79 Best TV Shows Similar to The Mandalorian
The final season of the Star Wars side adventure goes to some unexpectedly moving places.
Into a television landscape suddenly devoid of Star Wars content, The Bad Batch swoops in with its third and final season, a darker yet not grittier adventure that loops its way into the greater Universe’s timeline while still managing to surprise an audience who knows how much of this story ends.
Picking up some time after the end of Season 2 (though there are several short time skips throughout the initial eight episodes), Omega (Michelle Ang) remains imprisoned in the Imperial scientific testing facility in Mount Tantiss. Ostensibly there to assist cloning expert Nala Se and fellow female clone Emerie (Keisha Castle-Hughes), it’s clear to both Omega and the audience that she’s there for more nefarious purposes, including mysterious bloodwork that Emerie has been conducting on all of the clones and of which Nala Se is insistent that Omega not be a part. Omega is the shining star of this season from the first episode; determined, loyal, and brave (not to mention generally smarter than all of her brothers), Omega is the sort of female character on which Star Wars (and internet controversy) thrives. Decried from her very introduction, Omega has cemented her place as the heart of the Bad Batch, both the series and its namesake group. Continue Reading →
The Prime series remains its big, fun, very violent self.
Jack Reacher (Alan Ritchson), the “has toothbrush, will travel” man, has returned to television and not a moment too soon. Reacher Season 2 is exactly the kind of low-commitment viewing one craves as the year ends and the holidays overtake everyone’s lives. While a large, jolly man busies himself filling many of our stockings, who better to enjoy than a large, angry man knocking bad guys out of their socks? Especially when, like this time, it’s personal!
Reacher and Neagly (Maria Sten, back from Season 1 and fully second on the callsheet this time, thankfully) first met when they were members of the 110, an investigative military police unit. As seen in flashback, the group is the last time Reacher had anything approaching a stable group of friends. In the present day, several team members have gone missing, suggesting that perhaps someone is targeting them. Reacher connects with Neagly and the two join up with the only other two 110 members they can find. O’Donnell (Shaun Sipos) is the unit clown and womanizer turned family man and inside the beltway fixer. Dixon (Serinda Swan) is a forensic accountant/warrior who shares an obvious but unconsummated crush with Reacher. Continue Reading →
All the Light We Cannot See
Early in For All Mankind Season 4, Ed Baldwin (Joel Kinnaman) and Dani Poole (Krys Marshall) reencounter each other for the first time in years on the Happy Valley Mars base. Smiling warmly, each says, “Hi, Bob,” to each other. For fans of the show, it has an immediate impact. The significance of the silly greeting reminds those audience members of the deep bond between these two astronauts. Newcomers likely won’t grasp the specifics of the importance, but Marshall and Kinnaman’s performances make it quite clear that it isn’t some random bit of silliness. Continue Reading →
Doom Patrol Season 4 Part 2 dives headfirst into what has consistently been a series favorite topic since the beginning: death. While much of Patrol has pondered what it would be like to live agelessly—essentially without fear of any possible death except the violent and unusual—but still struggle with every other aspect of being human. The members screwed up, had mental issues and physical ailments, struggled with vanity and loneliness, and frequently gave in to any number of self-loathing varietals. They would never age, but they wore their pain the same as the rest of us. Continue Reading →
One of the common complaints about Marvel’s attempts at multiverse storytelling is that it renders everything meaningless. If there is another Ikaris of the Eternals out there—or a possibly infinite number of them—why should one care if the one in front of us dies? Generally, this writer finds the argument unconvincing. If I told you there were infinite versions of your friend out there in the multiverse you might someday meet, you’d still care quite a bit to see your version die in front of you. 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 →
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 →
The sea is always a great setting for a story. It’s both soothing and menacing; water is cleansing and purifying, and a consistently replenishing source of food. But it’s also dangerous and uncompromising. Water is one of nature’s greatest antagonists, it can get into virtually anything, softening it, weakening it, eventually breaking it apart. But nothing on earth would survive without it. It’s a brilliant metaphor for so many things, as it’s constantly changing and moving and covers wondrous and monstrous secrets. It works even better in visual mediums like TV and film because it’s beautiful to both look at and listen to. The CW’s new eco-thriller, The Swarm, makes good use of its watery locations in establishing an aura of tranquil menace: everything seems calm and orderly, but there’s trouble bubbling up just below the surface. Continue Reading →
Who Is Erin Carter?
