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The All-New TT: Television Time Mini Reviews

The show crossed the Rubicon of meanness in Larry David's final episode before he returned for the finale, where George's fiance dies and none of the characters really care much.
I think that's probably why he quit. There really wasn't anywhere else to go from there. Growing up, I remember a LOT of people enjoying Seinfeld because they thought the characters were charming, or because they related to the characters. (Ick) And that was pretty much the point of no return where their pettiness was so abhorrent that any plausible deniability that these were remotely decent people was tossed out the window.

I think that's honestly why I enjoy Curb Your Enthusiasm more as a show. Where the characters are unambiguously bad and vile people, almostly entirely divorced from regular life, and the joy/catharsis comes from when Larry and his schmutzy friends get their regular comeuppance for what they've done. That, and the show has been taking regular hiatuses for even years on end, to give Larry enough time to think up good ideas worth making new seasons about, instead of just forcing mediocre content.
 

Adrenaline

Post Reader
(He/Him)
I think Curb works better because he and all his friends are absurdly wealthy and it's fun to watch a bunch of rich assholes make themselves and each other miserable over the pettiest shit
 

zonetrope

(he/him)
Curb feels like its own strange ecosystem, like being wealthy in L.A. means that morality and social mores are just fundamentally different on a molecular level. I think it's hilarious, whereas I've never been able to stand Seinfeld at all.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Watching Seinfeld and Always Sunny at the same time is much more jarring;

One shows cast at its nicest doesn’t compare to the others show at its worst
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
Sex Education is a fun show. Love the inclusion of different kinds of queer people, as well as an extremely open position on all things sex - no hiding, explain stuff, so teens can make sensible decisions and know what is actually happening.

Could have used a bit less relationship drama at the end, though. The main thing I was interested in, was the continually more restrictive measures the principle took, and how this effected the characters.
 

Rascally Badger

El Capitan de la outro espacio
(He/Him)
The Pentaverate would have made a pretty good 90 minute movie. As a 3 hour series, you can really feel the bloat. There are some good bits, and I am happy to see Mike Myers doing his thing again (and in something less ill conceived and just plain bad as The Love Guru), but this could have done with a good editing pass to remove the stuff the flat didn't work.
 
In the most recent episode of Halo, Master Chief had him some sex and the internet is livid. I actually enjoy the show more than I thought I was going to. And the fact that it's pissing off Halo fans for the dumbest of reasons makes me enjoy it even more.

Kwan Ha still sucks though.
 

Rascally Badger

El Capitan de la outro espacio
(He/Him)
I'm not really sure why I'm still watching Halo at this point, other than trying to get my money's worth out of Paramount+ as I catch up on 2 years of Star Trek. It still feels like a big, expensive bowl of nothing to me. I was making jokes about Master Chief's prowess, but there is no anger in it for me. The whole project just leaves me questioning what the hell the point of the show is.

I do like Bokeem Woodbine, though.
 
I think a big part of why I find myself entertained by this is because I have a low key contempt for the source material, and thus have the bar set for this in the basement. Yes, there is books and flavor text and other junk that fleshes out the setting, characters, and universe. But at its essence, Halo has about as much story and depth as Duke Nukem. Actually scratch that, it has less. Duke Nukem at least has a face, a name, motivations for what he does, and a personality. (Even if that personality is mostly just the living embodiment of someone saying "breh".) In Halo, you play a faceless, emotionless, nameless, void of personality that only exists to be a cool self-insert power fantasy for juveniles. You travel from point A to point B killing everything in between because that's what you do in pew-pew shooters. This show then, even if it doesn't do a spectacular job at it, makes attempts at giving the setting some flavor, its characters some personality and agency, and to actually, you know, be a story that is more complicated than just waking up and immediately grabbing a gun and killing things until the game devs ran out of environments/scenarios for you to do so until the next game comes out.

Woodbine is awesome. I wish we were hanging out with him more, and that he had reasons to be hanging out with Chief. But it seems like him and Kwan Ha were just essentially flavor text for the setting that was given way too much screen time.

