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The All-New TT: Television Time Mini Reviews

Evil is sooo much fun and very bingeable. It is alllllmost tolerable that in season 3 several of the leads are still constantly like, “of course there is a rational explanation for this!” when the rational explanation is the Devil is real; embrace Christ.

I really do wanna watch The Good Wife/Fight now but there are just so many episodes.
 

Rascally Badger

El Capitan de la outro espacio
(He/Him)
I just burned through The Afterparty, a murder mystery Rashomon where every episode is a different genre. It is pretty great.
 

jpfriction

A most radical pontiff
(He, Him)
How great is this party!!

I don’t think it ever tops Yasper’s musical (I’m a Benny Schwa fan tho) but very solid idea and execution.
 

Rascally Badger

El Capitan de la outro espacio
(He/Him)
I really liked the children's show episode where some characters are just puppets and there's no real reason why. Or Zoe's episode where Mama Bear kept referring to her "human child"
 

ThornGhost

lofi posts to relax/study to
(he/him)
Season 2 of Only Murders in the Building wrapped and my goodness is that show fantastic. Dark, humorous with a touch of surrealism and set design absolutely from outer space. Might be my favorite non-guilty pleasure on TV.
 
Not real.

I thought it was always pretty obvious that it wasn't the actual intro, but I do still think it's very funny that they the PR team greenlit Entertainment Weekly's hilarious Tim and Eric tier promo reel during its otherwise very carefully crafted rollout.
 
I thought it was always pretty obvious that it wasn't the actual intro, but I do still think it's very funny that they the PR team greenlit Entertainment Weekly's hilarious Tim and Eric tier promo reel during its otherwise very carefully crafted rollout.
These are the feelings I have
 

R.R. Bigman

Coolest Guy
Not a review of a TV show, but a request for how to more economically watch more TV shows in general. Now that Better Call Saul is over, the only reason I have a Sling sub is to watch Adult Swim shows. Is there a legal alternative service that will let me watch the Aqua Teens and the Smiling Friends? One that isn’t forty bucks and rising like Sling?
 

lincolnic

can stop, will stop
(he/him)
All the Adult Swim stuff is on HBO Max, but I don't know how they deal with currently airing shows.
 

Adrenaline

Post Reader
(He/Him)
Current shows are inconsistent. Tuca and Bertie season 3 was added to Max as it aired, Rick and Morty season 6 is not.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Finished the second season of Only Murders in the Building and it remains a pretty strong shows all things considered. I guess a lot of people were complaining about two many stars in the show for small roles but mostly it didn't bother me. Amy Schumer's thing never went anywhere but apart from that, I just liked the whole thing. If this is the last major role of Steve Martin's or Martin Short's careers, it would be a Hell of a swan song, not that I'm wishing either gone in the near future.
 

Violentvixen

(She/Her)
Season 3 of For All Mankind wrapped up last week, and had a great finale. Not as good as the last one, but still a really strong season. I love this show. Glad it's getting a much deserved 4th season and that Apple is seemingly a better steward of media than a lot of other streaming services. It's a shame more people don't even know about this show, let alone watch it. I'm pretty sure a lot of people here would enjoy it.
I finally watched this and it's really fascinating. Just beautiful renditions of space, very cool ideas and such emotional and thrilling moments.

I wish they spent less time on the vast majority of the character's personal lives though. A lot of them (especially most of season 1 when the women are being only gradually allowed to do anything) are just excruciatingly long conversations. They're well acted and well written but it just seemed to bring the show to a full stop way too often when there was something far more interesting and impactful happening or about to happen in the professional arena. I felt this much less by season 3 (except for the gross and creepy Karen and whats-his-name kid stuff) so I think a lot of that is because there wasn't much to do yet in Season 1 so there was an excess of talking, emotions and planning.

There are so many great characters and moments. Margo's scenes are almost always great. I thought one of the most interesting scenes when was she sees the stolen Russian plans and realizes that they are going to make the same Challenger mistake. Her trying to figure out how to save people through this turns into a slow burn subplot. Ellen's tank grab right after the scene with Deke? Insane. There were several moments where they would note how certain events diverged from our timeline and I would gasp, or pause the show and call my spouse over. Danielle might be my favourite character overall, hell of an arc. And I definitely laughed at the Jolly Roger stuff for the solar sails during season 3. Wonderfully goofy.