In Who is Erin Carter? ’s precipitating event, the titular character (Evin Ahmad)—a British ex-pat living in Spain and trying to make a living as a substitute teacher—must fight a masked gunman during a grocery store robbery. At stake is the life of nearly blind daughter Harper (Indica Watson), who cowers unseen under a display of oranges. Continue Reading →
From De Palma's series launcher on, Cruise has used the tales of Ethan Hunt to ponder the nature of cinema as performance, perception, and manipulation.
The Mission: Impossible movies begin in perhaps the most inauspicious fashion possible: a computer tech, played by Emilio Estevez, watching security camera footage of clandestine crime scene clean-up. One of the men he's watching happens to be Tom Cruise in heavy prosthetics and a wig. It's an odd opening for an eight-film mega-franchise, a globe-trotting stunt spectacular that has attracted some of the world's biggest stars and most interesting actors—America's answer to Bond movies. But as the opening to a Brian De Palma movie, it's a no-brainer. Of course it starts with a dorky guy in a cramped little room watching unappealing CCTV footage of a crime of passion. That's De Palma.
Though Robert Towne wrote the script (he and Cruise were friends and artistic confidants; Cruise produced his 1998 movie Without Limits), the film is thoroughly De Palma's, never more so than when indulging in its covert operations. He films the opening sting from Cruise's POV, and its dizzying effect is rather like the opening to Dario Argento's Opera or its fellow perverse Italian horror thrillers. It is always disconcerting when movie characters address us but speak to someone else when we see what the hero sees see but cannot control what they do. We are seeing a performance from the inside, knowing that if the scene doesn't go off without a hitch, it could mean death for the man whose eyes we've been given for the duration. The Mission: Impossible movies have since changed directors four times, but their central tenet remains: they are about performance. They are about making movies to make sense of a senseless world. Continue Reading →
What We Do in the Shadows
Season 5 of What We Do in the Shadows premieres tomorrow, and you might have some difficulty parsing that it’s already there. Many sitcoms tend to run out of steam by season 5 (you’ll note that exactly when Fonzie jumped the shark), resorting to dropping plot arcs without explanation, swapping out established characters for newer, less interesting characters, setting up tiresome romances, and relying on gimmick episodes, like flashbacks, clip shows, and musicals. Despite its supernatural premise, What We Do in the Shadows still follows much of the standard sitcom structure, so it’s a minor miracle that it’s still the freshest, funniest half-hour show on television right now, without anyone having to put on a fat suit or get stuck in an elevator. Continue Reading →
The Witcher returns for its third season, Henry Cavill’s final run as Geralt of Rivera, Witcher, before Liam Hemsworth steps into the White Wolf’s big boots. Showrunner Lauren Schmidt Hissrich introduces yet another tonal shift to the series, which has suffered a bit of an identity crisis since its bombastic first season. After the uneven season two and the head-scratching prequel spinoff Blood Origins, Season three takes a step back from intricate political intrigue to deliver a more straightforward narrative. 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 →
Based on a True Story
Delia, oh, Delia, Delia all my life/If I hadn't have shot poor Delia/I'd have had her for my wife/Delia's gone, one more round, Delia's gone." Continue Reading →
Behold! Netflix has created…network television! Continue Reading →
Certain events dig so deep into our culture that they define many subsequent examples of the form. Watergate has led to decades of any possibly notable scandal receiving a -gate suffix. Any British band with pop-rock sensibilities often spends a year or two followed by the question, “the next Beatles?”. And, currently, any erotic thriller with a hint of BDSM flavor gains the tag “the new Fifty Shades of Grey.” For a brief time, 365 Days, a Polish film brought to wider audiences thanks to Netflix, lived under that banner. Now the streaming service is giving it another shot with the four-part series Obsession. 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 theme music is gone. Continue Reading →
It’s a year ending with a number, so, once again, someone’s launching a live-action TV show rooted in Batman’s mythology but doesn’t star Batman. That show, following in the footsteps of Gotham and Pennyworth: The Origins of Batman’s Butler, is none other than Gotham Knights. A brand-new CW production, it aims to be a “next generation” tale of sorts. The audience follows a motley group of teens possessed of assorted connections to Batman characters, old and new. By the time the first episodes wrap, viewers will undoubtedly want to shine a signal into the sky to summon a better TV show. Continue Reading →
Considering the number of statues, attention, and fans the series has collected over two seasons, it may feel odd to call Ted Lasso Season 3 a chance at a comeback. However, given the backlash that seemed to accumulate during the back half of the second season, it isn’t entirely off the mark. Viewers and critics (not this one, make of that what you will) expressed frustration with the show’s messier tone and longer episodes. Additionally, even as the show pierced it, people’s appetite for Ted’s (Jason Sudeikis) positivity had rapidly grown thin in some quarters. Continue Reading →