I actually like most if not all of the actors. Pablo Schreiber is fairly charismatic. Does the whole stoic guy about to crack under pressure at any moment thing well. Kate Kennedy as Kai is far and away my favorite thing about the show. Soren and Her are so much more interesting characters, it's honestly a shame the show is stuck revolving around Chief and not them.
 
Halo ended I guess. I kinda liked the subtext of what was happening with Chief. Turning into the Chief people want is boring; kinda funny to see Cortana basically be aimhax. Not a fan of how things went down with Covenant lady. It'll be interesting to see where they take things with a second season. What they do and don't carry over, if they'll stick to their guns about certain things and others sacrifice on the alter of pleasing fanboys. I wouldn't really recommend the show though. There's a decent amount of high budget sci-fi being made these days, and Halo wants to be one of those shows but is saddled with the expectations and baggage of a braindead, 20yo fps game.

Atlanta Season 3 ended as well. Marvelous season. This show should be winning awards left and right, but it's way too good at making all the right people feel uncomfortable while watching it to actually get mainstream acclaim. In my close and extended friend groups, I can usually find one or two people watching any given show enough to have an opinion on it. Not Atlanta.
 

zonetrope

(he/him)
Baskets: The fact that this show lasted four seasons with basically no audience is extremely peak TV. It took a little while for me to get on the show's wavelength, but I like it a lot. I started watching because when Louie Anderson died, a lot of people mentioned how great he is as the mom, and it's true. It's a broad comedic performance, but he plays it completely straight, to the point where I occasionally forget that it's him. And it's interesting to watch a California show that focuses on the Central Valley, which often gets ignored in all of the mythmaking about the state.
 

Rascally Badger

El Capitan de la outro espacio
(He/Him)
I want to still be a supporter of The Orville. It snuck in a pretty straight Star Trek show by disguising it as a comedy to begin with. But now that Star Trek is doing a show with the high concept of "what if we just did Star Trek?", this off-brand version is somewhat less appealing. The first two episodes of Season 3 aren't bad, but you definitely feel the extra 20 minutes of run time.
 
I want to still be a supporter of The Orville. It snuck in a pretty straight Star Trek show by disguising it as a comedy to begin with. But now that Star Trek is doing a show with the high concept of "what if we just did Star Trek?", this off-brand version is somewhat less appealing. The first two episodes of Season 3 aren't bad, but you definitely feel the extra 20 minutes of run time.
I didn't want to revive the Orville thread in order to just shit on the show. I like Orville just fine, but it's always had a lot of weird idiosyncrasies that bugged me, and the first two episodes of this season kind of brought those problems out even more than before. Episode 1 of Season 3 had a very serious, heavy subject matter, discussing one of the main characters committing suicide that is so serious it would normally demand a pretty serious and somber tone for the episode. And instead it hits the viewer with whiplash where one moment it's serious stuff and then very abruptly there's sweeping, majestic music serenading a loving ship-porn fly-by. It's jarring and kinda disrespectful. Especially when it gets backtracked at the last second. And most of the characters act like assholes and it's just kinda not really discussed. Episode 2 started off in a way that specifically infuriates me as an educator where they downplayed an inappropriate teacher-student relationship as tee-hee how naughty which is an instant nope for me.
 

Sprite

(He/Him/His)
Sort of does a really good job of being a queer-focused TV show that feels universally identifiable. It's a dramedy about a nanny who is about to make a big life choice in the wake of losing their job when one of their bosses ends up in a coma, pulling them back in from a sense of obligation.

It does a good job of staying relatively light and fluffy while dealing with fairly heavy subjects. It's a pretty compelling snapshot of a crisis, and how crises makes everyone do weird and stupid things. For me, the most potent theme is how the world kind of pigeonholes queer people into failure and how easily we spin that out into self-sabotage. So many of the protagonist's choices are made for the sake of survival that, when an opportunity comes to break out into something new, they don't know how to take it. But then, self-sabotage is a problem for every character on this show, because again, crises make us do weird and stupid things.

