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The All-New TT: Television Time Mini Reviews

zonetrope

(he/him)
I liked the first few seasons of The Good Fight, as a trashy popcorn show. It reminded me of F/X dramas from the 00's, like Nip/Tuck, Rescue Me, etc. They know they're doing the same thing as broadcast shows, but because they're on a streaming service without FCC rules, they can swear and show some skin. It has the same basic problem of The Good Wife that all these people are insanely rich, and their problems aren't relatable to most of humanity, but it was a fun escape.

I tried to watch the most recent season, but with the pandemic and the election happening in real life, I just couldn't deal with a fantasy version of it. Maybe I'll try again someday.

The show is definitely over-the-top Big Issues porn for wealthy liberals. But I still find it much more relatable than Good Wife, because without the Florricks around there's so much less of the endless game of political musical chairs, which always felt so empty to me.
 
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Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
My partner dragged me into starting Parks and Rec, which was an uphill battle, because I kind of hate the single-camera faux-documentary sitcom style to begin with, *especially* when the cut-away interviews are all about how none of the cast are honest with each other, and on top of that the first few episodes are like 90% cringe comedy about how embarrassing Leslie is all the time, which I really doesn't work for me. In fact, I think I watched the first ep or two once a long time ago and bounced off hard. But this time I stuck in out and it does get better! By the time you get into season two (and S1 is a very short 6 episodes) it starts to hit its groove as an ensemble comedy where most of the characters actually care about each other even if the fuck up a lot, which I can deal with. And I've hit several laugh-out-loud funny bits. So I'll probably stick with it this time.
 

Adrenaline

Post Reader
(He/Him)
The show definitely got way better after they realized they shouldn't directly transplant the dynamics of The Office into another setting
 
Resident Alien ended tonight. Well, the first season did, it already got picked up for a 2nd. I really hope some of y'all give it a try because it's super good. It's on SyFy, so you can watch it streaming there or on Peacock apparently.
 

JBear

Internet's foremost Bertolli cosplayer
(He/Him)
I don't know that I'd say "super" good, but it's an easy recommendation if you enjoy Alan Tudyk being Alan Tudyk, because that's what this show is. And I do! He does a great job of portraying a weird alien man-baby.
 

Vaeran

perfect world
(he/him)
I finished Danish post-apocalyptic series The Rain on Netflix yesterday. I cannot give it my highest recommendation!

The premise is that one day rainwater begins carrying a virus which causes unpleasant death in a matter of seconds, and we follow a group of young survivors five years on in the new world. The characters are thinly sketched but likable, and the first season is mostly fine. After that it begins to get extremely weird in ways that the show does not seem well-equipped to handle, involving goofy X-Men-like virus powers, telepathy, bringing people back from the dead, etc. I don't necessarily object to such elements in the shows and movies I watch, since I love comic book movies, but this seemed like a hard right turn in a narrative that was never originally intended to include said elements and had previously been fairly restrained. To give you an idea of how far the show strayed from its original premise: outside of flashbacks, it does not rain for the entirety of seasons 2 and 3. It all culminates in an awkward, artificial-feeling conflict that mostly had me laughing at moments that were definitely not intended to be funny. Oh well.
 
You have to watch 2/3 of random Netflix genre shows... no more, no less... I did it with The Rain. I did it with 3%. Well, I guess I didn’t. That has a 4th season? Not watching more to correct the ratio.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
I started watching both The Boys and Invincible.

At first, I was going to say “More like Sub Par Heroes, eh?”

And then I continued watching both pilots and, well, the superheroes in these particular series are actually complete monsters, so “sub par” doesn’t really go far enough
 

Exposition Owl

could use a space fortress
(he/him/his)
I've been hearing people heap praise on Patrick McGoohan's The Prisoner for decades now, so I gave the first episode a try. There's a lot to like there in terms of setting and atmosphere, but I'm not sure I'm going to go forward with it. Maybe I shouldn't be surprised about this given that it's the late 1960s, but the way the show demonstrates that the main character is a No-Nonsense Man of Action is that the only emotion he ever expresses is anger. Even worse, the (few, very minor) female characters only have two modes: Fawning Servant and Quivering Emotional Wreck. I'd love to see a remake of this that treats women as actual people.
 

John

(he/him)
There’s some filler in there, and it definitely was a product of its times when women were concerned. I’d at least watch one more to see how some tropes start, and the last run of episodes were fantastic. It felt like they didn't really know how to end it, so decided to tear it down. Similar vibes to Twin Peaks Season 2.

I never watched the remake, should try to remedy that.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
The show was waiting for Adam Scott and Rob Lowe to fill the Adam Scott and Rob Lowe shaped holes in its heart
 

John

(he/him)
We watched the first episode of The Nevers, the new HBO show that Joss Whedon was showrunning before the world realized he sucks. It's definitely a Whedon show, with his dialog tropes and tons of women who would dominate him if he could stop being such an asshole all the time. It wasn't horrible, a YA novel with cursing and nudity, basically Steampunk X-Men. I'd rank it about the same as Dollhouse, maybe a little lower. HBO's kept Whedon totally out of all the marketing, reduced to just the credits, which is for the best.

They're dropping the 6 episodes that he worked on now, and allegedly there'll be 6 more with a new showrunner sometime in the future.
 

Purple

(She/Her)
So just browsing what was on Hulu I remembered oh yeah, I forgot to watch more than the first season of Legion. There's only the 3 and the last is pretty short, so catching up didn't take long, and wow, what an astoundingly weird show.

TECHNICALLY, it's based on something but it basically never references a single character, setting, or event from it (if you're looking out there's like, 5 vague nods in the whole series?) and the protagonist's whole deal is basically rewritten, so basically it's a fully original thing you get to watch and then get curious about those notes in the credits and look it up and sputter indignantly that you had no idea.