But I gotta say Ed is the fucking worst. To me he represents all the toxic masculinity of our real timeline. As I watched the show I assumed it would turn out that being a hothead white male wouldn't work in this world, but nope, he still continues to weasel his way into everything. Taking down von Braun for being cautious and safe just because he is convinced he shouldn't be punished for being an asshole? Ew. Throwing some sort of passive aggressive tantrum on a moon base but then still being a hero? WTF. I thought he'd finally get his comeuppance when Margo revealed his nepotism appointment to command the mission to Mars was just that, but nope, let's instead have him command a different mission through nepotism somewhere else. It's good writing though because I am invested enough in the character and the world to be this annoyed, and they've created such a detailed network of people here. Early on in the show I felt like there were way too many characters, but they're all needed and have roles that just couldn't be eliminated or combined with anyone else.

And then my AppleTV expired and kicked me out in the middle of an episode which is obnoxious. Still, saw what I wanted to, read the wiki to see how the rest goes and am glad I watched it, thanks for the recommendation.
 
I finally watched this and it's really fascinating. Just beautiful renditions of space, very cool ideas and such emotional and thrilling moments... glad I watched it, thanks for the recommendation.
np! Glad you enjoyed it enough to stick thru most of it. Where did Apple TV+ kick you out of? There's some really good moments in the last two episodes.

I wish they spent less time on the vast majority of the character's personal lives though.
That's very much the big double-edged sword of the series. Sometimes the drama is melodramatic and feels out of place, other times it really hammers home some of the show's themes about humanity. Every time I think to myself "NASA would never allow this" I remember that one insane astronaut from several years back who drove cross country in a diaper to assault another fellow astronaut for weird love triangle stuff. But ya, it's definitely a hit-or-miss, ymmv kind of thing and how you know you're watching a Ronald D Moore show.

The guy is exactly how you describe. All the worst aspects of Silent Generation toxic masculinity rolled up into one package. The character to me feels like very intentional commentary on how fucked up that entire generation was, and how they managed to pass on their damage to their children and/or hold the world back. He is also very obviously a prototypical mediocre white man failing upwards, and I feel like the show does a good job of examining how and when that's disastrous by carefully exploring the outcomes of when he's put into situations he doesn't belong. I wouldn't say though that he never avoids his comeuppance. I think he gets it a lot, it just comes in the form of cosmic karma. The man continually finds success, but he is never happy from it. Success in his career leads to his family falling apart repeatedly because he doesn't ever balance his work/home lives, and he repeatedly loses the things he cares about the most as a result. And even in their race to Mars, the guy falls short yet again. He got pulled from the NASA mission because he was poorly suited versus Danielle to be an extended mission commander, and lo and behold, the guy's decision making enables Danny to completely fuck everything up and get several people killed. I thought for sure he was going to die at the end of S3, but apparently they have a 5 season arc planned out for him, so it'll be interesting to see where he'll go and how much more calcitrant he becomes as he gets even older and more rigid as the future comes at the cast even faster than it came at us IRL.

There were several moments where they would note how certain events diverged from our timeline and I would gasp, or pause the show and call my spouse over. Danielle might be my favourite character overall, hell of an arc.
Yes this is me. Poole is wonderful. So are honestly all of the original female astronauts. All of the alternative-history stuff is engrossing and fascinating, especially as a history buff. It's fun to see which stuff changes, and which stuff stays the same. And how much things increasingly diverge, but how certain things still echo our own history because of factors that a bunch of high tech isn't going to magically solve overnight like evangelical bigotry. I'm really looking forward to Season 4, and how much the world is going to look even less like ours. Afghanistan/Iraq can't happen in this timeline. And the Bush Family can't either. But I'm sure something will fill that void of conflict. Maybe rogue states like N.Korea? Maybe China comes into their own a lot earlier than IRL and starts bullying their neighbors more aggressively? Who can say!
 