That description makes the show sound heavier than it is. I found it very charming and fun to watch. The core relationship of the show is two friends who are basically the two poles of queer characters: someone who is just completely over everything and someone who is enthusiastic to the point of absurdity. They're like the law and chaos muppets of queer people.
 
For All Mankind might be the best sci-fi show on TV right now, and that says a lot when I've been one of the biggest proponents of nuTrek there is, and we're generally living through a new golden age of Sci-Fi.

There's this wonderful little exchange between two characters here at the beginning of Season 3 where one goes, "Guess this is the bright and shiny future we always dreamed of," in a sarcastic manner. And it's a really understated yet telling scene of how old, conservative, and entitled these two have become (maybe they always were, but they definitely haven't kept up with the times) when their version of the 1990s looks sooooooo much better than our IRL version of the 90s.
 
My discussion with a friend about last week's episode of The Boys:

Me: *before watching the episode* "Did things happen this week?"
Friend: "Things happened."
Me: *after watching the episode* "Oh boy, things really happened, huh?"
Friend: "Yep. All of the things."
 
I was very critical of the first few episodes of The Orville: New Horizons (Season 3). But the last two have done a lot to temper my overall judgment of the season. I especially liked that both were very transparent, very hard to argue against moral parables that its worst fans (and vis a vis Star Trek's worst fans) can only take in one way - a fairly clear condemnation of their values. The first one being about Trumpian politics and theocratic/xenophobic/totalitarian rule, and the most recent one about taking the Moclan storyline to its ultimate conclusion by dealing with Bortus's daughter and helping her find her identity. They were also just in general way more interesting and better written/paced. I also appreciate that the show's tone has evened out a lot and that the bad toilet humor has been mostly relegated at this point to moments where they're actually kind of appropriate. It's too bad Fox never had the faith to let the show be this at its beginning.
 

Rascally Badger

El Capitan de la outro espacio
(He/Him)
Back to New Horizons, the bit in the latest episode with Talla and LaMarr was actually pretty funny. I don't know if the show has a real perspective on the gender politics it keeps wandering into, but that part worked.
 

zonetrope

(he/him)
Latest obsessions:

I Think You Should Leave: It took me a couple episodes to get what this show was going for, but I love how it finds a super-specific niche of cringe humor and mines it for all it's worth. It's basically the "It smells funny in there." "No it doesn't!" exchange from the Simpsons, turned into a whole show, and that's my favorite Simpsons joke. Tim Robinson is great, but Patti Harrison is the real MVP whenever she shows up.

Letterkenny: I wrote this off for a long time based on the Hulu ads, but they really don't do it justice. It's got a nice mixture of crass humor and amazingly dense, fast-paced wordplay, which I guess makes it almost Shakespearean in its own weird way. The show gradually builds up a cast of dozens and dozens of characters, and about 90% of them are just the most brilliant comedic creations.
 

Rascally Badger

El Capitan de la outro espacio
(He/Him)
I Think You Should Leave is my favorite TV show. I love how it puts its characters (usually Robinson's character) in a situation where he makes a social faux pas, and then instead of fessing up, he just keeps doubling down. I mean, the very first sketch sets the tone, with him refusing to admit he's trying to pull on a push door and just forcibly rips it off the hinges to prove that he didn't make that very simple mistake. Also,

itysl4.jpg
 

zonetrope

(he/him)
I thought about that too, that the push/pull bit is funny enough on its own, and then when you've seen enough episodes, you think back and realize that it's the show's whole mission statement.
 

Sprite

(He/Him/His)
We’re thoroughly enjoying season four of Westworld. I’ve learned to love how overwrought most of the dialogue is, and I definitely respect how it takes big swings, even if those swings frequently miss. It’s the very definition of a show’s reach exceeding its grasp, and consistently thinks it’s deeper than it actually is, but at the end of the day it’s just fun TV.
 
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