Beyond that, it's basically about some guy who is initially in a mental institution, gets busted out by weirdos who tell him that he's not actually mentally ill at all, and all those voices in his head are actual people whose thoughts he's hearing because he has psychic powers... and then a few episodes later they all apologize because turns out in addition to having psychic powers, he actually does have some really severe mental illnesses, a good chunk of the voices he hears are just good ol' fashioned schizophrenia, and getting him off those medications was a pretty terrible idea in hindsight.

And past that it's just super weird. You know how other shows in the general genre fiction field will have that one episode set in a surreal dreamscape because there's a nightmare demon or psychic weirdo or whatever screwing with the whole cast? That's basically just every episode, and it's always at least mildly ambiguous if like, a random cow or space horror in the hallway is a hallucination, a psychic projection, or there's just randomly a cow or space horror in the hallway because these characters have more than just the one thing they're dealing with, and the protagonist in particular isn't going to start asking questions about it because, again, kinda the whole point of the show is to have a character with something approaching actual schizophrenia, where someone has vivid hallucinations and learns to mask this by being unusually calm, rather than "having multiple personalities" as was his deal in the source material that technically exists and hence the name I guess.

Also there's this weird little quirk where nearly every character on the show has, for lack of a better term, weird gender stuff going on?
- We've got a character named Lenny who was originally planned to be a 40-something sleazy dude but was then cast as a woman who was adamant that wherever possible she still be written as a 40-something sleazy dude.
- The main character's love interest has body swapping powers working on an involuntary skin-contact basis, so, yeah.
- There's this brother/sister pair who have this honestly really complicated and hard to explain thing going on where they're sort of a single person and the sister is inside the brother's body most of the time and eventually there's this bit with how if she's going to be out full time there's a bunch of basic life stuff she has to learn and it's... honestly much easier to say they're a giant trans metaphor and leave it at that.
- The second season introduces someone who seems to use he/they pronouns and speaks through a large collection of android women who look like 80s music video backup dancers except they all have really prominent mustaches.

It's also weird now that I think about it that not only are there a lot of Akira-style violent character deaths and a lot of all the characters present breaking spontaneously into song, those are usually concurrent even.

On the downside, it gets pretty bleak overall, gets really uncomfortable in places with self-harm/suicide imagery, and does particularly torturously nasty things to... most women in major roles.

It's also hard not to directly compare this to Umbrella Academy, which... to be fair I think was directly inspired by this? At least in show form?
 

YangusKhan

does the Underpants Dance
(He/Him/His)
I finally started watching The Toys That Made Us and I'm not sure how much I'm actually enjoying it, but it is a decent thing to watch to pass the time? The way every episode ends with like a 3 minute montage about how much the toy line "meant" to people who grew up with them feels a little weak and unearned considering the majority of the time is spent talking about the marketing or manufacturing ideas that went into it.
 

muteKi

Women want fish fear meme
Pluto now has a dedicated channel for price is right marathons dedicated specifically to episodes that were recorded during the 80s. On the one hand it's excellent background television; on the other hand it's hard to look at Holly and Janice and not think that had he retired any later we'd know Bob Barker as one of the men who helped make "me too" into a verb
 

Rascally Badger

El Capitan de la outro espacio
(He/Him)
I finally started watching The Toys That Made Us and I'm not sure how much I'm actually enjoying it, but it is a decent thing to watch to pass the time? The way every episode ends with like a 3 minute montage about how much the toy line "meant" to people who grew up with them feels a little weak and unearned considering the majority of the time is spent talking about the marketing or manufacturing ideas that went into it.

That's kind of my take on the series. There is interesting stuff there, but the stuff I find interesting is not what the show tends to focus on.
 

Kirin

Summon for hire
(he/him)
Halfway through season 2 of BSG now and man that little Pegasus arc just upped the level of horrible things happening to everyone yet again, huh? Though it was neat to see the humans actually being able to take on Cylon command ships and win, when they're not massivle outnumbered and outgunned. Kinda changes the whole dynamic, so I expect more shake-ups soon. Can't imagine the plot will let us keep two Battlestars around forever. Not to mention that of the new cast introduced with the Pegasus, the one developed character we met is now dead, and everyone else is basically a one-dimensional asshole except for her second in command who was just conflicted and terrified. Well, plus the new Cylon of course, I expect she'll be important for a while at least.
 

Octopus Prime

Mysterious Contraption
(He/Him)
Been making my way through It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia on Disney + (which is a wild direction that the universe swerved into). I’ve seen a number of episodes of the show before, but this is me dedicating the time and attention to watching it through.

The entire first season can be safely ignored, but after that Danny DeVito shows up and it becomes much more enjoyable.

Id liken it to Beavis and Butthead, if it were live action and there were 5 people instead of 2, and they were all far less redeemable.

More slurs than I would care for, but that’s 2000s comedy for you; caustic as all hell.
 

YangusKhan

does the Underpants Dance
(He/Him/His)
More slurs than I would care for, but that’s 2000s comedy for you; caustic as all hell.
They become much better about this as the show goes on. I know that's a pretty typical excuse for long-running shows, but it is pretty stark in this specific case, and might be surprising to hear considering the show is about 5 really terrible people. It would be extremely easy for them not to address this issue!
 
The episode where Mac does a theater production to put his feelings into dance is probably one of the most powerful episodes of any television I've ever seen. It's crushing and awe inspiring and joyous how beautiful and impactful everything about the last half dozen or so minutes of that episode is. I'm actually getting verklempt thinking about it.
 

Rascally Badger

El Capitan de la outro espacio
(He/Him)
The show gets better as it goes at choosing its targets, and making the gang generally the butt of the jokes.
 
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