oof. You literally got cut off right as things "start to get good". If you're fine with that, that's that. There's a lot of really great moments in the 2nd half of the season though that a wikipedia summary can't really do justice. Among them:

  • When the Soviet ship dramatically crashes into the NASA shuttle
  • When Ed does the right thing and pulls back at the last minute to avoid crashing on Mars, in order to save Danny's worthless life, and thus fails to be the first person on Mars in the process.
  • When Danielle Poole and the Russian commander trip over each other to be the first ones to step foot on Mars in a childish rivalry.
  • When one of the NASA astronauts comes out as gay on Mars, sparking controversy back home and leading Ellen to cowardly institute a Republican-version of Don't Ask Don't Tell.
  • When Danny gets half of his expedition killed while out of his gord on subscription pain killers.
  • When Margo slowly realizes she's become the thing she despised with her mentor in her under-the-table bargaining for power and results.
  • When Ed rips into Danny when Danny tries to atone for his mistakes. (One of the few times Ed's anger and indignation is actually fully merited and justified. "There will be a reckoning...!")
  • When Danielle and her Russian counterpart eventually burry the hatchet and become good friends.
  • When they discover the Korean who was on Mars all along and beat everyone to the punch.
  • When Ellen shows she has the integrity and courage that a worthless weasel like Bill Clinton didn't, by coming clean with the public and also coming out to the nation as gay. Legit shed tears over that scene, it was beautiful. Even better when she confronted her Republican advisers/handlers who were like, "You're going to destroy the Republican party!" And she bosses up like, "Maybe the party needs a little destroying." 😤
  • When Ed uses his old Korean War knowledge to call said Korean his good dumpling.
  • When they strap a rocket to Kelly's back and she fuckin' rides back to orbit with the world's biggest jetpack.
  • When Tracy & Gordo's other fail-son manages to get JSC blown up in a scene visually evocative of 9/11 but was a parallel for the OKC Bombing.
  • When Karen eats it.
  • When my girl Molly goes out like a fuckin' champ rescuing a bunch of civilians in the dark despite being completely blind.
  • When Aleida thinks she's lost her mentor forever in the bombing and has to grapple with the fact that this psudo-mom of hers might have been a traitor and now she'll never be able to reconcile with her.
  • When the very last scene cuts to 200X and Margo is alive and well but in fucking Moscow because she defected, completing her transformation into her mentor.
 

Johnny Unusual

(He/Him)
Shudder puts out some quality docuseries for horror nerds. 101 Scariest Horror Movie Moments is exactly the kind of thing I want and I like that there are some great unconventional picks, like the BBC atomic holocaust movie Threads. Tonight I just watched the first episode of Queer for Fear from Bryan Fuller which analyzes horror through a queer lens. At least that's what I thought. And it is that. BUT the first episode is actually an examination of some notable 19th century horror authors who were (or in one case, may have been) gay. And it goes into great detail how their experience informed their work. The Bram Stoker part is interesting in that he voiced homophobic views but there are theories he was a gay man who feared reprisal after the arrest of his friend Oscar Wilde. The show is educational and engaging and while there's some silliness with Alaska Thunderfuck, it's a pretty serious yet often fun examination of queer horror.
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
Ok, I would For All Mankind anyway, after WH talked about it, but now, after VVs posts, I guess I really need to give it immediate priority. With you two enjoying these shows so much, I can only assume that show is basically made for me.

Just need to watch through Foundation. That one just had priority.
 

Violentvixen

(She/Her)
There's a lot of really great moments in the 2nd half of the season though that a wikipedia summary can't really do justice.
I will note that I found almost all of these moments online so no worries. And I seem to get an Apple TV trial every year or so so that's part of this too, I will definitely return to the show eventually.

Also I'm just not a huge TV show person. I think this is the second TV show I've watched all year.
 

FelixSH

(He/Him)
I watched Foundation. Uh, yeah, that was a show, all right. I'm not sure if I'll spoil anything, so I'll just put everything behind a curtain.

