charming and funny in its third season premiere.
Keeping a sitcom afloat beyond its first season is a delicate balancing act. There needs to be enough change in the stories and situations to keep audiences interested, without losing the all-important coziness factor that comes with returning to the same characters and settings in every episode. ABC’s Abbott Elementary became an instant hit with critics and audiences alike when it premiered in 2021, winning several Emmy Awards and becoming the network’s highest-rated comedy in three years.
There was no sophomore slump for Abbott either; Quinta Brunson recently became the first Black woman to win the Best Comedic Actress Emmy in more than forty years for her work on the second season. Abbott Elementary’s highly anticipated upcoming third season kicks off with a delightful debut episode that reunites audiences with the beloved teachers of the titular school, while introducing just enough changes to the status quo to amaze and intrigue viewers.
Five months have passed since the end of season two, and things have changed for the gang at Abbott. For instance, Principal Ava Coleman (scene-stealing breakout Janelle James) has abandoned her lazy, scammy method of administrating after being inspired by a course at Harvard, and the teachers are surprised to realize they actually prefer the old Ava. Continue Reading →
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 →
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 →
The 2019 adaptation of Neil Gaiman and Terry Pratchett’s 1990 novel Good Omens was a charming show that succeeded in translating the book’s strengths and weaknesses to the small screen. It was clever like the book, with an ingenious plot (what if there had been a mix-up at the hospital and the Antichrist went home with the wrong family) that parodied The Omen while conjuring an apocalyptic tale all its about an angel and demon whose millennials-long rivalry grew from mutual antagonism, to grudging respect, and finally admiration and even a kind of love. But it also carried over the book’s weaker elements, its wonky pacing, plurality of uninteresting characters, and the fact that the first two thirds of the story is essentially table setting for the final third. Continue Reading →
Tom Clancy's Jack Ryan
Generally speaking, we avoid personalizing our reviews at The Spool. This isn’t the early 2000s. No one needs to know about my journey to my couch to watch Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan Season 4. That said, please allow me a brief personal indulgence that I promise will prove illustrious. In an effort to get ahead of deadlines, I watched the season’s six episodes in a day with a plan to write the review the next day. However, by the time I sat down to write that review about 26 hours later, I realized I had to watch the whole thing again. In a day’s time, I had forgotten too much to write a review in good faith. 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 →
Interview with the Vampire
When I got to my first advanced writing course in college, our professor, a large woman with a positively terrifying intellect, asked us all to tell the rest of the class what our favorite book was. I, at barely 19, told a room full of adults that I loved the writings of Anne Rice more than anything. I’d read and reread The Vampire Chronicles many times since I was fifteen, and the Lives of the Mayfair Witches since I was twelve. To say these books had a significant impact on my adolescence and young adulthood is an understatement. In those pre-internet days, I’d satisfied my love of storytelling by filling entire notebooks with my Anne Riceaverse Fan Fiction. It’s what made me want to be a writer. So you can imagine how mortified I was when Professor Arl, barely holding back an eye roll, told me that, yes, Anne Rice was very popular with teenage girls but was—at best—escapist beach reading. Continue Reading →
Season Two of Reservation Dogs opens with the aftermath of last season. Elora (Devery Jacobs) left fellow Rez Dogs Bear (D’Pharaoh Woon-A-Tai), Willie Jack (Paulina Alexis), and Cheese (Lane Factor) high and dry as she ran away to Cali with Jackie (Elva Guerra), one of their group's sworn enemies. They’re all trying to grow up and move on from their haunted pasts, and their friend Daniel’s (Dalton Cramer) death still lingers. Will a prayer and Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’” be enough to lift the curse and bring the Rez Dogs back together? It’s a slow-burn season, balancing the drama and the comedy of the teens coming of age both on and off the reservation. Continue Reading →
愛のむきだし 最長版 THE TV-SHOW
Just when you think we’ve reached peak saturation in true crime adaptations, well…here’s one more. However, though Hulu’s Candy is the first of two takes on the same 40 year-old murder to come out this year (HBO Max’s Love and Death, starring Elizabeth Olsen and Lily Rabe, is the other, release date TBA), for the first few episodes at least it treats its gruesome, sobering subject with respect and seriousness, and the individuals involved as real people as opposed to caricatures and archetypes. It also goes beyond the crime itself, depicting a not-too-distant past when women admitting that they were bored and unhappy was treated as a grievous personal failing. Continue Reading →
Contains spoilers about Netflix’s Midnight Mass (read our spoiler-free review here) Continue Reading →
Dr. Death borrows its tantalizing title from the Wondery podcast, which similarly breaks down a harrowing true story about a neurosurgeon who — for whatever reason — keeps killing or permanently harming his patients on the operating table. Continue Reading →
72 Dangerous Animals: Asia
FX's true crime documentary examines one man's obsessive search for the truth about his birth father.
Is there more to belonging than being told you belong? Is there truly a feeling that we are out of place, out of sync, out of favor with those who surround us? Or is it a lie that gets repeated so often it becomes true? For Gary Stewart of Baton Rouge, Louisiana, these questions are what drive him beyond a simple desire to know and to belong. FX’s new four-part documentary miniseries, The Most Dangerous Animal of All, explores Stewart’s quest for understanding and the fallout of his obsession.
Told in a quiet, confessional style, Stewart stares directly into the camera, his voice occasionally choking with emotion. Abandoned as a baby, Stewart’s trust issues are understandably deep-rooted—and they’re as much a part of his identity as the color of his eyes. Despite being adopted at three months old into a loving family who raised him with strong values, he struggled with the feelings of being unloved, of not belonging anywhere and to anyone. He even has a string of broken marriages to prove it.
One thing that series creators Ross M. Dinerstein and Kief Davidson make clear from the beginning is that identity is a slippery concept. Do our genetics determine who we are or does our environment? Would Gary Stewart have been a more stable adult if he’d never discovered that his birth parents were once a sensational news story, or would the wound of not knowing where he comes from continue to fester? Continue Reading →