Sunday, May 15, 2022

Things I have Been Watching That Are Not Movies

Jessie Spano looks on

We don't just watch movies at Signal Watch HQ.  If I'm being candid, re-employment and other things have reduced my time for movie watching.  But I'm also watching a movie or two per week for the PodCast, plus editing and posting, all of which takes time.  And I do write up stuff when I watch a movie.

This post is not your opportunity to recommend shows to me (please don't), and I am not telling you anything is essential and must be watched.  Sometimes we just say "hey, this is what we watched" when it comes to TV.

So what have we been up to on the TV side of the spectrum?


Chicago Cubs Baseball 

This is a mistake in 2022.  Since the Ricketts got their World Series win in 2016, burning through all the Cubs karma and possibly all of that for the Planet Earth to secure a win, the team has disintegrated in spectacular fashion.  They're usually 4th in the NL Central.  Which is like not being the absolute worst team in the worst division in baseball.  

Cubs gonna cub.

Austin FC Futbol

I was a massive skeptic of Austin's foray into Major League Soccer, but we got a team that started in 2021, and I've watched about 80% of their matches on TV or online.  I have not yet been to the stadium.  I now follow the team and try to make sense of a sport that I've struggled to grok in its complexity for my entire adult life.

It's still fun!  I'm kinda into it.

UT Baseball

I have somewhat given up trying to follow UT baseball because cable and streaming services cannot seem to air the games anywhere other than the Longhorn Network, which I don't have.  But I have watched some.

A Little NWSL

Austin is likely to get a women's pro soccer program in the next few years, and I am trying to keep up with the who's-who of the National Team as they've been scattered across the NWSL.  We have the best in the world in the US, and it would be great to have some of that in our own backyard and our rad soccer stadium getting even more use.  But I also think maybe I'll just be an LA fan until that happens.  They have Christen Press.  

Other TV

Winning Time

I was a basketball fan in the 1980's, which also meant I was a fan of the best teams in the NBA, which meant I was a fan of the Los Angeles Lakers.  Sure, I didn't always cheer for them, but I liked and respected them - especially Kareem.  This show was highly stylized and probably shouldn't have worked.  Of course I feel a little bad that the featured and very much alive figures of the show don't like their portrayals, but... hey, we do this all the time but usually we do this to dead people.  I'm sure it's a mix of gross inaccuracy and dramatization, and the show has a disclaimer saying as much.  But it's also the kind of low-stakes twisting of reality for TV drama that I think is kind of okay if you're going to cover reality. The problem is when you ask the actual figures to participate, you get something weirdly inaccurate and bad in another way.  

Saved By the Bell -S.2.

I am literally the only person I am aware of who watched this.  It was basically a 30 Rock style comedy starring the cast of the original show and their supposed off-spring. I actually found it kind of funny.  Incredibly self-aware of the original show, modern social mores vs those represented in the original show - it was aimed squarely at late-model Gen-X'ers who uniformly refused to get Peacock, but may have enjoyed the show otherwise.  And...  My Jessie Spano crush continues into it's 31st year unabated.

Sadly, the show was not renewed for a Season 3, which is too bad.  Really, Peacock is a bad idea writ large, and not helped by the idea that all you get is old NBC material instead of a lot of the Universal Catalog (their menu is also hot garbage).  The titling of new services after TV networks is really dumb in an era of cord-cutting and speaks to egos and cultural issues within companies more than it makes good business sense.

I think this show might have found an audience elsewhere, but I can also see people familiar with the various prior attempts to recapture the show (The College Years, The New Class, etc...) as thinking this was one more of those shows and taking a hard pass.

Our Flag Means Death

Everyone has been all over this show, and I am to be counted among the fans.  Very into it.

Moon Knight

I figured Jamie would like this one just for the Oscar Isaac eye-candy, but we may have found the edge of her tolerance for deep-cut comics nonsense - something I think Marvel will be dealing with for some time.  It's easy to look at WandaVision and say "wow, people will go along with our weirdness", but 
Wanda and Vision had a very concrete series of movies to jump off of and the series became more concrete as it went along versus increasingly complex.  Not everyone cares about this sort of thing.