To start with the positive, I really liked the storyline about the Cleons. That part is basically completely new - there are Cleons in the books (not in the Foundation trilogy, but in a prequel that was written decades later), but we never hear about them in the trilogy itself. Or maybe we do, but certainly not at this point, if so, they are relatively minor characters. This might have helped, the whole idea about a former Cleon creating a dynasty by clones of himself is pretty neat, and I enjoyed the exploration a lot. And while I had trouble with the interpretation of Demerzel, I understand it and get that this is mainly me not liking changes to the source material. Also, having her (plus Salvor and Gaal) being played by women instead of men was a very nice touch. I want to point this out, so it is clear that I don't dislike the rest of the show because it strays from the source material, but because it is problematic and boring.

I really liked this theme, the very extreme interpretation of a monarchy, where it isn't even hereditory, but just kept by the same person, more or less. I didn't like, how it is implied that the problem here is that they don't have MOTHERS or whatever. I get it, that's just part of the problem, but it stands for some deeper problems of the show.

The problems lie with the Foundation plotline itself. Everything with Hari Seldon, with Gaal and Salvor, with how the basic concept of the books is misinterpreted into the complete opposite, and also in a really bad way. Like, it starts out well enough, with the first episode being pretty close to the books.

And then, we go into wild, weird directions. Like, I hate that Gaal is Salvors mother. In the book, Gaal came to Trantor and was some kind of assistant to Hari. But if memory serves, he himself never reaches Terminus. Hari certainly did not, he simply died of old age, and with a broken heart, because everyone he loved and cared about had died. Including Roach, his adoptive son, who died in an accident. He, too, never got that far.

To be clear, I don't mind changes in general. But Salvor is a major character, who deals with one or maybe even two of the crisis (I honestly don't remember). But it's not because he is related to that special superperson, who was a direct assistant to the superawesome Hari Seldon. It was, because he was that one person that was there at the right moment, when History would spit out someone to deal with the crisis. If it hadn't been him, it would have been someone else. Maybe a bit later, maybe a bit earlier. It is not some hereditory nonsense, where two people are super important to the whole of society.

Also, Hari in the books is not some strange mastermind of manipulation. He does some manipulation, sure, and he is clever, setting up the Foundations. But he did not create a person that was essential to the plan. Setting up the Foundations was all he did, and they didn't hinge on him making sure that one specific person, chosen by him, was there to save everything. That was never the point, it's specifically the very opposite.

It is not about single, special people. It's about the movement of giant groups of people throughout History. Not about a special person pulling all kinds of strings, more stuff that will inevitably happen. And Hari only calculated how it would develop, and found the one point where he could reduce the Dark Times (creating the Foundations). Single people simply don't matter in the source material.

Yes, there is one exception in the books. But that exception destroys the plan, because it wasn't included. It, that specific person with a specific power, wasn't necessary to keep the plan going, it was a problem that nearly wrecked it. A very different thing.

To be clear, I'm not that much into the idea of "History will find a way, and single people don't matter" anymore. I mean, I do believe that societies move and develop in certain ways due to societal inertia, and that some things come and go, no matter if I am here now or not. But there simply are situations in History, were a single person did something monumental, and changed the course of the world. It's a mix of the two, so I'm not too much into the idea the book proposes. But it's way better, than this annoying "I am a special person, and therefore the one and only who can solve the problem of humanity". No, you are not, we have to work on our problems together, as the whole of humanity. Not as some clown, who thinks he is a hero, or whatever. I'm just really tired of stories always being about how one person, or maybe a small group of misfits, will solve the crisis of the year, or whatever. Show me something where the system is actually stable, where we are not depending on one special person saving us from doom.

Well, now that I'm done griping about that, I just found the whole Foundation part to be way too action heavy. I get it, the books are 90% talk, and while I disagree with the notion that you can't do that on TV (you can make dialogue super intriguing, if you do it right), I get it that people don't think like me here. And I wouldn't have minded changes. But at least go with the antology, to give us a sense of the scope of what Foundation actually is - not about one single incident. The books show us Future History, with single moments of importance as our only sticking points. And this here is just about one of these moments.

Also, no, a Seldon Crisis is not about someone having a super weapon and blowing up the Empire. The Empire is doomed. It's over, and it doesn't matter anymore what anyone does, because it has been rotting for centuries. It takes so long to go down, because it is gigantic. The point is not to save it - Terminus has to deal with its own problems, and it and the Empire have basically nothing to do with each other, at least for a couple of decades. In general, the Empire itself plays no role here. It's about how Terminus will survive, surrounded by local powers. And not with action, but with clever manouvering.

Again, changes, I get it, do them. But not like this.

Sorry, I know I started to ramble somewhere inbetween. But I love the books. Granted, I don't know how much of my critisizm is fair, and how much is just me complaining "but the books", so don't take my whining too seriously. But I think I have some good points here.
 
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Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
Recently finished off the existing three seasons of Umbrella Academy. Fun stuff in general. I could see people criticizing it for each season being "again, only moreso" (a thing that the characters themselves lampshade several times) but it mostly goes interesting places even if S3 is a bit heavy on the melodrama. I do wish we'd gotten more explanation of what was going on with Allison in the back half of S3 (I have theories and I was surprised they weren't wrapped up), but maybe we'll get more on that in the upcoming (final?) season. Also my wife was disappointed that dear ol' dad turned out to be even more of a monster rather than redeemable, but we're obviously set up to deal more with him next season as well.
 
Hey Felix, enjoyed reading your thoughts on the Foundation. I think I ended up liking the show a little more than you. I had minimal exposure to the original books, but have read up about them. I had a few thoughts on your pov regarding the show. Don't take them as a rebuttal or a "YOU'RE WRONGG!!" this is just what came to mind:
I really liked this theme, the very extreme interpretation of a monarchy, where it isn't even hereditory, but just kept by the same person, more or less. I didn't like, how it is implied that the problem here is that they don't have MOTHERS or whatever. I get it, that's just part of the problem, but it stands for some deeper problems of the show.
Ok. So I don't really see this as problematic. And in fact, the whole point of it was reinforcing the primary ideas of the show here.

The Cleons claim they have no mothers, because they exist in a bubble of their own propped up self-importance. Just like the hereditary lineage and divine right of kings were overly emphasized by our old monarchs as forming the legitimacy of their reigns, despite those things not actually mattering at all. And just like back then, anything that challenged that theoretical claim is therefore an assault on their legitimacy. So that's why there was a big plotline this season regarding people believing the Cleons had no souls, or why the Cleons claim to have no mothers, despite them demonstrably having a mother figure in that one caretaker robot. Because having a mother would recognize that these clones aren't perfect.

The TV show shows us that there are demonstrably outside forces that shape their personality, behavior, and worldview, despite their claims. The Cleons' claim to power here is that they're perfect clones of the original, and that they raise each other keeps them intellectually and ideologically pure. A mother figure is an outside force. We are told this is the case, and shown completely contrary things because it's a false claim. And it is emblematic of how the Cleons' empire will eventually fall and be doomed. Because their entire rule is conservatism in a nutshell - an almost pathological adherence to tradition and the strict maintenance of an unchanging status quo that is doomed for eventual failure, since people and societies are always changing and eventually they'll change so much that the ruling class can no longer keep up with the changing needs of the time.