I liked it fine, and would watch more, but felt like it put concept over both plot and character, and it needed to even that out better if they wanted the stool to balance.  

Superman and Lois

Both more and less CWish this season, I'm continuing to enjoy the program.  It kinda needs to work to make the kids not all bratty, self-centered dopes.  Like, I kinda want to ffwd through most of their scenes and they've made Natasha unwatchable and unsympathetic, Jordan is the wimpiest of soft-boys, and Jon is making uniformly bad choices because TV show.  

But Lana, Lois and Clark have all had good storylines.  It feels very much like sci-fi Superman-ness, and the creation of a deadly cult leader named "Aly" is... chef's kiss.


I sort of binged Minx on HBOmax.  It's not for everyone.  It's not as good as it could have been, and I absolutely did not buy the season finale's resolution.  Like.. at all.  But the ride to get there was entertaining.  

Unfortunately, I also think the main character is the lest interesting part of the show, and the writers love their character so much, they kind of tripped over themselves making everyone else love her on the show with a lack of motivation which led to the aforementioned not-ideal finale.  

FYI:  This show is part of HBO's trend to include lots of male and female nudity.  It's about pornography, so.  YMMV.

Rat in the Kitchen

Natasha Leggero makes even a goofy cooking mystery show watchable.

Open Range

I will probably watch Open Range.  I was okay with the first episode, and I like the cast.  I am not sure how much prestige-actors-stare-into-middle-distance-and-not-say-what-they-mean acting I can deal with in a show about a mystery-hole, but I feel like I haven't seen enough Lily Taylor lately, and this will remedy that problem.  I am also good with Josh Brolin.  That dude is all right. (which means I will immediately be told about some scandal from 1995).

Local News

I watch the local news a lot for a guy who is not a retiree.  Mostly KXAN, our local NBC affiliate.  

Watch the news sometime!  It's not all insane people on basic-cable yelling talking points at each other.  There's actual information tucked in.

I'm sure there's plenty of other stuff...

Scattered across our various services, I am sure I'm forgetting something.  


Simon MacDonald said...

You are not the only one who watched Saved By the Bell seasons 1-2. Amanda, Anna and I all loved it. It's hard to find a show that all 3 of us agree on watching. We are bummed that it's not getting a third season.

Our Flag Means Death was just great. I'm a big fan of whatever Taika Waititi has a hand in. Have you caught Reservation Dogs? He's a producer on that show.

Moon Knight was okay. I think it probably would have been better off as a movie. I also wonder if COVID tightened things up so they couldn't have as many characters as they would like. It felt really small.

The League said...

I'm glad someone else saw the new seasons of SBTB! I expect it will become a thing in a year or two if Peacock dumps it on Netflix or Amazon Prime.

I can't begin to guess what happened with Moon Knight. It felt like it was supposed to be 12 episodes and then wasn't, or like it was started by one crew and finished by another. What about the Swiss cult? Where were the other gods? It just felt like it didn't quite finish a lot of thoughts.
There's so many open threads and not in a fun way, but in a way that makes me think something happened.

Simon MacDonald said...

SBTB! seemed to be doing a really good of reflecting on modern high school life. I mean it's a comedy but the social issues they tackled are definitely things that my daughter and her friends talk about. Many great comedic performances in that show, especially Mitchell Hoog as Mac Morris. It takes a lot of skill to play that character and have him not come across as terrible.

Yup, Moon Knight could have been a bunch better. I'm really curious to see if some of these TV shows and their characters eventually make the jump to movies.

The League said...

Honestly - the Marvel TV shows breathe so well, and feel so much like picking up a new issue to get the continuing story, I'm fine with all of Marvel sliding into TV. But I do assume - hey, it's Marvel. They'll do crossovers and team stories.

The new SBTB will always have a place in my heart for incorporating Showgirls in in continuity while making it meta as hell.