It is not about single, special people. It's about the movement of giant groups of people throughout History. Not about a special person pulling all kinds of strings, more stuff that will inevitably happen. And Hari only calculated how it would develop, and found the one point where he could reduce the Dark Times (creating the Foundations). Single people simply don't matter in the source material.
To be clear, I'm not that much into the idea of "History will find a way, and single people don't matter" anymore. I mean, I do believe that societies move and develop in certain ways due to societal inertia, and that some things come and go, no matter if I am here now or not. But there simply are situations in History, were a single person did something monumental, and changed the course of the world. It's a mix of the two, so I'm not too much into the idea the book proposes. But it's way better, than this annoying "I am a special person, and therefore the one and only who can solve the problem of humanity". No, you are not, we have to work on our problems together, as the whole of humanity. Not as some clown, who thinks he is a hero, or whatever. I'm just really tired of stories always being about how one person, or maybe a small group of misfits, will solve the crisis of the year, or whatever. Show me something where the system is actually stable, where we are not depending on one special person saving us from doom.
Also, no, a Seldon Crisis is not about someone having a super weapon and blowing up the Empire. The Empire is doomed. It's over, and it doesn't matter anymore what anyone does, because it has been rotting for centuries. It takes so long to go down, because it is gigantic. The point is not to save it - Terminus has to deal with its own problems, and it and the Empire have basically nothing to do with each other, at least for a couple of decades. In general, the Empire itself plays no role here. It's about how Terminus will survive, surrounded by local powers. And not with action, but with clever manouvering.
The ironic point here is that I actually think you and the TV show are on the same page, you just don't realize it, lol.

You articulate the original thesis of Asimov's The Foundation. You point out that the TV show is different. You explain how you don't feel the books are very accurate with regards to how reality works. But to me, I think that is honestly one of the meta themes of this show as well. It's highlighting the entire contradiction of the original books - that individual people don't matter, and yet an individual is the one who set everything with the Foundation in motion.

Harry Seldon's entire theories operate on breaking societies down into predictable group behaviors and dynamics. But there is margins for error in his methods, and those errors are not just that individuals have agency, but also that societies and humanity evolves. In the show, he did not predict that someone with basically psychic powers could be born, because at the end of the day, him and the Cleons are two sides of the same coin - his theories rest upon an unchanging humanity that is easy to predict, not realizing humanity itself would eventually evolve into a form that would render his calculations meaningless. The TV show, to me, points out that both perspectives have merit, but neither can be universally true, and that reality is somewhere in the middle, just like you feel is probably the case.

To me, that's part of what made the TV show interesting to begin with. That it's not simply an adaptation of the books, but a critique of them. In that respect, it's very much a post-Dune show. (Dune itself, being an overt critique of The Foundation, focusing upon many of the same themes that this TV show seems to be.) And I imagine critiquing this source material that has a very weird and problematic view of humanity, and that all the worst politicians and captains of industry seem to fawn over, was one of the primary motivators of making the show this way to begin with. Given the soulless corporate entity that is paying the bills of the show versus the typical political/ideological leanings of your average Hollywood creative talent.
Edit: And in all fairness, a lot of my interpretations here are just that - interpretations. I could very well be reading into things that aren't there! But this is how I looked at show.
 
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Rascally Badger

El Capitan de la outro espacio
(He/Him)
School in Shakespeare's day was very different from our own. In fact, it was far easier, because you didn't have to study Shakespeare.
 

Vaeran

perfect world
(he/him)
I've been watching FX/Hulu's The Patient, which stars Steve Carrell and Domhnall Gleeson (Hux from The Star Wars) in a psychological thriller where (episode 1 spoilers) Gleeson, a serial killer who wants to be able to stop killing, abducts his therapist (Carrell) and chains him up in his basement to force him to help. Somewhat strangely for a drama series the episodes are only 22 minutes long, but so far it's super tense and the performances are great. Check it out, maybe!

I also recently finished Escape at Dannemora, a 2018 miniseries about this true prison escape from 2015. Benicio del Toro and Paul Dano are the prisoners, and Patricia Arquette is the civilian prison employee with whom they form a relationship. Everyone's great in it and the direction is excellent, with some really effective and interesting shots. Also recommended!
 

YangusKhan

does the Underpants Dance
(He/Him/His)
I've been watching FX/Hulu's The Patient, which stars Steve Carrell and Domhnall Gleeson (Hux from The Star Wars) in a psychological thriller where (episode 1 spoilers) Gleeson, a serial killer who wants to be able to stop killing, abducts his therapist (Carrell) and chains him up in his basement to force him to help. Somewhat strangely for a drama series the episodes are only 22 minutes long, but so far it's super tense and the performances are great. Check it out, maybe!
I am curious about this show. The premise seemed like it would lean towards either extremely bad or extremely good, but not in the middle.
 
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